Best Cooling Vests
Cooling vests are a great option for sporting events, the great outdoors, or just staying cool in that summer heat. There are several benefits to wearing one of these cooling vests and the main benefit is to stay cool. Being in the heat poses many risks such as overheating, heatstroke, and more. With one of these products, there is no longer a concern, as long as you wear it and stay hydrated.
Our guide provides you with our top picks of the best cooling vests available, today!
In a Hurry? The test winner after 2.5 hrs of research
Features dual side elastic straps
The cooling packs feature horizontal cells
Can be easily washed in a basin or container
OUR TOP PICKS FOR THE BEST COOLING VESTS
1. GLACIER TEK COOL VEST
Features dual side elastic straps
The cooling packs feature horizontal cells
Can be easily washed in a basin or container
Some options out there will not break your bank but, admittedly, this is top-end when it comes to the price. Of course, this really is worth every penny and is one of the best in the business.Read more
This is actually powered by PureTemp technology and included are eight cooling packs. In around 20 minutes, you can recharge these packs and they will last for up to 2.5 hours in blistering 100-degree heats.
While you can feel the liquid bounce around while the packs begin to thaw, the packs are designed with horizontal cells and these conform to your torso for enhanced comfort.
With both dual side elastic straps and adjustability over-the-shoulder, you can achieve a custom and tailored fit. In general, this garment will fit chest sizes between 29 and 52 inches.
Being made in the USA by an established company, the craftsmanship is superb. Of course, you should avoid washing it in a machine.
Even though it does not appear that there are any integrated pockets, there are adjustable straps everywhere which are a nice bonus.
Though you will have to pay top dollar for this cooling vest, it will be worth it if you really need the relief from the heat. For some of you, cheap quality is just not going to cut it.
2. FLEXIFREEZE ICE
The panels are machine washable
You can opt for a Velcro or zipper closure system
The panels can be swapped out
The Velcro option needs to be closed very tightly
One user did have durability issues
Not all options out there will be suitable for longer uses. However, with the interchangeable panels, this garment is one of the better options out there for those of you who need relief for longer periods.Read more
All in all, there are 96 pure water ice cubes that are used to provide cooling relief. In addition, the panels can be swapped out for new ones that are frozen.
One of the better aspects of this design is the fact that the garment does not restrict your range of motion. Thus, this enhances the overall comfortability.
Special note about the Velcro closure system, it needs to be strapped on very tightly (as noted by one user). This is not an issue with the zipper closure system, though.
Due to the neoprene outer layer, nylon inner layer, and rip-stop materials throughout, this is an overall durable garment. Yet, one user did report that one of the panels ripped within a month.
As alluded to, there are two closure systems that you can choose between (Velcro and zipper). This small nuance is actually really nice.
The sheer efficiency of this model makes it worth the money alone. Plus, you get to choose your desired closure system which is a feature you will not often see.
3. POLAR PRODUCTS
It comes with two sets of ice packs
Is a fully adjustable garment
Designed with an insulated outer composite layer
Seems like it runs small
This one really has it all. Polar Products designed it with smaller cooling packs for full customization, adjustable straps to achieve a custom fit and even all-cotton pockets to protect your skin.Read more
While the cooling packs offer excellent relief after they have been frozen, the outer composite fabric is insulated and directs coolness back to your body for enhanced performance.
In addition to the fact that the pockets have an all-cotton composition to protect your skin, the overall makeup is made up of 100 percent cotton twill.
Do note that one reviewer did mention that this vest was very small on then. However, it can be adjusted at the shoulders, waist, and chest and this allows for a customized and tailored fit.
The aforementioned 100 percent cotton twill is not only comfortable but it is also quite durable, which makes for a superb combination.
It was mentioned earlier but the main feature here is the pockets sport nothing but cotton to protect your skin.
Without question, this is both unique and effective. It utilizes cotton fabric to enhance the overall comfort but also relies on frozen ice packs to deliver the relief you need.
