One Cool Vest: Arctic Heat Cooling vest

A couple of weeks ago I complained about being the weather being too hot. A hot day can discourage some people to leave the bike at home and drive. I confess that I am one of those people. Riding 14 miles in a hot day is no fun, so I went out in a search for a solution. Enter the Arctic Heat Cooling Vest:

The Arctic Heat Cooling Vest is a revolutionary product designed to counter the harmful effects of heat stress. It is fast becoming an essential piece of sporting equipment for athletes seriously seeking a competitive edge.

For industry, the vests are an effective and convenient method of protecting employee’s health as well as improving productivity.

People that suffer from heat stress through medical conditions e.g MS and eczema gain great relief by using the Arctic Heat Cooling Vest.

The Arctic Heat Cooling Vest contains a special non-toxic completely biodegradable viscose gel that absorbs the water it is soaked in. The materials used in the vest are designed to lower skin temperature, which in turn stabilises the core body temperature. By controlling and stabilizing the core body temperature a person can perform at his or her optimum level for much longer, sustained periods.

It also reduces sweating and assists the natural cooling system of the body.

My vest came in yesterday, so I will be riding with it on the way home. I will post my first impression of the vest tomorrow morning.


17 Comments

  1. Black Pearl July 2, 2008 1:01 pm 

    You got to be kidding, Here in Texas where I commute 20 miles one way when it is 95 at 6:00AM when I start, I just wear a Wool Jersey the wool does the same thing but looks much better.

  2. Jon Karak July 2, 2008 2:43 pm 

    1) So do you pre-soak the vest, or just sweat into it?

    2) Is there any difference between, “viscose” and “viscous,” or is that just an exercise in fancy marketing?

    I suspect the vest is composed of sweat-wicking fabric infused with sodium polyacrylate, the same stuff used in disposable nappies, but I’ll withhold judgment until your report.

    http://home.howstuffworks.com/question207.htm

  3. Moe July 2, 2008 2:51 pm 

    Jon, I can answer question number one right now: You soak the vest for 15 minutes to activate the crystals, then you let it dry and can either place it on the fridge or on the freezer. I will be placing the vest on the freezer for a couple of hours to see how it would do on my hour plus commute.

  4. Ghost Rider July 2, 2008 3:07 pm 

    Jon,

    “Viscose” normally refers to a type of nylon/rayon fabric. I suspect the ad blurb above has a typo, as “viscous” and “viscose” have entirely different meanings!!!

  5. Ghost Rider July 2, 2008 3:13 pm 

    I really like the idea…is the vest supposed to be worn under a jersey or by itself?

    It kinda looks like the NASCAR “cool suits”, but of course those plug into the car somehow. Perhaps a dynohub-powered “A/C suit” will be the next must-have commuter accessory?

  6. Moe July 2, 2008 3:27 pm 

    I’m gonna wear it over my jersey just in case I need to remove it for some reason. But if you are buff like RL, you can wear it by itself.

  7. Ghost Rider July 2, 2008 4:00 pm 

    I’ve got to admit…it looks a lot like a sleeveless straitjacket. You might be mistaken for an “escapee”!!!

  8. Moe July 2, 2008 4:07 pm 

    I actually received the blue one, but then again, I am nucking futs…

  9. Palm Beach Bike Tours July 3, 2008 2:17 pm 

    One of my cycling buddies is a motorcycle cop in Palm Beach County. He wears a bullet-resistant vest every day. Even when standing in the middle of the street directing traffic in 90+ degree heat under the burning sun and above boiling asphalt, he wears the vest.

    How to make wearing that vest suck less is a common topic of conversation amongst his department and others. Every product available — no matter how nutty — has been tested. Some are somewhat helpful. Some just make matters worse. Some work well but use half a dozen nine-volt batteries every ten-hour shift and a fluid reservoir that looks like a colostomy bag.

    He swears by ‘Under Armour’, the same fabric that athletes wear. Worn between the skin and the vest, Under Armour wicks away moisture and dries quickly once you get out of the sun.

