I'm needing to pick up a decent waffle-weave cooler, but am really torn on material. I'm wanting to stay away from wool as I need something easily washed/stored, and also something that can be layered under a blanket.
What coolers do you like/use? I've found two from Schneider's that I really like, but not sure which one to go with. I've used the acrylic cooler before and really liked it, but I remember it being a bit stiff.
It depends on what I am using the cooler for as to which one I pull out to use. On cold days for hauling a horse have an older acrylic fleece sheet. On cold to very cold days after a fox hunt I use a wool cooler- a full body cover- to wick away moisture but keep my horse warm. After a fox hunt on warmer winter days with no wind I use a cotton one like the one you linked to for wicking away moisture. Bottom line for me is this: to wick away moisture I use a sheet/cooler with natural fabric. To add a layer of warmth I use that old acrylic sheet by itself or under a blanket.
I have one of each, and use them for different purposes.
If the goal is to keep the horse warm (a layer under a winter blanket), I would stay away from cotton – the old backpacker’s saying is “cotton kills”. It absorbs moisture and stays damp – sucking heat right out of your body.
That said, I have a cotton waffle weave – it is absorbent, and I like to put it on after a bath or a sweaty ride. Similar to a bath towel, it draws moisture from the coat.
I also have an acrylic cooler. This is what I use under a blanket for extra warmth, or if the horse is just a tiny bit damp still when I need to blanket them and put them out for the night. The acrylic cooler still draws moisture from the coat, but not as rapidly as my cotton cooler – but also does not remain damp.
I know you mentioned you were looking for a waffle weaved cooler, but I have 5 stars if not more to the Rambo Newmarket Coolers. I believe they are made out of acrylic fleece and I have never seen anything dry my horse faster. The true test was at the beginning of winter when my horses supposed waterproof blanket wasnt waterproof and he was soaked and shivering to the bone. I brought him in tossed the cooler on him for 20-30 minutes and he was practically dry where the cooler touched him. I was so impressed, I bought them for my other horse as well. Definitely recommend! It washes and cleans nicely, at home in my washer, and no pilling!
Does anyone find that the acrylic doesn't hold up to long-time wear and is also "scratchy" and a bit abrasive? Maybe acrylic is better these days, but I have avoided it for years preferring natural fibers or a good quality poly fleece. I adore my Newmarket Fleece cooler - bonded fleece / cotton? Wicks like nobodies business.
I love the Newmarket fleece, but it's pretty heavy-- great for a clipped horse/ cold weather, but I think the OP is in SoCal? I have what must be a very similar if not identical Dover version of the Temp Tamer-- and material- wise it's fine, but it's cut really oddly. I'm not sure if it's made for QHs or what but it's huge in the chest and waaay short everywhere else. So I'd go with a better quality version of that. I have a Jack's one and a Triple Crown one, both of which are much nicer.
I also have a cheap Horze fleece which is nice for when the Newmarket fleece is too much. I think it was like $25 and so far it's held up fine. Good for when it's 45- 55 degrees and you need something light.
I don't like the words Cotton and Cooler together. I like cotton sheets, but I don't like cotton in any instance where it will get wet. I have several wool and fleece coolers and one acrylic one, and I think it's just as soft as the wool coolers, every it as hardy, and cools out just as well. Polar fleece is my favorite.