Cooling vests appeared on the mass market a few years ago and quickly targeted its audience. Nowadays such devices are in demand with the builders, road workers, athletes and drivers. Moreover, special products have been launched exclusively for dogs.
The most available and proven vests work similarly to cooling bandanas and towels: you are supposed to soak the vest in water and let special polymers take action. Once they come in contact with water, the cooling effect begins. Once your vest is dry, re-soak it and it will be ready to work again.
There are over 5000 such devices available on Amazon.com: some of them are truly effective while others are no better than regular cloth soaked in water and will only stick to you without providing the desired coolness. We’ve picked top 9 items in two categories.
- Best cooling vests with 4 vests for athletes, workers, cyclists and bikers.
- Best cooling vests for dogs where you’ll find 5 vests for cooling your pet.
At the end of the review we’ll look into the future of cooling fabric and the research on cooling vests, but now it’s time to head to our list of top 5 vests!
The unbearable heat presents particular danger for those who spend much time working outdoors. A cooling bandana or a towel won’t solve the problem while a vest is a good option. We’ve picked 4 most popular items: the first two are classic vests with zippers; the third one is a biking and cycling vest. An Ice Vest, which obviously uses ice packets, is of special note.
Among classic cooling vests on Amazon.com three vests can be distinguished. The first one is Ergodyne Chill-Its 6665 Evaporative Cooling Vest, which has 248 customer reviews. The external layer is made of dense quilted nylon rather than fiber. This is a good option for workers as it has no fancy perks, but wide functionality instead (the zipper allows for quick and easy taking off of the vest and high-quality external layer which is moisture- and dirt-resistant). The fabric will give off coolness for 3-4 hours after being soaked, after that you’ll have to take a break and re-soak the vest.
Is this an exclusively blue-collar accessory? Not at all, you can wear it anywhere, be it your backyard or office. Who said that style is more important than comfort? As for the drawbacks, there are few sizes available; they only range from medium to 3x large. Two colors are available, reserved gray and bright lime. We can hardly call this vest stylish, it is its practicality that is critical and so the lack of fashionable design becomes less important.
If you’re looking for XS or S sizes and haven’t been able to find such of a previous vest, turn your attention to the TechNiche International Adult HyperKewl Cooling Sport Vest. This vest has the same attributes and is made of identical materials, but the range of sizes and colors available is substantially wider. The new colors are royal blue, gold, black and silver. And who said that these vests are for men only? Even petite ladies or kids can wear them as there are sizes available from XS to XXXL.
Ergodyne Price (the most popular one): ~$32.43 Check the current price
TechNiche Price (has a wider range of colors and sizes): from ~$11.87 Check the current price
Cooling vest for Cyclists and Bikers
If you’re looking for a cooling vest without a zipper, opt for the TechNiche International HyperKewl Cooling Ultra Sports Vest. Lots of cyclists and bikers are fond of this vest. As it lacks a zipper, it is adjacent to your chest tightly and will be able to easily wear a biker leather jacket over this vest, the cooling properties of which won’t let you be overheated.
Price: from ~$15.27 Check the current price
The Most Expensive Ice Vest
If you don’t believe a cooling jacket will save you, try wearing an Ice Vest. It is more costly, but it will cool you with ice packets which give a sensation not to be confused with anything. The vest has a special internal lining filled with 96 ice packets. The vest is one-size-fits-all and can be adjusted with special laces. The obvious drawback is that you’ll have to regularly freeze the packets, although you can buy these supplies both in mesh cases (~$24.99) and as ice sheet packs (. The zipper is widely criticized by the users as many don’t consider it to be firm enough. The fabric of which the vest is made can be accidentally ripped, so this product is not suitable for doing any work where it can be damaged. Some customers claim that the idea is great, but the execution leaves much to be desired. Indeed, there are few similar devices, so don’t expect a stable level of quality just yet. Still, who knows what’s going to happen next?
Price: ~$99.99 Check the current price
To make your choice easier, refer to the comparative chart below, as usual.
