Best Cooling Vests Reviewed & Rated for Quality
The stress caused by heat can slow your reaction time, make you feel lethargic, reduce your coordination and attention, it can cause discomfort in your muscles and be a huge detriment to your body and production. When your body is better regulated in temperature, you will perform at a high level and feel much better overall. Your risk of stroke or dehydration also decreases. The risks and safety concerns that result from extended periods in hot conditions are real. Finding a way to keep your body’s temperature balanced goes a long way.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 20 hrs of research
Great option for those who don't want to deal with freezer packs
Fits well over your clothes
- Ergodyne 6665
- Flexi Freeze
- TechNiche International
- TechKewl 6626
- Glacier Tek Sports
- COMPCOOLER Backpack
- Ergodyne Chill-Its 6215
- Gear Pro-Tec Z-Cool
- Ruffwear Swamp Cooler (for dogs)
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Best Cooling Vests
1. Ergodyne 6665
Great option for those who don't want to deal with freezer packs
Fits well over your clothes
Doesn't stay wet for as long as advertised
This product uses evaporative cooling to keep the user's core body temperature down. Simply soak it in water for 3-5 minutes and it's ready to go. Users felt it was very effective at keeping them cool although several stated that the 4 hours of cooling the company advertises is an exaggeration and that it kept them cool for closer to about 2 hours.Read more
Use and Effectiveness
This is a great option for runners, motorcyclists, and bikers who may not have consistent access to a freezer or want a cooling option that is lighter in weight than those with freezer packs. It does a good job of cooling the user, but the company says it cools for 4 hours while users said that by that time the vest was completely dry and was useful for only about 2 hours at a time.
Ease of Use and Fit
The operation of this is super simple, all you have to do is soak it in water for about 5 minutes and then put it on. We didn't find any complaints about the size with this one, and it seems suitable for most people and will go over your clothes easily.
Several users did note that the lightweight fabric tore easily when it got snagged on something and that you should be careful and aware of this while you're using it.
2. Flexi Freeze
Very effective cooling
Fits most users
Thin and flexible
Water filled packs take longer to freeze than gel filled ones
This option is designed both for workers in hospitals, construction, and other occupations, and is also great for use at home while working in the yard or other chores as well as those who suffer from MS. The fit is snug and the vest is machine washable.Read more
Use and Effectiveness
This product is good for people who suffer from MS, construction and hospital workers, and anyone else who needs to stay cool while being able to move freely. Users were very happy with how cool this kept them.
Ease of Use and Fit
Since all you need to do is put the removeable freezer packs in the fridge and then insert them in the vest once their frozen this is simple to operate. The packs are filled with water and not gel, so they take longer to freeze than other options, about an hour, and some users found this unsatisfactory. Some female users found that it wasn't suited for their bodies but for the most part it is suitable for most different body types. Check sizing chart before ordering.
We did find several complaints about this factor, so we recommend taking it easy while wearing this.
3. TechNiche International
Light and easily portable
Comfortable quilted nylon outer
Can’t use in high humidity
Does not work well if used underneath clothing
TechNiche International makes a product that uses an evaporative temperature reducing system which allows for water to slowly evaporate and simply take the high temperature away. You will really be impressed by this option, it is low maintenance and evenly distributes weight well so when you are in the blazing hot sun, this one won’t weigh you down but it will keep you refreshed. It is easy to use, simple product that anyone can use and enjoy.Read more
Easy to use and has longevity
You really can’t get any more efficient or simple in use than this product. You can take it anywhere and use it anywhere. If you are out in blistering hot weather and as the day goes on, if this one starts to lose its strength, all you need is a bathroom, a water fountain, any water source really. You could be on a hike and use a stream if you wanted, it is going to work. Dip it, wring it out, wear it, repeat. Done. Who can complain about that?
Wide range of body sizes
There are different sizes that you can utilize to find the right one for your body. The great thing is if you choose too small, don’t worry, the flexible and stretchy sides give you some room for error. Maybe it fits you well but your partner needs it in a pinch; there is a good chance that the flexibility offered through this product will allow them to use it too.
