29 gadgets and gear for keeping cool while working in the heat

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Note: This story, which first ran August 14, 2017, was updated July 27, 2020, to reflect new links, prices and products, including face covers for compliance with new COVID-19 safety protocols.

June Heat 15

With temperatures rising, construction workers are looking for all kinds of ways to stay cool.

They might even be tempted to search for gadgets that could give them some relief. Products promising relief from the heat abound, ranging from the low-cost sponge to fit inside a hard hat to cooling vests that can cost hundreds of dollars. And products are also available to cover your face with an added boast of keeping you cool.

Equipment World decided to see what’s available for the heat-beleaguered worker. With so many options and so many claims, we also wanted to get readers’ feedback on products they have used and how they performed. We want to know what’s worked for you and what hasn’t, including any experience you may have had with these products we found online.


Face covers

Arctic Cool Headgear GaiterArctic Cool Headgear Gaiter

Cooling Headgear Gaiter: Arctic Cool says it uses “HydroFreeze X Technology” to chill your body as you sweat and to wick moisture from you. The gaiter can be worn 12 different ways, the company says, including as a mask. Cost: $18.

Wicking & Cooling Neck Head Gaiter Face Cover by OccuNomix: The Industrial SafetyGear website says this product provides dust, debris, heat and UV protection. It is designed to wick moisture and provide evaporative cooling, the company says. Cost: $8.42.

Ergodyne Multi-Band: This band/wrap can be used in a variety of weather conditions and worn in a multitude of ways, HiVis Supply says. Made from polyester and designed to dry quickly, the fabric can block sun, wind, dust. It is machine washable, stretchable and seam free. The company says it has an “anti-stink treatment to repel the scent of sweat.” Cost: $7.95.

Cooling Gaiter/Face Cover by Mission: The company says the neck gaiter and face mask can cool to 30 degrees below body temperature in under 30 seconds after being wet, wrung out and snapped. It is designed to stay cool up to 2 hours and then can be wet again. It also provides UPF 50 sun protection. Cost: $20.



Portable Solar Sharp Solar Hard HatSolar hard hat/helmet with fan and LED lights by Portable Solar Shop: A small fan cools the inside of the hard hat, which also has an LED light powered by a built-in rechargeable battery. The fan works automatically with direct sunlight, the company says. Cost: $60.

Cooling hard hat neck shade with fan by Zippkool: The hard hat cooler works with the same technology as the company’s jacket (see below), adding a fan to an attachable neck shade to keep the head and neck cool. Cost: $79-$149, depending on style of hard hat and whether the fan is powered by a AA battery pack or rechargeable lithium-ion battery.

Chill-Its Hard Hat BrimChill-Its Hard Hat Brim

Chill-Its Hard Hat Brim with Shade by Hi Vis Supply: The elastic inner rim is designed to fit hard hats and the polyester shade blocks the sun. Cost: $9.

Sponge Sweatband by Hi Vis Supply: The cellulose sponge attaches to the forehead under a hard hat with an elastic band to absorb sweat. Cost: $9.25 for 25-pack.

Miracool Hard Hat Pad by OccuNomix: The pad fastens with hook and loop and rests in the interior middle of the hard hat. It is designed to allow air movement inside the hat. Cost: $4.84.

NoSweat Hard Hat Liner by NoSweatCo: This disposable liner, which can be put in a hard hat, is made of “SweatLock technology” to wick away sweat from the forehead, keeping it from your face and eyes. The company says all 31 National Hockey League teams are customers, and lists as its customers athletes in the NFL, MLB, PGA and WTA. Cost: $7.99 for three-pack.

Snap-on Hard Hat Sweatband by OccuNomix: The terry cloth sweatband attaches to the hard hat suspension with snaps and is designed to absorb and wick away sweat. Cost: $9.49 for 6-pack.

Wicking & Cooling Skull Cap by OccuNomix: This tie-back skull cap is designed to be 30 percent cooler than skin temperature when wet, wrung out and snapped, the company says. It also has UPF 50+ protection. Cost: $6.



Neck Shade by OccuNomix: Made of cotton, the neck shade can be worn alone or under a hard hat to protect from the sun. It has a terry cloth sweatband at the forehead. Cost: $2.74.

Miracool Cooling Bandana by OccuNomix: The American-flag style cotton bandanna is soaked for 30 minutes in cool water and then worn around the neck. The company says the  bandanna stays hydrated for several days and is reusable. Can also be worn as head band. Cost: $25 for 12-pack.

