Best Cooling Vest
A cooling vest is something you can wear to breathe easy even when the sun is blazing and your body temperature would normally skyrocket.
There are different types of cooling vest, but the main reason you’d want to wear one is to prevent overheating.
It’s worth thinking about what vest would best suit your lifestyle, since some will be more heavy-duty, while others are more appropriate for physical activity like sports.
👑 Our Pick for Best Overall
⭐ Our Other Top Cooling Vest Picks
- Best of the Best: FlexiFreeze Ice Vest
- Runner Up: TechKewl Phase Change Vest
- Best Sports Vest: Glacier Tek Sports Cool Vest
Best Cooling Vest Reviews
FlexiFreeze Ice Vest (👑 Best of the Best)
We believe the best cooling vest is the FlexiFreeze Ice Vest, which comes in several options and provides unrivalled cooling.
This cooling vest from FlexiFreeze comes in 2 varieties, one with velcro closure, and the other with zipper closure. They are both the same price, so choosing between them is purely a case of personal preference. Our top pick is a phase change cooling vest, which means it relies on the use of special cooling packs which solidify once frozen and create a cooling effect which should last up to 4 hours at a time. Specifically this cooling vest from FlexiFreeze features as many as 96 pure water ice cubes, which effectively lower the body’s core temperature, and make the vest ideal for both indoor and outdoor use. While this is a deviation from the standard cooling gel packs, the use of ice provides more cooling power according to the manufacturer while also reducing the overall price of purchase.
As you may have guessed from the brand name, this vest places emphasis on flexibility and range of motion. While wearing the cooling vest, you should have full range of motion, which allows you to do just about everything you normally would. That makes it perfect for use in a variety of ways, from working outdoors in the heat to other forms of physical activity like working out. It’s also adjustable in 4 different places, which can create the perfect body-hugging fit, so there’s no chance of overheating while wearing it.
It’s easy to keep this cooling vest working for a long period of time too, since you can simply swap out the frozen packs whenever you need to. If you always have some on hand, then you can effectively wear this vest all day and forget about any risk of overheating. Each of the 3 freezable panels can be machine washed, and easily attached with velcro.
- Available with zipper or velcro closure
- Makes use of 96 pure water ice cubes
- 3 machine washable freezable panels
- Lightweight (3.5lbs) flexible design
- Adjustably in 4 locations
TechKewl Phase Change Vest (🥈 Runner Up)
Our runner up pick for best cooling vest goes to the highly effective phase change vest from TechKewl.
If you’re looking for an everyday cooling vest that’s also highly visible, then you’re going to want to consider this TechKewl vest, in its bright blue color. As a more colorful vest, you can wear this one even when the light starts to fade, so you can get the job done without breaking too much of a sweat.
Manufactured by Techniche, the TechKewl phase change material system utilises a non-toxic carbon-based liquid which freezes at a temperature of 14 degrees celsius, and will stay this cold for around 2-3 hours. All you have to do to get the most out of this cooling vest is insert a couple of CoolPax into the freezer or ice cold water for approximately 40 minutes, and then slide them into the pockets on the vest. Other main features of the TechKewl technology revolve around comfort and convenience. This vest is ideal for everyone from factory workers to anyone working in an enclosed environment, and the lightweight design won’t restrict your ability to move around freely.
The outer vest of this product is machine washable, which makes it easy to maintain, and it’s made from 100% cotton with a thermal liner so it should be comfortable to wear over your clothes. Along with the vest itself, you will get a protective cooling bag when you invest in this TechKewl product, which allows for easy reactivation wherever you are. This means you can be outdoors or indoors, at home or at work, and still benefit from prolonged cooling so long as you have the vest on.
- 100% cotton with thermal liner
- Large/extra large size
- Light blue color
- Includes 4 Removable phase change inserts
- Temperature of 14 degrees celsius for 2-3 hours
- Washable outer vest
- Includes protective cooler bag
Glacier Tek Sports Cool Vest (💪🏼 Best Sports Vest)
The Glacier Tek cooling vest is our pick for top sports vest, so if you’re looking to keep your cool while performing at your best then this is an excellent option.
To start, this sports vest comes in 2 colors, blue and grey. It weighs little more than 5 pounds and has adjustable dual side straps and zipper closure. This should help keep you light on your feet, which is imperative for anything you wear while playing sports. You can adjust the vest for the perfect fit while not losing out on any of the mobility or range of motion you need to perform at your peak.
