TESTED: MOSKO MOTO ECTOTHERM INSULATED 12V HEATED JACKET
BY CHAD DE ALVA
Riding in cold weather is an exercise in choosing insulation layers carefully. You need enough insulation to keep warm while you’re sitting static on the bike while riding at speed, yet you also need versatility in your layers so you can stay comfortable as temperatures change or you start exerting yourself. Good layers are warm, packable, and breathe well, yet no matter how good an individual layer is, the process of having to stop riding to make a wardrobe change is still a pain. No one likes feeling like a shrink-wrapped Michelin man when they’re trying to wear several insulation layers under their riding jacket. So I’m really stoked that Mosko Moto has created the Ectotherm – a technical synthetic puffy, that also happens to have a full complement of carbon fiber heating elements making this jacket a quiver killer for riding layers.
Yet when paired with a good base layer and shell, the Ectotherm is all you need for torso insulation to comfortably ride at speed in below-freezing temperatures. Thanks to its top shelf PrimaLoft Gold with Cross Core Technology synthetic insulation, the jacket is just like a good puffy jacket when not powered. Yet when you turn on the heating panels located in the jacket’s collar, arms, left and right chest, and back, the jacket is able to keep you comfortable well into temperatures where things are icing up. To replicate the same range of temperature comfort with other layers, I would have to put on a good mid layer or two, and a down insulation layer. The Ectotherm provides the same range of insulation as several other layers in a surprisingly non-bulky jacket that works great under standalone armor, or inside a jacket with integrated pads.
Powering and controlling the Ectotherm is very easy to do. The jacket runs off of DC power from your bike, and Mosko Moto includes a fused wiring harness that connects directly to your battery. All you have to do is connect the harness to your battery terminals, and route the power cable to where you can easily plug into the jacket. This is done via a single barrel connector that stows in a little pocket on the bottom hem of the Ectotherm, just below the left hand pocket. Here you’ll also find the control button for the jacket that lets you power the jacket on and off, as well as choose from three temperature settings: green will keep the heating panels at 38°C/100°F, yellow at 45°C/113°F, and red at 52°C/126°F. At peak power consumption, the jacket will consume 42 watts of power, which works out to 3.5 Amps at 12VDC.
Given the energy consumption of the Ectotherm and the capacity of many motorcycle batteries, it’s important to point out that you could run a motorcycle battery down in only a couple of hours time – so make sure that you’re very careful when powering the jacket from your bike while it’s not running. To power the Ectotherm while in camp or off-bike, an Antigravity Batteries Microstart XP-10 has a 12VDC output that can run the jacket for more than an hour, and it can also charge other devices and work as a jump battery.
Once you pick a temperature setting with the Ectotherm’s control button, it takes only a few seconds for the panels to start radiating heat. The three temperature levels provide distinct differences in how warm the jacket is, helping you stay comfortable as the air temperature or your level of exertion changes.
Mosko Moto intentionally designed the Ectotherm without connectors for other heated gear. Between heated grips, hand shields, and quality gloves, there is no need to use bike-powered heated gloves. As someone who has been snowmobiling and riding in cold weather for years, I’m thankful that the Ectotherm isn’t packed full of additional wiring that I’m never going to use.
To put the versatility of the Ectotherm in perspective, here’s an example of how the jacket can keep its wearer comfortable in a wide range of temperatures on a winter’s ADV day ride: Shortly after sunrise, I leave my house at 7,000 feet Above Sea Level (ASL) where the air temperature is in the 20’s (Degrees Fahrenheit). I put the Ectotherm on its warmest setting for my 47 mile freeway blast off the mountain to my riding buddy’s house. At my buddy’s house which is located at 3,300 feet ASL, it’s 45 degrees out, so I turn the Ectotherm off while I’m walking around waiting for my buddy to kit up for the ride. As we leave his house, I’m now running the Ectotherm on low, to give the jacket’s synthetic insulation a boost as we ride two lane roads to get down into the desert.
We finally turn onto dirt, at roughly 1,500 feet ASL, where it’s 60 degrees out. I take the Ectotherm off, and thanks to its small packed size, I can easily stash it in my pack. We ride aggressive dirt for several hours before returning to the slab. As we head back to my buddy’s house, I put the Ectotherm back on, but I don’t need any powered heating. For my last stint of riding back up the hill to my house, I opt for a little extra heat on the freeway, so I turn the Ectotherm on once I get back above the snowline where the setting sun is causing the temperature to drop rapidly.
Doing a ride like this with other insulation options would have required multiple stops to don and doff layers, as well as additional storage to carry these layers when it was time to play in the dirt and wanting to just wear my base layer, armor, and shell. The Ectotherm is a layer quiver killer – and the potential stemming from this jacket is huge.
Any time you can parse down your riding kit without giving up functionality, you’re winning. The Ectotherm takes things one step further by eliminating pain points associated with riding in the cold. The Ectotherm reduces stops to change layers and pack or stow said layers in your gear. If you need to warm up, just click the Ectotherm up a temperature setting. If you need cool down, just turn the Ectotherm down or off as needed. Thanks to the jacket’s synthetic insulation, this is a piece of riding gear that works well even when the power is off. The Ectotherm is great for hiking off the bike, sitting around a campfire, or casual use.
The Mosko Moto Ectotherm is an incredibly valuable piece of riding gear. It can keep you comfortable in such a wide range of temperature conditions that it’s honestly all I’ve been bringing on my ADV rides this winter. I love that I don’t have to deal with the uncomfortable feeling of wearing five jackets, or the associated stops should I need to make a wardrobe change. The Ectotherm has proven to keep my torso at a comfortable temperature on cool afternoons and on cold nights while I’m riding. The only downside to the Ectotherm is that it will keep your core so comfortable, that you’ll wish your legs had the same treatment – so here’s hoping that Ectotherm Pants become a thing someday. For more information on the Mosko Moto Ectotherm, visit www.moskomoto.com