4. COMPCOOLER BACKPACK VEST
Provides excellent cooling
It is designed to last
Comes with a rechargeable battery
The backpack and bladder system can be uncomfortable after a while
From one unique model to another, this is actually a backpack vest. Even though it is steep in price, it offers one of the most unique cooling systems you will ever see with this type of technology.Read more
Due to the four-zone liquid cooling technology, this is able to evenly cool your body. What is interesting to note about this model is it does utilize a freezable quick-release bladder.
Now, the soft stretch mesh fabric that is utilized enhances breathability and comfort. This is admittedly really comfortable. However, the bladder that is in the actual backpack will get uncomfortable after a while.
For the record, this is reversible which makes it unique. Additionally, the sides are adjustable and provide anywhere from 15 to 30 percent stretch expansion.
The price is a bit obnoxious but high-quality craftsmanship is one of the reasons. All in all, durability is probably not going to be a concern here.
Included with your purchase is a rechargeable battery, as this system does require it, and also the left and right water connections allow are interchangeable.
Yeah, this one is different. It really is a good kind of different, however, and the bladder system is pretty ingenious. This means, though, you will need to deal with an actual backpack when you wear this.
5. HYPERKEWL 6530-RB-XL
No crunchy chemicals were used
Works as advertised
Features a full zipper and two pockets
Gets very heavy when it is wet
Though this option can be a bit bulky and heavy, it performs its designed purpose very efficiently. At the end of the day, that is the most important function that you can ask for.Read more
What sets this option apart from the rest is the patented HyperKewl cooling fabric. After you dunk it in cool water for an appropriate amount of time, it can last anywhere from 5 to 10 hours.
Initially, this is very wet due to the fact that it needs to be soaked beforehand. Unfortunately, it takes some time for bulky and heavy feelings to go away.
As one user pointed out, you may want to err on the side of caution here. They mentioned ordering larger than you normally would.
Overall, high-quality materials were utilized in the making of this garment. Also, no slimy residue will result and no crunchy chemicals were used, additionally.
As opposed to various other cooling vests, there are two zippered pockets that have been integrated. Additionally, this sports a full zipper.
It really is hard not to be impressed with HyperKewl and its innovative design. Sure, it can be quite heavy initially but most users will be able to forgive this.
6. THERMAPPAREL UNDERCOOL
Weighs less than two pounds
Can be worn underneath your clothes or directly on your skin
The cooling packs provide tremendous flexibility
Other models offer superior relief
Even though the cooling efficiency of this next model is not perfect, this has been optimized for comfort and that is the main reason it is so high. So many other options lack in this area, so this is a huge bonus.Read more
The cooling is predicated on the back of this garment and while it does a sufficient job providing relief, it probably would have been better if the ice was integrated into the front, as well.
Good luck finding a model that is lighter than the UnderCool (at less than two pounds). In addition to this, the ice packs offer fantastic flexibility and the nylon and spandex blend is very comfortable.
Per the seller themselves, it is advised to order a size smaller than you normally would for a T-shirt. There are adjustable shoulder buckles, also.
The nylon and spandex blend makes for a durable composition and this has been made in the United States.
Overall, this is a very simple design and there really is nothing wrong with that.
Comfort is as big a part of the success of a cooling vest as anything and it is absolutely nailed here. Then again, it also does a sufficient job keeping you cool.
7. ALLEGRO INDUSTRIES
Designed with a hook and loop closure
The temperature can be adjusted
The vest collar unfolds to deliver airflow
The material is a bit thin
You need an air compressor
Let’s just say that this one is different. While most of the other garments on the market utilize cooling packs, this actually requires an air compressor. Due to this, it is best used for commercial purposes.Read more
Truth be told, this works phenomenally. However, as mentioned, it is going to require the use of an air compressor as you literally need to connect one to this vest. But, you can adjust the temperature so that it is nice.
