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Thread: Phase Changing Cool Vests

  1. #1
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    Phase Changing Cool Vests

    Anyone here have any experience with them? Good? Not? What?

    With temps hanging in the 100 plus areas - I may be doing good spending the $150 or so for one.

    I had a Marsee and it was fine but in our dry climate, it didn't last long and I hated being wet.

    Opinions?
    Steve Aikens
    BMWMOA # 6218
    2007 R1200RT

  2. #2
    Registered User markgoodrich's Avatar
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    I've had one for several years. I haven't used it much, but I think I'll use it more this summer for day rides. It's just not practical for touring, at least not for me. The inserts are bulky, and you really need to carry a cooler...a soft cooler works fine, so it'll fold flat when not in use. My cases are already full when I travel; no room for the vest and inserts and cooler.

    They really don't work very well with mesh; the air movement thaws them too quickly, usually less than an hour. The other day I wore mine with a windproof nylon vest under my mesh jacket, and the inserts lasted about an hour and a half. You start off really cool (cold) and end up sort of cool when it's time to re-freeze the inserts. The best setup is to have two sets of inserts, so you can keep riding. It takes about 20 minutes or so for the inserts to freeze up, in slushy ice water.

    It's easy to talk C-store clerks into letting you fill your cooler with ice and cold water. Then you just have to wait about 20 minutes while things freeze and you down a cold drink.

    I live in a humid climate; these work much better than an evaporative vest. Coming across New Mexico and west Texas last week my evap vest worked fine.

    Are they worth the money? Last Saturday, I'd have paid $150 just for the hour and a half I used it. Are they a hassle? Yes, more so than not using them.

    The vests are especially useful at track days, when it's hot, you're wearing leathers, and you have a long wait between sessions.

    You should be prepared to get ribbed by your less charitable friends... you'll look like a Walmart greeter in the vest.

  3. #3
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    Believe it or not, I tried the standard cooling vest (soak i water and wear it). To me, it felt like a heavy wet towel that quickly warmed up.
    I personally just sprinkle a little water down my chest and back and sleeves (gettig my t-shirt, non cotton) and get the best cooling effect ever for about 45mins.
    And it's free, give it a try.

  4. #4
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Steve - gonna move this to GEAR where it will receive more attention since it isn't Hexhead specific.

    To answer your question - yes, I own one. I tried using it. Under a Roadcrafter it left me feeling just about as hot, but now wet with a sort of clammy feel to it.

    It might work in dry climates - in the humid east, it just makes things more humid.

    EDIT - Missed the "phase change" - got a URL? The Marsee is often referred to as a phase change, as were the things around your neck that you soaked in water.
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
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  5. #5
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    Geez, I thought I had it in Gear. Thanks Don.

    As to a link, there are several I've looked at but this one is pretty good on information. RCPM Cool Vest
    Steve Aikens
    BMWMOA # 6218
    2007 R1200RT

  6. #6
    Cam Killer marchyman's Avatar
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    Uhhh, Steve asked about Phase Change vests and it seems most of the comments pertain to Evaporative Cooling vests. They are different animals. I've one of the latter and it works well here in the not-so-humid west. But it's got to be above 105 before I bother digging it out.

    The phase change vest that I know of requires it to be kept cold. The specs of one vest read that it needs to be kept below 58F for 25 minutes to "freeze" the vest. It will then deliver a constant 58F for 2-3 hours.

    The phase change stuff in my gloves helps keep my hands warm in the winter... it soaks up heat from the heated grips and delivers it to my hands over time. I find that it helps heated grips work better. Don't know how that translates to cooling, though.

  7. #7
    Registered User markgoodrich's Avatar
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    As I said earlier, I have one, and made comments earlier.

    Here's the one I have, they're all essentially the same:

    http://www.texascoolvest.com/

  8. #8
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    Mark, I already get ribbed by less charitable friends for looking like a Walmart greeter.

    Your comments "Are they a hassle? Yes, more so than not using them" and "It's just not practical for touring" has me wondering what you mean.

    I'm not much concerned about what it takes to put them on and off and keep them charged up. We're hovering in the 102-108 heat ranges here in the NM high plains - hitting 104 yesterday. I'm almost 64 and these higher heat ranges are pretty rough for me to deal with these days. I ride an R12RT. I do ride mesh gear locally and on the RT, there's not much gain in cooling between mesh and for example, my Roadcrafter jacket. I'm not much of a short commute hopper, when I get on the bike, it's a couple hundred miles on the short end. Everything is 100 miles or better from Clovis.

    When you say they're not practical for touring, I need you to drill that down some for me. When I tour, I'm always wearing a Roadcrafter. Not much air comes through. What are you telling me that I don't understand?

    Appreciate the info.
    Steve Aikens
    BMWMOA # 6218
    2007 R1200RT

  9. #9
    Curmudgeon in training alzyck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markgoodrich View Post
    I've had one for several years. I haven't used it much, but I think I'll use it more this summer for day rides. It's just not practical for touring, at least not for me. The inserts are bulky, and you really need to carry a cooler...a soft cooler works fine, so it'll fold flat when not in use. My cases are already full when I travel; no room for the vest and inserts and cooler.

    They really don't work very well with mesh; the air movement thaws them too quickly, usually less than an hour. The other day I wore mine with a windproof nylon vest under my mesh jacket, and the inserts lasted about an hour and a half. You start off really cool (cold) and end up sort of cool when it's time to re-freeze the inserts. The best setup is to have two sets of inserts, so you can keep riding. It takes about 20 minutes or so for the inserts to freeze up, in slushy ice water.

