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On Wednesday, 6/27, I ordered a new Phase Change Cooling Vest from PolarVest Cooling Vests. Steve had a sale going on. For $179, I got the vest, two sets of "cooling paks" and free shipping. I had been on the fence for some time trying to decide whether or not to try one of these vests and the sale pushed me over the edge.

The vest arrived this morning via FedEx Ground (two days from Texas - not bad).

A few details first. I am 6'8" tall, about 270lbs with a 54" chest. I was a little concerned whether the "standard" vest would fit me. Steve assured me it would.

Here is how the items arrived. First the vest:



and here are the two sets of cooling paks. One wrapped, one unwrapped. The cooling gel paks are wrapped neatly in what resembles some sort of linen. A very nice touch. Two of the cooling paks go in the back of the vest and one in each side of the front:





Here is a picture of the vest just out of the packaging:



And here it is opened up. I noticed several nice features. 1: The front has a zipper. Several vests I have seen or tried in the past had a velcro front. This has what looks to be a nylon zipper. Should have no issues with rust and it should hold up well. 2. The side straps which I though would be velcro are actually "stretchy" straps with a shiny metal adjuster. I have mixed thoughts about this. It's nice the adjustment is just a simple tug to get it tight. Once it's set, you never have to adjust it again unless you gain or loose some weight. But, are they made of stainless steel? I doubt it, which then makes me wounder if they might rust in the future. Only time will tell.

The vest also has velcro adjustments on the shoulders which makes it super easy to get the vest adjusted to fit correctly. The first thing I did was loosen all 6 side adjustments and put the vest on. Put a set of cooling paks in the vest, 30 seconds to adjustment it to fit me and I was good to go.

The material of the vest is also interesting. It's kind of a cross between a micro-fiber and a micro-suede. Not sure exactly what it is, but it's very soft to the touch.



Here is a close up of the metal adjuster:



And the tags in the collar of the vest. I like the "Made in USA" tag!




The next thing I did was test this "20 minute" recharge of one of the cooling paks. I filled a small bowl with ice water and dropped a pak in. Sure enough, in about 20 minutes, the thing was frozen solid. But it was so weird because it didn't feel as cold as an ice pak. Then again, that's the cool thing about this material. I placed the pak against my bare skin and while it feels cool, it's not like putting an ice pak next to your skin. It just felt nice and cool.

Tuesday, I leave for Atlanta and then on to Knoxville for a week or so. This vest will get a good workout. After I've used it for a few days, I'll come back to this post and update it with my results.

So far, I've been happy with what I received. More to follow...stay tuned!

Update - 7/10/2011:

I was really wondering if I was ever going to get to use this vest on my trip up to Knoville this past week. When I left Jacksonville on Tuesday morning, the highest temperature I encountered on my way to Atlanta was 84. Wednesday morning I headed off to Knoxville through the mountains of Georgia. It was 68 degrees coming through Suches. WTH?

When I got to Tellico Plains, it warmed up somewhat and I decided to put the vest on. The vest felt good, but then it wasn't all that hot, may 87 or 88.

No problem, I'll give it a good workout on Friday...NOT! RAIN!!!! Lets try again on Saturday.

Early Saturday morning ride up to Kyles Ford for Breakfast and then some riding in the twisties. Temperature? About 78. GEEZ! I need some heat! And then it happened. On my way back to Knoxville, the temps finally jumped up. 94 degrees. YES!!!!! Then this morning, I headed back to Atlanta through the mountains and the heat was on. So, after all this fluff, what do I really think about this vest?

Very nice! I'm glad I got it. The best way I can describe the ride with the vest on, is "pleasant." The damn thing works. I was skeptical but I'm not anymore. The cool paks freeze in about 20 minutes and last about 2 hours, just as advertised. However, once they loose their cooling effect, the vest becomes a heat trap.

Changing the cool paks takes about 2 minutes. Very easy. And the big thing I like...as the paks thaw, they don't sweat. In other words, your shirt doesn't get soaking wet. It does get a little damp, but no big deal. I rode with the vest on wearing my mesh "Goldwing" jacket on and with nothing but the vest on. It works well both ways. You just have to be sure to adjust the vest to keep the paks snug against your body.

Final thoughts: I like this vest. It makes riding in oppressing heat bearable. Even in stop and go Atlanta traffic, I stayed cool, although I lost my cool with some of the idiot drivers, but that's another story. If you're thinking about this vest, give it a try. I think you'll be impressed. And with a money back guarantee, how can you go wrong?
 

