Staying cool with the Fieldsheer cooling vest – Product ReviewBill Muneio | August 12, 2009
Fieldsheer Iceberg Cooling Vest Review
by Bill Muneio
There seems to be two camps when it comes to temperature extremes: those that would rather it be too cold and those that would rather it be too hot. I fall into the too cold category; the theory being that you can always add more layers to stay warm, where as if it’s too hot, well, you’re screwed. On one extremely hot summer day at the end of a 2 week ride, this was put to a test and cemented my position. We were heading from Colorado back home to Santa Barbara, via Las Vegas for the night. When we arrived in Vegas, the temp was 106° and we were exhausted. Upon checking in to the motel, I immediately immersed myself in the swimming pool. I experienced just how uncomfortable and dangerous the heat can be. After that trip, I began my quest to find a means of keeping cool in extreme heat conditions. Typically, I don’t ride in those conditions but lets face it, hot days are inevitable in the summer and cant be avoided unless you limit your riding to a few months out of the year at least here in the west.
There are lots of different cooling vests available utilizing a variety of technologies. I did not want to make a huge investment in gear for conditions I seldom ride in but still wanted to have the option available. After doing some research, I purchased the Fieldsheer Iceberg Cooling Vest.
The Fieldsheer Iceberg Cooling Vest uses a special polymer material that absorbs moisture, then slowly releases it in the form of a gas. This process, (also known as “evaporation”) creates a cooling effect that is put to good use in helping to keep us comfortable during hot weather riding, or even for just hanging-out in hot weather. The Fieldsheer Vest is tailored for wearing under motorcycle jackets, with a shorter back that will fit under most jacket styles. To really be effective, a jacket with lots of ventilation/mesh is best; otherwise, you will feel awfully sticky and wet. Airflow is imperative for the evaporative cooling effect to take place. The vest has a plastic front zipper with a metal pull. The sides of the Fieldsheer vest are made from 6″ wide elastic; this helps the vest fit comfortably and close to the body. This fit is important for the optimal evaporative effect. The vest is available in sizes from small to 4x large.
When dry, the Fieldsheer vest is very light and can provide some wind protection and a bit of warmth. This means that the Fieldsheer vest could be worn out in the morning under a mesh jacket, and then as the day heats up, it can be hydrated and used for cooling. I recommend soaking the vest in cool water for 15-20 minutes for best results; however, you can soak it for less time especially if you’ll be re-soaking it while on the road. By gently wringing it, you eliminate the excess water, or on really hot days you may want to skip the wringing part.
The Fieldsheer vest does feels a bit damp underneath your jacket, but the liner prevents that “soaking wet” feeling. It’s nice to be cool without also feeling like a wet dog. I soak mine in the sink before a ride and then store it in a jumbo sized Ziplock until I need it. You could also throw it in the fridge after soaking if you plan that far ahead or soak it in ice water for the maximum chill factor.
The Fieldsheer vest’s cooling effect is most noticable when moving; although it can also be felt as soon as you put it on. I don’t really notice feeling the wetness, but I do notice the cooling factor. Depending on how hot it is, it seems to last one to two hours. It’s not a air-conditioning type chill , but a subtle cooling (on the back, chest and stomach) that makes riding more bearable during those miserably hot days.
Summary: At $45 dollars the Fieldsheer Iceberg Vest is a worthwhile investment and a sensible addition to your hot-weather riding get up.
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