Long, hot Gulf Coast summers mean staying active can be hard. However, in today’s world we have lots of gadgets and gizmos that claim to keep us cool. You can buy anything from mini fans that attach to your cell phone to stroller cooling mobiles. As a long distance runner myself, I have always wondered if any were actually worth the price but never was willing to splurge for any. Today I finally put three to the test.
After running around a little in the park I put my first gadget to the test. It was a hand held, battery operated misting fan made by O2COOL. It cost about five dollars in local stores and was easy to use. I found it worked well on my face but wasn’t as good on my hair-covered head.
Gadget two fell short of my expectations. It was a cooling cap. The idea is similar to a cooling towel except it was fitted to my head and had ‘cooling crystals’ pockets. It was soaked in cool water for a few minutes before being put on my head. I didn’t notice much of a cool down after a few minutes. The cotton fabric cover may have made it feel actually a bit hotter than normal. This seven dollar cap could have been worth it if it was put in the freezer for a few minutes after being wet or even the refrigerator for a few hours. I just found it heavy on my head.
Finally I tried out a cooling towel. It is rubbery like towel that you soak in water a few minutes, then shake, and place on your neck. You can find them in many stores for about ten to fifteen bucks and they come in many different brands. The towel was cool instantly and the material felt very nice on my neck.
After testing them all myself, I had some favorites but would other runners agree with me? I decided to find out. Steve Kelley who runs in the heat regularly says he enjoys the heat as he gets older. While he isn’t the type of person to by these types of gadgets own his own, he did have a favorite; the cooling towel. “I’ve seen people try those and they’re pretty nice,” said Kelley.
Chanel Liveoak came running by me. She is seven months pregnant and still runs five days a week. She also had never used any of my tools but favored the cooling towel’s instantly cool feeling. She also liked the five dollar misting fan but would she buy it? “Oh yeah, for sure. Summer, I mean it’s about three months long and it’s been hot like this since about the end of June so definitely a great investment,” said Liveoak.
So after testing all three things and asking people what they liked, a lot of people liked the fan but the towel was the clear favorite. One thing that was very interesting was that all of them acted on one technique to get cool; evaporation. All of them used water as its main cooling ingredient. None of them required refrigeration. They all used the same idea as what our body uses naturally to stay cool through sweating. So is it still worth it after all? You can decide.