Wearing an undershirt is a personal choice, but I can tell you from experience that it’s usually a good idea.
I’ve written about cooling apparel before, including cooling shirts. However, the common theme with them is that they have to be worn by themselves as outer cooling shirts in order to be effective.
This list expands on that concept, enabling you to sport hi-tech cooling shirts and vests as your under/base layer.
Since these cooling vests and undershirts for men are primarily used in sports and activities where you can quickly overheat, most of the undershirts and apparel in the list below use cooling technology to work their magic. Let’s dive in.
First, here’s the email that triggered all the research and discovery:
I am looking for a cooling shirt to keep the drivers cool during a race. The Ultra Cool RVU Undershirt that was industry standard appears to be discontinued.
I also found a website selling cooling shirts, but I think they’re gonna cost too much. Our budget is around $230 for each.
If you can recommend some alternatives, please let me know.
Thank you, Tug!
There are many choices when it comes to cooling undergarments. Here are several options for short sleeve cooling undershirts and vests to keep you comfortable.
Armachillo Cooling Undershirt
Armachillo Cooling Undershirts feature Made-in-the-Jade™ technology that’s cool to the touch, keeping you comfortable on the hottest days. Microscopic jade disperses heat, wicks moisture, and resists odor and mildew – now that’s one heck of a combo! In addition, its form-fitting, extra length helps the shirt stay tucked in, great to wear under dress shirts.
Armachillo Cooling Undershirt
Cooling Crew Neck T-Shirt
Arctic Cool’s Men’s Cooling Crew Neck T-Shirt is made with breathable comfort fabric that provides instant cooling. In addition, their revolutionary Hydrofreeze X technology features a moisture-wicking, cooling management system that stops odor and provides UPF 50+ sun protection for high-performance activities.
Arctic Cool’s Cooling Crew Neck T-Shirt
Techkewl Phase Change Cooling Vest
You can wear Techkewl’s Phase Change Cooling Vest beneath clothing, hazmat and other protective suits without the discomfort of ice packs against your skin. Their unique Phase Change Material (PCM) is mechanically sealed in four removable inserts. It can freeze at temperatures as high as 58F/14C in only 25 minutes and remains cold for two to three hours.
Price range: $102+, depending on the seller
If you’re looking for lightweight daily-wear undershirts, read Thin Undershirts That Keep You Cool.
Techkewl’s Phase Change Cooling Vest
FlexiFreeze Ice Vest
The FlexiFreeze Ice Vest uses 96 pure water ice cubes to lower your core temperature.
It’s helpful for people with heat-sensitive medical conditions, those working stress-related jobs, or anyone looking to stay cool during hot outdoor activities. It can also be worn under PPE. Once the ice packs melt, you can replace them with additional frozen cubes to extend the cooling benefits.
FlexiFreeze Ice Vest
Ultra Chiller Cool Suit Systems
Ultra Chiller liquid-cooled shirts are the ultimate cooling solution for those in motorsports. Unfortunately, you must purchase their Cool Suit System plus the cost of the shirt (sold separately), possibly putting this option a bit out of reach for half-hearted weekend warriors.
Load and Go Cool Suit System: $499
ELITE Cool Suit System: $1,849
Liquid Cool Shirts: $125
Ultra Chiller Cool Suit System
Arctic Heat Cool Vests
Arctic Heat’s Cool Vest helps athletes, medical professionals, or workers prone to heat stress maintain stable core temperatures. Cool Vests stay cold for up to two hours and can also be heated for wear in cooler climates. The vest contains three cooling sections on the back and four on the front.
Arctic Heat Cool Vest
Steele Cooling Vests
Steele specializes in cooling vests for industrial, medical, military and sports use. Their products have been tested extensively and are handmade in the USA. Just freeze the segmented thermo-strips, insert them into the vest’s insulated pockets, and stay cool for up to four hours.
Price: Starter Cooling Kit = $190
Steele Cooling Vest Starter Kit
Kool Max Cooling Vest with Kool Max Packs
Polar Products’ Adjustable Zipper Cooling Vest can be used under or over your clothes. Polar Products features the widest variety of cooling vests, including fashion vests, circulating water vests, fire-resistant vests and cooling accessories.
