Part of the gear supplied by KLCL for the trip to South Africa

PERSONAL LIQUID COOLING: Inuteq Dry Cooling Vest

Posted on 10 May 2017

LIQUID-COOLING FOR HUMANS

Most modern bike engines need liquid-cooling to erm… cool them down, but what about us humans?

Dehydration is a danger for all bikers and relying on sweat to cool us down will dehydrate us even faster. Ever felt drowsy and fatigued on a daytime ride? Chances are, it’s due to dehydration.

So can we get liquid-cooling too, notwithstanding the method of pouring water into your jacket or racesuit, and ending up being soggy?

Part of the gear supplied by KLCL for the trip to South Africa
Part of the gear supplied by KLCL for the trip to South Africa

That’s where Inuteq comes in with this vest. The name “Inu” is derived from the word “Inuit,” who are a tribe of Eskimos. Inuteq makes cooling products for industrial, sports, medical, military, and pets markets and applications. Speaking about the military, Inuteq even makes a liquid-cooled bulletproof vest, and worn by Dutch troops in Afghanistan.

Employing their patented Inuteq Dry® evaporative technology, the vest only requires you to fill a maximum of 600ml (slightly more than a small bottle) of water to enable you to feel its cooling properties immediately.

The vest consists of several layers (refer to graphic).

How the Inuteq Dry Cooling Vest works
How the Inuteq Dry Cooling Vest works

 

The outer-most layer is a permeable membrane which allows the exchange of moisture and heat. The middle layer is a waterwick which spreads the water we filled around the vest. And finally, the inner-most layer called HeatCool which feels cool to the skin when water is filled.

It works by using ambient heat to evaporate the water in the vest. Evaporation carries away heat. When that happens, the vest will cool resulting in cooler temperatures for our skin and body.

Fill with maximum of 600ml of water
Fill with maximum of 600ml of water

We had at 36-degrees Celcius day when we first tested it. The sun was fully up by 9am and it was already sweltering hot by 10.00. So I filled up the vest and slung it on.

Fill it up and massage the vest to spread the water around
Fill it up and massage the vest to spread the water around

A cool feeling on the chest and back was immediately apparent. It was even more cooling as I rode. As I continued to ride through midday, I felt much fresher as far as I could remember. No drowsiness.

The Inuteq’s cooling sensation seemed to wear off after a while but that’s normal, as your skin acquaints itself. (We’re warm-blooded creatures after all.) But bear in mind that it’s the moisture and coolness of the vest that’s keeping your core temperature cool. Consequently, there’s a lesser chance of dehydration.

To test it a little further, I decided to pack the Inuteq vest along for the GIVI Wilderness Adventure in South Africa, in 2015.

In South Africa
In South Africa

Here, the weather was much more pleasant as the season was just coming into spring from winter. You’d have felt the sting of the bright sunshine on your skin, but since the air is much drier than in Malaysia, the air temperatures hovered around 24-degress Celcius by midday and dropped to 8-degrees Celcius at night.

Was the vest still useful in such a climate? You bet!

It did feel warm and sometimes a little hot in our riding gear, especially when we stopped, but as we were wearing Hevik technical underwear which wicked away sweat quickly to keep us cool, the addition of the vest helped to regulate temperatures even further. Meaning cool when the weather was warm and warm when it was cool.

But the biggest test was yet to come.

Just four days after returning from South Africa, I was riding to Khao Sok National Park in Thailand with Triumph Malaysia.

DSC_5540

The plan had called for us to RV at the Rawang R&R at 5.30am on 4th September. Thinking I was late, I forgot the vest.

So how is this a test? Oh yes, it was a test alright.

To my horror, I was experiencing so much dehydration, I almost started to hallucinate on top of being drowsy and sleepy. Although I drank bottle after bottle of water, I didn’t visit the lavatory once throughout the 900-km trip, which meant all that water had gone out through sweating. It went on record as the first time I actually felt happy riding in pouring rain, like a frog who knows that rain means it’s time to mate!

Two other participants were already wearing this vest on that. I could only envy them.

Talk about a hard lesson learned, I will never ride without the Inuteq Cooling Vest ever again!