Cost and Value
There is nothing not to like about this product. It lasts for hours, is easily recharged and has a flexible fit. The price range is fair, it won’t break the bank. This one will make all the difference for anyone who either lives in extremely hot environments or is going on a hot adventure and wants to be extra sure that they pack smartly. Give this one a try, it's got the stuff to keep you replenished.
4. TechKewl 6626
Comes with a protective cooler bag
Multiple sizes with adjustable features allow for a wide range of body types to use
When all inserts are used solidly it can be heavy and bulky
Packs aren’t flexible until they begin to melt
TechKewl makes a thermally lined product that uses ice pack inserts to ensure coldness on your body. It has the capability of keeping you comfortable for 2-4 hours in extremely high temperatures. The solidly frozen ice packs become more flexible as they progressively melt.Read more
Phase change inserts
There are 4 phase change inserts that you can use all at once or just a couple at a time to achieve the amount of coldness you desire. These allow you the ability to comfortably engage in the hottest of temperatures, and when your ice packs melt all you have to do is refreeze them and reinsert for continued use. You could easily use some of the packs while the others stay frozen, then rotate the packs for no stoppage of use. You could look forward to segments of 2-4 hours of comfort in the heat.
The inserts are easy to freeze and a simple wipe keeps them clean which is not bad at all. The outer layer is machine washable. So you got yourself a quick fix for freshness and cleanliness which makes it super practical. The adjustability allows for a wide range of body sizes that can benefit from the instant cooling effect.
Cost and Value
This product not only works when it is first used but can offer long-lasting comfort in the high temperatures. The inserts are easy to rotate so that you can have no gap in your cold coverage. Included is a cooler bag which is very nice for reactivation. You will be able to enjoy long hours of comfort when you are in excessively warm environments.
Maintains temperature for up to 1.5 hours
Easy to store in the freezer
Has a great fit under clothing and feel on your skin
Perfect for medical, athletic or occupational needs
Fits well for many body sizes and shapes
Adjustable and can be tightened if needed
Sizing runs large, order a size down from your normal shirt size
Does not have the overall long freshness effect of larger models
ThermApparel makes a really nice vest that can be worn under your clothing. It is one of the lightest options available so it is easy to carry and wear. It is a perfect option for medical needs, industrial safety, emergency services, military, athletic or outdoor recreation.Read more
Weighing in at under 2lbs., it is easy to see why this versatile option is comfortable and useable for the widest variety of people. Worn under your clothing, you can enjoy the benefits of the cold unseen to the public. The lightweight along with the flexible spandex in the material, make it a most comfortable option.
The materials that are used are 88% Nylon with 12% Spandex. This makeup is a perfect combination for strength and flexibility allowing you to have maximum movement and range of motion while wearing. The packs are designed so that they are also pliable which help in better movement when in use.
Cost and Value
Almost anyone can use this model and enjoy it. It is so light and flexible, you will almost forget you have it on. Your movement won’t be limited while wearing it which is very nice for active people who need some refreshing throughout their day or during hot activities. It is machine washable so maintenance is a breeze.
6. Glacier Tek Sports
Perfect for athletes and those who perform physical activities outside in high temperatures
Weighs less than 5 pounds
Adult sizing for chest 29 inches to 52 inches
Children sized (30 to 90 pounds) weighs less than 3 pounds
USDA BioPerferred materials
Adjustable design will help with a more custom fit
Comes in red, blue, or green
Comes with 4 packs, extras need to be purchased separately
Made for athletes and highly active individuals, Glacier Tek has a vest that is designed to keep you comfortable while allowing you to get moving. It is fully adjustable and has two designs for adults and for children. This company boasts about their pride in manufacturing their products in the USA.Read more
Comfort during strenuous activity
Designed with tons of flexibility with dual side elastic straps as well as over-the-shoulder construction to allow for a fit that is secure and pliable. The durable front zipper allows for a solid enclosure. It can keep you at a temperature of 59 degrees for up to 2.5 hours while you exercise or work out in heat up to 100 degrees. In as little as 20 minutes in ice water or 1 hour to be fully frozen in the freezer, you can recharge the ice packs with ease.