Sport Cooling Vest Set
Glacier Tek’s Sport Vest Set is lightweight and customizable, and includes eight sets of cooling packs to suit your needs. In addition, this vest is easy to clean and can be adjusted to fit most adults.
Glacier Tek Sport Vest Set
Have you tried any cooling shirts or cooling vests like the ones above?
If so, tell me about them in the comments section below.
Check out my Top 4 Cooling Apparel Categories article to learn more about cooling technologies.
14 thoughts on “Hi-Tech Cooling Undershirts & Apparel”
I work inside with very little ventilation and it gets extremely hot and humid here in North Carolina.
There are fans everywhere but they just circulate hot air. When it is 90 outside it is 120+ in the building and I am having a hard time finding something to fit my budget that will help cool me down.
I am not lucky enough to have $200 to blow on something that might not work so I have been looking for something in the $50 and below area and nothing I have tried has helped.
We also have to wear long pants shorts are not allowed and I’ve been having a hard time dealing with this heat.
Do you have any suggestions of products I can try?
heya shawn! good to hear from you buddy and thanks for posting your question!
so i don’t recommend anything you may have already tried to stay cool, can you tell me what products/options you’ve tested so far?
also, can you tell me if you have any restrictions — like whether or not the product can be visible, if you have access to a refrigerator, are you open to wearing something over (or under) your existing clothing, and what type of clothing/shirt you currently wear.
do you care more about staying cool, or not working in sweat-soaked clothing that gets weighed down?
that should help me narrow down the list of recommendations (:
There is a cooler nearby that is accessible on breaks, every 3 hours or so.
I have tried the Frigga toggs towels, didn’t work well. I’ve tried the old navy active t shirts which have worked the best so far but are still not that great.
I’ve tried starter active dri t shirts from Walmart and they sucked.
That’s all I have tried shirt wise. As far as pants I’ve tried lightweight twill not too good in humidity.
The best I have found so far are Russel athletic pants with dri360 they are thin and seem to wick fairly well but are still hot. The only restriction work has on shirts is they must be tucked in and sleeves must be at least 4 inches in length.
I don’t mind if the solution is visible as I’m not there for a fashion contest.
Thank you for your time. I hope I answered all of the questions to your satisfaction. I really appreciate any input you could give me. This heat is killing me!
I’m more interested in staying cool. I’m not really worried about a sweaty shirt.
heya shawn, sorry for the delayed response.
i’ll be writing an article this weekend about this topic a bit more.
the truth is that unless there is a catalyst (air flow, phase change, ice, liquid cooling), there isn’t a full-proof solution.
granted, “cooling” undershirts / shirts, or performance undershirts / shirts will likely perform better than regular ones, but the difference may not be notable enough for it to be the solution you’re hoping for.
stay tuned for my article this weekend. it’ll touch on a product in this article, as well as one other.
I’ve been looking for a cooling vest you can wear underneath military OTV interceptor body armor.
I have to lug around 145 pounds in 110 degree heat with no body moisture evaporation due to high humidity. 68% or more.
I’ve had heatstroke 4 times this year alone and need to find a vest that actually has an electric cooling system. Maybe with veins of liquid connected to a battery pack that freezes the veins.
With all of this gear on. Plus 7lbs of helmet on my head. There is no place for heat evaporation while sprinting under the summer heat.
hey william! good to hear from you buddy and thanks for posting your comment.
have you tried a combination like this
1. maxx-dri vest – http://www.undershirtguy.com/wear-kevlar-stay-dry-underneath-with-maxx-dri-vest/
2. hyper-wicking cool-nylon undershirt – https://ribbedtee.com/execwear
#1 will add in a separation layer between the top of the undershirt and your otv interceptor body armor. it will allow some airflow to occur, that is not possible with the body armor directly laying on your undershirt/body
#2 will keep you feeling about as comfortable as you can be. cool-nylon is much more natural feeling on the skin than nearly any other polyester i’ve tried so far.
have you thought about something like this?
you may also want to checkout this article:
something new i just learned about (:
Under Armour Iso-chill or Columbia Omni-Freeze Zero or ??
