With three warmth settings and a handy phone-charging feature, the battery-powered, carbon-fiber-heated Flare shirt keeps you comfortable in changing conditions.
There is no denying the fact that getting to test out new products for outdoor adventures has its perks — and getting to wear the Flare Heated Shirt from Blanc during California’s cold 2019 winter was definitely one of them.
We will get into the smart features of the Flare (MSRP $160), but let’s start with reviewing it as a shirt. Typically, when leaving the warmth of your RV behind to venture into the wild on a chilly day, you would implement the basic three-layer clothing protocol we are all familiar with:
• Base Layer: This is your underwear layer and is meant to wick and absorb sweat off your skin.
• Mid Layer: This is your insulating layer and is designed to retain body heat and protect you from the cold.
• Outer Layer: This is your wind and rain layer that keeps you dry, such as a water-resistant jacket.
The Flare shirt serves as your mid-layer and features some impressive technology, just in the build of the shirt. Even before getting into the “smart” part of its tech, the construction itself is noteworthy. The shirt integrates a patented carbon-fiber threading and is super lightweight. It has thumb holes to keep wrists and hands warmer, a pocket along the back to store a phone or light snack, and it’s machine washable.
Beyond its unique construction, which includes a moisture-wicking polyester-spandex blend that keeps moisture out while keeping heat in, the Flare shirt stands out with its heated feature. As shown in the image above, the shirt has three heating zones and three heating settings.
Low Warmth Setting
Set the colored LED button to white for hours of long-lasting, steady warmth. The setting is perfect for when you need a little extra warmth on a chilly walk, in a movie theater, on an airplane or at a drafty workplace.
Medium Warmth Setting
Click the colored LED button to advance to orange for the next setting for an extra boost of warmth. This setting is great for getting out the door on cool autumn mornings, warming up for a run or watching outdoor sporting events that go into double overtime.
High Warmth Setting
The third heat setting is for when you need furnace-like heat to curb the cold. This is what our ancestors dreamed about. Wear it under your jacket to keep toasty while on the ski slopes.
I wore this shirt on days when the temperature plummeted into the 30s in one of the coldest winters in recent memory. Keep in mind that Southern California’s year-round average temperature is 74, so I’m not used to that kind of cold. The Flare never let me down. On the medium setting, the shirt not only kept me warm from morning all the way to about lunchtime, it also soothed the pain in my lower-back region from sitting at a desk all day.
How It Works
Using the Flare shirt could not have been easier. It comes with a 6,000-mAh rechargeable battery pack that can keep you warm for up to five hours. If you aren’t in need of the warming feature for the day, the battery doubles as a portable USB charger for your phone. According to Blanc, the battery can charge a phone up to three times on a single charge if it isn’t used for heating.
I tested this claim on a photo shoot when I wore the Flare shirt. It wasn’t chilly enough to need the heating features, so I kept them off for the day. About halfway through filming, my phone died. I pulled the battery out of the shirt (which is a simple zip and pull) and plugged it into my phone. Voila! The phone was charged in about an hour. I was also able to fully charge a crew member’s phone back to 100 percent and my wife’s phone to more than 70 percent.
If you want to use the heat features, it couldn’t be easier. There is a button with LED lighting on the bottom of the shirt. Simply plug the battery into the pocket above the button and press the button. The button has three colors that correlate to the heat modes listed above. Press once for low (white LED), twice for medium (orange LED) and a third time for high (red LED). Keep in mind that the higher the heat setting, the faster the battery’s power will be consumed.
I wore the shirt on a snow trip to the Angeles National Forest just north of Los Angeles. On the medium setting, the shirt kept me warm enough that I did not even need to wear my heavy outer snow jacket.
Another cool little unadvertised feature for the shirt was that when we wrapped up our snowy adventure and piled into the car to head home, it doubled as a heated blanket for my six-year-old daughter. She loved it and drifted off into a toasty sleep within about 10 minutes.
Besides all the great technology that the Flare features, it is just a sexy shirt. There is really no other way to put it. It looks great on men and women, and the fit is so comfortable you forget you’re wearing a “smart” shirt.
Not only is the Flare shirt tailored for men, but it comes in women’s sizes, too. Many of the heated garments on the market focus heavily on the tech side and not on the fact that you have to wear it, but Blanc nailed the perfect blend of comfort, technology and fashion. Whether the shirt had heated features or not, I would still wear it just as a shirt.
I was honestly worried about the fact that Blanc advertises the Flare shirt to be machine washable, but I am happy to report it absolutely is. Simply remove the battery (it’s hard to miss this step as the size and weight of the battery will be a dead giveaway that it’s still in the shirt) and toss the shirt in the washer. I have washed mine about a dozen times, and it always comes out perfectly.
I have covered a lot of my favorite things about the Flare shirt. Let’s take a minute to recap:
- Super comfortable, stylish and lightweight
- Pocket on the back for holding your phone or light snack like a granola bar
- Three heating modes to control how toasty you want to be
- 6,000-mAh rechargeable battery
- Interior quick-dry fabric and raglan sleeves
- Three heating zones — two on the back and one on the chest
- Thumbholes in sleeves
Warranty and Special Offer
I have had several conversations with Greg, one of the founders of the company. As an engineer, he could not have been more passionate about the integrity and work that have gone into the product, and hearing him talk about it really gives you a sense of the vision at Blanc. That passion even translates into after-sale support in the form of a one-year manufacturer’s defects warranty. It’s great peace of mind to know that your investment is protected and that Blanc takes this kind of stance on its products.
The team at Blanc has even whipped up a “hot” special offer (see what I did there) for Trailer Life readers – 30 percent off your order. Head over to Blanc’s website HERE, and add the right Flare shirt for your size. Use coupon code CAMP30 at checkout to get the 30 percent discount.
Happy camping, everyone!
Jeremy P Elder is an award-winning podcast producer and host, as well as the author of Topics of Heroes and its sequel, Topics Too, and also serves as the Digital Product Manager for Good Sam Enterprises. Jeremy writes several blog series for Good Sam and conducts new product reviews, which can be found in the blog here.