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Why Choose a Veskimo Personal Cooling Vest?

NASA cool suitNASA Cooling Suit, worn under spacesuit during spacewalks and take-off & landings. NASA Photo
Veskimo Cooling Vest-close-upVeskimo Vest showing microtubing.

The Veskimo Personal Cooling System has been proven to be the most effective, affordable portable personal solution to heat stress. This is not a vest you soak in water which becomes slimy, can't be worn under other clothing and doesn't perform well in high humidity. This is not a vest with packets of frozen liquid that are bulky, heavy and quickly lose their effectiveness. This is a vest that is lightweight, breathable and uses NASA-developed technology to cool you with chilled water circulated through a network of microtubing. It costs a little more, but it works much better.

How Will It Help Me?

The Veskimo Personal Cooling System provides the wearer with consistent, continuous relief from heat stress, even when worn under heavy protective clothing. It is the best choice for a wide variety of people who work and play outdoors, for whom no other practical and effective personal cooling solution exists. It's perfect for sports, racing, motorcycling, bicycling, construction and industrial uses, and can provide much needed relief for those with heat-intolerant health conditions. No matter how hot and humid it is outside, you’ll be in your own personal "microclimate of COOL!"

Why Liquid Cooling Works Best

NASA pioneered the use of garments employing circulating chilled liquid in the 1960's to keep astronauts cool during space walks. The design and construction of these systems are well documented. Systems of similar construction are currently in use by military personnel in aircraft and armored land vehicles. These systems are very expensive because they use compressor-based refrigeration units to chill the circulating liquid coolant. By substituting ordinary ice to chill the water, the cost and complexity of the system is greatly reduced, making Veskimo Personal Cooling Systems affordable, yet still truly effective.

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Comparison of Cooling Technologies

Evaporative Garments

Water absorbed in fabric will take heat with it if it is allowed to evaporate into the surrounding environment. The effectiveness of evaporative cooling is inversely proportional to the ambient relative humidity and evaporative garments don't work at all if worn inside of non-ventilated outer garments. Most evaporative garments use sodium polyacrylate crystals (also used for disposable baby diapers and moisture retention in soil) to absorb and retain moisture, which gives them a slimy feel when wet. If not allowed to fully dry before storage, the moist fabric can harbor microbial and fungal growth, often causing odor and skin irritation.

A further limitation of this technology is that the cooling occurs at the garment's outer surface, not on the skin of the wearer. If the evaporation rate is low (due either to high humidity or lack of air circulation) the garment can actually act as a thermal insulator increasing the wearer's heat stress.

Phase Change Garments

Packets of ice or other "phase change material" (PCM) are pre-frozen and placed in pockets of a garment (typically a vest) to provide body cooling. The temperature of the PCM stays constant until all of the material has melted, but the effective cooling decreases with time because of poor heat transfer between the still-frozen core and the melted outer layer closest to the wearer's skin. Once all of the PCM has melted, it becomes a thermal insulator, absorbing and retaining body heat, causing overheating unless removed and "recharged" by refreezing the PCM packets.

In place of ice, a mixture of two chemicals (hexadecane and tetradecane) is often used as the PCM. This allows the melting temperature to be adjusted between 42 and 64 degrees F, purportedly to increase wearer comfort. However, both chemicals have only one-half the latent heat of fusion of water (ice), so the packets need to have twice the mass (compared to ice), to have equivalent heat absorption capacity.

Due to the large mass (weight) of PCM that’s required to provide a useful cooling duration, workload during physical activity is actually increased. Furthermore, the bulky, rigid packets of frozen PCM can cause additional discomfort, particularly if the user must wear a harness, safety belt or other close-fitting protective gear over the frozen PCM packets.

Forced Air Cooling

Because the heat transfer coefficient of air is so low (less than 1/25th that of water), air is a much less efficient means of body cooling compared to circulating water. If the forced-air circulation is interrupted, the wearer can quickly overheat because of the impermeable nature of the garment. Furthermore, air-cooled garments are typically bulky (to provide an air space near the body for circulation) and therefore cannot be worn under close-fitting garments. The wearer must remain tethered to the source of circulating air, making this type of system unacceptable for most mobile applications.

Circulating Liquid-Cooled Garments

This technology works exceptionally well under all types of outer clothing, providing both a continuous and consistent level of body cooling using a thin, lightweight garment with an integral network of microtubing through which chilled liquid circulates. And this technology works well in environments where evaporative and phase change garments are ineffective or impractical.