Cooling Vests Comparison Chart
|Photo||Vest||Cooling Period||Sizes Available||Price|
|Ergodyne Chill-Its 6665 Evaporative Cooling Vest - Lime, Medium||2-5 hours||From medium to 3XL|
|TechNiche International Adult HyperKewl Cooling Sport Vest||up to 5 hours||From XS to 3XL|
|TechNiche International HyperKewl Cooling Ultra Sports Vest||up to 5 hours||From S to 3XL|
|FlexiFreeze Ice Vest||up to 3 hours||From XS to 6X|
5 Dog Cooling Vests
There also exist special cooling devices for dogs. Everyone is familiar with special winter wear for pets, aren’t they? The vests are tailored for virtually the same patterns and they work in the completely identical manner: you should soak it, put it on, save your dog from overheating and repeat after a few hours. It will come in handy not only when taking your dog for a walk in hot weather, but also when you, say, participate in a dog show competition. Use the vest to cool a tired dog after a tense race.
Comfort and movement freedom for an active pet are most essential when it comes to a cooling vest. Ideally, such a vest should be made in a way that doesn’t cause any discomfort whatsoever. You will be able to take off most of them in a couple of movements as zippers have been replaced with Velcro. Be prepared though that a dog vest will wear and tear faster than a human one. Dogs can be hyper-active and can easily damage the fabric while playing.
Most issues arise if you choose to wear vests covering the entire back as many complain of the fastening being insufficient and of the vest always sliding to the side, especially if a dog is very active. Vests with poor chest fastening usually pose such problems. In that case opt for a product with 2-3 fasteners both on the chest and on the back. Also, make sure you choose the right size, if you pick a smaller one, a dog will feel too tight, if you buy a larger vest, it will merely slide off the back. Certain customers complain that they were forced to alter the vests for their dogs, that it why you’d better go ahead and measure your pet before the purchase and compare the measurements to the dimensions offered by the manufacturer. Another popular complaint is that sometimes the wet vest becomes too heavy for some dogs and they feel even more uncomfortable in the heat because of the additional load.
We’ve picked several items of different shapes: covering the entire back, similar but smaller ones and the most compact bibs. They are available in different sizes so you won’t it very difficult to buy something for both miniscule and large breeds.
The largest item covering the entire back, HyperKewl Evaporative Cooling Dog Coat, is suitable for furry breeds. It provides for maximum cooling and minimum suffering in heat for your dear dog. Thanks to its special design, the vest will cool you for at least 5-7 hours. It is available in XS-XXL, so even the puppies can be protected.
This huge vest has a cheaper analogue, Dog Cooling Vest, Swamp Cooler Jacket for Dogs. It is equipped with convenient fasteners. It retains moisture for a much shorter period of time, though: for up to 2 hours.
Price (the entire back vest): from~$38 Check the current price
Price (a cut-rate analogue): from~$10.99 Check the current price
Also, a multi-layered Ruffwear vest is available for those who don’t save on their pets. Its idea is in being multi-layered, i.e. the top layer facilitates moisture evaporation, the second retains the said moisture and the third one gives off the invigorating coolness to your dog. It is noteworthy that all sizes, ranging from XXS to XL are available for the same price. The only color is light Graphite Gray and the manufacturer promises that it will reflect sunlight. Yes, this is the most expensive vest in or review, but it has a decent rating of 4.3 stars out of 5.
Price: ~$59.95 Check the current price
If you don’t need a large vest, a bib will be handy.
Two of such available on Amazon.com are remarkable. The first ones is Hurtta Cooling Dog Vest which is thicker and has a Velcro. Its main benefit is that it is available in any size.
The second one, Guardian Gear Cool Pup, cannot really boast of diversity. You can invest in it if your dog’s chest is about 12-27”.
Price (multi-size): from ~$8.43 Check the current price
Price (12-17" chest): ~$19.99 Check the current price
Dog Cooling Vests Comparison Chart
|Photo||Item||Cooling Time||Sizes Available||Price|
|HyperKewl Evaporative Cooling Dog Coat||Up to 7 hours||From XS to XXL|
|Dog Cooling Vest, Swamp Cooler Jacket for Dogs||Up to 2 hours||From S to XXL|
|Ruffwear - Swamp Cooler||7-10 hours||From XXS to XL|
|Hurtta Cooling Dog Vest||Up to 5 hours||From XXS to XXL|
|Guardian Gear Cool Pup||Up to 2 hours||12-17"|
The Future of Cooling Fabric and the Scientific Experiments
Are such cooling gadgets limited to using polymers only? Several major universities as well as industrial companies from different countries are engaged in the development of the materials with the built-in “climate-control”. JacobsSchool website, for instance, provides the information on a $2 million grant for designing “smart fabric” able to independently maintain comfortable body temperature. The idea is the following: depending on the air temperature the fabric will either thicken or become thinner. So far there exists a general concept only, and not even the most primitive prototypes have yet been devised.
