Polar Products makes a solid cooling vest, as evidenced by their Kool Max and Cool58 products, but their Cool Comfort Hybrid falls a bit short. For a cooling vest to work optimally, it needs to hug the chest, yet this design—even with fabric that has a bit of a stretch—drapes the user. And this type of vest, similar to the ArcticHeat vest, is in theory geared for athletics. Baggy and athletic do not go hand-in-hand. While it is light weight, the vest struggled to last 45 minutes during exercise and was the wettest of the vests we tested. (All vests that required a presoak were dried with a towel and put in the spin cycle in the washing machine for a short while. As long as they are returned to the freezer in due time, the recharge process does not need to be repeated.)
Compounding the fit issue, the design also had some flaws, as the ribs in the back were continuous. Without a break in the center, folding the vest to put it in the freezer (necessary to do in all but the largest of freezers) meant pinching the gel, which didn’t always default to the middle of your back. More critically, vests of this type regularly freeze in funky, deformed shapes (see photos) despite our best efforts to freeze them carefully. Alas, only when they thaw fully do they start to look like their press photos (note: the bottow right photo was taken 24 hours later so the ribs are not fully plump). For vests that you pull out of the freezer and wear, the IZI Body Cooler and Arctic Heat appear to be better choices except for one key factor: price. The Cool Comfort Hybrid costs a fraction of those vests (3X more expensive). If you get a Cool Comfort Hybrid that fits your body properly and shrug your shoulders at its imperfections, you’ve got a screaming deal.
Cold Sensitivity: 2
Weight: 2 lbs 6 oz
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