I’ve used A LOT of cooling bandanas over the years. As a runner and generally active person, I’ve found the comfort in cooling products like bandanas and towels to be super effective in cooling me down and keeping me going. Always keen on sharing my experiences and knowledge, I have put together my list of the TOP 15 Best Cooling Bandanas for the whole family, as well as tips and tricks to help you find what’s best for you. Learn the technologies behind cooling bandanas, what to look for when buying, and how to identify what works best.
- How Do Cooling Bandanas, Scarves, and Neck Coolers Work?
- How To Choose the Right Cooling Products
- My Top 15 Cooling Bandanas, Scarves, and Wraps
- Cooling Bandana FAQ
- Ups and Downs To Using Cooling Products
- Tips and hacks For Cooling Bandanas
Experiences With Cooling Bandanas
While no professional runner or athlete, I like to get out every day and get my body going. This more generally leads to an extremely warm work out session involving a lot of sweating and maybe even feeling overheated. So, I began looking at ways to keep cool and found a cooling neck wrap to be effective. By simply wetting or cooling it, I can easily keep on running, working, or whatever I need to do.
What I truly love is the versatility of using the cooling products. My kids love to wear a neck scarf or neck wrap when playing since kids like to accessorize everything. I have even found a couple of cooling hoodies that I really enjoy during hot summer days to keep me cool and block the sun. Even our little Sam Dog has found a use for his own cooling scarf for dogs.
The trick with cooling bandanas, hoodies, and the like lie within the realm of science. These cooling products contain a special layer of material with nontoxic polyacrylamide granules or a similar material. This material is made of a special compound that expands when wet, allowing it to hold water and cold in longer, then slowly evaporate over time. To complete your cooling experience, cooling neck wraps, bandanas and other products are often made from materials that help absorb your sweat while allowing for the water evaporation to keep you cool.
Let’s get right to the heart of things and look at how to find the cooling product that works for you. There are several factors that I’ve found to be most important when choosing a cooling bandana, hoodie, or scarf. That isn’t to say there are other factors that I hadn’t thought of. Feel free to let me know what you look for in a cooling product in the comments section. I’m eager to know.
Types of Cooling Products
The first thing to look at is what kind of cooling product you need. There are several different product types available:
- Cooling bandanas look like regular bandanas and can be worn around the head, neck, or wherever you would normally wrap a bandana.
- Cooling scarves are larger than bandanas and are intended to be worn around the neck in a similar fashion as a scarf.
- Cool neck wraps and neck coolers are usually larger and thicker to cover the entire neck area to be used for long periods of time.
- Cooling hoodies cover your entire head and sometimes shoulders to cool you and block out possibly harmful sun rays.
Choose Your Cooling Method
When it comes to cooling off with a cooling neck wrap or bandana, there are three types of cooling methods to choose from. Each one has its pros and cons, but they all work well to cool you off.
Soak or Moisten
The most common type of cooling bandana you’re going to find is the soaking style. With this type of cooling product, you will need to soak it in water for a certain amount of time. This can vary from minutes to hours depending on the size and style of the cooling product. Often, you can rewet your product multiple times throughout the day to stay cool.
With this variety of cooling bandana, you will need to wet them and set them in the freezer for a period of time. The freezing simply allows the gel to get as cold as possible and retain as much of that cold and moisture as possible. In some cases, you can freeze soaking cooling products for an added effect. This will take longer and is primarily used to start a hot day off right.
Ventilation cooling products are different than others in this category. While they do require water to help stay cool, they are not soaked or frozen, Instead, these neck coolers are electric devices that have to be charged prior to use. Using water, they vent out cool air using a motor. Ventilation style cooling products are great when you’re out golfing or performing some other relaxing activity.
Pick a Color, Any Color
Cooling bandanas and products come in such a wide variety of colors and patterns that I couldn’t possibly list them all here. Recently, the growing popularity of these cooling products has led some to use them as fashion accessories in their daily lives.
Ergodyne Chill-Its 6700CT Evaporative Cooling Bandana – best for sports and high-energy activities
Simply run the Ergodyne Chill-Its under water for one-minute and wear it for an instant cooling effect. The 6700 CT doesn’t contain the cooling beads but instead uses a microfiber towel inside the bandana. This gives the 6700CT a much lighter feel than other cooling products and allows for a slower evaporation time, which means more cooling time. This is best used with sports and high-energy activities as it can be worn during these activities.
- Instantly cools off with water
- Reuse multiple times throughout the day
- Lightweight compared to similar products
- May not be as effective as cooling beads
- Only covers a small area as its bandana size
N-rit Cooling Scarf – best for sports and high-energy activities
Simply soak the Cooling Scarf in water for about five minutes to activate crystals. Then wring it out and tie it wherever you need to be cooled. It’s more suited to dry climates than humid ones. This is best used with sports and high-energy activities as it can be worn during these activities.