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:thumbup: I've had mine for 2yrs now and still love it! I even wear it on my tractor while mowing.
 

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We were a little shocked when you were listed on our FedEx delivery notification today. FedEx ground to Jacksonville is listed as 3 days. Looking forward to reading about your experience.
 

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I've had mine since they started producing them....Great product!!!!
 

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My wife and I have ridden in 102 degee weather during the last 3 years. By the way, no rust problems either. Walmart has a insulated picnic bag that is a perfect size for your trunk with enough room for frozen packs to keep the spare set in for when you are ready to swap. When the wife goes, the trailer goes so we keep both spare sets in ice water in the cooler. Perfect setup either way.
 

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they ask am I snowmobling

I have had mine for 2 yrs. and when it's 95 to 100 I wear it with a textile jacket zipped up and vents open with my LD comfort long sleeve shirt and long LD pants.I soak it with water and ride all day and hardly break a sweat!! Every place I stop I get looks or comments about am I (hot,nut's crazy??):22yikes: I then try to tell them that I am cooler then they are,and to go to some of the long distance riders boards and they will learn how it work's. If I had a dollar for all the ?? that I have been asked I could retire tommorow. It's the only way to go when you ride in hot weather!!:thumbup:
 

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:thumbup: I've had mine for 2yrs now and still love it! I even wear it on my tractor while mowing.
Same here. The wife uses them sometimes when riding her horses too.
 

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I need to test one of these out. It was 106 here yesterday afternoon when I got on the bike to ride home. Today we had a cool front and it was only 103 when I left work.
Fred,

Let me know the next time you are going to be at the OST. I keep an extra vest and packs in my trailer and you are welcome to try it out.

Jerry
 

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Fred.....let me know if you would like to swap some of your maint videos for a mine....I have a large (Im 6'0, 180)vest is adjustable with 2 sets of phase changing ice packs.....didn't do the job for me here in Houston....looking to buy Veskimo...
 

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What happens when you lean back against the backrest??? Are the packs so strong that they will not burst??:eek:4:
 

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I have these vests/coolpaks for my wife and I, and found them to be very effective. They don't, however, work well for us on anything but a day ride. On a day ride, I can carry the extra sets of coolpaks, and we're likely to be good all day. On a multiday trip, however, they just use up room I'd rather have for other stuff. That's when we use the soakable cooling vest or LD Comfort shirts.
 

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What happens when you lean back against the backrest??? Are the packs so strong that they will not burst??:eek:4:
Packs will not burst. Made with 10 mil med grade urethane and then RF sealed. I have pics somewhere of one of our cars running over the pack when completely liquid. You can jump up and down on them. Lifetime guarantee adds level of credibility.
 

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I have had mine from the time they first came out, use it every weekday during the summer riding to work and back. On trips I use a small ice chest in the trunk. Every gas stop, change out the packs, never run out of cool. They work better if you cover them with a jacket and insulate the cold in.
 

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Debby and I got ours and tested them today. I LOVE them and so does the wife we came home from another members house in 100 degree weather and enjoyed the cool ride home.I had froze the bags at 1100 AM and we went to Wess house took them off and left them there for about 2 hours returned from dinner put them on and the gel packs were still frozen so home we came.Still had half frozen bags when we got home. They will be part of our riding gear from now on. Also as Bartman said,no wet at all as they were thawing. Love them!
 

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Do they last 2 hours on 100 degree days??
 

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Do they last 2 hours on 100 degree days??
I live in the DFW area and don't get 2 hours in this 100 degree plus heat. A little over an hour and a half on my Sport Touring bike. My bike has less wind protection than the GoldWing so I have that as a negative toward cooling cycle duration. I have found that in this heat, a mesh jacket over my coolwingrider.com phase change vest actually lessens the cooling duration. This is due to the forced entry of 100 degree plus air into my cardiovascular cavity region. Testing done at Canada's Defense Ministry years ago was in a chamber heated to 104 degrees and the subject was briskly walking on a treadmill (600 watt workload). In that testing, the vest's cooling duration was over 2 hours.....but there was no forced airflow to the torso. A tighter weave textile jacket or perforated leather jacket is the key to longer duration cooling cycles than a mesh jacket.

On my BMW K1200LT (Germany's version of the Wing), I used to get right at 2 hours of cooling out of a standard packset. I know there are a lot of fans of our cooling vest on this forum so hopefully, some of them can chime in as to what they experience.
 
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