Tuesday, June 9, 2009

How To Make A Personal Cooling Suit (Vest)

If you don't follow me all the time, you might not know about me attending several anime conventions as Sephiroth (from Final Fantasy VII). The outfit, which is all black vinyl, can get very warm: here's a picture below.

As you can see, I have to get hot very quickly, and with no way to cool down I can't wear it for more than an hour at a time. That's why I decided to build my own water-based personal cooling system! Although getting the materials was tricky, and some creative genius was involved, it was actually fairly straightforward. Let me share what you'll need.


  • 1/4" tubing - water will run through this tubing around your body

  • An old shirt to sew the tubing onto

  • Some kind of battery operated rotary pump

  • A side belt-pack for the pump and ice

Alright, starting with the tubing. You can find this easily at Lowe's in the plumbing department. Get the clear kind that is easy to bend and flex. Anything bigger than 1/4" will probably be too big. Next you'll need an old shirt or some kind of vest to sew the tubing onto (very loose fitting). What you're going to do is pinch together parts of the shirt, sew, and then run the tubing through them. I'll provide more details on this part later when I can provide more pictures.

Then you'll need something to pump the water through the tubes. Finding a battery operated rotary pump was, I thought, impossible. But then I stumbled by the fishing section of Wal-Mart and found a device that was meant for helping keep bait alive by pushing air into water through such a pump. I'll give more details on the name/brand so you can try to find it later.

Next you need to put the tubing through the shirt you've sewn, and then have the two ends both come out one side. You're going to put them, with the pump, and ice packs (this cools the water) in a belt-pack or fanny-pack together. Use your pump to fill your tubes with cold water, then attach everything together, put the ends on the pump, in the pack with ice (you'll want to coil a few feet of tubing in the pack so that the water is exposed to the ice for a longer period of time).

Here are some pictures of my beta version (higher resolution will come when I find my good camera).