Motorcycling Macna Dry Cooling Vest Test
With record-breaking temperatures occurring across the country, we put the latest generation of high-tech evaporating cooling apparel to the test. The product under evaluation? The Macna Dry Cooling Vest.
In the past, cooling vest technology required the user to soak a vest for two or more minutes in water, wring it out, and then put it on. Personally, I’m not a big fan of donning a wet vest, even on a scorching hot day.
Also, vests often require a recharge during the day. This means partially undressing, and unless you carry a large plastic bag, you’ll run the risk of having to soak your vest in a funky sink at a gas station.
Kevin Nixon, from Twisted Throttle, Macna’s distributor, says, “The (Macna Dry Cooling) vest uses a process of evaporative cooling. It gives you the sensation of cold without getting you soaking wet. The material in the center of the vest suspends the water. The material on the back side, which is the dark grey, is very porous and allows the water to evaporate.”
“Evaporation is aided by body heat and air flow. It works best with a mesh jacket. Depending on conditions, you can expect one to three days from one charge. Cold water is not suggested. There is no gel in this garment. It is anti-microbial and machine washable. Put it into a mesh bag and wash on a gentle cycle with a mild soap. Allow it to air dry or just put it on as you have effectively charged it. Overfilling it will render it ineffective. The vest will not be able to reach a temp efficiently that will allow it to evaporate.”
Thanks Kev, you’ve done half my job.
With Macna’s vest one pours up to 500 ml (16.9 oz.) of water into the reservoir through a small port below the right shoulder and then snaps the cover shut. Simple, elegant and dry… but cool.
I found it important to help distribute the water throughout the vest. If you are wearing it and just pour the water in the port, most will collect on the right side beneath the port. Either massage the liquid around or hold the vest upside down after closing the port. This will send the water throughout the bladders and enable its most efficient cooling.
Wear a high-tech polypropylene t-shirt underneath or nothing at all. With a mesh jacket on top of the vest the evaporative effect will be maximized and lower the perceived temperature to your torso. My buddy Rick called it a “wearable swamp cooler,” and when we had lunch in a cool restaurant the vest helped bring my core temperature back to normal in a hurry.
I don’t mind saying that one ride on a hot day made me an instant convert. When I left the house it wasn’t that hot so I put the vest on under my mesh jacket without charging it and put a bottle of water in my tank bag.
When the day wore on and the heat rose to the mid-90s I stopped and filled ‘er up. I can report that the cooling effect made more of a difference than you might imagine and is surely worth the cost.
Macna’s vest is now as much a part of my basic summer riding gear as my heated vest is to my winter kit. It also stands to reason that riding in extreme heat with this vest is healthier for your body. If you ride on hot days then do yourself a favor, buy one.
I sure hope Kevin doesn’t want his vest back.