Each vest is activated by submerging it in cool water for up to 20 minutes. During that time the crystals contained in the vest expand into pea-sized balls, absorbing water. As you wear the vest, the water slowly evaporates, cooling you in the process. You can also freeze the vests for additional cooling.
The Hidden Vest (the tan vest in these photos) is lightweight and involves minimal fabric. The fabric is stretchy, making it comfortable to wear, and it also remains incredibly light, even once the crystals have absorbed water. This vest is also highly adjustable. It features three Velcro straps in the front that you can easily adjust, and a Velcro strap on either side of the vest's bottom allows for a tailored fit and keeps the vest from riding up or bouncing.
In summary, both vests were effective. I tested them in the high humidity of Massachusetts, so if you live in a lower-humidity climate, then you may not find it necessary to freeze the vests, as the evaporative properties may be more effective. I found that the Cool Comfort® Deluxe Sports Vest provides more thorough, faster cooling, but the Cool Comfort® Hidden Vest's incredibly discreet design makes it appealing for anyone riding in a show or clinic.
Be sure to check out our review of Polar Products' Cool Max Fashion Vest, then visit the Polar Products website and Facebook page. Be sure to tell them that The Equine Insider sent you!.