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Advice Please - cooling vests


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Does anyone have any words of wisdom regarding cooling vests?


I had convinced myself that I wanted a Joe Rocket Sahara Vest to help me through the upcoming Florida Summer. Mostly because it would zip into my Phoenix jacket. Unfortunately Joe Rocket has discontinued the Sahara.

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A cooling vest will not offer you much relief in Florida. The 'cooling' effect is from evaporation. This is great if you are in Arizona, but almost worthless in high humidity. I live in the Houston area. My cooling vest does not come out until I'm at least 200 miles from the coast.

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but almost worthless in high humidity.


Yup The vest work great out here in the desert. Yes, California is a desert.

You south coast guys with the super high humidity have great looking skin but wont receive any benefit from a cooling vest! lmao.gif

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Evaporative cooling (as has been said) tends to work best in a low humidity environment. However, I've seen reports that they are "better than nothing" in the southeast.


You should probably remember that evaporative cooling isn't your only option (it just tends to be the easiest). I got one of these off ebay for pretty cheap last year because the manufacturer was clearing some out. It's a bit bulky to carry around the cooler unit in my topcase, but it's GREAT and can be powered off the bike. I doubt I'd pay full price for it though. I read a few things (on advrider) where some NASA engineer talked about how water was the best heat absorbing material of all the ones that he'd seen used, so that helped convince me to go that route. (But I have no idea where that post is now).


You can also use a phase change vest. One like this isn't bad as you can pop the inserts into ice water (while at a rest stop or something) for 45 minutes or get a 2nd set to be "charging" while you're riding. Regardless, it's an option.

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Bought one and used it a couple of times.....Went back to wetting a t-shirt every hour or so....Don't even take it off just pour more H2O on it.....Vest felt muggy to me...Held water for a long time and did cool in California desert conditions....



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My name is Terry and I have a cooling problem....I too live in Houston and find the cooling vest useless for short rides. However, when I go for a several hour ride in the heat of summer I do use it. When in upper 90's it does make enough of a difference to make it worthwhile. They are comparitively cheap so give one a try. grin.gif

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My brother and I rode across the US on the last week of May last year bound for our home in Sidney BC. He was on his 1200C and me on my '85 K100RS. When we hit Nashville the temperature was over 100 and I in particular was suffering the heat on the Flying Brick. We met a wise east-bound customer loitering in the Bloodworth BMW shop who had just passed through the hot zone and he swore by the Silver Eagle cooling vest. I phoned the company and ordered two right away, which they promised to Fedex to our next stop, the BMWOA headquarters in St Louis.


Sure enough, the next afternoon we were in St Louis and the vests were there, but after a great visit with the BMWOA staff we took off, forgetting the vests in the club offices. Topeka was the next stop, where another long distance call got the vests on their way again to our planned lodgings in Colorado Springs.


By the time we hit Colorado I was craving relief from the heat, but I had no idea how bad it was going to get. The vests thankfully made it to the motel. When we got over the mountains through Gunnison, down the other side through Zion Natl Park and on the road to Las Vegas the thermometer on my dash was pegged hard over on 130 degrees, and my engine hovered just below the redline for most of the day.


The vests were heaven-sent. Every hour we'd stop for a cool-down and a thorough soaking of the vests, which were just about dried out after that length of run. They worked beautifully and allowed me to continue to wear my Joe Rocket Ballistic jacket all day, where I might have been tempted to go without protection instead.


There is a trick to the vests though, and it's all about timing and squeezing. You have to appreciate that everything below your vests gets soaked if you don't squeeze out enough water, particularly your crotch and belt line, so if you wear them into the evening you'll soon be more concerned about being wet and chilled instead of warm and damp.


In my mind, they were well worth the wait and the extra cost of shipping. Definitely, don't go south without them.


For additional info: http://www.webbikeworld.com/r2/silver-eagle/cooling-vest.htm

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Ok, so... My wife just got me a similar vest... If they are essentially useless when used under a regular jacket to control the evaporation here in the high humidity, would they work better under mesh here in a stickier climate?

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You won't see much of improvement in the performance of an evaporative vest under a mesh jacket in a "sticky" climate. They are really dry climate tools for the same reasons that you don't see evaporative coolers on homes outside of low humidty climates. Water literally consumes BTU's to change state from a liquid to a gas. In high humidity climates you just can't evaporate water quickly enough to realize much cooling. I love my vest in Colorado but it just feels like a warm, damp rag in humid climates.

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Thanks, that was pretty much my concern, but, it was a very thoughtful gift and I hate to return it. Now if I can just make this turn into a GPS.... wink.gif

Thnaks for the advice!

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I swear by the cooling vest in very warm weather. Worn under my Kilimanjaro air jacket it's like personal air conditioning and makes a big difference in comfort.


But........in the humidity when the vest stays wet and your shirt gets damp and you ride around like that all day you can wind up with a nasty skin irritation. blush.gif

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I bought a " Phase Change " cooling vest. It works GREAT. thumbsup.gif


It has inserts, that you can cool in the freezer. If on the road, you drop the inserts into a bag (small trash can liner) with some ice cubes. (If it's that hot, by a bag of cubes for $2 at the Stop and Rob). It recharges in about 20 minutes, (the length of time for a soda, leg stretch) and lasts about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. (YMMV)


You might ask how that works? It "Cools" at about 59*. It wont even freeze your skin like blue ice and other things will. They are used by miners, metal workers, public safety, bomb squad guys, etc.


Best part is... when you put the inserts itno the cordura vest, the whole thing is DRY.


Here's my summer routine:


- Drive to work with vest in side bag.

- At work, throw inserts in freezer.

- When leaving for day, put inserts in vest and put jacket on over it. Ride home in 100* temps, for 60 minutes, comfortably.

- When I get home, throw vest back in side bag.

- Repeat.


In my opinion, it's less hassel than wearing something that's "Wet".


Do a "google" on "Phase Change cooling vest". I can't tell you my brand... it's home today.

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Thanx for the input.


I'm going to give one a try because I won't always be riding in Florida. I will definately be in Utah this fall.


I'll let you know if it works!

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and on the road to Las Vegas the thermometer on my dash was pegged hard over on 130 degrees, and my engine hovered just below the redline for most of the day.
This brings back memories of our Grand Canyon Tour in June 2001. It was extremely hot and coming back into Vegas it was 120F !! I had on a BMW Summer Coverall and everytime we stopped for gas I went to the softdrink area and I filled the chest pockets, arm zip sections and side pockets with ice cubes. I also wrapped ice cubes in my neck bandana. It was kind of strange feeling the water trickle down in strange places BUT it kept me comfortable.


BTW...I was on an rented 1150RT and it ran just under redline temp for 7 days in fiery heat, all day riding, with no problems. thumbsup.gif

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