Today, we welcome a gear review from the lovely ladies at TrailChix, Tymeka Warburton and Connie Richards. These girls have put the Techniche range of products through their paces and come up with the following… It has been a rather hot and humid summer here in Australia, so this stuff looks like ideal timing. Read away…
It has been a long, hot, humid summer here on the Gold Coast, so when the Leanne and Maryanne from TechNiche ANZ contacted us about their Aerochill Cooling vest we jumped at the chance to review it.
TechNiche ANZ (Australia and New Zealand), stock and distribute a range of cooling products including hats, vests, neck ties and towels. The products aren’t just for the 2-legged species, they do an Equine and Dog range as well.
The AeroChill Cooling Vest boasts the ability to prevent heat stress by reducing body temperature by 5.6-6.7 degrees Celsius, compared the ambient temperature for 5-10 hours. So how does it work?
The material used is called Hyperkewl, which is a specially formulated evaporated fabric that is activated by soaking it in cool water for 2-3 minutes.
Once soaked all excess water should be removed by squeezing the vest from top to bottom a few times (do not twist the fabric).
It is key to note that the more excess water you remove the lighter the vest.
There is a super absorbent polymer fibre at the core of the fabric that holds a water layer, however the user stays dry due to quilted layers of absorbent fibre on the outside and a water proof fabric on the inside.
Once it is soaked and squeezed you can chose to wear it with or without a shirt. For me I wore it with only a sports bra underneath. The women’s AeroChill vest has coloured panels on the sides of the vest so you’re not exposed to the world.
Personally, I also liked the feel of the vest next to my skin.
How it works from here is simple, evaporation. You move and create airflow, which causes evaporation. The more you move the greater the cooling effect.
The vest comes in both men’s and Women’s specific designs. The women’s has the panels on the sides of the vest and a bit more colour. The men’s has a tube of colour around the edges.
The women’s is also slightly smaller in sizing.
I have been wearing this vest without a shirt under or over the top and it looks fine, good actually. Runner know it is more than a running shirt so it spark’s a bit of conversation, but far a few meters back it appears to be a black running top.
Both Men’s and Women’s are black with options of Orange, yellow, Green of Blue colour options.
Unfortunately, the AeroChill Vest smallest size is a small, me being a smidge under 5ft3”and about 50kg meant that it was too big and on runs over an hour I got a bit of chaffing under the arms due to the gaping of the material. If the size is right I highly doubt you would ever get chaffing from this product.
However you wouldn’t have to be much bigger than me for it to be a great fit.
My Husband, ultra-runner Caine Warburton, has been using the men’s small AeroChill vest and to date has not had any issues with Chafe.
So Leanne and Maryanne gave me a similar product, slightly different design, same technology and they told me it is slightly heavier. The Kewlshirt Evaporative Cooling Tank Top. It is a unisex cut, but the XS fit me perfectly.
You are a little more exposed on the side of this tank, but the sports bra covers anything worth seeing. In regards to weight, I couldn’t notice much of a difference between the Aerochill and the Kewlshirt.
The Kewlshirt comes only in a Blue/Black.
The big question that I have been asked a hundred times since using this vest….. How much does it weigh?
Amazingly, bone dry the Aerochill Men’s small vest is 120g. The Kewlshirt XS is 130g.
Soaked and squeezed of all the excess water:
Aerochill men’s small – 730g
Kewlshirt women’s XS – 540g
***Note: the more you squeeze out the lighter it will be****
I was lucky enough to try out a few other products in the TechNiche range including the Hyperkewl Evaporative Cooling Deluxe Neckband and the Cool Towel Pro.
The Evaporative Cooling Deluxe Neckband is a fantastic piece of kit to have in your running bag. I have previously used similar products that have to be frozen, which means that during hot races I have had to purchases 2 neck ties and leave one in an esky with my support crew.
This product means it just needs to be submerged in cool water to continue the benefit! I minute in cool water while re-filling a check-point for a few hours of cooling…….Priceless!
The Cool Towel Pro is a luxury, mostly I have been using this product post run, on the drive home or around the house to help cool me down after a run in heat.
However I have found a much better use, it is fantastic for kids! Our two-year-old daughter loves this towel, she wears it playing in the yard, cooling down while resting and at day care. It was also a huge benefit when she fell ill and had a temperature.
TechNiche ANZ also have a Cooling Sports Cap, I have not tried this product, however the cap has 2 Hyperkewl panels on the top of the hat to assist in keeping the body temperature cool.
AeroChill Cooling Vest – $144
Kewlshirt Evaporative Cooling Vest – $97
Hyperkewl Evaporative Cooling Sports Cap – $38.50
Cool Towel Pro – $19
Hyperkewl Evaporative Cooling Deluxe Neckband – $17
I have been running in the AeroChill and Kewlshirt for a little over a month. I have completed a range of runs including trail, 5km time trial, hill session, early morning (on a cooler day) and long road runs. The longer run completed in the Aerochill Cooling Vest was 36km on a 28 degree day.
When I first put the AeroChill Vest two things I immediately noticed was how light it was and how soft it was. My initial runs in the vest were between 5 and 15km and I instantly liked the feel of the product.
Now, you will still sweat the same amount as if you weren’t wearing the vest, this confused me a little as I thought my sweat levels would drop, so I was initially questioning the benefit. So I tried a few different options, first half of run without the vest and second half with it, visa versa and a few other combinations. Either way it was clear to me that there is a definite benefit to wearing this product. You won’t put it on and get a “Phew, that’s better moment” but you will feel a little more comfortable and with a slight breeze or a gust of wind, it feels incredible.
For my longer runs I used the Kewlshirt as it is a better fit for me, this for me is where the vest really comes into play. My longer run was a hot day 28 – 30 degrees with a decent amount of humidity and I set off around 9:30am so it was already really hot. I ran 35km on the road, around 3hrs 15, the first section of the run was fairly hilly and although I still felt hot it was manageable and I was enjoying the regular gust of wind to give me a burst of coolness. At 15km I took the vest off, put it in my pack (Note it is light enough to stuff in the pack without noticing it), and continued. I wanted to test if I made a difference. It took about 3 km before I realised how much benefit I was getting from the Kewlshirt. I hit Burleigh Heads (5km without the vest), held the Kewlshirt under a beach tap for 2-minutes, squeezed out the excess, and it was blissful. Catching breezes along the esplanade and feeling that much cooler.
The other point to note it the recovery benefit, By maintaining that slightly lower body temperature during the longer runs I found I recovered a lot better.
If you live in a hot climate, training for an event that is known to get hot or are prone to heat stress then I would highly recommend the TechNiche products.