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My wife and I went out yesterday for a ride up to High Point state park and I wound up with heat exhaustion and getting a trailer tow home from a very kind Harley rider at a bakery we stopped at. I have a little bandana that you soak in water and had that on yesterday but to no avail - I had full leathers on and it was in the high-80's with a good bit of humidity.

Anyway, it got me thinking and looking for some type of cooling vest to keep this from ever happening again. I was even considering one of those water-pump cooler things mounted in one of the sidecases. (i.e. it was scary enough to make me take the heat a bit more seriously)

Do any of you guys use anything like this? Can you make any recommendations?
 

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You might want to consider a good textile jacket for warm days. Not quite as much protection as leather but much cooler and with armour should protect you pretty well. I have seen the vests but haven't tried one yet, because in Atlanta we have high humidity too.
 

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Here on the Gulf Coast of South Texas mesh jackets and pants are all you can realistically wear for anything more than a short jaunt. I personally usually wear my mesh jacket and MX helmet most of time (sans pants). The MX helmet provides good protection and ventilation but is very noisy at highway speed.

When riding in the heat I take a break every 125-150 miles or so and keep well hydrated, the heat can really take a lot out of you quickly if your not careful. You may also want to ride early in the day, knock off for a few hours during mid-day and then hit the road in the later afternoon again to avoid the worst heat of the day.

Dolly Survivor
 

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Hee,
I have found my AST Olympia jacket to be cooler than full mesh Joe Rocket. But as Zen says, got to stay hydrated!!!! Get a back pack unit or Marsee tank bag unit and suck on it as you ride.
Evap vest may help a bit but won't keep you hydrated!!
 

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I'm sure the answer is both or all three. Vented jackets help alot. A cooling vest adds added protection for an hour or so at a time. Sorts of causes you to stop frequently to recharge the vest by adding water. The Hydrating systems are the best option first. If you keep your internals well watered, you will always have perspiration working to cool you down on the outside.

When I travel, I use a hydration system that I fill up with ice cubes before I leave and cold water to top it off. Works well for me.

As far as the vests, you can get them at farm supply places, Aerostich.com, and many other MC stores.

Red
 

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From my meager experience, a leather jacket that has vents works great.

Also, it helps to only wear a t-shirt (or under armor) beneath the jacket so sweat is brought away from your skin.

It works almost like a swamp cooler (i.e., evaporative cooling) *IF* you're sweating enough. If you're not, you need to drink more water...

Edit: Obviously, the ambient humidity will have a great effect. It's pretty dry here in Colorado and even on a 90F+ day (like today) I felt pretty comfortable. In the south or other hellish areas ( ;) ) things could get ugly....
 

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Leathers seem to me to have about a 20 degree comfort range, (about 55 degrees to 75 degrees Fahrenheit). In the summer in New Mexico the mesh jacket & pants are the best dress. I ride with a friend who swears by the hydrating vest and carries extra water and a zip-loc bag to rehydrate as necessary. These vests are really effective at lower humidities when evaporative cooling effect is greatest, but consequently the vest dries out faster.
 
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