After he got a chance to test this vest, he sent it over to me. You see, I had a theory that in a place with higher relative humidity, the vest would stay cool longer (more moisture equals more cooling). Well, we’ve got humidity in spades here in west-central Florida…today’s reading was 75% humidity coupled with temps in the low 90s. It was a perfect day to try out the vest!
As soon as the vest came in the mail, I activated it by soaking it in water for about an hour. Then, once the fabric was fairly dry to the touch, it went into the freezer…where it remained for the next four days.
Here it is straight out of the freezer — oooh, frosty:
I tried the vest without a shirt underneath at first, but MAN was that cold! A summerweight cycling jersey was the ticket to initial comfort, and the jersey helped to spread any moisture out over my torso.
Sure enough, my humidity theory seemed to pay off — I got about 50 minutes of active cooling from the vest (about 20 minutes more than Moe’s experiences), and the vest could have passively cooled me for another hour or so due to its dampness once the viscous gel had reverted from a hard-frozen to a mushy state. My bike ride was fairly low-intensity and slow-paced, but faster speeds would have only meant more evaporative cooling — it would not have affected the “frozen time” of the internal gel.
I rather liked the vest — on a day like today, the cooling definitely took the edge off the heat, and I was pretty comfortable for most of my recycling ride. The extra weight (almost three pounds) was unnoticed — I was expecting to be aware of a heavy weight surrounding my torso, but that just wasn’t the case. Plus, I got to rock Moe’s “blue Power Ranger” look:
I wonder how many freeze/thaw or activate/deactivate cycles this vest will withstand? The reason I ask is that some of the internal channels didn’t feel full of gel, despite a vigorous and lengthy soaking to plump up the dry crystals. In those channels, the fullness tended to congregate over spine and sternum, so that turned out to be the best cooling location anyway…
Anyhow, if you live in a hot, sticky climate, this vest might be just the thing for rides of up to 90 minutes or so. It will definitely keep you cooler!