Putting It To The Test: Coats With NASA Technology

Wednesday, January 7th 2015, 11:04 pm
By: News On 6

NASA technology is now being used in coats.

Jackets are being outfitted with Omni-Heat, ThermoBall, Infrared and TurboDown technology -- but does it really work to keep us warm and is it really worth your money?

We put four coats to the test.

With a thermal imaging camera in hand, Broken Arrow Fire Capt. Rusty Schaefer can see exactly where heat is escaping the body.

The first is Columbia's Omni-Heat.

Its NASA space blanket technology reflects body heat.

"You're still giving off heat,” Schaefer said. “Not as much as you were before."

The Omni-Heat is on sale at Bass Pro for $79.98.

The next two are the two most expensive.

The Under Armour Infrared is warm, but loses out to the Omni-Heat.

"It's giving off a little more than the Omni is," Schaefer said.

The Under Armour is priced at $199.99.

Then, the North Face ThermoBall.

"You're giving off the most heat with it,” Schaefer said. “And the longer you stand there, the brighter it gets because you're giving off that much more heat."

It also sells for $199.

Bass Pro Sales Manager April Peterson explains that the stitching on the coat makes it lose heat.

"The most expensive one, you're losing the most heat out of,” manager April Peterson said. “So it was very informative for us."

This Columbia, with both Omni-Heat and down, is the instant winner.

"If you're looking at the outside of the coat, it's like 33 degrees, whereas your face is like 78 degrees,” Schaefer said.

Meaning body heat is not escaping the coat.

"Just a plain coat with no insulation is the worst. The best might surprise you,” he said. “It's this Columbia with down and Omni-Heat, and it's actually $50 less than some of the other coats."

The winning Columbia Omni-Heat TurboDown is $150.

"More money isn't always better,” Schaefer said.

Peterson added, "It is an investment to keep yourself warm. These will last you a long time."

We learned that bulky isn't always better and heat can escape through certain stitching.

Pairing the new technology with traditional down feathers is the best combination to keep warm.