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Ice Cooling vests

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  • Ice Cooling vests

    I have MS and the heat really bothers me, degrading all of my physical abilities.

    I decided to get an ice vest. After much research on the Web I decided that the FlexiFreeze ice vest was the best one for me. It lasts long enough for my riding lessons, and the ice packs are pretty flexible.

    HOWEVER--its insulation is neoprene, and it turns out that I am allergic to neoprene (hives, itching, painful skin.) I am REALLY disappointed because this looked like the most flexible cooling vest out there.

    I handled it some and started itching, I handled it some more and I thought, from the state of my skin, that a horde of mosquitoes had gotten into my house and feasted on me. I finally tracked my allergic reaction down to the neoprene insulation of this ice vest since I only got the skin reaction where my skin had touched the neoprene.

    Since I live in the super humid South evaporative vests do not work for me and I end up hotter wearing them.

    I NEED an ice vest that does not have neoprene anywhere. Can someone here recommend one WITHOUT the neoprene insulation that is around $100.00 USD? I blew my extra money on this vest and cannot afford the expensive ice vests however good they are.

    I am sure I can give the FlexiFreeze vest to one of my riding teachers to build up good will (very useful if I am short of money one week) so it is not a total loss. I just wish I was not allergic to neoprene because otherwise this ice vest is ideal for me when I ride the horses.

    Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    Have you looked at Arctic Cool ?
    How it works;

    ... _. ._ .._. .._


    • Original Poster

      I ended up buying a Kool Max ice vest from Polar Products (

      It is not quite as flexible as the FlexiFreeze vest because instead of lots of little ice cubes encased in plastic the ice packs are around 4"x6". Even so it cooled me quite well. I have not given it the full test as the mornings I rode in it the temperature was quite cool so I have no idea how well it will work when it is HOT.

      Both during and after my rides I did SO MUCH BETTER! I actually got up to doing the posting trot all the way around the ring instead of just 1/4 of the ring. Afterwards I did not feel tired unto death, I just felt a little tired and I recovered after an hour or two of rest in the air conditioning (set at 77 degrees) and I could get other stuff done through the day.

      I have great hopes that this vest will help me as it gets hotter. Usually in the heat of the summer I have to dial down my ambitions for contact with the bit and I usually have to go to my gentlest bit or bitless, but now I have some hope that I will be able to continue with the double bridle through the summer, as long as my riding teacher says I am riding well enough for the double bridle.

      The Kool Max vest has no neoprene, and my skin did not break out at all.


      • #4
        OP, did you try to return the first vest you bought? So many places take returns if its sent back fairly quickly and once you explain about the bad reaction you had to their product you might just be able to get a refund. I'm glad you found another alternative and that it helps so much with your riding.


        • Original Poster

          Hi BAC,

          Since the FlexiFreeze vest goes up to 6X in size my husband can use it since he is not allergic to neoprene. My husband is a big guy and none of the other vests I could get that fit me could fit him, but the FlexiFreeze one does.

          I am also keeping it in reserve in case my riding teacher needs one for my lessons this hot summer.

          All is not lost for me though, the plastic and nylon of the pouch holding the FlexiFreeze ice cubes does not have neoprene and I use one often inside at home when my bedroom gets too hot just not in the vest itself. This cools me down enough so I am not sweating inside the house.


          • #6
            I'm interested in what your research turned up. I am heat sensitive and temps above 80 and dew points above 60 really bother me. I also had eliminated an evaporative vest because the hottest days in the northeast also have a high humidity, though probably not as bad as NC.

            Were there any models to stay away from? Plus/minus of gel vs. water frozen packets? Most of them seem to be basically mini frozen packets to keep your core cool. Did you see anything for head cooling? My face/head sweat copiously. I think I drank 10 bottles of water, vitamin water and seltzer yesterday and peed once all day. I think I just sweat it out. I also have pretty sensitive skin- I cannot wear wool or scratchy materials or I end up scratching and then I get hives and big red patches. I don't know if I'd have an issue with neoprene. Maybe I'll try wearing a woof boot around the house.

            Thanks for any help!