The cold comes for PureTemp which is a biobased phase change material. This technology is USDA Certified BioPreferred label, which means that it is derived from plants and alternate renewable agricultural, marine and forestry sources. It allows for materials that are sustainable substitutes from traditional products that have a petroleum origin. In repeated research and testing results have shown the effectiveness of this material and this cooling system. It will allow you to enjoy consistent performance through thousands of melting and refreezing cycles.
Cost and Value
The company is a trusted provider of temperature regulation products since 1997. They proudly manufacture in the USA. They aim to design their lines with high quality, sustainable materials that are better for our environment and healthier for the population. This is an excellent choice for anyone who enjoys sports and activities outside and wants to engage in activity even when the temperature is high. The packs are scientifically proven to work over and over again, so this piece of gear will have a long lifespan.
7. COMPCOOLER Backpack
3L freezable quick release bladder
4 zones liquid cooling channel for even distribution
Soft on skin, no irritation or scratching
Not as comfortable to lean against, if sitting holding pack on your lap is a much better option
Instructions could be made clearer
This is a terrific option that can be worn under your clothing which makes it nicely concealed. COMPCOOLER designs a backpack that can easily be detached. It has made of soft materials that also has a nice amount of flexibility and stretchability for a firm and cozy fit.Read more
Made to wear on the skin
This is made to wear under your clothing. So you can wear it first under your clothes or uniform and then connect it with the bladder. The cool feeling on the skin is a delight. Mesh fabric provide a soft, stretchy element that conforms nicely to the body’s contours. There’s micro tubing within the liner so your skin won’t be irritated and scratched. Adjustable sides and air permeability makes the construction very wearable.
Allows for easy movement
If you work outside in a construction type environment and need to wear a tool pouch you can do so without any problems. The battery pack is rechargeable and you can easily get about 7 hours out of it. It won’t limit your movement at all. You can easily climb, walk long distances, bend and kneel, and not have any issues.
Cost and Value
Refreezable bladders allow you to swap in and out for continued use with ease. The battery will last you all day, so you don’t have to worry about it dropping you in the middle of a workday. They are rechargeable too, so you can refresh them at the end of your day and prep them for the next. You can wear this vest and barely sweat while you engage in outdoor activity in hot conditions. It is an awesome and durable device that also has a soft, flexible feel for a comfortable and secure fit on your skin and is easily concealed under your clothing.
8. Ergodyne Chill-Its 6215
Machine washable, easy maintenance
Can work up to 4 hours
Non-toxic and non-carcinogenic PCM
Can be a bit heavy
Not many style options
Heavy duty workers in extreme environments will benefit greatly from the Ergodyne Chill-Its 6215. Not only will you have long-lasting freshness but the materials will also keep you safe from fire as this product is flame resistant.Read more
The fabric meets ASTM F1506 requirements. It has an ATPV rating of 7.1 cal/cm2 and is classified CAT1. The design characteristics needed for these specifications are in line with the basic protection level for electrical workers as well as anyone who would be exposed to electric arc and other similar thermal hazards. Anyone operating in environments that have open flames and radiant high temperatures needs the right protective gear to be safe. This product is exactly what you’d want if you need to keep your temperature down for comfort and you work in a hazardous environment that has the potential for fire.
You can enjoy up to hours of refrigeration with this product. It will maintain a consistent 64F/18C with the 2 ice packs that are included. You can rotate the packs so that you don’t have a gap in coverage or you can use them at the same time. They are easily reactivated in a cooler, freezer or refrigerator. They can even be soaked in ice water for a quick revitalization.
Cost and Value
This is a multi-functional option that is extremely durable. It has to be to tolerate extreme and hazardous environments. It will keep the high temperatures at bay on hot days while you are working and keep you safe from flames and electric arcs.
9. Gear Pro-Tec Z-Cool
Made for football players
Offers additional protection from impact
Excellent construction uses padding that evaporates water
Only comes in one color
Nice fit, but adds bulk
This product is specifically designed and aimed to be a custom piece of essential gear for football players. Gear Pro-Tec Z-Cool is used under the shoulder pads for extra protection during impact. The air-flow design allows for additional comfort and breathability to keep players dry and refreshed.Read more
A 3-D airflow design allows for extra breathability under all those protective layers. The evaporative foam helps to keep your temperature moderated while also helping keep you dry. This is a real plus because not only does it help your comfort but it decreases the ability for bacteria to build up in your uniform.
