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Sierra Madre Hot Pocket

rated 1.0 of 5 stars
photo: Sierra Madre Hot Pocket electronic

This is a thing—and you really need it!

It's new, it's unique, and it doesn't really have a category, so I selected "electronics"—only because it uses a battery. It's sort of a multi-purpose heater/woobie/foot warmer/compression stuffsack/powerbank/flashlight all rolled into one.

Pros

  • 3 sizes available
  • Lightweight bag (4.5-8.5 oz)
  • Ultralight powerbank (9.6 oz)
  • Solar option available
  • Can use other USBC powerbanks
  • Holds 2 quilts and a sweatshirt
  • 2 settings—lo and hi heat
  • Heats up fast

Cons

  • Expen$$ive
  • High capacity powerbank is 16.9 ounces
  • Daypack type straps available (why?)

 

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Dimensions

 

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This is a thing—and you really need it!

So let me start by saying I wasn't going to buy this.

I saw the ads, I read the articles, and I watched the dog and pony show.

I tried to resist, but I owed myself a gear gift for Christmas and dove in head first. I bought the Medium (16 Liter, 7 oz). The first thought was—Return it. Then I tried it.

Within 3 minutes, it was warming up nicely on low heat (about 100 degrees F). After 15 minutes, it was toasty warm and keeping me quite comfortable on a 20-degree night in my nylon hammock on the back deck. I was wrapped in a standard military type poncho liner, wearing jeans and a hoodie—surprisingly, no chills for over a half hour. High heat kicks it up to about 122 degrees, and it cycles in 15 minute on/off intervals to preserve your powerbank.

So my test was with the supplied UL battery pack, which has a fast charge input, bright flashlight, and two USB-C outputs—one for high current for the Hot Pocket, the other for charging other devices. It's bulky and heavier than any of my other powerbanks, but I can use them as well with an adapter. I tested at 15 minutes on low heat, then 15 minutes (one cycle) on high heat. Post-test, the battery pack's 4 LED indicators showed it had discharged less than 20% (4th LED blinking) and recharged within an hour. 

The bag itself is 20D Hydrashield nylon that resists moisture, looks and feels durable, though soft. The opening is a drawstring spindrift collar that tucks inside a roll down, dry-bag like top. Closed and zipped, the Medium measures 12x13", and opens up to a full 28x21". This covered my torso during my outdoor hammock test...and I was able to loop a strap around the back of my neck to keep it in place. Zipped partially, you can even use this as a footwarmer.

When stuffed, it's a little under 9" diameter and compresses to whatever size you can with its two straps...depending on contents. I shoved two 64x87" quilts and a hoodie sweatshirt in it, and was able to choke it down to 9x11". Oh, and before I forget—you can also preheat your sleeping gear in this thing...or warm gloves and hat...or whatever.

Background

I'm impressed—it was a chilly, breezy night and this thing kept me warm. I will welcome this bag at 4:30am when the dewpoint clips 30 degrees on those early spring weekenders.

UPDATE 2/17/21: I used this in a cabin over the past weekend. Slept about 20ft away from the woodstove that everyone else was positioned around. I had stashed my military poncho liner (woobie) and an inflatable sleeping pad in the HotPocket as a stuff sack with plenty of room to spare.

As a side sleeper, I sort of cuddled the fully opened HotPocket in front of me from chest to upper thighs under the woobie. With the battery stashed in its flap pocket, I set it on the constant low heat (blue) setting, and I was comfortable all night (7 hours).

Everyone was asking about it Sunday morning during first coffee, so I turned it on high heat (red) setting and passed it around to demonstrate. In this mode, it cycles in approx. 15 minutes heat and 15 minutes off. The battery lasted another 2 hours before draining below 25%....I'm still impressed and happy with the product. I'm thinking they may sell a few more of these to the cabin crew from last weekend...heheh.

UPDATE 2: 12/28/21: For all the good that this HotPocket provides, the company is horrible at "customer service" and "warranty concerns". I wrote to them (email) in September after the UL Battery failed after less than 10 uses and no abnormal conditions. After a series of exchanges regarding "correct charging practices", "use of the supplied charging cable" and "use of the hot pocket", their "representative" Geraldine determined that I was correct in my assessment that the battery was

...DEFECTIVE.

Once that was settled, I had asked for a warranty replacement UL battery (2 year warranty as stated on the site). I was told I had to return the battery first—and they would send a pre-paid shipping label. ....crickets....nothing....not even a "Covid-19 excuse" that I've become far too accustomed to... They simply stopped responding, as if ignoring the problem would make me go away.

So, I bite the bullet and buy a replacement battery at full cost before a December outing. It arrives, the Hot Pocket is back to normal... except the $150 chunk missing from my bank account. That is, until THIS battery fails....

