I was out of my element. I was accustomed to the mountains, hiking, glassing and using the terrain to find, stalk and take my prey. Illinois felt to me like a whole new world. Nothing was the same or familiar and as a seasoned hunter with 20 years of experience under my belt it felt strange to experience something new and uncharted. I had 4 days to hunt and the weather was on a steady march down into the depths of an early winter storm. On the second morning of the hunt I found myself climbing not only a tree stand but a tree stand that was coated in a ½ inch of solid treacherous ice. I would continue that sit with my bum frozen solidly to the seat which was surprisingly a comforting feeling. The temperatures were biting and the silence around me deafening. Here is where I truly had my chance to test out the effectiveness of my new ICONX heated core vest from Pnuma.
My husband and I had dove headfirst into their clothing line this year looking for waterproof outerwear and merino base layers. We had been extremely pleased with the performance of the gear so far and now I would finally put the vest to the test. I am a cold-blooded person even on a hot summer day so when we saw that Pnuma had created a heated vest we knew I would be needing one of them. I have never been more thankful for a hunting gear purchase than I have been with the ICONX vest. As I sat in that frozen tree on my frozen seat feeling the chill beginning to take over, I simply held down the chest button through my coat and slowly the heat started to radiate up from my back, into my shoulders and across my chest. That was an amazing feeling. I felt myself relax and the shivers subside. I was able to control the levels of heat as the vest has 3 different settings.
I would not have been able to stay in that stand for 5 hours that morning had I not had the ICONX vest. With the original battery and the extra one that I had purchased I would have been able to stay for a few more hours if the weather would have permitted it. Fog came in so thick that I was forced to leave the stand and return that evening for another sit. I was sure to fully recharge my vest batteries back at the lodge as they had now become an important part of my ability to withstand the damp frozen environment of the Illinois hardwoods in November.
You can purchase the ICONX vest from Pnuma on their website at: https://www.pnumaoutdoors.com/iconx-heated-core-vest
The vest retails for $150 and comes with 1 rechargeable battery. I recommend purchasing a second battery as the vest has two battery pockets for storing the one that is connected to the vest and a spare battery. I tend to stay out in the woods for a few hours if not an entire day so having a spare battery is essential. I usually find myself using a large majority of the first battery during the extreme cold of the morning and the remainder of it in the evening chill and then having to switch over to my spare to finish off the hunt. The spare battery is available on the Pnuma site here:
and retails for $28.
The vest is designed for zero bulk and restriction of movement. The cut prevents the vest from getting close to your under arm and fits snug to the body. I found that when I put my merino base layer under the vest it held it close to my body and kept everything in place. One of the battery compartments has a cord in it that connects to the battery and the other pocket is just a storage compartment for the spare battery. The vest is soft and pliable.
The button is easily located through your outer garments and when held down will turn on the vest. Once the vest is turned on you can push the button to rotate through each heat setting until you have the one you need. The LED light will signal whether you are on low, medium or high mode. The battery will last for 6 hours on low setting and I found it would last about 4 hours on high. It really varies for me during my typical hunts here out west and I won’t have it on constantly. I generally have it off in the beginning as I am warm from hiking into an area then as I sit to glass I will turn it on high for awhile. When I am warmed up I will keep it on low until I get up to hike again. At that point I will have to turn it back off as I would be way to warm hiking with it on. During these kinds of hunts I can generally go the whole day on the first battery as I am only using it periodically. The vest is completely silent and comfortable.
The only downside to this vest is that it is cut extra long for my female torso. As a woman my torso is not as long as a male’s, generally speaking, so the compartments for the batteries tend to line up with my pant’s waistband which is not ideal. To combat this I pull the vest up just enough to bring the batteries above the belt line which works fine. I assume that on a male the batteries fall above the belt line most of the time. That has been the only problem I have encountered with this vest and it was easily solved. I place an incredible value on this piece of my outdoor equipment. Being warm keeps me fully functioning and in the woods longer. That raises my potential for connecting with game and brings added experience to each outdoor adventure. The investment has more than paid for itself.