From decreasing bacteria accumulation and thus improving the health of your gear and you, this option provides more than one function. It keeps the air flowing through which is essential on those hot days, practicing in the sun and exerting extra physicality. The foam padding not only keeps you drier, but it also adds an extra layer of protection from impact. This piece of gear will help keep you comfortable, healthy and better resist injury.
Cost and Value
This is a very affordable piece of equipment. It is the same type of professional grade equipment that college and professional football players use. It is a perfect partner for light contact practice or even game walkthrough.
10. Ruffwear Swamp Cooler (for dogs)
Dogs seem to love it
Cools even in 100+ degree heat
Easy to put on and take off
Difficult to fit to many dogs
This one is for your furry and four-legged best friend. Dogs get hot to and Ruffwear designed this option just for them. It uses evaporative cooling so you don't have to deal with freezer packs and also has reflective trim to help keep you both seen and safe in low light situations.Read more
Use and Effectiveness
This is for your dog to wear when it's hot outside, whether it with you on a run or hike, or while camping or doing any sort of outside activity. Dogs don't write reviews, but their people do, and they were felt this worked well based on placing their hands on their dog's skin during and after use and seeing how much cooler it was than usual after being out in the heat. Several reviewers said it even worked well in 100+ degree heat with high humidity.
Ease of Use and Fit
The design makes it simple to place this on your dog. There were several complaints about this being difficult to have good contact with the dog's skin and that you had to cinch down the belly strap on a lot of breeds.
This product is well made and will last a long time.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
The way you will use your vest will play heavily into the choice you make.
Products that aim to reduce your body temperature were originally created for labor type workers who are in extreme environments for long periods of time every day. This obviously makes sense. Construction workers, miners, factory workers really need every support they can get to be able to perform these tough and physically demanding jobs. These types of jobs require people to operate in conditions that have excessive heat. As discussed earlier, when a person gets overheated, not only are there serious health concerns that can arise, but other symptoms can arise. Irritability, frustration, impatience, lack of focus, excessive thirst, and foggy thinking all arise. When you are able to combat excessive heat so that your body can be in balance and be comfortable you will be thinking clearer and you will be performing better. Your endurance also increases and your risk of injury from such temperature stress decreases.
You want to spend your money on something that works well to keep you cool.
There is one thing that these products are designed to do and that keeps your body’s temperature comfortable in hot, humid environments. Outside of this main purpose, there are some special features that make some options better for specific activities over others. Lightweight design with flexibility and ability to be stored easily are design features for products that are better for gardeners. Flame resistance would be a great feature for electricians. Flexibility and ease of motion are great for athletes. Gear Pro-Tek Z-Cool uses extra padding, breathable materials and quick drying abilities that are perfect for football players. Extra durable materials and stitching is a necessity for heavy construction.
You want a vest that is easy to use in any situation so pay attention to ease of use as you make your choice.
You want to be able to have easy wearability. Adjusting your product to fit you properly is another thing that should be easy to understand and do. Reactivating or re-hydrating your packs should be able to be done with little time and have the ability to last the length of time you need. Products worn on the skin and under the clothing should have a pleasant feel and a good amount of give or flexibility in their materials. Some of the most pleasing options are designed using flexible inserts. There is nothing better than being able to just throw your product itself or the inserts into cold water to rejuvenate its performance especially when you are in environments that aren’t possible to have electricity for freezers and fridges.
It is critical that your vest fit well so you get the best results possible on the hottest days.
A lot of products will be one-size-fits-all. For these, it is important to have adjustable features or stretchability in the materials so that more body types can fit into them well. For those products that are meant to be worn underneath clothing, soft materials and won’t irritate your skin is very important. Great drying abilities are also important for products that are worn on the skin because you want to make sure that they will have properties that will cut down on bacterial growth for better health. Many still, will have varying sizes along with adjustable features so that you can get a more custom fit. Last, most are made for adults, but Glacier Tek Sports makes sizes for adults and children.
