Winter. The thought of it can drum up images of snowmen and eggnog by the fire … or blizzards and frostbite in the darkness of night.
Living in Canada means winter is here for six months of the year. So learning to embrace the cold versus fighting it isn’t just necessary for our sanity, but for those of us who make our living shooting outdoors, survival.
Being a commercial and documentary filmmaker in Canada means finding tools to stay warm and functional during the coldest productions. Thankfully, there’s a local company that helps me do just that. Below we’ll take a close look at Motion Heat’s Heated Glove Liner and ecosystem of heated wear essentials.
I’ve purchased several heated gloves, but Motion Heat’s Heated Glove Liners are what I wear when I need to use my cameras in the cold. Nothing I’ve tried comes close to the dexterity and touchscreen control I get with these gloves while keeping my hands warm in the cold.
Before we get to the review, full disclosure: I was initially sent these gloves three years ago without charge, but without strings attached too. So as always, I’ll be sharing my honest thoughts – good and bad – and giving you the details so you can make your own informed decision. As always, you’ll find links in the description.
WHAT IS IT?
Battery-powered glove liners with touchscreen material on the thumb, index and middle finger. The Motion Heat ecosystem also includes optional insulated shells (convertible mitten, glove and split-glove designs), a heated vest and heated insoles.
WHY IT MATTERS
If you’ve ever had to work with camera gear or touchscreens in the cold, then you know why this matters.
WHO IT’S FOR
Photographers, videographers, filmmakers, and anyone else who needs to maintain maximum dexterity and touchscreen control while in the cold.
WHY SHOULD YOU TRUST ME?
I’ve been a full-time photographer and filmmaker for over 20 years (yup, I’m old). I also live and work in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and often shoot commercial work and sports in harsh winter weather, including -35 C. With our long, harsh winters, figuring out how to stay warm while working outdoors is necessary.
At first glance, the glove liner material’s thinness made me concerned, but after using the same pair for over three years, I can attest these are working gloves. I’m not particularly easy on my gear when shooting, but I do confess to treating them with respect, as I’ve come to rely on them for every winter shoot.
the Motion Heat Glove Liner is thin, allowing me to maintain the required dexterity to work with my intricate camera and gimbal controls
the touchscreen material on my thumb and two fingers works better than others I’ve tried. So well I could operate my iPhone and complete a fast-paced video edit with my gloves on!
choice of swappable 12V or 16V batteries. 12V batteries come with slow trickle charger (overnight for a full charge). 16V batteries come with a quick charger.
You can purchase additional batteries to accommodate any shoot length.
includes power extension cables to carry batteries close to your body
Uses standard DC plug size – it’s easy to find adapters to plug the charger directly into gloves for convenient charging. Batteries can be used to power other 12-16V items, including video monitors!
well-thought-out heating system allows you to expand your kit with convertible mittens, gloves, split gloves, a heated vest and heated insoles
Motion Heat’s optional heated vest keeps your torso toasty, has four zippered pockets, and includes cabling to allow you to carry the bulky and heavy batteries in the vest while supplying power to your gloves. Removing the need to place the batteries in the gloves’ pocket makes them more comfortable and easier to put on and remove.
TMI bonus: the gloves are grippy enough to open poop bags when I walk my dog
- Size and weight of battery (when placed in the glove) – The 16V battery is a tight squeeze to get the battery in the glove’s pouch. But you can’t have heat without the battery, so it’s a valuable trade-off.
- not waterproof – the exposed DC plug makes for easy cable extension, but this glove system is not for snowball fights or wet environments
- the glove liners are not wind-proof, and I often need to use a higher setting on windy days. The solution is purchasing Motion Heat’s optional convertible mitten, glove or split glove. They’re equally well thought out and made with shorter cuffs to allow access to the power controls. Innovative features include well-placed zippers and velcro to reveal your touchscreen-compatible fingertips when required.
- Price. Motion Heat Heated Gloves are not inexpensive, but they are the best in use and have the most complete and well-thought-out ecosystem of heated apparel I know of.
- If you don’t mind slow charge times, the 12V battery is fine. But I prefer and recommend the 16V batteries and fast charger. I have both, and the 16V battery runs hotter on the same setting, so they last longer than the 12V battery. The 16V fast charger is also much faster than the charger included with the 12V batteries – taking hours instead of overnight. Regardless, the good people at Motion Heat can help calculate the length of time you’ll be outside and recommend the correct number of type of batteries and chargers to keep you warm.
TIP: leave the batteries unplugged when travelling to prevent accidental power-ups
The Bottom Line
There are more and more choices for heated gloves coming to the market. But the Motion Heat Heated Glove Liners are the only gloves I trust when I shoot in cold environments. I’ve had to troubleshoot my gimbal rig and swap out batteries in the bitter winter cold, and I didn’t even think about having these gloves on. That’s a testament to how well they work – they disappear when the pressure’s on, and that’s the best endorsement I can give.
Some will say they’re expensive, but as a tool in my arsenal, Motion Heat’s Heated Glove Liners keep me warm on cold shoots, and this isn’t just a nicety – it’s a necessity. They’ve helped my shoots go smoothly, and when clients are watching my every move with high expectations, they’re worth every penny and more. I’ve been able to accept challenging winter assignments knowing I have the right tools to keep me warm and in control on the coldest days. Owning my Motion Heat Heated Gloves has become a competitive advantage, and I couldn’t recommend them more highly.