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bluesman 11-22-2012 06:21 AM

evaporative cooling gear to be worn on top of riding gear?
Need a word of advice and experience and any info.
For years I was coping with "too hot + traffic" by just...whining about it and carrying on.
As I getting old....sorry "mature" :lol3 I realized that there must be smarter way about it.

So, here is the deal. I know that cooling vests available for wearing under gear.
I know principle of operation.
Question is - what if I want something, that worn OVER gear I ride in and cooling it instead of cooling body directly?
And - something to may be put on the seat or over pants to cool...ahm...bottom part of body?
Any experience with any cooling vests etc. will be highly appreciated. I realize there may be no ready solution, but I will appreciate any bit of information - for example about how effective those vests are etc.

mpatch 11-22-2012 06:56 AM

I think the amount of water you would need would make it not possible unless it was some sort of 3 layer garment.

dfwscotty 11-22-2012 05:48 PM

And if its hot enough to need to wear a cooling type garment the thing would be dry in 15 minutes. Need a way of resoaking it which presents the issue that mpatch mentioned.

Wargasm 11-22-2012 06:08 PM

Exterior to the gear, I;ve never heard of anything like that for cooling the crotch, we're all adults we can say that can't we? Never heard of anything. I did however see an Umpire in an MLB game wearing a personal airconditioner, apparently you can get them at the sharper image. But they only work with water and fans. You might try tearing apart one of those 12v plug in coolers, they work on the Peltier Effect, but scaling it up would be a problem I think. Most cooling vests are only vest with internal pockets into which you put frozen ice bags. This of course would only be temporary. It doesn't get very hot around here, but what I've done is wear a long sleeve cotton T-shirt, soak it in water and put it under my gear right next to my skin and open all the vents on my jacket. The wind blowing through the vents and the evaporating water really cools you down, latent het of evaporation and all that jazz. However if you get stuck in traffic your stuck in a super humid hot wet shirt under all your gear, and it sucks.

squish 11-22-2012 11:40 PM

I just stopped riding when it's above 90 degrees.

But before that I tried lots of thing, I was unimpressed with cooling vests. The stuff that they absorb water with leaks out when the jackets are wet,
They don't flow enough moisture slow enough to really do a good job, they keep the wetness on the surface of the vest but block much of the cooling effect from your skin, where you want it.

I've had better luck with a thicker cotton shirt (I used the striped locomotive ones made by Ben Davis)
I get that wet and wear it under a perf jacket, the windflow cooled me off whenever I was moving.

But in hot weather it would only work for about 10 min then the shirt needed to be rewetted.

I thought about making a vest from some microfiber cloth, but then decided that I'll just drive when it's stupid hot out.

bluesman 11-23-2012 03:05 AM

This sounds like only way I can get results is by installing water mist sprayers (which is easy to do) on the bike and leaving evaporation cooling garments alone altogether. I'd gladly simply avoid such temperatures, but I am looking into scenario like I had last year. We did 1 week great riding in Norway - no heat problem :)
Then we hit piece of highway (about 800 km) back to Belgium and - guess what - +35 celsius, totally unexpected by anyone, bright sun and all this on concrete layered autobahn ( surface was so hot it was incredible) and traffic jams - this created crazy effect. I never was that hot in my life (except in Andalusia in Spain in July - there it was worse) despite I was lane splitting like crazy. The only positive side - lot of girls in cars drove in bikinis (unusual for Germany indeed) which allowed me to shift my concentration off heat :D. But seriously - I was pouring water on my gear all over on each fuel station yet still felt horrible - you know, "hot fan into face" kind of weather?
So, idea is not to use it for radial driving as such - I have specific gear for that, but to use it when you caught in long trip by hot weather.

PeterW 11-23-2012 04:02 AM

Cotton T shirt. Buy water as needed at gas stops, pour water on T shirt, ride.

I live in Oz, 35 isn't hot :), 45 is ... it works, worst case the shorts get a bit stinky, toss them. Doubt you'll find anything more effective.


ibafran 11-23-2012 06:48 AM


Originally Posted by PeterW (Post 20102159)
Cotton T shirt. Buy water as needed at gas stops, pour water on T shirt, ride.

I live in Oz, 35 isn't hot :), 45 is ... it works, worst case the shorts get a bit stinky, toss them. Doubt you'll find anything more effective.


I agree with this. Buy a heavy cotton 'sweatshirt' (zippered? maybe 2) big enough to get over your gear. Cut the cuffs off the sleeves as you like. Cut the collar open enough for comfort. Soak the thing in water until fully wet and dripping and put it on. The evaporative cooling effect at 20+mph windspeed will be stunning. As long as you are not in an actual desert, it won't dry up as fast as one might think. Downsides are that it doesn't work well unless wind is blowing on it. So, do not expect it to be great behind a big fairing. Any 'coolness' needs to be transfered thru the gear to the skin. Armor will tend to prevent that. And your gear has to fit close enough for the effect.

Another technique used by long distance riders in the USA southwestern deserts is to stop at a convenience store for a bag of ice. Use some of the ice to fill all/most the pockets of the gear. Lay the remainder of the ice in its bag in the rider's lap. Some riders lay a bit of insulated wrap over the ice bag to keep the cold in and to keep the ice from melting in direct sunlight. This works pretty well behind a big fairing. Depending on conditions and needs, they stop for more ice as they want and can find. These riders also have a keem appreciation of keeping themselves hydrated properly. See for a variety of body heat regulation tactics.

Some riding suits have an exterior layer that will hold water for a while if soaked. My Roadcrafter rides about 10F degrees cooler than ambient when the outer layer is soaked.

Actually practicing and experimenting with the tactics before you really need them is most helpful in knowing what can be done.

bluesman 11-23-2012 07:02 AM

Thank you guys! Will experiment next summer...
This sounds like most reasonable approach.

mpatch 11-23-2012 07:38 AM

What do you consider hot? In stop and go traffic you're gonna roast not matter what tricks or gear you have when the temps get up there (>90*F). There is a cutoff where the less is more/more is less comes into play as far as what you wear. For me once it gets above the low 90's I feel cooler wearing no mesh just vented gear, with mesh it's as if you can feel the water being sucked out of your body. Not sure how the guys in really hot climates do it in the summer, I have put in a few 400 miles days in 110 degree heat and it sucks the life right out of you.

EJ_92606 11-23-2012 12:26 PM

Sorry, but cooling on outside makes no sense. Just go with a proven Kool Vest...$25

fast4d 11-24-2012 02:44 PM


Originally Posted by EJ_92606 (Post 20104194)
Sorry, but cooling on outside makes no sense. Just go with a proven Kool Vest...$25

that's what I'm thinking.

bring a bag of ice or buy chilled water for re-soaking

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