Ice vests

Scheffa

Active Member
#1
Howdy all.

Anyone on here have any experience with using ice vests during the summer months??
The weather here in aus is sitting pretty consistently around 38c, working powerlines mean me and all my guys have to wear chainsaw pants, long sleeves, gloves, helmet and glasses at all times.

Taking frequent breaks in shade if available and drinking plenty of water helps but be nice to be able to try and keep the core temp down a bit and comfort levels up if possible.

Been looking st a few different types of vests online but have absolutely no idea on them so looking for a little insight
 

pctree

Well-Known Member
#2
I have used them for years and really like them. Here in Virginia we often have temps over 100 degrees in summer time with high humidity.
You need a system that utilizes phase change cooling. The inserts that contain the phase change material are a white solid when they come out of the cooler and are about 70 degrees. It takes a lot of energy to melt them into the clear liquid that they become. I used to get about 3 hours out of a charge. You obviously need 2 sets of inserts per user so you can always have a cold set in the ice box.
Select a brand that has the most thermal mass of phase change material, bottom line is you want the inserts that just have 2 chambers, not the ones that have 8 small chambers as they don't last as long.
In my experience I still felt hot working but at the end of the day I wasn't exhausted like normal
Expect to pay $300 per user which many think is too much? I never really got that as they enable you to work safer and more all summer.
 

Daniel

Well-Known Member
#6
I've used them too... grinding stumps in Virginia , mid summer, full sun, standing next to a big grinder all day.. They work great.. May be a little bulky for climbing...
 

southsoundtree

Well-Known Member
#7
A warm jacket in the winter is bulkier than no jacket and being miserably cold and unencumbered.

I work in the PNW but grew up with midwest humidity, my first day of being a bike messenger was also the day 500 people died from heat in Chicago, prompting a lot more cooling-shelters, and have cut stumps in Death Valley at 104*F.
 
#9
GlacierTek here too. Been using them for 2 summers now. I wouldn't work in the winter without a coat or coveralls. Won't work in the summer without this. I don't have to have it to get by but it sure makes life so much better.
 

southsoundtree

Well-Known Member
#11
Today, my employee was talking about the first day of work. I told him about the Coolvests. He was in disbelief that layering up with stuff would make the job better. In about 1 minute, he realized what he had been missing for the last 5 hot summers of tree work.
 

bstewert

Active Member
#13
I have three vests and two sets of packs from GlacierTek. I don't do well in the heat anymore, so for me they have been a lifesaver. I wear them everywhere in the summer, to the store, even on the tennis court. Many people think it's some kind of bullet-proof vest.

The company is A+ in my book, when it comes to replacing leaky packs, or anything. I prefer the 2-chamber pack over the 4-chamber pack as it provides more cooling. But had to request that.
 
#15
Any of the packs are stiff at first. You can't put them on and immediately bend over out of the bucket. But once they thaw just a little they start conforming to your body. I try to stack them up in my freezer so that they freeze at a slight curvature. That helps them feel more comfortable when you first put them on instead of feeling like wearing boards. Glacier Tek is the company I bought mine from. One of mine started leaking last summer. I sent an email and asked what to do. In 3 days I had and entire set of 4 new packs sitting on my doorstep. That's pretty good service in my opinion. I wear mine almost everywhere when it's real hot. It makes me not mind going back outside after working all day in 100 degree weather.
 
#17
https://glaciertek.com/original-sports-cooling-vest-red-adult/

This is the one I bought. It's adjustable. The only real restriction that I've noticed is leaning out of a bucket extremely far on fresh frozen packs . But it's a non issue for me given the advantages. I'm 6'1" so the bottom of mine rides right at the top of the bucket. I can raise it up just a little and it will let me lean all the way out. While climbing srt the only problem is I wear a weaver chest box for tending and I have to leave the vest unzipped about a third of the way to connect to my hitch. But it's no problem at all because it's just for ascending then I'm back to normal.

I recommend buying two vests and an extra set of cooling packs . The packs will last about 4 to 5 hours. They need about 30 minutes to fully recharge submerged in ice water. I carry an extra ice chest that the packs will stack in with mostly water and a little ice. They won't refreeze as fast in ice. They like to be submerged in cold water. Even 50 degree water will refreeze them in about 30 minutes . An extra vest is nice because you'll need to wash and air dry the vest every day. It will be soaked all day as the packs sweat as they thaw out plus you sweat and pulling the packs out of ice water they will be dripping. The extra packs are expensive but worth having. But you can leave them in the freezer overnight, wear them til noon then submerge them in ice water for 20 to 30 minutes at lunch then wear them the rest of the day. But it's nice to have extras because if you ever let anyone else wear it on a hot day you might not get it back.
 
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