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Cooling scarves

Old 04-14-24, 05:09 PM
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Cooling scarves

Lots of products to stay warm, not so much to stay cool. What about cooling scarves? (cooling socks?)

They seem to come in several forms, including one which relies on water absorbing crystals in order to load more water. I am not sure that I can find them from online retailers, perhaps due to regulations.

Anyone knows anything about these. Run-of-the-mill buffs are ok, but dry quite fast. It may, or may not, make sense to carry a piece of cloth that absorbs enough water to maintain a cooling effect over several hours.

Last edited by gauvins; 04-14-24 at 06:07 PM.
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Old 04-14-24, 10:11 PM
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I've used the scarves filled with water absorbing crystals, and they work well.

My daughter was using a cooling scarf on a tour in 95+ F, and relatively high humidity. They do help, and stay moist for quite a while.


You might try MEC. You can also find them on Amazon. Amazon.ca

In the U.S. available at REI: REI

My wife had a scarf, but also used this method for a little more evaporation.

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Old 04-15-24, 06:37 AM
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I have never heard of such things.

The only thing that I have heard of is a friend that in very hot dry weather would wear a white long sleeve cotton dress shirt. He first tried that on a Transam ride, and has used it often since in really hot dry weather.






I would not want to wear that on a damp or high humidity day, but he said it was great in dry climates in the heat.
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Old 04-15-24, 09:22 AM
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I got one a few years ago in Tucson for hiking in June. It worked OK, but went from saturated to dry in an hour while walking. I suspect it'd dry out faster while cycling.
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Old 04-15-24, 02:40 PM
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I wore something like that to hike down the Grand Canyon.
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Old 04-17-24, 04:48 PM
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I ride wearing a silk wild rag -- a 36" square scarf -- pretty much year round. Same thing you see people wearing in cowboy movies. They're great. Just keeping the sun off the neck makes a huge difference in hot weather comfort. I do occasionally dunk them in road-side waterfalls, or pour water from a bottle over them, and they stay damp and comfortable for longer than something synthetic like a Buff.

They are available in different weights. I prefer Charmeuse in the cooler months, and Crepe de Chine in the warmer months.

The trick is to make sure you are getting one that is 100% real silk. Lots of people sell them in some silk-poly blend, and those are garbage. Expect to pay $60-$80. If it less than that, it probably isn't silk.
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Old 04-17-24, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by pigmonkey
The trick is to make sure you are getting one that is 100% real silk.
Interesting -- silk absorbs more water? Is more durable? comfortable?
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Old 04-18-24, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by gauvins
Interesting -- silk absorbs more water? Is more durable? comfortable?
I don't think there is necessarily a difference in the volume absorbed, but my experience with silk and polyester scarfs is that the polyester will dry faster, which isn't what you want if you're after evaporative cooling. When dry, the silk feels more breathable and less stuffy (but this will come down to the weave of the polyester you're comparing it against). The silk also tends to have a bit more body, which equates to coverage when you're using it for sunblock. The feel of silk against skin is super luxurious -- which isn't to say that polyester is uncomfortable, but it just can't compare to a high quality silk.

In this application, the only advantage polyester has is that it is cheaper to produce.

I also occasionally get complements on my scarf when stopping at bakeries or cafes. And they're right, I do look good, but inside it always makes me laugh when I get sartorial complements on tour. If they only knew how long it's been since I last showered or did laundry...
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Old 04-19-24, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by pigmonkey
I also occasionally get complements on my scarf when stopping at bakeries or cafes.
which is another definition of being cool (but yes, definitely a chic factor. I took a look at the Hermes catalog. $500 for a Carré Hermes... I wish I could say that I'll think about it...)
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Old 04-19-24, 04:09 PM
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So if my #1 rule for silk scarfs is to make sure it is 100% silk, rule #2 is pay attention to the hem. That's what is going to determine the service life of the scarf. A weak hem will come undone, and then your edges start to fray, and it's all downhill from there. Been there, done that.

Hermès likes to talk about their hems being laboriously hand-folded and stitched by little old Parisian dames, but I don't like the result. I think a machine serged hem is much better. (Other than the hem, the Hermès scarves are nice, and the silk screening process they use is really neat -- but, yeah, not really worth the price.)

(This discussion is really classing up the bike touring forum.)

The two places I buy from are Cowboy Images and Wild West Rag Co.
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