    It's easy to talk C-store clerks into letting you fill your cooler with ice and cold water. Then you just have to wait about 20 minutes while things freeze and you down a cold drink.

    I live in a humid climate; these work much better than an evaporative vest. Coming across New Mexico and west Texas last week my evap vest worked fine.

    Are they worth the money? Last Saturday, I'd have paid $150 just for the hour and a half I used it. Are they a hassle? Yes, more so than not using them.

    The vests are especially useful at track days, when it's hot, you're wearing leathers, and you have a long wait between sessions.

    You should be prepared to get ribbed by your less charitable friends... you'll look like a Walmart greeter in the vest.
    +1.

    I have both an evap and phase change vest. The phase change vest takes up quite a lot of space when you're not using it. The "ice" packs (phase change salts) and a collapsible cooler are bulky. The additional size is pain when you're touring. The phase change salt packs are way thicker than the evap vest, so it feels a bit like wearing a life preserver under your gear.

    IIRC, the phase change salts used in the vest, encapsulated in vinyl, are toxic (could be a problem in an accident).

    When it's really humid, you don't get much evap cooling so the phase change vest is nice. When it's dry, I prefer the evap vest.
    BMWMOA #143326

  10. #10
    Registered User MOTOR31's Avatar
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    I have found that the combination of a mesh jacket, like the Joe Rocket I have and a wet vest is good for cooling in the SW. I have used it in Texas and Arizona with good results and it's not a bulky combination. If the humidity is high, like say Houston, forget it, it won't be nearly as good at keeping you cool but still better than not using it.
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  11. #11
    Registered User markgoodrich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveAikens View Post
    Mark, I already get ribbed by less charitable friends for looking like a Walmart greeter.

    Your comments "Are they a hassle? Yes, more so than not using them" and "It's just not practical for touring" has me wondering what you mean.

    I'm not much concerned about what it takes to put them on and off and keep them charged up. We're hovering in the 102-108 heat ranges here in the NM high plains - hitting 104 yesterday. I'm almost 64 and these higher heat ranges are pretty rough for me to deal with these days. I ride an R12RT. I do ride mesh gear locally and on the RT, there's not much gain in cooling between mesh and for example, my Roadcrafter jacket. I'm not much of a short commute hopper, when I get on the bike, it's a couple hundred miles on the short end. Everything is 100 miles or better from Clovis.

    When you say they're not practical for touring, I need you to drill that down some for me. When I tour, I'm always wearing a Roadcrafter. Not much air comes through. What are you telling me that I don't understand?

    Appreciate the info.
    Steve, it's just the bulk that makes them impractical for me for touring. Even when I'm alone I have full cases, never mind when my wife is with me. Well, it's not "just" the bulk; stops to recharge and/or switch out spare inserts are more frequent than my typical gas/drink/pee stops. Despite the claims by all the makers, I can't go more than about an hour and a half without wanting to freeze them up again. At 61, my bladder can still go a little longer.

    The other thing I do for the heat is hydrate...a lot. I use the bicyclist's rule of thumb, about 24 oz per hour. I just drink water, not sports drinks, from the Camelbak. I have a 45 oz bladder (Camelbak, have never measured my own bladder's capacity) which fits nicely in any tank bag, and is easily refilled at a soda machine's water button in a C-store...i.e. about every two hours, which is about how often I usually stop.

    Send me a PM if you have more questions...it sounds like the phase change vest might be a good solution for you.

    Mark

  12. #12
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    Folks, I've had the Marsee evap cool vest and have a LOT of riding years/miles in all kinds of weather conditions. I know how evap works - and where it doesn't. That isn't what I'm asking. I know you're all just trying to help but anything other than Phase Changing Cool Vests information won't answer what I need to know.

    Thanks for your consideration though.

    I'm specifically asking about the Phase Changing Cool Vests.

    Mark, Tied up now but will PM you later. Thanks.
    Steve Aikens
    BMWMOA # 6218
    2007 R1200RT

  13. #13
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    Not to be a smartass, but evaporation is a phase change too.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by SPOKESMAN View Post
    Not to be a smartass, .
    You didn't reach your goal.
    Steve Aikens
    BMWMOA # 6218
    2007 R1200RT

  15. #15
    Curmudgeon in training alzyck's Avatar
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    As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have a phase change vest (same one markgoodrich has). With what I know from having one, if I had a Roadcrafter but no PC vest, before I spent $150 on a phase change vest, I'd try a bit different approach first.

    Just some context so this makes sense. Your body cools by transferring heat from your capillaries to the surface of your skin. Ice is a good cooler and the phase change that occurs when ice melts absorbs a lot of heat. The problem is ice directly against your skin is so cold it can cause your capillaries to constrict, reduce the heat transfer and the cooling to your core (even though your skin is cool). The phase change salts change phase (melt) at 58F. That keeps your skin cool without constricting your capillaries.

    If I had a Roadcrafter, before I bought the phase change vest, I'd try putting ice into some ziploc bags and put them in the Roadcrafter chest pockets. I'm thinking there should be enough insulation between Roadcrafter chest pockets and your chest that you wouldn't have the "too cold" capillary constriction problem. The ice is usually free from the gas station soda machine (and you'd need it anyway to recharge the vest). You don't have to wait for the phase change salts to recharge, just put ice in the ziplocs. No bulky packing issues.

    Just a thought.

    Quick Edit: The reason I suggested putting them in ziploc's is you mentioned you didn't like getting wet. If you just put the ice in the chest pockets (no ziploc's), you get the advantage of cooling from two phase changes, melting ice to water and evaporating water to vapor.
    Last edited by alzyck; 06-22-2010 at 06:00 PM.
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