Though it may feel odd to have a hose connected to your garment, it is comfortable overall. This is thanks to the full range of motion that can be achieved with it donned.
The hook and loop closure system helps you achieve a customized fit. For the record, the extra-large size is outfitted to fit workers over 200 pounds.
To reduce the weight, this has been made with thinner material. Subsequently, however, this means that it is prone to wear down quicker and to develop abrasions quicker than thicker models.
Really, the main feature is the integration of the air compression system. And, without question, this is going to be the deal-breaker for your purchase.
If you are looking for casual wear, you may want to look elsewhere here. It is more equipped for commercial use due to the air compression system.
8. TECHKEWL 6626-RB
Features a 100 percent cotton build
Includes a full set of cooling inserts
Performs its job very well
It is quite heavy and bulky
The inserts are not flexible at first
Though you may think you are having déjà vu, this is actually not the same model that was designed by HyperKewl. This bad boy is presented by TechKewl and is also a very impressive model.Read more
Included with your purchase are four-phase change inserts and these need to be chilled beforehand. Depending on the ambient temperature, you can expect anywhere from two to three hours on a single “charge”.
Not only is this a bit heavy when you include all the inserts but the inserts themselves are solid. Due to this, they will not conform to your body as a flexible gel would.
For the record, this can be adjusted to tailor the fit to your liking. Now, one reviewer did mention that they ordered the large version and it was too big on them.
The 100 percent cotton composition creates a durable core. Overall, for the price, the quality is appropriate.
Here is what is really cool about this option. In addition to the cooling inserts, you are also provided with a durable cooler bag. With this and some ice, you can “recharge” the inserts on the go.
While not the most comfortable, it is difficult to argue with the results here, overall. It even comes with a bonus cooler bag and that is a huge plus and incentive.
9. ERGODYNE CHILL-ITS 6665
The mesh side panels add breathability
It is designed with a quilted nylon exterior
Very easy to re-activate the cooling
Many bikers claim this is not effective
The performance is affected with other articles of clothing on
This is one of the more affordable, high-quality options on the market. While it is not as long-lasting as other options, it does a terrific job in short spurts.Read more
An interesting note here, several bikers have noted that this does not work very well for motorcycle riders. However, the polymer-embedded fabric needs to be soaked for around five minutes in cold water and is advertised to last up to four hours (though many users claim this is false).
The shorter length and the mesh side panels enhance the breathability quite a bit. Additionally, the interior water repellent liner can be comfortably worn over other clothing.
Based on the experience of one user, this article of clothing runs large. While this was just one user’s experience, it does give you a point of reference.
The combination of the aforementioned inner water repellent liner and the quilted nylon exterior makes for a pretty durable core.
This is as basic as it gets ladies and gentlemen. It simply needs to be soaked in cold water and it does not sport any extra features (such as pockets).
What a lot of you will love about this model is its simplicity and affordability. Though it is not the best for all situations, it should be suitable for the average person.
10. HYPERKEWL VEST
Features a water repellent nylon liner
Advertised to last 5 to 10 hours
Sports a quilted nylon outer
It adds a lot of weight
Some users have criticized the performance
As opposed to the other HyperKewl model on this list, this version sports a V-Neck collar. This also means it does not sport a full zipper, so keep that in mind.Read more
Because this relies on evaporative cooling, it must be worn over other clothing. Yet, if you live in humid climates, this is not going to be suitable for you as it works best with dry air.
This actually absorbs and holds water (which is why it will not work well in humid areas) so it makes it heavy overall.
The V-neck design is not going to be for everyone and, as one user noted, this does fit loose in some areas.
A combination of nylon and polyester (along with HyperKewl fabric) is utilized in this cooling vest. At the end of the day, you can’t go wrong with those two fabrics.
It is worth pointing out that a half zipper is integrated here. Various other models sport full-length zippers so if this is something you prefer, keep a note of that.
