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Leatt Coolit Evaporative Cooling Vest Reviews

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Product Information

  • Retail Price ~$75.00 Shop Now
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Dirt_Biker250

   1 of 1 member found this review helpful 1 / 1 member

This past September, I suffered from minor heat exhaustion after riding in 90°F+ weather with 80%+ humidity.  I decided it was time to see what options were available to help keep my body cool while riding in the summer heat.  The Leatt Coolit Evaporative Cooling Vest caught my attention due to its simplicity and claimed duration of cooling ability.  I have been impressed with the quality of my other Leatt products as well as the excellent customer service they offer, so I decided to give their cooling vest a shot.  I opted for the vest version rather than the shirt as I was uneasy about cutting off airflow to my armpits, where a large portion of body heat is vented.
 
How It Works
 
The Leatt Coolit Vest employs the simple heat transfer principles of conduction and convection to accomplish cooling the rider.  Hyperkewl fabric in the vest stores the water and uses a proprietary chemical formulation to control evaporation, resulting in 10-15°F vest temperatures cooler than ambient air according to Techniche International (the inventor).  Leatt advertises a 15-20°F cooler feeling with the Hyperkewl fabric incorporated into the vest.  The vest is worn directly against the skin allowing body heat to be transferred into the vest via conduction.  The water in the vest evaporates over time via convection, providing a cooling sensation for the rider.  Leatt claims the vest is capable of cooling for one to six hours depending on weather conditions.
 
Product Overview
 
My first reaction when the package arrived was, “uh that’s it??”  I had it in my mind that this vest was bigger and bulkier than it actually was.  That being said, I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered it was sleek, lightweight, and would easily fit under my riding gear.  After a thorough inspection, I determined the vest was well manufactured.  There were no frayed ends and the clean stitching enhanced the sense of quality.  I then proceeded to try on the vest, but was somewhat disappointed in the sizing.  As a 5’11”, 155lb – slender/average build guy, medium is almost always my go to size for shirts.  The vest fit snug against my body but was definitely shorter than I expected.  It fit to ~1” below my belly button and was slightly longer in the back.  Despite the lack of length, I would caution against ordering a size larger as the vest must fit snug against the skin to achieve the best conduction of body heat.  I did have the opportunity to speak with a customer service representative at Leatt on the phone who reassured me that the vest was designed to have a snug fit and shorter length.  She said as long as it reaches the belly button it will perform as designed.
 
Installation
 
The vest is extremely easy to prepare for use.  Soak it in cool water, squeeze out the excess water, and go.  I did experience longer cooling times when not excessively squeezing water out of the vest.  It fits snug against the skin, and I did not experience any issues with irritation or chafing.  My jersey, chest protector, Camelback, and neck brace fit right over the top without needing any sizing adjustments.
 
Performance
 
I was able to complete two test rides in the mid-seventies to mid-eighties before temperatures started to drop off for the fall.  I also wore the vest for some other activities like P90X2 and indoor cycling, just to test its versatility.  The effective cooling capacity seemed to consistently reduce after wearing the vest for about one and a half hours.  It continued to cool about 1.5 - 2 hours beyond that point but not as noticeably.  I wore the vest for an afternoon in the mid-seventies with 70% humidity and concluded the vest was no longer effective at all after approximately three hours.  Fortunately, recharging the vest is a breeze.  Simply re-submerge in cool water, squeeze, and go some more.  Please keep in mind that the actual cooling ability and duration will be dependent on ambient air temperature and humidity.  Also, the vest was not as effective when working out in an indoor environment without much airflow.  This makes sense though because airflow aids in convective heat transfer. 
 
I will have to wait until next summer to test out the vest in the extremely hot/humid air we experience in South Carolina.  The vest has held up well thus far with no visible tearing or worn fabric.  One of my concerns with the vest was stench since it would basically be absorbing any sweat on my skin.  The vest is not machine washable, so you have to take the time to hand wash it.  However, I have had no issues with smell so far.
 
Pros :thumbsup:

  • Sleek and lightweight with a snug fit
  • No skin irritation or chafing
  • Well-made and durable
  • I feel cooler (temperature) wearing the vest than without it

Cons :thumbsdn:

  • Not machine washable
  • Sizing (I would have preferred a longer fit)

Bottom-line :prof:

I am pleased with the performance of the Leatt Coolit Evaporative Cooling Vest.  Even when riding with all my gear on, the vest successfully provides a cooling sensation for a reasonable length of time.  I would be hesitant to wear the vest for longer than three hours, but the average person is not riding for three hours straight.  It takes ~2 minutes to recharge and can be easily done during a gas stop in an enduro.  At $75.00, the vest is reasonably priced and will definitely become an integral part of my warm weather riding gear.

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tsenauskas

  

The major down-side for us was on really hot days when the vest is no longer cooling it actually will make you hotter. Be sure to recharge it as stated above so that you don't overheat.

 

Good quality though and ok priced, could be cheaper.

 

Oh and it is wet so your jersey will also be wet at first, although this may be a positive on very hot days.

 

All-in-all I think a Camelback is a better investment.

 

And here in Ohio we rarely have heat to worry about after August ;)

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