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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Being a life-long Texan ... I'm fairly acclimated to the heat. But as I've grown older, while I CAN tolerate the heat, more and more I don't WANT TO! Yet I have a hard time parking my 1500 during July and August just because it feels like you're standing 4 yards outside the doorway to Hell. So, I've decided to put a Jaws of Life in my wallet and purchase a cooling vest.

I say cooling vest - I've tried the evaporative cooling vests. They dont' work worth a dang here in Houston - too bloomin' humid! And Phase Change vests are nothing more than frozen liquid - water or other - that thaws to cool you. Those are all very limited in the time that they actually work. I know - I own two of each kind.

My question is this: Do any of you have either a Veskimo unit (www.veskimo.com) or a HogCooler unit (www.hogcooler.com)? If so, how do you like it? Pros? Cons? Even better would be if you own both and have an actual comparison. These are the two that I've narrowed it down to purchase based upon price ... they're both about $350.00. Thanks!
 

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My late wife Carol loved to ride and had Mutiple Scleorsis. She could not tolerate the heat or else she would have an exerbation and it would likely put her in the hospital. She did not want to let the MS take riding away from her. So we have lot's of experience with the Veskimo. I would highly recommend them. They are a very reputable company that stands behind their product. We purchased the veskimo at first with the back pack. A lot depends on the heat, humidity, how hard the ice is and how cool the body is as to how long a "charge" will last. Generally here in North Texas in the 100+ temps in August, it would last about 2 hours then we would have to more ice in it. We decided to get the 9 quart cooler. We have a deep freeze with the temp set at -20*F. We made our own block ice using some tupperware containers. I could put two blocks of ice in the 9 quart cooler and cold water from the refrigerator, temp around 37*F, and the charge would last around 6-8 hours. Carol liked wearing a t-shirt under the veskimo then a leather vest over the veskimo. Even in August, the temp inside the leather vest was in the mid 70's. I have tried to use it, when I do, I have to circulate the pump on and off because I get to cold wearing it, even in August!!! If you go to their web page http://www.veskimo.com/cooling-vest-ms-medical.php that's Carol modeling it for them and our side car rig. I have it wired up to the bikes electrical and when she was on her scooter we ran it off the battery pack with rechargeable AA batteries.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
82gl1100iwingman

Thank you so much for sharing. Not only informative, but heart touching. I have a dear friend who has MS and, like your wife, has challenges with the Texas heat. Throw in the extra humidity of the Houston area and she has some serious challenges sometimes. I will definitely recommend the Veskimo to her as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ordered a Veskimo

OK - I finally got someone to answer the phone at HogCooler.com. It is indeed a local company here in the Houston area. However, thanks the to current economy and some events in his personal life - HogCooler.com is currently in a holding pattern. He has completely sold out of existing units and is only providing parts/replacements for units already purchased. Due to a family emergency, he had to take a regular J O B and only does the support work on the side. His plan, if everything goes right, is to get back up and running in the next 30 to 90 days. Unfortunate - I really like to support the small businessman and a local motorcyclist is even better. But 30 days plus is longer than I'm willing to wait.

I also talked at length with 2 people who have Veskimo units. One friend who has Multiple Sclerosis uses the backpack unit. She says it is literally a life saver in her case. Without it - it would mean staying almost totally indoors in the summer. Exposure to the Texas heat "send me into an episode and I end up in the E.R. and admitted to the hospital". With the Veskimo system, she says she can spend hours out in 90 to 105 degree heat with no problems. It regulates the temperature of her body core and allows her lungs to function relatively properly. The 2nd friend is a GWRRA chapter member of a neighboring chapter who had a full heat stroke about 3 years ago. Her body has lost the ability to properly regulate temperature through sweating and evaporative cooling like most people. In her case, the Texas heat almost was deadly and can easily become so again. She rides 2 up with her husband on his GL1800 and she has her own GL1800 - she says that the ONLY way she can do either is because of the cooling of power of her Veskimo. She has the small 4.4 qt. ice chest version and says she gets a couple of hours our of a charge of ice.