Nothing more than solid is the best way to describe the final selection on this list. At the price point, additionally, you really can’t go wrong.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Do note that not all models and design types will perform the same. You need to pick the most efficient model for your needs.
Consider this the be-all and end-all of cooling vests. The first and most important consideration you need to make is the type of design that you prefer. Why is this so vital? It is simple; there are several different variations of cooling vests and they all work differently. Generally speaking, as well, some are inexpensive and limited while others are high-end and long-lasting. Staring things off is what is known as an evaporative cooling vest. Without question, this is the most basic design out there. There is no fanciness to be found here as this entails the garment being soaked in cold water. From there, you need to wring it out and then you can wear it. However, once it dries, it becomes an ordinary vest.
Taking a step up is cold pack cooling vests. Instead of being activated with cold water, these will feature inserts that provide the chill. With nothing tying you down, this design still allows you to perform your day-to-day activities and tasks. What is also nice about them is you can swap out the inserts when they lose their chill. Another similar design type is known as a phase change cooling vest and this works much in the same nature. Of course, you also have the big boy (a cool flow vest). This will require some sort of external device (such as an air compressor or cooler) to provide relief. While arguably the most effective, this variation is mostly ideal for those who are sitting or standing for long periods of time.
Besides cooling your body, these garments should also be naturally comfortable.
No matter what article of clothing you are in the market for, it needs to be comfortable otherwise why would you wear it? Certainly, there are examples of garments that you may never find comfortable (such as dress shoes or high heels) that you simply have to wear. But, in this case, make it a priority. Of course, you can link the comfort back to the design type. For example, connecting an air compressor for normal use may be uncomfortable and gel packs can become uncomfortable when they begin to liquefy. Yet, there are also some common characteristics that you can look out for.
For starters, it is always ideal if the model you pick does not restrict your range of motion. Along the same line, you may want to look for options that are lighter in weight. Some models on the market can creep past five pounds, which is a bit much for a garment. Oh, and it never hurts to analyze the fabric blend. Certain fabrics, such as cotton, are softer and more comfortable than others, after all.
This really should be your top priority whenever you are in the market for articles of clothing.
Literally, verbatim, you can read the first sentence of the last section and it would apply perfectly here. When looking for any type of garment, fitting and comfort will go together like chocolate and milk. There are some specific instances (such as with footwear or pants) where it is really difficult to find the right fit, though. Thankfully, it is not too tricky when it comes to cooling vests. Yet, with that said, you need to know how a specific model is going to fit. When ordering online, this is naturally more of a challenge. So, this makes it increasingly vital to assess user feedback. See what others have had to say and if a majority of reviewers advise ordering a size up or a size down, you may want to adhere to the advice.
Of course, it is also easier to tailor one to your liking if it is adjustable. And, this is made even easier when it is adjustable in more than one area. Ideally, there will be straps and Velcro implemented in the shoulders, waist, and chest. This way, it will be much, much easier to achieve the desired fit you are looking for.
Always opt for options that are made with higher-quality materials; you will thank yourself later.
Yes, the durability of any given product is always going to be critical. In this case, however, it will not be as prominent as it is for other products. The main reason is due to the average usage rate of a model and what the model endures in its lifetime. Unless you are using it for vigorous activities, the wear and tear will probably be kept to a minimum. Plus, you will probably not use your vest year-round (unless you live in areas that experience intense heat virtually all the time).
With all of that being claimed, you should still buy a model that is crafted with high-quality materials and craftsmanship. Even if used for light use, a cooling vest that is made of cheaper materials will still break down quicker than what you want. So, look for high-quality nylon, cotton, neoprene, polyester, and various other fabrics of that stature. It is also never a bad idea to opt for rip-stop fabrics.
Admittedly, there are not too many extra features to look out for. Still, there are a few.
