Polar Products has been a source for MS cooling for years, and their Kool Max vest has been their most popular offering for good reason. For users who like the sensation of cold, this Polar product delivers, and does so more safely than earlier editions. After our 2011 testing of their torso wrap, which we found too cold, Polar revised their ice vests (and wrap) to include a light layer of insulation around the ice packs to better control temperature. In doing so, they also better control condensation as the packs melt, keeping the user dryer.
This is a straight-forward vest with a straight-forward design flexible enough to work with many different body types. The multiple ice pack locations (8-12 depending on vest size) allow the wearer to better customize cooling and weight, a nice feature. The disadvantage? The more ice packs that need to be inserted/removed each time the vest is worn nicks the convenience score (of course, like all the vests in our testing, the entire vest can be frozen) while the fact that they can only be recharged in a freezer dings portability. And the packs, which are rock solid, do little to conform around the body. Our testers questioned the position of the packs along the spine, which felt uncomfortable to some. But with such an aggressive sale price, those shortcomings can be overlooked, as the Kool Max is one of the best bang-for-the-buck cooling vests on the market.
Cold Sensitivity: 2
Weight: 4 lbs 6 oz (9 packs)
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