Detractors of circulating liquid cooling have stated that the user must remain tethered to a stationary source of chilled liquid, making this an inappropriate solution for mobile applications. But now that’s no longer true with Veskimo's Backpack and small portable Coolers, that use ordinary ice for cooling and replaceable or rechargeable batteries to power the circulation pump. Cooling duration is only limited by the amount of ice contained in the backpack or cooler (typically enough for 4 hours or more) and battery life (typically 6 to 8 hours). By simply replacing the ice and batteries when required (which can be accomplished in minutes), there is no limitation on cooling duration.

For more details see How It Works and Frequently Asked Questions

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Why Choose Veskimo Over Other Brands?

We are experts in liquid-cooled personal cooling systems. That's all we do. We do not offer evaporative, phase change or air-cooled products. We focus all our efforts on designing and producing the best, most affordable water-cooled personal cooling systems on the market.

We have studied not only the personal cooling systems developed and used by NASA and the military, but also those offered by all of our known competitors. We have performed benchmark testing on our leading competitors’ products to ensure that ours have superior performance. Shown below is a brief description of some of our competitors’ offerings and comparisons with Veskimo's products.

Tubing Sewn Onto a T-Shirt

While appearing to be a simple way to make a water-cooled garment, this product is lacking in several aspects:

  1. The tubing is sewn onto the wrong side. To maximize potential body cooling, the user should have the option of placing the tubing directly in contact with his or her skin.  There is no disadvantage to having the tubing on the inside, because if user doesn’t want the tubing directly against their skin they can wear any undergarment of their choice. A separate undergarment has the added advantage of being more easily laundered than a T-shirt with tubing sewn onto it.

  2. The fit of the T-shirt cannot be adjusted. For maximum cooling, the tubing should be in close contact with the skin. Adjusting the degree of contact between the tubes and skin is an effective means of adjusting the intensity of body cooling obtained. However, once purchased, the "size" of a T-shirt cannot be changed, so the only means of adjusting the amount of tube-to-skin contact is by adjusting the fit of an outer garment worn over the cooling shirt.

  3. A T-shirt with tubing sewn onto it is difficult to get on and off. T-shirts (without tubing) are comfortable and easy to take on and off because they stretch. However, once tubing is sewn onto them, most of the stretch is eliminated. The wearer is faced with the dilemma of ordering a larger size (for ease in taking on and off) with poor tube-to-skin contact, or a smaller size (for better tube contact) that will be difficult to take on and off.
The Veskimo Personal Microclimate Body Cooling Vest has a zipper on the front and adjustable-length elastic straps on the sides. This makes it easy to take on and off and can be adjusted for best fit, comfort and the desired degree of tube-to-skin contact. The tubing is sewn onto the inside so the wearer has the option of direct contact with the skin or to wear an undergarment of their choice under the vest.

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Bladder-Based Construction

This concept was first patented in 1974 and has been evaluated extensively by the US Military, who have overwhelmingly chosen tube over bladder construction for their personal cooling garments. Bladder-based construction has the following disadvantages compared to tube-construction garments:

  1. A bladder is simply two thin sheets of plastic sealed at the edges, and can be easily punctured. Only the pressure of the fluid inside prevents the bladder from being pinched closed. Tubes are much more robust and have an inherent stiffness that gives them resistance to being crushed or pinched closed.

  2. Tube-construction garments conform to body shape better than bladders. A bladder has very little stretch and therefore cannot conform well to compound curves. A network of tubes can easily conform to compound curved surfaces just like a net, whereas a bladder conforms only to the same degree as a sheet of non-stretch plastic film.

  3. A bladder does not have more "effective" contact area due to its lack of conformity to body shape.

  4. If the flow of chilled water through the bladder is interrupted, the wearer’s ability to cool by perspiration is compromised by the vapor-impermeable bladder.

  5. Designs that lack a zipper and a means of size adjustability make these bladder-based garments less convenient to get on and off, and the fit and degree of contact between the bladder and skin cannot be altered to suit the wearer's preference.

The Veskimo Personal Microclimate Body Cooling Vest is made from lightweight breathable mesh fabric that will not inhibit the evaporation of perspiration, and has a thickness of less than one-quarter inch, so it fits easily under any close fitting garment or protective gear. Its zippered front and adjustable-length elastic side straps make it easy to take on and off and adjust for best fit, comfort and the desired degree of tube-to-skin contact.

Learn More About Veskimo

Please see our How It Works page for more details about how we employ advanced cooling technology to create simple, reliable, truly effective personal cooling systems. See our About Us page to learn more about our mission, goals, history, and company philosophies on quality, sales and customer service. You’ll see why Veskimo is clearly your best choice for personal cooling in all environments including the most extreme conditions of heat and humidity.

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