The high-performance cooling packs used by this vest take just 20 minutes to recharge in ice water, and an hour in the freezer. This makes it quick and easy to keep the cooling effect going even if you don’t have much time to spare. It also makes it a valuable asset as much for athletes, as it is for those with MS, or even construction workers looking to prevent heatstroke on the job. You even get a convenient mesh bag to carry the cooling packs around in, so you can have them on hand whenever you need them.
There are 8 cooling packs in total for this vest, and each will reach a temperature of 59 fahrenheit, and should last approximately 2 and a half hours in 100 fahrenheit heat. There is special technology behind the backs, known as PureTemp, which provides nontoxic biobased phase change material which helps the packs last thousands of melting-solidifcation cycles. This makes an investment in the Glacier Tek vest one which should last you a long time, even if you use it frequently. You can wash this vest by hand when you need to freshen it up, but shouldn’t attempt to machine wash it.
- Available in blue or grey
- Reaches temperature of 59 fahrenheit for 2.5 hours
- Weighs less than 5 lbs
- Adjustable side straps
- Front zipper closure
- PureTemp cooling packs
- Quick recharge
- Includes mesh bag
Putting some money down on a good cooling vest can be one of the wisest investments you make, if you find yourself constantly overheating or uncomfortably hot as you go about your daily activities.
There are many situations in which a cooling vest would be of use, ranging from intense physical activity to medical conditions, heat sensitivity to hard manual labor, whatever your reason for investing in one you should find the one which best suits your needs.
In this guide, we’ll assess the different reasons you might want a vest, as well as how it could help you, and what the various cooling methods are employed by different cooling vests on the market.
Purpose for Wearing a Cooling Vest
There are many reasons you might want to wear a cooling vest, and identifying what you’ll be using it for most will give you a clear indication as to what you should be looking out for.
For example, the cooling vest that’s best for top performance in athletic events might not be the best for someone who suffers from heat sensitivity.
One of the main reasons to wear a cooling vest, believe it or not, is for playing sports or engaging in other physical activity.
If you workout a lot, or regularly play sports, then you could increase your endurance and staying power with a cooling vest.
One of the quickest ways to exhaustion is running around until the point of overheating, which inevitably slows you down and has you dripping with sweat.
By wearing a cooling vest as you move around, you could keep your cool even when the opposition brings the heat. Your core body temperature can remain low enough for you to perform at your best without worrying about heat exhaustion and the general fatigue associated with sun exposure.
As for which type of cooling vest is best for sports, we’d recommend either an evaporative cooling vest or a phase change vest.
The evaporative vest will work great in dry climates, and the PCM vest will offer excellent cooling and quick recharges so you can stay cool for the duration of the activity.
The Glacier Tek sports vest is a great example of a lightweight cooling vest which is made specifically for physical activity.
There are some jobs which require workers to spend long periods of time in extreme heat, which can be dangerous if not adequately managed.
Both outdoor and indoor workers can benefit from a cooling vest, and they can free up energy spent trying to cool yourself down instead of focussing on the task at hand.
Whether you’re doing manual labor outdoors in the sun or even just working in an overly hot office environment, there are several types of cooling vests which could work well for you.
The PCM is an all-round reliable vest which requires little maintenance for long-lasting cooling, but you could also use a more simple ice pack-based or evaporating cooling vest.
The type you choose should factor in the type of work you do.
If you need to move around a lot then focus on vests which offer full range of motion and have lightweight designs.
Another reason you might be interested in a cooling vest is if you have heat sensitivity, or a health condition such as MS.
MS, which stands for multiple sclerosis, is a medical condition which can lead to heat sensitivity.
As a result, those with MS might find that their core body temperature fluctuates often, and they are more prone to overheating than others might be.
Fortunately, many studies have shown that something as simple as wearing a cooling vest can have a profound effect for those with MS, as it can keep the core body temperature stable.
A cooling vest can also help manage other physical symptoms such as lack of balance and fatigue.
The best type of cooling vest for heat sensitivity or MS would be an ice pack vest or an evaporative cooling vest.
The priority for heat sensitivity should be a vest which is reliable, easy to recharge, and with long-lasting cooling effects.
Another important factor is finding a vest which is comfortable to wear and maintain, given that for those with heat sensitivity it might be necessary to wear the vest on a daily basis.
There are 5 main methods used by cooling vests to keep the user’s core body temperature down, and each one can prove effective in the right situation.
Which type of cooling vest you choose will depend on the activity you intend to do while wearing it, as well as practical things like your budget and how you prefer the vest to feel when you have it on.
The first cooling method we’re going to take a look at is commonly referred to as evaporative cooling.
