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How a Veskimo Water Cooled Vest Works

Think of it as "Water Cooled Underwear"

Chilled water is circulated through microtubing incorporated into a thin, comfortable, lightweight mesh fabric vest that functions as water-cooled underwear. Heat from your body is transferred through the tubing and into the water, which is circulated back to an insulated hydration backpack or portable cooler containing ice and a small high-efficiency pump. The heat is absorbed by slowly melting the ice. The temperature of the water stays constant, and therefore so does the body cooling power, until all of the ice has melted. With periodic recharging of ice, the system provides continuous consistent cooling regardless of changes in the external environmental conditions. No other type of cooling system can provide such consistent continuous comfort in all conditions.

What are the components of a Veskimo Personal Cooling System and how do they work together?

A Veskimo Personal Cooling System is composed of a lightweight Personal Microclimate Body Cooling Vest connected to a Chilled Water Reservoir (Hydration Backpack or Portable Cooler) from which ice-chilled water is circulated through the Vest. The water circulation pump in the Reservoir is powered by 12 Volts DC from either a self-contained battery or an external source. A Complete Personal Cooling System consists of a Vest + Reservoir + one of several Power Source Options. Veskimo offers these two Complete Personal Cooling Systems:

4.4 Quart Hydration Backpack System consisting of the Cooling Vest + Backpack + Battery Pack or External Power Cord. The backpack also serves as a source of chilled drinking water (hydration pack). This system is ideally suited for users who require a completely self-contained system with unlimited mobility.

9 Quart Hand-Carry Cooler System consisting of the Cooling Vest + 9 Quart Cooler + External Power Cord or Battery Pack. This system holds twice as much ice and water as the Backpack and is for users who can be tethered to a cooler. This system is ideally suited for stationary use, on a motorcycle, ATV or in a car.

All components are modular: The Cooling Vest can be used with either Chilled Water Reservoir and either Reservoir can be powered with any Power Source Option. All components can be purchased separately to create a wide variety of custom configurations. Please see our Buyer’s Guide for more details.

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How long does the ice last?

The actual duration depends on how much ice you start with and how rapidly body heat is absorbed. Approximately 8 pounds of ice can fit in our 4.4 Quart Hydration Backpack, and as much as 16 pounds in the 9 Quart Cooler. The useful heat capacity of 8 pounds of ice is approximately 400 Watt-hours, and 800 Watt-hours for 16 pounds of ice. Studies performed by NASA and the US Military conclude that 100 Watts of cooling power is effective in maintaining body core temperature in all but the most extreme heat conditions. The Veskimo Personal Microclimate Body Cooling Vest is capable of providing over 100 Watts of body cooling. If the system and the user are well insulated from the external environment, the useful cooling duration is approximately 4 hours (400 Watt-hours / 100 Watts) for the Backpack and 8 hours for the 9 Quart Cooler System at 100 Watts cooling output. If the user wears a lightweight windbreaker-type jacket over the vest to minimize loss of cold to the atmosphere (which we recommend), these are reasonable estimates for the system's cooling performance. Some users have reported even longer cooling duration because they had their system adjusted to provide less than 100 Watts of cooling.

Is the amount of cooling power adjustable?

Yes, the body cooling power of the system can be adjusted to suit user preference and comfort. Maximum cooling is obtained when the vest is worn without an undergarment (the tubes are in direct contact with the skin) with the vest adjusted to fit snugly and there is a continuous flow of chilled water through the vest. Wearing a thermally insulated garment (shirt, jacket, windbreaker, etc.) will help to maximize the cooling power by minimizing the loss of cold to the external environment.

Maximum cooling power is typically desired when the wearer is engaged in rigorous activity. In cases of less activity, the wearer may want to reduce the cooling power to avoid becoming too cold. To reduce the cooling power of the system, the following variables can be adjusted:

  1. The power switch on the backpack or cooler can be switched on and off periodically to regulate the flow of chilled water through the vest. An Adjustable Cooling Controller is also available to automatically cycle the pump on and off, with the cycle time controlled by the selected setting on the four-position rotary switch.

  2. Wear a T-shirt or other undergarment between the vest and your skin. This will reduce the rate of heat transfer from your skin into the vest. The thicker the undergarment, the more the heat transfer rate will be reduced.

  3. Adjust the vest to fit less snugly. The more tightly the tubes in the vest press against the skin, the greater the heat transfer rate. By loosening the adjustable elastic straps on the sides of the vest, the cooling power provided to the wearer will be reduced.
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What powers the pump?

The pump in the Backpack or Cooler draws less than 4 Watts of power at 12V DC (less than 1/3 Amp of current). The pump can operate for more than 8 hours continuously on a set of 8 AA batteries, over 6 hours using our Rechargeable Lithium Ion Battery, or may be powered indefinitely by an external source (from a vehicle accessory socket or an AC adapter, for example). We offer many options for powering the system, which are described in the Buyer's Guide page and shown in the Power Sources Options category of our products catalog.

User Guides

If you would like to learn more about using our products, please feel free to download:

More Info

Use the PRODUCTS menu at the left hand side of this page to navigate to each product’s detailed information page.

See our Buyer’s Guide for more details on which combination of components and options is best suited to your application.

See Why Choose Veskimo for a comparison of our personal cooling products to others, and to learn why the Veskimo Personal Cooling System is the most effective, affordable portable solution to heat stress.

Please feel free to Contact Us for additional information.

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