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Evaporative Cooling Vests vs. Phase Change Cooling Vests

Let's take a look at the science behind these two types of cooling vests. Once you have the facts in hand, the decision on which cooling vest works best for your unique situation is easier.

What is Evaporative Cooling?

The principle behind evaporative cooling is the fact that water needs to have heat applied to it to change the water from a liquid to a vapor. When evaporation occurs, this heat is taken from the water that remains in the liquid state, resulting in a cooler liquid. Simply put, you sweat. Cool water in the evaporative cooling vest absorbs your hot sweat and changes to a vapor. The process of the vapor leaving the cooling vest and being released into the air leaves you cooler. Voila! The ability to dissipate water vapor into the atmosphere is why evaporative cooler (aka swamp coolers) are so popular in low-humidity states such as Arizona, and not Florida. When the relative humidity is high, the water vapor has nowhere to escape! Evaporative cooling is something that we have all experienced. Wearing a damp tee shirt on a warm but windy day gives us a chill.


  • Lightweight.

  • Easy to use throughout the day.

  • No electricity is required, making this perfect for people on the move.

  • The most affordable form of cooling vest.


  • Not as effective in high humidity.

What is Phase Change Cooling?

The word phase refers to the various states in which a substance can exist. The most common are solid state (ice), liquid (water) and gas (steam). When the steam of your body passes through the non-toxic cold pack inserts, heat is released and you cool down. As the phase change cooling pack absorbs heat, it will begin to phase change from a solid to a liquid. Because of the constant temperature behavior of phase change material technology, the cooling packs will maintain a constant temperature during this transition. The process can take hours and will vary with air temperature and your body temperature.


  • Hard wearing.

  • Works in high humidity.

  • Cooling packs can be reused.

  • Does not produce condensation.

  • Typically provides a cooler temperature than evaporative cooling vests.


  • Packs can be heavy and bulky.

Once you see the differences between how evaporative cooling vests and phase changing cooling vests work and take into considerations all the benefits and disadvantages they bring to the table, it is easier to make the right decision for your specific needs. Don't let the heat of the summer drive you indoors; let a cooling vest change your outlook on the hot weather to come!

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