- Fast-acting with a quick soak
- Can be used multiple times
- Can be applied almost anywhere
- Doesn’t last as long as some other cooling products
- Manufacturer claims only 30 uses with one bandana
Chill Pal Multi Style Cooling Band – best used during breaks or outdoor activities
A cooling towel type of cooling neck wrap, the Cooling Band has many versatile uses. It can be scrunched up to cover small areas or expanded for necks and face. This is best used during breaks or outdoor activities as it covers larger areas.
- Lightweight and easy to use
- Quickly reuse with a snap or rewet
- Can cover large or small areas
- Can fit a bit snug on some users
- Doesn’t have a large variety of colors
MidaFit Enduracool Techknit Cooling Hoodie – best during sports breaks or while working
This cooling hoodie is designed to be worn over the head and shoulders. It works just easily as other cooling products and can be reactivated with a simple wetting and snapping. This is best used during sports breaks or while working as it covers large portions of your head.
- Shaped to fit your head like a hoodie or hat
- Lightweight from using cooling towel technology
- Protects against the sun with UPF 50 protection rating
- Extra material can bunch up around the neck area
- May not work as well in humid locations
- Cooling towel materials tend to warm up faster
Icy Cools Ice Bandana – best for sports and high-energy activities
This Ice Bandana features a neoprene insert that you freeze and place inside the bandana. The bandana is large enough to be worn as a scarf or wrap in some cases. This is best used with sports and high-energy activities as it can be worn during these activities.
- Feels very cool due to frozen inserts
- Can be used as bandana, scarf, or wrap
- Multiple colors and patterns available
- Cannot be reactivated without refreezing insert
- A little large and bulky compared to other bandanas
Cooling Head/Neck Wrap With Inserts – for sports and high-energy activities
This cooling head and neck wrap contains an insert that must be frozen and inserted into the wrap. Approximately 40 inches long, this is a good size for multiple uses. This is best used with sports and high-energy activities as it can be worn during these activities.
- Easy to use and apply in minutes
- Large enough to be used multiple ways
- Insert does not easily conform to head shape
- Only available in two colors – red and blue
Mission Enduracool Cooling Bandana – for sports and outdoor work
This is the cooling bandana I recommend to my friends on work sites. As it is a cooling towel, it doesn’t have excess dripping that can sometimes come with gel cooling bandanas. It comes in bright yellow to help you to be seen. This is best used with sports and outdoor work as it can be worn during these activities.
- Easy to use and wear anywhere
- Can reactivate with water and snapping
- UPF 50 to help protect against the sun
- Only comes in two colors and patterns
- Large but only comes in a triangle shape
All-Star Catalyst Cryoscarf Reusable Cooling Scarf – best used in between games or activities
The Cryoscarf is a freezing type of cooling product that is intended to be used around the neck or forehead during breaks or downtime. For added convenience, the Cryoscarf comes with a Velcro closing mechanism instead of a tie-down style. This is best used in between games or activities as it covers a larger area.
- Cools quickly by simply placing in the freezer for a short time
- No gel packs to lose cooling effect with the extended use
- Can feel large and bulky to some users
- Doesn’t work well during activities and sports
- Limited colors and patterns available
Black Ice CCX Personal Cooling System Cool Collar – between activities and games
The CCX is a cooling collar that contains gel inserts that you freeze. These inserts are used with a specially designed wrap that helps to maintain a cool temperature. Intended to be used around the neck with inserts at the back of the neck, this is best used in between activities and games as it can feel bulky.
- Uses freezing packs to keep you feel cooler longer
- Uses Velcro latching to easily place and remove the collar
- Can feel bulky to some users during activities
- Harder to reuse as packs must be frozen to work well
- No variety in colors or patterns and will stand out
Arctic Flex Neck Ice Pack – best for relaxation times or after high-energy activities
This large neck wrap is designed to be worn over the shoulders. The contour design helps it lie perfectly on your shoulders and apply the cooling relief where it’s needed. This is best used during relaxation times or after high-energy activities.
- Specially designed to lie flat on neck and shoulders
- Stays flexible after freezing to adjust easily to you
- Can be heated in a microwave for heat relief to muscles
- Made of vinyl which will drip as it warms up
- Feels heavy and cumbersome to some smaller users
Personal Cooling System 2.0 – best for relaxing hobbies and outdoor activities
This ventilation cooling product uses water and a specially designed system of fans and sponges to help you stay cool over time. It has to be charged and filled with water before use. This is best used during relaxing hobbies and outdoor activities due to a larger size.