            • Original Poster

              Hi @ruth0552,

              The problem with the ice packs (water ice) is that you HAVE to have a freezer to get the packs frozen again.

              There are also "phase change" cold packs that will solidify in temperatures below 58 F, either in a cooler with ice water or in a refrigerator. The Polar Products site shows a "Cool58 phase change vest" with these packs.

              If I was going to the stable for more than 2-3 hours I would get the Cool58 vest and a cooler I could "refreeze" the packs in.

              Of course other companies also do the phase change cooling packs, but all of them are expensive. The Polar Products Kool Max (water ice) vest was the one that fit my lifestyle right now, I spend less than two hours going from my house to the stable, and grooming, tacking up, walking to the ring and back and untacking and cooling off the horse and getting home, and I need the maximum coolness.

              My Kool Max vest itself is made from cotton, with polyester insulation.

              The FlexiFreeze people seemed only to do water ice, and with my allergy to the neoprene shell (for insulation) my skin protested mightily.


              • #8
                JC, I'm glad your husband is able to use your vest. Is there any way to fit a cover over the neoprene so that you can also use it? I remember some horses having a reaction to neoprene girths although nothing as severe as what you went through.


                • Original Poster

                  I tried a T-shirt over it, so it was T-shirt, summer shirt, ice vest, then another T-shirt. I still got the reaction wherever the ice vest touched my summer breeches or random places on my arm.

                  I had to have my husbands help to get it all on and getting it all off was an even bigger adventure. That is when I gave up on the FlexiFreeze vest, I just could not stand not being able to dress and undress myself for the ride.

                  I have not had any problems with my new ice vest. I even discovered I did not need the T-shirt under it because my technical fabric shirt seems to protect my skin enough from freezing with this ice vest (the Kool Max one.)


                  • #10
                    It sounds as though you found an even better solution. I can't imagine having to wear all those layers, especially in the heat.


                    • #11
                      Have you ridden in it? How bulky does it feel? I don’t have MS, I do have RA but I’m mainly just a naturally, ridiculously, heavy sweater and quite heat intolerant.

                      I’ve had a bunch of older parent stuff over the past year, which slowed my lesson time down and now I’ve been out of the saddle for months...mostly due to just getting out of the habit. I miss it terribly, but the thought of going back to lessons in the heat...even in the mornings or evenings is kind of daunting! Plus, I’m in a cubicle all day and our AC is a bit exuberant, I freeze all day long and have not built up any tolerance.

                      I’d love to hear more, mostly I hope that it has provided you with tons of relief!!!


                      • Original Poster

                        Hi Barn Mom,

                        I've been riding in the ice vests since I bought them.

                        The FlexiFreeze vest lives up to its name, it is flexible on my torso, much more than the Kool Max ice vest that has blocks of ice (4"x6"?) so it is not quite as flexible as the FlexiFreeze one. I just wish I was not allergic to the FlexiFreeze neoprene shell.

                        For the heat I wear my technical fabric hot weather shirt, my technical fabric hot weather riding tights, my hot weather socks, my Columbia Sportswear neck gaiter which cools a little bit under my helmet, and a terry cloth head band, and after I rode this morning I was still sweating some on my face. When I took my ice vest off the skin on my torso was COOL, much cooler than the skin on my arms which was covered by my riding shirt.

                        All in all the ice vest seems to reduce the amount that I sweat all over my body.

                        I ride early in the summer, 8:00 AM or 8:30 AM. Even though it is early it feels like I am stepping into a sauna when I open the front door when it is about 76 F in the shade.

                        The heat still affects me, but with all this summer riding gear the heat does not prostrate me like it would before I got the ice vest. The humidity down here in NC is HIGH, especially early in the morning and even if my body is cooler I am still breathing the hot humid air. But I can handle it (while I wish that someone would invent a portable air conditioner with a breathing tube so I could breathe colder and dryer air.)

                        I also mostly walk the horse, with some short trots. I am not very ambitious in the heat.

                        The ice vests feel a little bulky, but not any more bulky than my protective vest (which is too hot for me to use in the summer.)

                        Good luck getting back into riding as much as you want to!