Durability is an important point to consider when you are asking yourself what cooling vest is right for you.
If you are looking for a durable vest to wear outside for a long workday you are going to want one that will have a long-lasting performance with minimal downtime. Many of the products listed above have options to have back up bladders or packs so that you can just switch out old packs with newer ones so there are no gaps in wearing the support gear. Most of these can have their packs or bladders easily reactivated with the freezer, refrigerator, even cold water in minimal time. Alpinestars MX is a model that you literally just throw the whole thing into cold water for 5-10 minutes and then squeeze out the water and itself -regulates and slowly releases the coolness onto your skin over time. For most people, 1-2 hours at a time with backup if longer is needed will work fine. For hardcore users, professional athletes, campers, working outdoors for long days, 4-7 hours with backup support is best.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Whether you choose a vest that uses ice packs or evaporative cooling, having one that fits well is key to how effective it is. To cool you properly you the vest needs to fit closely to your body. It doesn't need to be snug or uncomfortable, but the closer it is to your skin the better.
You can order an extra set of ice packs for some of the options on our list and we highly recommend doing so. That way you can always be sure to have a set on hand that is frozen and ready to go, and not be caught without ready to use packs when you really need them.
Other Factors to Consider
Some models are made to wear over the clothing and others are made that can be worn directly on the skin underneath the clothing. There are a couple models out there that can do both. The point is, it is important to know which product you are buying. If a model is made to be worn over clothing or another type of barrier, do not try to wear it directly on your skin. You don’t want to risk frostbite or soft tissue damage.
The materials that the packs are made out of matter as well. You don’t want to have anything that can be carcinogenic or toxic. Glacier Tek Sports uses materials that are more sustainable and come from alternative sources that don’t originate from petroleum. They are USDA Certified BioPreferred label. For those of you interested in purchasing products that are eco-conscious, this would be a great brand to look into. Another point to look into is when you are traveling in your vest or additional packs it is a good idea to bring a cooler. Some products come with insulated carrying bags to help keep your accessories cool for swapping in and out as needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Staying hydrated is immensely important to keeping your body temperature moderated especially in hot weather where you may be sweating and losing essential liquids. Even if you don’t feel the thirst sensation you should be drinking. Thirst is telling you that you are dehydrated which means you are late in getting yourself the liquids your body needs. You may have heard it before, but it is true, your urination color is an indicator of your hydration. If it is very dark you are dehydrated and need fluids. Do your best to avoid sugary drinks which lessen your body’s ability to take in water. Alcohol, coffee, and caffeine are natural diuretics.
If you can avoid it, stay out of the sun when it is at its hottest. The hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. are the most intense during the summer months. Try, if you can, to do your activities earlier or later than these hours. Keep shade around, and if there isn’t natural shade bring umbrellas or tents to activities. Remember to always wear a solid SPF. Adults can do well with 30+ strength, while kids should have at least 50+ strength.
Some foods can actually keep you cool. Salads, fresh raw foods, veggies, and fruit are all cool foods. Foods that are comprised mostly of water will offer additional hydration which will keep your body temperature balanced. Protein-heavy foods will increase your metabolic heat and when that happens water loss goes along with it. Eat small meals to keep your core temperature low, big meals make your body work hard to break all that food down.
In general there are two types of vests: those that use freezer packs and those that use evaporative cooling. The first type comes with packs that are filled with either water or gel and then place in the freezer. Once they're frozen you place them inside the vest and off you go. These offer the highest amount of cooling but are heavier and bulkier than options with evaporative cooling. These vests you just get wet and they then keep you cool as the water evaporates, much like how a swamp cooler works. These are much lighter and easier to wear than freezer pack options but they don't get as cold the coolness typically doesn't last as long.
- Fact Sheet: Overview of USDA’s BioPerferred Program, US Government, ,
- Standard Performance Specification for Flame Resistant and Electric Arc Rated Protective Clothing Worn by Workers Exposed to Flames and Electric Arcs, International Safety Certifying Body, ,
- How to Stay Cool in Warm Weather, Instructional Resource, ,