Heat Hack: Neck Cooler for Biking
Heat Hack: Neck Cooler for Biking

Biking in South Florida in the summer heat & humidity kind of sucks. I have a hard time in hot weather and as a biohacker at heart, I'm looking for any and every way to stay cooler.


I've got other ideas, such as cooling vests (haven't tried any yet), but right now I'm rolling with this home-made neck cooler.

See below for instructions on making your own.

 

Pros

  • Inexpensive.
  • Uses real ice and not ice packs which have chemicals in them that can leak on you.
  • As the ice melts, water gradually drips down your back and even the front of your shirt (I put this a plus, but if you don't like getting wet, see the last section below for an alternate dry solution).
  • Lasts over an hour!

 

Cons

  • If you don't have a fridge with an ice maker (which makes it easy to fill the sock), it could be bit of a pain to get ice into the sock (easy solution though, see below).
nat-neckcooler-front

Cooling Bandana

 

Items you'll Need

 

 

Putting the Neck Cooler together

 

Fill the sock with ice. You need to put enough ice so that when you put it around your neck, there is ice on the sides of your neck and over your chest a little. This is important so that you have weight in the front which keeps it from falling backwards and pulling on the front of your neck.

 

If your fridge has an ice dispenser in the door, this makes filling the sock easy as you can just wrap the top of the sock around the dispenser and fill it. If you don't have one of these, then cut the bottom off a plastic cup to use as a funnel to pour ice into the sock easier.

You likely won't fill the sock up all the way with ice. I didn't bother cutting the sock shorter but that's an option if you prefer. Below is a photo of the sock filled with ice, tied closed, and the extra sock material folder over. Place it as shown in the middle of the bandana.

Bandana with ice sock


Fold the bandana in half

Folded


Roll up the bandana upwards, and twist the ends a few times and tie it closed around your neck.

Neck Cooler


Important Reminder: make sure you add enough ice so that you have ice in the part of sock on the sides of your neck and front of shoulders. The extra weight at your front will keep the bandana in place, and provide some extra cooling over your chest.



Keep in your freezer in a zip-lock bag to keep it clean, and transport it in a cooler with ice/ice packs to prevent it from melting on your way to the trail.

Packed in a Zip Lock bag




Alternative (Dry Option)


If you don't like your shirt eventually getting wet but still want to cool your neck, wrap cold-packs in the sock instead. 

I only experimented with one type of cold-pack so far (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001QFZL1Q). It works, but it's a bit heavy and bulky, so you might want to experiment with some other ones if you want something smaller. For this one, I kept the cold-packs in the blue pouch it comes with, and used only the sock to wrap it around my neck (no bandana). Since this doesn't wrap around down to your chest to add weight to the front, I tied the sock ends to my backpack to keep it in place. You can try with the bandana too which might give you more length if needed.

If you're using a cold-pack that doesn't include a pouch, you'll want to wrap the sock with the bandana so it's not too cold on your neck.

Cold Pack option