So ... I just ordered one. I chose the 9 qt. version in an XL vest. I can' wait to get it and try it out! I'll keep this updated as the summer wears on. Stay tuned!
 

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I have much the same problem, though I don't have MS. I worked outside (and even worse, in attics) here in Phoenix AZ most of my life. The heat always bothered me, but I dealt with it the best I could. When working on a roof, I would take a bucket of ice water up there, soak a towel in it, and put it over my head. when it begin to get warm I'd soak it again. I am now disabled, and my health is slowly declining. Seems like the thing that bothers me the most is the heat. I easily become dizzy and disoriented when out in the heat. I stay inside during the hot part of the day, with the thermostat on 70 degrees. I sometimes get up before sun up and go for a ride, and also ride at night after it cools down. After a lifetime of driving vintage cars with no A/C, I finally had to buy a later model transportation car that had it. I would be very interested in something like you are describing if it works. Many people complain about not being able to ride in the winter, for me it is the summer.
 

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something simple that I use is a bandana that has small beads that swell when wet... got this from the forestry firefighters here in BC it certainly cools you down in hot weather I have seen them at Bike dealers
 

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I have had a camal bac for a number of years. (back pack full of water). What I have done is I freeze the camal bac (not from full water) and put that on my back when I ride. Thats worked perfect for me for a number of years. the ice melts from solid frozen pretty quick, but when I get a drink of water from it, the ice cools down even more making every ride really comfortable. when the ice is gone, I just buy a small bag of ice and refill it if I am away from home. Rode to memphis tenn in 110 plus temps with no problem.
 

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I have a Camelback, I used to use it many years ago when I could still ride a mountain bike. I put Gatorade in it and left it in the freezer overnight. I was only using it for something to drink. The Gatorade melted pretty quickly, but stayed cold for a long time. But the thing has one fatal flaw. While what's in the pack is insulated and stays cold for awhile, what is in the hose gets hot real quick, and on a hot day you would get a mouthful of super hot Gatorade (or whatever you put in it)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It's here!

Got home this afternoon from work and sitting on the porch was a gift from FedEx. Opened it up and behold! A nice, new Veskimo 9 qt cooling system.

I will say this - I am so glad that I didn't try to put something together myself. The materials and construction seem to be first rate. The hose connections are simple to use and disconnect easily. The electrical line has a built-in on/off switch ... there is an available switch that cycles the pump on and off at regular intervals that is plug and play. The vest is much nicer than anything I would have been able to cobble together.

Now I just have to wait until it warms up somewhat to use it! I don't think I'm going to have to wait all that long ... this is Texas after all. I'll let you know how it works.:15red:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Awesome!!!

I've been using the vest almost daily for the past week and a half. High temps are around 93 degrees ... not horribly hot yet, but enough to cook you in stop and go city traffic. And the prognosticators are saying it will hit upwards of 98 degrees by Thursday of this week.

The Veskimo works GREAT!!! I've tried a number of configurations from a cotton t-shirt under, a Under-Armor shirt under it, the Veskimo vest directly against the skin - I think the Under-Armor shirt underneath is the most comfortable and it cools quite well. The Veskimo vest does produce some condensation in our Houston high humidity and the wicking fabric does a better job of getting rid of the moisture than the cotton t-shirt.

In the summer, I ride wear a FirstGear DayGlo Green all-mesh jacket. After experimenting this week - I found that I get the best results by putting my leather vest over the Veskimo vest and the Mesh Jacket over that. The leather vest blocks the wind from "robbing the cold" from the cooling vest and blocks out the hotter wind from the outside. Additionally, by snugging up the adjustments on the vest, it helps hold the tubes of the Veskimo cooling vest against my body better than without it - more efficient heat transfer and thus, better cooling. I tried riding with my Olympia All-Season Touring jacket - but it was just too heavy and I feel better with the wind through the mesh on my arms.

