Working in the motorcycle industry, sometimes you don't get the option to skip a ride day because it's too hot out. Testing and riding motorcycles daily, I have to ride when it rains or shines. This time of the year it's sometimes scorching hot outside, and I wanted to try Leatt's Coolit Vest to see if in fact this product would bring me back down to less-than-volcano-like temperatures.
The Leatt Coolit Vest relies on the Hyperkewl material, invented by TechNishe International, to absorb, store and release water (sweat in our case) over time. Typically I let the Leatt Coolit Vest soak in cold water for up to two hours prior to heading out on longer rides, or some serious trackday racing. For rides of up to one hour, I found that 20 to 30 minutes was the optimal time to let the Leatt Coolit Vest soak.
I tested the Coolit Vest in temperatures between 32º and 37º Celsius. Putting on the vest is actually the worst part. The shock to the body when the cold best hits the skin takes a couple of minutes to get used to. The zipper is quite unique as it contours from the bottom up toward the neck area. Although the vest rides up and zips up high in the neck area I had no problems with it rubbing or chafing. Your shirt of suit will get a little wet when putting in on, but eventually the shirt dries and the effects it had against my torso area. On long, five-hour rides, the Leatt Coolit Vest still felt like it was cooling my body down for at least four of the five hours. As the water evaporates in the best and starts to dry I thought I would start warm up, but the Leatt Coolit Vest stays cool against your skin even though it is not completely wet.
While standing still without airflow against my body, the best still gave me a slightly cooler feeling than if I wasn't wearing it. The fabric is stretchy, so it didn't hinder my movement on the motorcycle, chafing going on, but with Leatt's soft material there were no problems with ay of that.
It's nice to have the confidence to go ride even when the temperature outside wants to keep you inside. This is a must-have if you do some off-road adventure riding midday on a day that the sun is extra strong. Officially the Leatt Coolit Vest was developed for motocross, but it works for much more applications.