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Gear Review: The Heat Locker keeps outdoor duds warm, dry and scent-free

I can tolerate cold. I can tolerate wet. I cannot tolerate cold and wet. Every waterfowler  knows the uncomfortable feeling of donning outerwear  that’s still wet and cold from the morning hunt, or pulling on waders that have sat in the truck all night and are just plain frigid or frozen in a permanent folded position. That feeling easily qualifies as MISERABLE.

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Photo courtesy of Gretchen Steele

Thanks to Pleasant Ridge Outdoors’ ever so handy product, the Heat Locker™, those days are over! The Heat Locker keeps outdoor duds warm, dry and scent-free.

The Heat Locker is a revolutionary new wardrobe. Unlike other storage units that just let you hang up your garments or bedding, The Heat Locker allows you to DRY them!

I will freely admit that I was a tad skeptical about how well this product would really perform. The assembly was quick and easy and in just a few minutes everything was up and running. It all seemed way too simple, and way too good to be true. A few of my duck hunting pals and I immediately stuffed the  42-cubic-feet of storage space with waders, coats, pants, gloves, hats, boots; in other words, every cold wet thing we had hanging around.

However, I drew the line at also zipping a pair of wet Labradors into the roomy wardrobe.

Following the easy to understand instructions, we set the timer and waited.

Per the instructions: “Drying time varies due to the type of clothing and amount of saturation. As a general rule of thumb, if insulated coveralls and coats are run through a wash/spin cycle in a washing machine, it usually takes around 2.5 hours to dry a full load in The Heat Locker. Drying times will change based on the load (air needs to circulate freely to maximize drying) and ambient temperature.”

Surprisingly, we found that even with a full load of wet waterfowl gear, the locker delivered toasty warm and dry clothes in an hour to an hour-and-a-half. Just the right amount of time for those of us who hunt hard early in the wee hours then return to clubhouse to have a late breakfast and enjoy a thawing-out period before heading back out in the field for the afternoon flights.

Another advantage to The Heat Locker is that its sturdy frame easily held heavy chest waders with no danger of tipping, bending or other issues. Many mornings, gear was placed in The Heat Locker for a quick warm up before heading out in the field. How wonderful to don toasty warm clothes, rather than just gritting our teeth and putting on clothes left outside or in the garage or vehicle in a messy heap overnight.

Given the amount of available room inside, for an individual it would be a perfect place to regularly store hunting clothing in neatly organized space. No more piles of hunting clothes in the garage, on the porch, in the back of the vehicle. The Heat Locker not only dries your gear, but also stores it safely. After surviving a long wet waterfowl season with daily use, it gets my vote for durability. Despite the abuse it received at our hands, it continues to operate flawlessly. I anticipate that it will also get quite the workout during the wet spring turkey hunting and mushroom seasons.

The Heat Locker features a large extruded aluminum frame that measures 7’X3’X2′ to give you the aforementioned 42-cubic-feet of storage space. I will attest that the specially crafted 3-axis Polypropylene elbow joints are virtually indestructible. The top shelf is made from 24-gauge steel, which makes it extremely light, yet durable. Eight aluminum J-hooks support the load from the shelf evenly across the frame, so the shelf can support more than 200 pounds of hanging weight. The unit comes with two shelves; you can use one shelf on top for lighter weight items such as hats and gloves and the other at the bottom to dry your boots. A lightweight polyester cover with a heavy-duty zipper keeps the heat in while transferring moisture out through a mesh opening at the top and the cover itself.

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Gretchen thinks Moose wants to warm up, too. Photo courtesy of Cody Bowyer

A little bonus … who’d a thought?

A much welcomed and unexpected benefit we discovered is that as the drying process transfers the moisture out through the top mesh opening, meaning it also helps to humidify the air in the room. Since so many hunting lodges, cabins and clubhouses heat with wood stoves that leave the air so very dry and parched, this just made us love The Heat Locker even more!

The dryer is a specially designed, patent-pending heater with 1500 watts of drying power. This unique design allows dry air to enter the heater from outside the unit where it is then heated and exhausted into the cavity of the wardrobe. The hot air then rises through the articles and is vented out through the mesh screen taking the moisture with it.

Always concerned about care for our hunting clothes, I am comforted to know that the heater heats the cavity of the wardrobe to approximately 110-degrees Farenheit during operation. That temperature easily dries heavy coveralls, but it’s not so hot that it would damage any type of material.

Since we did a good bit of our testing in a hunt club environment, with multiple folks operating and using The Heat Locker, I had to be sure that it was a safe product to just plunk down in the corner. Not to worry. There are several safety features incorporated into the product such as the following:

  • Automatic Overheat Protection
  • Timer Controlled Automatic Shutoff
  • Insulated Heater Housing
  • Reinforced Safety Strap for Wall Attachment
  • ETL Certified

Heat AND scent control?

The_Heat_LockerAlthough scent control isn’t an issue when waterfowl hunting, for those hunters who need scent control, a very handy feature is the ability to hang up a scent wick with a cover or lure scent on one of the lower beams. While the air circulates, the scent will be infused with the fabric while it dries. Again, since scent control isn’t a waterfowl issue, I occasionally set a small dish of water scented with soothing essential oils in it on the lower shelf to help clear the room and my clothes of the dreaded blue mud river funk smell that waterfowlers know all too well.

Additionally, there is no need for 220 or any type of heavy duty electrical service to operate The Heat Locker. It runs on standard 120-volt AC household electric power.

The only area for improvement that we could find is the need for a liner/tray/ or pad that could be placed on the floor inside The Heat Locker. We addressed the issue of drippy stuff by placing a towel on the floor inside the heat locker, but a nice tray that could be slid in and out as needed would be handy!

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Gretchen Steele with her beloved dog, Willie. Photo courtesy of Gretchen Steele

All the way around, The Heat Locker not only meets expectations, but exceeds them. At a suggested retail price of 129.95, it’s a great investment. The Heat Locker will keep your hunting clothes warm and dry. It will also keep them organized and stored properly as well.  This is the perfect addition to any home or club where wet, muddy, outdoor clothing occurs.

The Heat Locker™ is manufactured by Pleasant Ridge Outdoors.

Editor’s note: I spoke with a representative from Pleasant Ridge Outdoors. These unit are very popular for people who play hockey or participate in other outdoor winter activities, as well.

 

 

 

 

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