ML Kishigo Neck ShadeML Kishigo Neck Shade


ML Kishigo Brisk Cooling Neck Protector by Hi Vis Supply: The protector attaches to the inside or outside of a hard hat. First, submerge it in water for 1 to 2 minutes and squeeze out excess water. The company says cooling lasts 5 to 10 hours. Cost: $12.19.

Neck Band by Texas Cool Vest: The band uses the same technology as the company’s cool vest (see below) to keep its temperature at 65 degrees, the company says. Cost: $19.95.



Galeton’s Illuminator T-shirtGaleton’s Illuminator T-shirt

Illuminator Class 2 Black Bottom T-Shirt with Segmented Reflective Tape by Galeton: The lightweight shirt is made of wicking fabric with underarm side panels for additional ventilation. Cost: $13.95.

GSS Safety Reflective Safety T-Shirt by Hi Vis Supply: Made of breathable and moisture-wicking polyester mesh. Cost: $13.39.

Radians ST11 Type R Class 2 Mesh Safety Shirt: The shirt is designed to wick moisture and  accelerate evaporation, says the FullSource website. The reflective stripes are adhered by heat transfer rather than sewn on to make it feel more like a regular T-shirt. It also has a front pocket. Cost: $10.



Blaklader Hi-Vis mesh vestBlaklader Hi-Vis mesh vest

Hi-Vis Vest by Blaklader
: The vest features front and back mesh polyester fabric. It also has chest pockets, one with flap and one with pen pockets; front pockets with flap; inside iPad-pocket; inner pocket with velcro closure. Cost: $29.95.

ML Kishigo Ultra-Cool Mesh 3-Pocket Hi Vis Vest by Hi Vis Supply: Made of polyester with a zipper front, the vest also features an outside left chest radio pocket, an inside right chest pencil pocket and a lower inside left patch pocket. Cost: $9.79.

Miracool Plus Cool Vest by OccuNomix: The vest is made of a polyester shell with cotton lining and has mesh shoulders and sides. OccuNomix says it provides up to 8 hours of cooling relief. It is soaked in water 1 to 2 minutes to “activate polymer crystal technology.” Cost: $38.20-$42.55, depending on size.

Chill-Its 6685 Premium Dry Evaporative Cooling Vest by Ergodyne: The company says this vest provides dry cooling relief up to three days. It is designed with a V-neck with front zipper closure, with mesh side panels. Before wearing the vest, fill it with 13 to 20 ounces of water. Cost: $170.

Polar Products Zipper VestPolar Products Zipper Vest

Zipper Vest with Kool Max Strip Packs and Cool58 Packs by Polar Products: This Polar Technology Kit includes the Adjustable Zipper Vest with four large pockets with two cooling pack technologies: a set of Kool Max frozen water-based packs and a set of Cool58 58-degree Fahrenheit phase change packs. Kool Max Packs offer the highest level of cooling and are the best choice when you have access to a freezer, the company says, and the Cool58 Packs can be reactivated on-the-go in a cooler of ice water. Cost: $268

Standard Cool Vest by Texas Cool Vest: The company says the vest maintains a 65-degree temperature with four cool packs that charge after being soaked in ice water for 20 minutes, and the packs last about 2 1/2 hours before needing to be re-soaked. The vest has adjustable shoulders, a zipper front and six adjustable side straps. Cost: $149.95 and up.



Makita fan jacketMakita fan jacket

Cordless Fan Jacket by Makita: Two fans are sewn onto the back of the jacket, on the left and right. They run up to 11 hours per charge on high setting with an 18-volt lithium-ion battery. Cost: $252 on Amazon; battery and charger sold separately.

High-Visibility Cooling Jacket by Zippkool: Two fans are attached to the polyester jacket, which comes in orange and yellow, and blow in outside air into the jacket from the bottom, back left and right sides. It comes with a lithium-ion rechargeable battery that runs 20 hours on a charge, the company says. Cost: $159.



ML Kishigo Ultra-Cool mesh pantsML Kishigo Ultra-Cool mesh pants

ML Kishigo Ultra-Cool High Contrast Mesh Pants by Hi Vis Supply: Made of polyester mesh. Cost: $26.

Cooling Cargo Pants by Arctic Cool: Arctic put its “HydroFreeze X Technology, a cooling management system that reduces the fabric temperature” in these cargo pants, which also feature the company’s “ActiveWick” that “pulls sweat away from skin and disperses it throughout the pants keeping you dry and cool,” the company says. The pants also have UPF 50+ protection. Cost: $55.