Finland takes up similar developments. According to the Daily Mail, the Finns promise to introduce “smart fabric” that can change its temperature with a simple button push. Plastic channels filled with liquid able to alter the fabric’s physical characteristics on receipt of certain electric impulses will be built in there. Ideally, “Finnish shirts” should be controlled by smart phones and tablets. However, so far this is only a grant project rather than a completed study.
You might believe that smart fabric is a too complicated concept. It must be easier to devise a special kind of synthetic material that "breathes" or slightly cools your body at least. Such experiments have also been conducted. Moreover, certain athletes’ and workers’ apparel labels mention such magical materials. Unfortunately, Sara J Abdallah, Robin Krug, and Dennis Jensen, the authors of the study on these materials’ thermoregulation properties name them fictional. They have conducted an experiment with 20 athletes who first had to train while wearing regular clothes (a t-shirt and shorts) and then put on some expensive cooling synthetic uniform. After performing the same stamina exercises it became obvious that the pulse, fluid exchange, skin and esophagus temperature were all the same. A similar indoor experiment didn’t change the researchers’ conclusion.
Nowadays no fabric that can really control human body thermoregulation exists, that is why we shall avoid the heat this summer with the good old proven reviewed gadgets: сooling towels and cooling bandanas.
Cooling Vests: Their Effectiveness and Disadvantages
All of the existing Cooling Vests can be classified in a few categories:
- The simplest vests are soaked in water and make up the majority of the market
The Ice vests packed with ice cubes (sometimes it’s not water ice but ice made of certain “secret liquid”) are more rare
The vests with water circulating inside the special tubes (as a rule they are equipped with primitive electric or mechanical framework)
The vests with dry cooling elements
Pro vests with gas fillers (due to tremendously high prices they are available for large entities rather than individuals)
Instead of engaging in detailed analysis of the effectiveness of each vest type, let’s turn to a complex study. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research wondered to does active cold in chest, stomach and underarm area influence thermoregulation. The authors of the projects suggested that the athletes should work out for 5 minutes while wearing the vest and not. After that they’ve taken their blood and urine tests, a cardiogram and measured their body temperature.
The results seem astonishing. Despite the fact that the vests contained ice, all the tests were the same. Heart rate, body temperature, fluid exchange – none of that changed! The only difference was in the skin temperature, which is quite a questionable characteristic of human health. Still, the athletes honestly admitted that they were able to feel certain coolness while wearing the vests, and had improved morale.
The researchers, on the other hand, found nothing positive about this statement. According to the authors of the study, skin coolness is deceptive for an athlete or a worker. A person wouldn’t cut the load when they feel a pleasant chill and will likely end up in trouble as the skin won’t signal fatigue.
It turns out that the cooling vests are not always useful. In the extended paper «Evaluation of Four Portable Cooling Vests for Workers Wearing Gas Extraction Coveralls in Hot Environments» you will be able to find positive reviews of the cooling vests based on gas or water. But they are highly specialized gadgets for metallurgy and chemical industry workers or they are used as a part of the military equipment. Special Forces wear them while on the mission in the desert and professional steelworkers have access to them as well. So far none of us can afford these vests. They also don’t look attractive enough for a regular user: they weigh about 15 kilos and resemble robust fur coats or the nuclear accident liquidators’ attire. Who knows, maybe one day these state-of-the-art technologies will be available to common people and the vests will become smaller?
Should you refrain from using cooling gadgets? Not at all, just use them wisely. Yes, a vest will give you a feeling of coolness, but it will not completely rid you of the heat. Always monitor the time spent in the scorching sun while wearing such a vest and you will certainly not harm your health!