Cooling Vest: Beat the summer heat on your motorcycle
Ok, I’m lookin like an idiot in front of the mirror to tell you guys and gals about something that will help you beat the summer heat. What you can’t tell by looking at this goofy picture of me is that I just pulled this vest from a sink that was full of cool water. This is an evaporative cooling vest, and if you live in the south like I do it can help you stay comfortably cool on your motorcycle when the summer temperatures begin to rise.
In order to use this vest simply soak it in water for 1 – 2 minutes, towel the vest off, and put it on. I wore it under my summer jacket for a ride in 92 degree temperatures for 3 1/2 hours today and stayed nice and cool. The manufacturers say that your shirt will stay dry but that was not my experience. While my shirt was not drenched, it was a little more than damp when I took the vest off 3 1/2 hours later. The good news is with all that riding, the vest was still damp and doing it’s job in spite of riding with a mesh jacket for the entire time. I stayed cool in stop and go traffic and on the highway.
I plan on taking the vest with me to work this summer and wearing on the scorching ride back home. Texas temperatures hit the triple didgets on a regular basis around here and this motorcycle vest will be my little trick to beat the heat.
Here are some more tips to keep cool on a motorcycle in the summer heat.
Update: I have been wearing this under my riding jacket this week on the way home from work. Temps have been hitting 92 – 93 degrees and humid. This vest is worth it’s weight in gold. I have about a 45 minute commute and I rinse the vest in the sink at work prior to leaving. Since I don’t soak the vest but only get it damp it does not transfer a lot of water to my shirt and it keeps me cool for the entire ride home. It is good for a few hours of riding if the vest is soaked in water but be prepared to have a damp shirt when you take the vest off.
If the summer heat is already getting to you, order one of these vests and keep the summer heat at bay.
If you are interested in purchasing a vest to beat the summer heat, check this one out on Amazon.
Chill-Its 6665 Evaporative Cooling Vest, Gray, X-Large
Here is a review I got from an Amazon user who probably reviews the vest better than I did.
Recently, I took a motorcycle trip from Atlanta, GA to Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the option of riding at night when it was cooler and with my thermometer on the bike showing between 100 and 110, it felt like riding through an oven with a hair dryer set on high blowing in my face. I also didn’t have the luxury of air conditioning so to simulate this so I would pour water on my t-shirt and let the wind cool it down. After getting home, I recalled seeing a demonstration of a cooling vest that you soaked in water for a couple of minutes then wore under a jacket, preferrably mesh. I was amazed at how well it worked in the demo so I went online and ordered one. The particular model I ordered from Amazon is the Deluxe Evaporative Cooling Vest in black. It came about a week after I ordered it via USPS Priority Mail. They offer several styles and colors, including some that have removable sleeves The outer shell is quilted black nylon with 2 outside, zippered pockets and a zipper up the front. The neck has a velcro closure so it can fit snuggly around your neck if you want. The inner liner is blue and is 100% Nylon Taslan, a water repellant fabric, so it keeps you from getting all wet wearing it. Out of the package, it weighs just a few ounces but when you put it in water, the special material, called Polymer Embedded Fabric (PEF), between the inner and outer shells absorbs water and the vest ends up weighing about 2-3 lbs. You only need to soak it for about a minute. There are spandex panels on either side that allow for some for expansion. I got the Large size and it fits great, not too tight, not too loose. Once the water is absorbed, the instructions (on the tag in the vest) say you can wring it out or use a towel to blot the inner liner dry. Not being like a sponge, wringing it doesn’t do a lot of good so I’d suggest blotting if you need to. While the inner liner is water repellant, there might be some water on it right after you soak it so putting it on might get you a little wet but if you don’t soak it too long, the inner liner will be relatively dry. The material that holds the water doesn’t expand like a sponge, it just holds lots of water…it’s pretty interesting stuff. The first thing you’ll notice after a few seconds is that it’s cool to the touch. The principle of it relies on the cooling properties of water as it evaporates and it really works. I haven’t had a chance to ride with it in sweltering heat yet, but putting it on under my mesh jacket and riding without a windshield kept me nice and cool. I don’t think I’d like to try it in anything less than about 65 deg (F) because I’d probably freeze nor would I want to use it under a leather jacket unless there was some way for the jacket to let wind flow through it. The inner liner stays pretty dry but you might get a little damp. The cooling effect will last several hours depending on how long you soak it and if you want to put things in the front pockets, they are lined with the same material as the inner liner so they’ll stay relatively dry. One thing I’ve found though, it’ll take several days to completely dry out unless you ride with it. The water is very slow to evaporate but once it does, the weight goes back down to a few ounces. Bottom line, I HIGHLY recommend getting one of these if you routinely ride in hot weather. They’re an inexpensive way to keep cool and they’re stylish (except for the hi-vis lime green). Wear it under a mesh jacket and you won’t know it’s hot outside.