Cooling vest manufacturers and claims of superiority are as ubiquitous as Cheerios in the backseat of a parent’s minivan. StaCool claims to be the “original” cooling vest, although patents for cooling vests have been filed since the early 1900s and—after extensive research on Google for 10 minutes—their name is curiously absent in those first patents. Ah, but StaCool boasts aside, they do make a solid, versatile vest, one that was originally designed for multiple sclerosis patients. The breathable neoprene vest is cooled by four large ThermoPaks (the same technology used by Coolture). These packs start as sheets of plastic that plump when activated by water and agitation. Unlike the gel vests of ArcticHeat, Polar and IZI, once activated, they tend to stay activated. A couple notes about ThermoPaks. When they are used for the first few times, they feel a bit slimy (not damaging to clothing). And to plump them fully, hand-agitation might not be sufficient, although tossing them in with a hot laundry load usually does the trick (just don’t dry them!). The packs cool for a consistent three hours and, due to the vest’s neoprene construction, condensation does not penetrate so clothes stay dry. Two sets of ThermoPaks are included with every order, an added bonus.
The StaCool vest is streamlined and (for men) can be worn under loose-fitting clothes, although the neckline will likely show since it is rather tight. The vest could stand to be more comfortable, especially when seated, as it pinches the neck. To pick further nits, the appearance of the vest is not quite as sharp as it appears in promotional photos as the StaCool at first glance looks to be inside-out. It also tends to bunch and stretch in places. Even with these minor dings in design and quality, StaCool hits the mark in a number of areas, making it one of the more appealing vests on the market, ranking above average in many categories.
Cold Sensitivity: 3
Weight: 4 lbs
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