Anything over 68 degrees with mild activity I start overheating and dripping. I live in Oregon’s Willamette valley summer average 80 degrees at 50% humidity.
heya craig, good to hear from you buddy and thanks for your question!
are you looking for something to wear as an undershirt? or are you looking for an athletic gym shirt?
Looking for an every day out and about tee shirt i.e. mowing the lawn or a trip to the store or an hour at the gym.
gotcha. i think that both the iso-chill and omni-freeze zero would be worth checking out. seems like both brands offer a nice selection of items using those technologies.
there’s not much info about iso-chill, other than it has ubf protection. they have different fabric blends, so either the iso-chill is using something like an xylitol additive for the cooling effect, or they’re applying something else.
there’s a bit more information about omni-freeze zero, but whether or not it’ll perform better, is probably a bit subjective.
sorry i can’t be more help. i don’t have any direct experience with iso-chill and i don’t find myself in situations where i need gear like this in an outdoor setting.
for what it’s worth, these technologies need airflow and sweat to “activate” the cooling (evaporative) effect. so the best way to wear these shirts is by themselves, with nothing over and nothing under them.
if there is no airflow, like while working out at the gym, you may not experience the full or any cooling effect.
I’ve used the CoolVest and the RVU.
CoolVest was just plain too thick. It probably promotes cooling from the outside BUT it doesn’t allow sweat to go anywhere very easily.
I hike in the Arizona desert. When your body creates heat internally, it tries to get rid of it by sweating and causing the “evap-cooler” effect on your skin.
Applying a thick, wet blanket (CoolVest) doesn’t promote that evap effect very well.
I wore the RVU under a ballistic vest as an LEO in hot and humid Arkansas.
It’s still hot and humid under there even with the RVU on.
But a lot of us would rig up some kind of air hose/funnel gizmo so that we could actively pump cold AC air from the patrol car and force that air under the vest.
The RVU allowed that cold air conditioned air to flow well.
Here in Arizona, I actually find that a plain old all cotton T-shirt works very well in the scortching heat.
Body sweats, T-shirt gets wet, breezes create the evap-cooler effect on the SHIRT.
That cools the body under the shirt.
hey sgt lumpy! thanks for stopping by my site and posting your comments!
that “hose/funnel gizmo” you’re referring to is called cool cop.
officer ron is the guy who invented it and it’s been available for a long while. if you take a look at his website, you’ll see that he’s working on a bunch of new cool stuff too! very neat.
as it pertains to wearing an undershirt under a ballistic vest, i think the common complaint about cotton is that it can get feeling damp, takes a long time to dry, and can get smelly.
though i’ve heard that since the shirt soaked up most of the sweat, the kevlar carrier wouldn’t get as nasty as when wearing moisture wicking gear (polyester, nylon, etc.).
also, generally speaking moisture wicking undershirts (aka: under armour-like) would stink up a lot faster then cotton.
though in a more traditional setting, i think a lightweight, not fitted cotton t-shirt would be great too.
that said, there are plenty of lightweight, breathable, synthetic undershirts that wear very cool as well.
the key question is what will be the wearing application? meaning, will you be wearing the undershirt/t-shirt alone, or will you be wearing it underneath another garment.
and, what will you be doing?
these hi-tech cooling undershirts listed in this article are really designed to be worn in more strenuous activities, like running, high-end training, motor sports, construction/roadwork, etc.
lastly, i’m really keen on your point of how air flow around a wet t-shirt creates a big cooling effect.
i can tell you that i experience that coolness very regularly after working out when i’m leaving the gym and walking to my car or home.
my base layer shirt is usually soaked and the cool air passing around my torso really makes me cool/cold!
off hand i don’t recall if i feel colder when my base layer is cotton or when it’s polyester or nylon, but needless to say, i can get cold really fast in that circumstance!
thanks again for stopping by and posting your comments!