It’s the dog days of summer – OK, it’s autumn already, but it’s still hot outside. Really hot. Northern California has experienced 25 days above 90-degrees F in September, and it’s actually going to be 100-degrees F this week in Sacramento. That doesn’t have to stop you from enjoying a nice long run, however. There’s one piece of gear that you need for those long, hot runs. Ergodyne’s, Chill-Its Cooling Bandana uses the principle of evaporative cooling, to chill your head and neck during those challenging outings. I thought you might find useful, this gear review that I wrote in my efforts to inform fellow outdoor enthusiasts one way to protect against heat related illness and injury.
The science of sweat, simplified
When we get hot enough, we sweat; it evaporates and then we cool down. If the evaporative process is delayed, stifled or otherwise compromised, our core temperature rises. This can mean the onset of heat-related illness.
Enter Ergodyne. Dip the Chill-Its bandana into a cold water bath and the science of evaporative cooling goes to work.
‘Tenacious Work Gear’ is Ergodyne’s tagline. On their website Ergodyne challenges customers to “turn to Chill-Its to bring a frosty layer of comfort when nature turns up the heat”. Can the Chill-Its bandana keep its cool under scrutiny?
Size and comfort
I tested the bandana on an adult woman with a hat size of 8. There is just enough material in this one-size-fits-all bandana to knot and tie it at the back of her head. When worn on the neck, there is more than enough room. The 80/20 cotton/acrylic material is lightweight and comfortable, even after it has been saturated with cool water. Our gear tester- a distance runner- couldn’t ignore an unexpected slick, slippery feel on her fingers the first time she immersed it in water. She said the slippery feeling almost immediately dissipated, and went away entirely after a few more dunks under water.
Is it frosty?
Remember the claim, “turn to Chill-Its to bring a frosty layer of comfort…” We followed the manufacturer’s instructions and submerged the bandana in cold water for 5 minutes. Then we took it for a nice, long run. Our test subject ran 10 miles in 90-degree California heat. To call it “frosty” would be a stretch, honestly. However, “cold,” “chilly,” and “comfortable,” definitely fits the bill. There’s a section in the bandana that contains some cooling media, and that portion of the bandana performed well. The rest of the bandana that didn’t contain the media dried up pretty fast. She ran with it on her head for an hour, then found a drinking fountain to re-saturate the head-piece. Admittedly, she only dipped it in the water for a few minutes before putting it back on her head, but it continued to do a good job keeping her cool.
Is it “Tenacious?”
Well, to begin, the bandana isn’t machine-washable. Not sure why, but I suspect it’s because of the “activated polymer” technology. You have to wash it by hand with a mild detergent and air dry. We put it through several hand-washings, but they were accelerated and not typical of normal wear-and-tear. After 10 washes, the stars-and-stripes pattern was essentially unaffected. The overall construction and material stitching seemed to hold up well.
The bandana is available in at least six different patterns direct from Ergodyne. Limited style selections can be found online at Amazon.com, Hantover.com, Shopdirectbrands.com, Toughweld.com and ranges in price from $1.75 to $3.50 each.
Editor's note: Photo, courtesy Ergodyne