Evaporative cooling vests require the user to submerge the vest in water then wring it out before putting it on. What this does is trigger a slow process of evaporation due to heat emitted by your body and the air around you; as the water begins to evaporate, you’ll start to notice your core temperature lower.
The cooling effect of this type of vest will generally last for no more than 2 hours.
As for the main pros and cons, evaporative cooling vests are relatively inexpensive compared to other types of cooling vests, and normally have lightweight designs.
However, due to their reliance on the process of evaporation to provide a cooling effect, these vests won’t provide the same great results in humid climates as they will in dry ones.
The phase change cooling vest is one of the more popular types, and is favored by many manufacturers.
This type of vest is made with PCMs, or phase change materials, which are materials that can release heat when changing state from a liquid to a solid or the other way around.
The technology behind these materials was initially stumbled upon by NASA, which should give you reassurance as to their efficacy.
You’ll usually find that phase change cooling vests will have several pockets, in which you place the phase cooling material packets, which you will freeze in advance.
PCMs will freeze quicker than ice packs, which makes it easier for the user to replace them for a longer-lasting cooling effect.
The main advantage of this type of vest is that you can quickly and easily charge up the PCMs for continuous use, which makes it a good choice for activities such as sports.
On the downside, this type of jacket can be bulky.
Ice pack cooling vests are quite similar to phase change vests, in that you will have several pockets on the vest which store the cooling packs.
You will typically be able to stay cool with this vest by putting the whole item of clothing in the freezer, or by replacing the ice packs regularly with freshly frozen ones.
As opposed to some vests, like the evaporative cooling ones, vests which rely on ice packs work just as well in humidity as they do in dry heat.
The main advantage of this type of jacket is the convenient replacement of ice and the suitability for all climates.
However, these jackets can be on the heavy side, and very cold to the touch.
The gel pack vest is a lot like the ice pack vest, with the main difference being the material used to provide a cooling effect.
In order to get this vest to work, you’ll need to place the gel packs in the freezer for a significant period of time before placing them inside pouches all around the vest.
This isn’t a highly popular choice for many cooling vests though, since unfortunately you shouldn’t expect more than an hour of cooling from wearing it.
The active cooling vest is a highly effective option, provided you have a big budget.
This type of vest doesn’t come cheap, but what it offers is an excellent long-term solution to overheating.
They require a power source and a cold water reservoir, which makes them less than practical for many purposes.
They are generally only used in certain professions such as those within healthcare, although you can find more portable versions which rely on batteries to function. The battery-powered option can still provide a staggering 60 hours of cooling, but will require that you find a water reservoir every now and again or bring one with you.
To use this type of cooling vest, you’ll need to fill the reservoir with ice and then fill it up with water. If you want prolonged cooling, you’ll then have to hook the vest up to a portable water reservoir with a hose.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cooling Vests
Do cooling vests really work?
Yes, cooling vests definitely do work, and many people greatly appreciate having one.
If you work outside in extremely hot conditions all day, have a medical condition or menopause, or simply work out to exhaustion regularly, then you could stand to benefit a lot from wearing a cooling vest.
By keeping your external body temperature cool, you can put up with higher internal heat, even if you are particularly sensitive to temperature changes.
What is a cooling vest used for?
A cooling vest is more often than not used for medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis, or for those with some form of heat sensitivity.
However, a cooling vest can be a useful piece of gear to have if you spend a lot of the time outdoors in the sun, or regularly engage in gruelling activity or sport which gets your heart rate up.
The utility of a cooling vest for intense workouts and sports can’t be underrated, and it can even help accelerate the recovery process after you’ve broken your muscles down through training.
What is a phase change cooling vest?
A phase change cooling vest is a vest that has been designed with big pockets on either side, the front and the back.
To use this type of cooling vest, you would insert a frozen or refrigerated pack, for cooling effects which should last anywhere up to 4 hours or so.
All you have to do to extend the duration of the cooling is replace the frozen packs regularly, for all-day body temperature regulation.
How do you wear a cooling vest?
A cooling vest is just like a regular vest, except you would wear it outside of your clothes, since direct contact with the skin would be too intense.
For some cooling vests like phase change vests, you will need to regularly replace ice packs to get the cooling benefits.
For others, like evaporative cooling vests, you will need to submerge them in water before you put them on.
A Final Word From Energetic Lifestyle
A cooling vest can be a real lifesaver, especially if you have heat sensitivity or suffer from a medical condition like MS.
Choosing the right one will come down to what best fits your lifestyle, and what method of cooling you find easiest to work with and most effective for the type of activity you’ll be doing.