Evaporative cooling vests have long been used by motorcyclists, horseback riders, and people who have to work in the heat. They are usually activated by dipping them in water, ringing them out, and putting them on—which is something most of us have done with t-shirts. But a t-shirt dries out quickly and leaves you feeling wet.
A conventional, dip it in water, evaporative vest might provide several hours of cooling and depending on what it’s made from can leave you feeling clammy. Ergodyne makes that style of vest but has recently introduced a more high-tech solution, an evaporative vest (Chill-Its 6685) that the water goes into.
Open the cap on back, pour in 13-20 ounces of water, and the vest will provide up to three days of cooling (video below). The vest has a water-wicking “reservoir” sandwiched between an inner and outer shell and is said to leave the wearer feeling cool and dry, as water evaporates through the permeable outer membrane. If the vest gets dirty it can be cleaned in a washing machine (with the filler cap closed).
Chill-It 6685 Dry Evaporative Vest
Features: hi-vis panels front and back, mesh sides for increased ventilation, V-neck, sturdy YKK zipper
Holds: 13 to 20 ounces of water (depending on size)
Duration: up to three days of cooling
Country of origin: Taiwan
Price: $166 (MSRP)
Available: March 2015