Today - I receive the following:
================================
Hi Rick,

Good day!

I hope you're doing well.

We have received your feedback regarding our product and service.

We always aim to provide the best products and experience for our Wildlings. I'm sorry if you feel less valued by the service you have received from me.

We'd like to offer you a free $50 Gift Card to compensate for the inconvenience caused.
================================

$50 Gift Card? To spend on a future purchase? For a $150 Battery?

Sorry, THREE FAILS - THEY'RE OUT - they will never see another dime from me!

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $189 with promotional free shipping

Can I give zero stars? Don't waste your money. The battery pack died after the first discharge (only to 20% or so, not all the way empty) and it will not recharge - cannot reach customer service to get a replacement... read this comment thread, and the kickstarter comment section before you decide.
It's such a good idea, but too expensive and very poorly executed.

Pros

  • could be a nice toasty accessory for camping/surfing/snow etc ...

Cons

  • but it isn't.

Sierra Madre clearly have a supply issue on their latest power packs, they are failing quite consistently if the  comment sections are anything to go by - but worse than that, they are doing a terrible job of acknowledging or explaining next steps to their customers.... many of us, waiting for a fix or a refund.

I never leave bad reviews in public places if a company will deal with a problem any other way.... things happen, we all get that... but you can't just ignore hundreds of customers with the same problem and not get a few public reviews. Sorry guys.

Source: bought it new

Used it first time it was great no problems. Used 2nd time it did not work. Light cycles and flashes purple. Out of warranty but still.. one use for $250? Please. They offered half off a new one. No thanks. How about backing your product?

Pros

  • Was nice when it worked that one time..ahh the memories!

Cons

  • Junk

As stated above, I only got to use it one time which was great. Unit is defective. Will not turn on even though battery is fully charged. light cycles from red to blue then to purple, then shuts off. Called customer service they said that was an internal failure And since out of warranty, they would offer me half off a new one. How about replacing the defective item that I have for free?I got to use it one time for an exorbitant amount of money. I don’t want two pieces of junk, one full price, one half price. I want them to back their product. Absolutely a terrible way of conducting business.

Background

First and last time

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: A lot

When it works, it works. Lay it on chest, under insulation, nice toasty warmth. When it works. SM not responsive to issues. Battery packs poor.

Pros

  • Can keep you warm, when it works and stays on.

Cons

  • Doesn't work as advertised
  • Company not responsive to issues
  • Kind of a gadget

Bought two—one for wife, one  for me—for Christmas! In the right situation, they can provide warmth. On my chest when I'm napping. On my lap in the car. This thing in a sleeping bag would rock, but...

They don't stay on, shutting off at random. A month of sporadic use, trying to figure out best ways to use them, and one battery has failed. Company not responsive.. I sent two messages through their "Contact Us!' link on their page, nothing. Till I posted a review of their customer service.

Source: bought it new

The battery doesn’t hold a charge and the fabric bleeds staining anything it touches.

Pros

  • None

Cons

  • Everything

It would be a much better investment to buy rechargeable hand warmers than to buy a Hot Pocket. They are a massive waste of mone.

The battery is super heavy and doesn’t hold a charge. The fabric of the backpack portion bleeds staining everything it comes in contact with. The fabric is also fragile and flimsy.

Background

I have used rechargeable hand warmers that are also battery banks, disposable hand warmers, and the Hot Pocket. The chargeable hand warmers are by far superior and much more affordable.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $260

The powerpack discharges. Leaves me high and dry when I'm freelancing with the boss's wife in a place without outlets. How do I get uber without the phone? It's dead, thanks to this dead weight powerpack.

Pros

  • It's not waterproof. Oh but good things here. Sorry.
  • I'd like to put my camp shower in it—you know, filled up with 4 gallons of water then heat it. Any drip at all and this thing is an overpriced nylon bag.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $$$.$$

The Hot Pocket is an oxymoron and I was a moron who bought it on good faith.

Pros

  • None. It supposedly keeps you hot but I was barely lukewarm.
  • Heavy charger that is good for an overnight but nothing more.

Cons

  • Does not live up to advertisement.

Neil Young has a song titled “Piece of Crap.” It could have been written about the Sierra Madre “Not” Pocket. 

Background

Two winter camping trips.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $189

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Specs

small medium large
Price MSRP: $189.00
Reviewers Paid: $189.00-$260.00
Weight 4.5 oz 7 oz 8.5 oz
Volume 8.7 L 16 L 19 L
Coverage 364 cu in 588 cu in 630 cu in
Open Dimensions 14 x 26 in 21 x 28 in 21 x 30 in
Compressed Dimensions 10 x 11 in 13 x 12 in 15 x 11 in
Materials 20D HYDRAshield
Product Details from Sierra Madre »