I went down to WallyWorld and found a plastic food storage container that is just slightly larger than the inside of the 9 qt. cooler that comes with the unit. I couldn't find anything I thought was acceptable in terms of durability that was slightly smaller than the cooler - so I opted to go larger and use an ice pick to carve off a little bit of ice to make it fit. Add 2 cups of liquid water to the unit and I'm off! Works great! The block ice lasted over 4 hours on a 92 degree ride. The bagged ice I got at the local Stop & Rob lasted about 3 hours on a similar day. At $0.89 for an 8 lb. bag, that's a pretty cheap way to go without the hassle of making your own block ice. I just have this hard-headed mentality of doing it myself! :)

I know that the rig is a little cumbersome - especially for local riding where you're on and off the bike frequently. But for anything over a 20 minutes ride ... it is worth every penny! I highly recommend the chilled water systems!
 

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Some more info

I'm glad to hear you like it and are enjoying it. I make my own ice blocks using Gladware containers. The best one is the 8 cup 64 oz size. They are cheap and if you break one oh well. It is rectangular and a bit smaller the the 9qt Veskimo cooler. The cooler will hold two of these ice blocks. I have a deep freeze that I keep set at -20*F. The harder the ice, the longer it will last. I also keep water in the refrigerator chilled down to 37*F. I generally only start with 2 blocks of ice and 1 qt of water. Too much water wil make the ice melt faster. If the ice chest is going to be sitting in the hot Texas sun, I use a car windshield thermofoil that block the sun. I wrap the thermofoil around the cooler to keep direct sun off it. It also helps insulate the cooler. As you found out, it is best to have leather over the Veskimo vest. It keeps the cool in and the heat out. It is best to keep the Veskimo vest cinched tight up agaisnt the body. I would highly recommend something between the Veskimo vest and your skin. It the Veskimo vest cools the skin too much, it will constrict the blood vessels not allow the body to cool it self off. Which will lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. You must allow the blood to do it's job to cool the body. Last time I spoke with Veskimo, they were working a bladder system for the head. They were going to give one to Carol to test it out before it went on market. If they do develop it, you might need a parka in the middle of summer if you use both the vest and head bladder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ice blocks and helmet bladder

I'm glad to hear you like it and are enjoying it. I make my own ice blocks using Gladware containers. The best one is the 8 cup 64 oz size. They are cheap and if you break one oh well. It is rectangular and a bit smaller the the 9qt Veskimo cooler. The cooler will hold two of these ice blocks. I have a deep freeze that I keep set at -20*F. The harder the ice, the longer it will last. I also keep water in the refrigerator chilled down to 37*F. I generally only start with 2 blocks of ice and 1 qt of water. Too much water wil make the ice melt faster. If the ice chest is going to be sitting in the hot Texas sun, I use a car windshield thermofoil that block the sun. I wrap the thermofoil around the cooler to keep direct sun off it. It also helps insulate the cooler. As you found out, it is best to have leather over the Veskimo vest. It keeps the cool in and the heat out. It is best to keep the Veskimo vest cinched tight up agaisnt the body. I would highly recommend something between the Veskimo vest and your skin. It the Veskimo vest cools the skin too much, it will constrict the blood vessels not allow the body to cool it self off. Which will lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. You must allow the blood to do it's job to cool the body. Last time I spoke with Veskimo, they were working a bladder system for the head. They were going to give one to Carol to test it out before it went on market. If they do develop it, you might need a parka in the middle of summer if you use both the vest and head bladder.
Thanks for the information! I'll definitely end up using the Gladware idea. I have another softside cooler that the Veskimo cooler sits down inside of quite well - I have just enough room to stuff an old beach towel around it. I figure it's just another layer of insulation. The couple of times I've stopped for lunch or along the ride, if the bike is out in the sun, I drape the towel over the cooler to shade it.

If you ever hear of a helmet bladder to cool the ol' scalp off ... DEFINITELY let me know!!! I think you're right ... people might just look at us funny as our teeth were chattering on a good ol' Texas August afternoon in the sun!
 
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