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Thread: Phase Changing Cool Vests

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  1. #1
    Proud Veteran SteveAikens's Avatar
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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?
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  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.
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  5. #5
    Proud Veteran SteveAikens's Avatar
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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
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  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
    Curmudgeon in training
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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.

  9. #9
    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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  10. #10
    Proud Veteran SteveAikens's Avatar
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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.
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  11. #11
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    Not to be a smartass, but evaporation is a phase change too.

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