- Gentle cooling using an AC style system
- No dripping from wet towels or crystals
- Only intended for light and relaxing activities
- Doesn’t hold a charge as long as similar products
G2T Moai N1 Plus – during relaxing and less strenuous activities
This electric cooling system is designed to be worn around the neck. It provides cooling and heat relief without using water. Multiple modes for more temperature options. This is best used during relaxing and less strenuous activities.
- Doesn’t need water, freezing, or cooling
- Easy to use cooling and heat relief with one click
- Does not come with a battery pack
- Only lasts an hour or two between charges
O2COOL Deluxe Necklace Fan – for relaxing or doing less strenuous activities
The O2COOL Deluxe Necklace Fan is a portable fan that you can wear around the neck. The hands-free device is small and light and will not add discomfort during use. This cooling system is designed to be used while relaxing or doing less strenuous activities as it loosely hangs around your neck.
- Rechargeable and easy to use for everyone
- No water needed to avoid dripping issues
- Lightweight enough for everyone to use
- Cannot be used during high-activity sessions and sports
- Limited colors and styles are available
- Can look a bit awkward just kind of hanging around your neck
ALL FOR PAWS Chill Out Ice Bandana – for dogs during most activities
This is the best cooling bandana geared toward dogs that I have used. It is designed to be worn around your dog’s neck or back, depending on the size of your pooch. Freeze or refrigerate to cool and wrap it around your dog. This is best used for your dog during most activities. Always watch for chewing and signs of damage to protect your pets.
- Designed with dogs in mind for safety and use
- Easy to use and apply to most dogs and small pets
- Does not keep all pets nice and cool
- Can be difficult to fit after freezing
How do you use a cooling bandana?
The exact instructions can vary from product to product. For some, you simply wet and apply. Others can require freezing or charging via USB.
How long does a cooling bandana stay cool?
You can usually get about an hour up to four hours of cooling from one bandana. This can vary from product to product, though.
Where and when can I use a cooling neck wrap and cooling bandanas?
Cooling products like this have many uses. Commonly, athletes or those who work outdoors use them. Other uses including biking, hot flashes, sailing, and other outdoor activities.
How do cooling bandanas work for dogs? Can I actually use a cooling bandana on dogs?
Yes, cooling bandanas and products can be used on dogs. It is recommended to use a product specially designed for dogs to ensure nothing is toxic to them. Watch for chewing and rough play while using these products on animals.
How long do cooling bandanas last? What is an average lifetime of a cooling bandana?
The exact durability of the products will depend heavily on the type of system it is. For actual cooling bandanas and other fabrics that soak and freeze, you can get months of use. Electric ones can last much longer.
Just like anything in life, there are ups and downs to using these cooling systems. As the general pros and cons depend heavily on the cooling system, I have split this section up.
Soak and Moisten
You will get wet. It may not be the same as placing a normal wet towel on your head, but whenever water is involved, there is likely to be some dripping. This isn’t as bad during high activity sports where you sweat anyway, but it can be a bit annoying.
Ice is cold. Colder than just some cold water, and while most cooling products that use freezing do work well and aren’t applied directly to the skin, this extra cold can be a bit overwhelming at first.
Ventilation and Electric
Generally, these personal cooling systems are less effective than their soaked or frozen counterparts. The added need for electricity makes these unsuitable for extended outdoor activities like hiking and camping or sporting activities.
Over the years, I have found a number of tips and tricks that can make using a cooling product much more enjoyable. If you have other tips, feel free to share them with everyone in the comment section.
- Wring out excess water well as it isn’t needed for the product to work.
- Freeze your cooling bandana overnight to last longer the next day.
- If you have more than one insert, freeze one while using another.
- For freezing products, it can help to fit and shape them before freezing.
- Electric personal cooling systems can be easily recharged almost anywhere.
Comparison Chart of Cooling Bandanas
Use on neck, arms, legs
Use on neck, arms, legs
Use on neck and head
|Mission Bandana ||Soak/Freeze
Use on neck, arms, legs
Use on head and neck
Use around neck
Used around neck
Use on neck, arms, and legs
Use on neck and head
Use on neck
Use on neck and shoulders
|P and G Enterprises||Ventilation
Used on neck
Used on neck
Used around neck
|ALL FOR PAWS||Soak/Freeze
Used around dog’s neck, shoulders, and back
There is a large variety of cooling products on the market. While it may seem that these products are geared toward those with an over-active lifestyle, the truth is they can be used to help relieve a number of issues:
- Keep cool during sports activities
- Protect from harmful sun rays and other irritants
- Help during hot flashes and other times of increased body temperature
- Use them to relieve sore and stressed muscles from everyday chores
- Keep your pets cool on those hot summer days
Deciding which product is best for you depends on a number of factors. I have spoken about what I feel is the most important based on the intended uses. If you have more information to add, let us know in the comment section below.