    I bought an Armour t-shirt to wear under my dress shirt when I have to wear a jacket and tie. (South Florida is hot: I can break a sweat between my office and car on the way to a client meeting.) It takes a bit of getting used to wearing such a tight shirt but I’m convinced that the fabric makes my skin cooler. Cooler skin means less sweat.

    The design problem I see with the Arctic Heat Cooling vest is that it can’t be worn under a normal shirt — look at those ribs down the front. Once you get to where you are going, you have to take it off and wring it out.

    I’m not ready to go out and replace my regular $4 undershirts with $25 Armour shirts for day to day wear but I’d consider it if I were a full-time bike commuter.

    (There are probably other brands that work just as well as Under Armour. I just don’t know of any other names.)

    I’d be curious to know if the Arctic vest works and how it integrates into your daily routine.

    –Matt

  10. Moe July 3, 2008 4:25 pm 

    Quick update: Yesterday, I placed the vest for 1.5 hours in the freezer hoping that it would last for my entire commute. The temperature outside was in the low 90’s and the vest lost its coolness half-way into my ride. I will freeze the vest today for 4 hours, hopefully it will last the entire way.

  11. Mike August 1, 2008 5:12 pm 

    Hi. I’m considering a vest and interested to hear how it’s working out for you? One event that I want too use it for probably won’t be in a location that’ll allow me access to a fridge/freezer. Can you activate the vest just by soaking it in cold water?

  12. Moe August 1, 2008 9:26 pm 

    Mike, I’ve tested the vest on temps. over 90 degrees and I have frozen the vest for over 4 hours. I can tell you that the vest performs wells for a period of a half hour, after that, its performance really fades. The vest will certainly be activated if you soak it in cold water, but its performance will vary depending on the outside and your body temperatures.

  13. shelley August 25, 2008 11:23 pm 

    Hey Moe!
    Any more updates? Some commentaries made fun of the idea – but there are legit usages. I have been an avid cyclist for 25 years – I have MS (diagnosed ten years ago ) and even riding in 80 degree heat can leave me feeling extremely wasted. I can’t move to the north pole to ride and thus interest in the vest.
    Any further updates on its efficacy would be appreciated.

  14. Ghost Rider August 26, 2008 3:18 am 

    Shelley…stay tuned for some Florida coverage of the vest in action.

  15. Shelley August 26, 2008 3:10 pm 

    Thanks Ghost,
    One of the companies responded to me – apparently if you wear it 30 minutes prior to taking off, it will cool you down and extend the benefits – that makes some sense to me. They also indicated the max cooling time would be about 90 minutes. In line with what Joe said.

    I became aware about the vest after seeing the american women marathoner who wore the vest PRIOR to running – again to lower her temp.
    So, maybe even with limited cooling time – for someone like me, it could mean the diff between riding and not. Although I guess the days of riding centuries are past.

  16. Janet May 27, 2009 7:59 am 

    I’m interested in purchasing a used one (for hiking purposes). Don’t want to spend the full amount in case it really doesn’t give me what I need. So if anyone has a used one they are wanting to part with, let me know. Thanks! 1bonnie0@gmail.com

  17. Chad June 28, 2011 3:35 pm 

    Hello, I’ve been looking into “cool vests” as a means of making the 9 mile ride home from work in Arizona tolerable. Right now the temperature is around 112-114 degrees. I work outside most of the time using cool vests and cool hats to survive through the summer. I will tell you they do work; however, evaporation is the key. Arizona is very dry and generally below 10% humidity aside from the monsoon season. Once the monsoons are here and the humidity rises above 30% evaporative products are not very helpful. If you think about the way rubbing alcohol feels on your skin as it evaporates, that’s what the vests will do in low humidity. Those of you living in areas of humidity over the 30% in my opinion will see much reduced benefit from these products. If there is too much moisture in the air the water in the vest just sits there. However, if you’re pedalling the breeze will help! Hopefully, I’ve added some useful thoughts to this thread. Now, I’m off to find a cool vest!

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