I am a notoriously cold person, and even before spending time with friends outside was a public-health necessity, I would bundle up for any outdoor event. I’d put on my fleece-lined jeans, a couple of cashmere base layers, and the reliably toasty Park Slope Food Coop freezer coat, and that would be enough to get me from my apartment to the train to wherever I was going.
But now, as the weather gets colder and the chances to spend time indoors with friends are nonexistent, even that layering is insufficient. Rooftop drinks or park picnics in November might be more manageable with some electrically generated warmth, but most of that is off the table in my urban, outdoor spaces of choice, which are far away from an outlet. And, since I’m just as anxious as I am cold, using a potentially hazardous extension cord or breaking the terms of my lease and getting a fuel-burning space heater are both out of the question for me.
In my attempt to get even warmer this winter, I thought of the Cozee — a portable heated blanket that’s exactly like an electric blanket but with a rechargeable battery instead of an electric plug. I was first introduced to it last September when a friend asked me to carry it to the park for a picnic, and I was skeptical that it was worth it. Although the blanket kept us toasty warm well after sundown, for the price of $250, it seemed like an unnecessary expense.
But during a winter where outdoor socializing is the norm, I began to see the Cozee differently. The brand sent me one to try out a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve since biked it to basically all of my outdoor socializing — from brunch on a friend’s fire escape in Bed-Stuy to an afternoon spent in another friend’s Upper East Side backyard.
Using the Cozee is almost as easy as pressing a button: Before leaving home, I’ll charge the battery for six hours, tuck it into the blanket’s charging pocket, fold it all up, and put it into a big tote bag. (While the plush blanket isn’t compact, it still fits into a computer backpack or a large tote and is easy enough to transport since it only weighs a pound and a half.) Upon arriving to where I need to go, I just plug the battery in and turn it on to begin preheating. Within a half hour — around the time I usually start to cool down from my bike ride — the blanket is ready for use.
At full heat, the Cozee feels downright hot, even on a 35-degree night. Since the heated wiring spans the entire blanket, it gets warm from top to bottom, sort of like a full-body version of a car-seat warmer. During use, I still wear my requisite base layers — including a hat and light down puffer — but I never once feel like I needed to put anything else on. The way I feel snuggled up in it is very similar to how Pat LaFrieda describes his (much heavier and more costly) battery-powered clothing: It kept me toasty warm when everyone started to wish they could go inside (and that is extremely rare for me). It also has features that I haven’t yet experimented with, like a waterproof exterior and a USB charging port for your phone on the battery pack. And, if you want to share it among friends in a different pod, or use it with kids, the entire thing (sans battery) is machine washable.
Although the Cozee prides itself on being the first patented battery operated heating blanket on the market, it’s not the only one. After doing a deep dive into the world of portable heated blankets, I found that most seem to be less comfortable, hot, smaller, and many pounds heavier than the Cozee. Plus, perhaps most notable at this moment, the Cozee is one of the only blankets of its kind that’s still readily in stock (for now).
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