Really, this type of garment is very simple in its design. Its main feature, which has already been documented, is the type of cooling method it employs. But, this section is devoted to the extra features that sometimes get swept under the radar. And, even though they may not be of the utmost importance, they can still hold some significance. For one, how about integrated pockets? Admittedly, most designers will probably not bother with this. Then again, you do see occasional models come with pockets and if this is something that is important to you, make it a priority.
Also, and this is not so much an extra feature as it is the main one, would you rather have a full-length zipper or half of one? It is really a matter of preference but just be aware that not all models will be designed with the same style. Lastly, some sellers will include accessories with your purchase with the most notable one being a cooler bag. For cold pack models, this can be a handy accessory to have.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
When it comes down to it, your intended use is going to dictate what type of cooling vest you buy. As you will see, there are several different variations and all of them work a little differently. If you suffer from certain conditions such as multiple sclerosis, you may need an option that delivers chilling effects for longer time frames. In this case, you may have no other choice than to aim for the pricier models.
Pop quiz, raise your hand if you enjoy wearing clothes that are uncomfortable? If you do, then you probably prioritize fashion over it. Nevertheless, most of you will want to err on the side of comfortable (if there is such a thing). To do this, you need to assess the design of any given model and keep certain characteristics in mind. The weight and fabric blend immediately come to mind.
Here is the good news; it will probably not be as difficult to find the perfect fit for a cooling vest as it would for a running shoe. Still, however, not all options out there will fit you the same. This makes it very important to conduct a little research of your own. Find out what previous buyers have had to say about the fit. Oh yeah, and it also may be in your best interest to opt for options that sport adjustable straps.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Will they make your clothes wet?
This is probably one of the more frequently asked questions about this product, above all the others. However, it is not fair to answer this question with a yes or no answer because each model is going to be different. In addition, it also depends on how the designer crafts their model. If they integrate an inner layer that wicks away moisture, then it will help to keep you dry. Although, their evaporative cooling models literally need to be submerged in cold water beforehand. While you need to wring them out, they may still get your clothes a little damp (though nothing too drastic).
q: How durable are the cooling packs?
For the record, this is only referring to models that utilize any sort of cooling packs. While the durability of the actual cooling vest was addressed, what about these packs? Can they withstand some moderate abuse? Again, it is impossible to speak for every model but most generally they will be able to withstand some pressure, yes. When you get around sharp objects, however, you should be wary. If they get punctured, they will need to be patched sufficiently.
q: How do you know what size to get?
Everyone’s body is different and this means that nobody is going to be able to pick your size for you. This is not news to you, certainly, but it does bring up the question of what you need to do to ensure you get the correct size. After all, it may not be as easy as simply selecting the current shirt size that you wear. Ideally, look for accompanying size charts. Typically, they will have chest measurements and this is what you should base your purchase on. And, if you need to, take a quick measurement of your chest.
q: What are they used for?
It seems out of place to ask this question nearing the end of this guide. But, that is the way it is and it is something that may have been running through your mind this entire time. The reality is there are probably a hundred different uses for cooling vests. Any time you will be baking in the sun all day is a good reason to wear one, for starters. Heck, even if all you need to do is mow the lawn for an hour or two, they can be useful. And, as mentioned earlier, they are great for people with multiple sclerosis.
q: How do you “charge” gel packs?
No matter which model you buy that utilizes gel packs, they are not going to be difficult to “charge”. All you really need is access to a freezer, refrigerator, cooler or any container that has ice water. From there, you merely place the packs inside and give them adequate time to chill. Times will vary, of course, but remember that the colder the ambient temperature, the quicker they will chill. So, it will take several hours to do so in a refrigerator.
q: Do these offer performance advantages for athletes?
This is something that actually has not been touched on yet. It is a perfect question to close this out, though, as it shows that cooling vests can be fantastic for athletes. It really comes down to sweating and there are even researchers out there who have documented the conservation of fluid when athletes use these garments. In essence, wearing one of these vests can reduce sweating which can, in turn, delay dehydration.
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