Last weekend I decided to do some cleaning in my garage-slash-workshop. It’s a two-door garage, and, even with both open and a small fan stirring the air, it can get brutally hot. Summers in Georgia are miserable, and while I absolutely love working in my workshop… the heat takes away a lot of that enjoyment. I’ve got a nice comfortable beach chair that stays open and in the corner where I take frequent breaks. But even with a cold drink and the fan pointing at me, the humidity often makes it extremely difficult to cool down. I’ve thought about building a mister fan, but some of my tools probably won’t do too well around it and it’s not good for plywood or MDF either.
Nope… when working in my workshop, I typically have to resort to breaks and cold drinks with a fan blowing on me. (I’m usually too dirty to go inside — sawdust, sweat, and blood are frowned upon by the wife.) I’m always on the lookout for anything to help with the heat, including heat-dissipating shirts. I was recently contacted about testing out a new product that claims to cool itself to 30 degrees F (16C) below average body temperature. I don’t really know what that means while working in my workshop (I don’t typically take my temperature while working), but it sounds good.
So, in the mail I get this small box. Tucked inside is the Eduracool Instant Cooling Mesh Body Towel from Mission. When I opened it up, I realized quickly that I’d seen this advertised on television. So, of course, I’m already starting to wonder — will this thing really work?
The instructions for using it are fairly straightforward — Soak it, wring it out, and then snap/pop it. (The instructions explain that you can re-wet as often as necessary and the towel is machine washable.)
So, the test.
Last weekend I had the garage doors up and a solid 90 degrees F from the thermometer. I don’t know the humidity, but given that I live in Atlanta, I’m betting it was floating around 80-90%. Typical hot day in the south. I kept the towel nearby, dry and ready to go. I started tinkering around the workshop, occasionally stepping outside (into the sun) to kick a ball with my boys or toss the frisbee. It really didn’t take long before my shirt was wet and sweat was pouring down my forehead. (I was moving heavy items like my table saw so I could sweep the floor and also doing a lot of bending down to pick up things from the floor. Very aerobic stuff. My doctor would be happy.)
When I reached the point where I wanted a break, I sat down in the chair and drank some Gatorade. No fan. I just wanted to see how I felt after five minutes in the chair just resting. I certainly didn’t feel cool, but my heart rate dropped a little. The garage was HOT. Not un-safe hot, but just miserable hot.
Back to business. Another 15-20 minutes of cleaning and 5-10 minutes outside with the boys in the front yard and I was burning up. (Just so you know, the boys were mainly sticking to the shade under a tree, but they also had a hose going and water guns. They were fine.)
I took the hose, wet the Enduracool, popped it, and sat down in the chair with it over my head and shoulders… channeling my inner Gandalf. Blue Gandalf. And I felt cooler. MUCH cooler. It actually felt like a slightly cooler bubble of air was surrounding my head and chest.
I know (or think I remember) from my physics class that heat flows to cold, not the reverse. But that means something is definitely happening with this material. I don’t know what the popping of the towel does, but that seems to be the key factor. After wetting the towel, the material is dense and not a lot of light filters through. Pop it, and all of a sudden it has a much different pattern that you can actually see when you hold it up to the light. My best guess is that the Proprietary Fiber Construction (from the box) holds in the right amount of water and lets in the right amount of air flow. Or maybe not.
All I know is that when I put it over my head and draped it over my arms, it really did feel like a cooling effect. I’ve used wet towels before that really only just got me more soaked… this Enduracool towel doesn’t do that. Here’s what the small tech sheet that comes with the towel says:
This cooling performance fabric absorbs and retains sweat and water, circulating the molecules while regulating the rate of evaporation to ensure an instant cooling effect against the skin without feeling wet.
This material is also sold in various other products from Mission. They’ve got the towel in two sizes (L and XL), hoodie, arm sleeve, and skull cap. I’m just fine with the Large towel I’ve now used more than a few times over the last few weeks. It’s lightweight and smooth, and I’m very seriously considering trying out the hoodie.
I’m happy to report that Hibbett Sports in Atlanta is carrying the products, but you’ll definitely want to check out www.missionathletecare.com to find out where you can purchase these items if you want to give them a try.
Note: I’d like to thank MISSION Athletecare for providing me with a towel to test. I will admit I had my doubts, but the towel really has been nice to have while working outside.