Thursday, July 5, 2007
I should note that I do not have any financial interest in BluBandoo, but they were kind enough to donate a hat and a scarf in support of my training. I have spent over 50 miles in them so I thought I'd give my two cents on their products.
The two products I've been using are a white 6 Panel CapBandoo and a white Neck Bandoo. The BluBandoo products work by incorporating crystals that soak up water and then cool the wearer as the water evaporates. It takes several hours for the water to evaporate and, in fact, my Neck Bandoo appeared to hold water for a few days. The CapBandoo has the crystals located around the sweatband of the hat while Neck Bandoo is essentially just a tube filled with the crystals worn around the neck.
Do they work? After 5-10 mile runs in relatively humid 75-85 degree weather, I can say they worked better than I expected. I've been running in a white synthetic Asics hat for years and have been happy with its ventilation and sunburn prevention. I've doused it in water at times, but the water quickly evaporates. The CapBandoo acted similarly to my Asics hat when wet, but the effect lasted for much longer. The Neck Bandoo also provided additional cooling and, while somewhat heavy when full of water, was comfortable and not at all irritating even when running for over an hour. Now, don't expect magic from the crystals. A slight breeze is necessary for them to work well and regular "recharging" with a water bottle really helps also. However, I found them much more effective AND comfortable than soaking a regular hat or shirt. At less than $20 for the two products, I would recommend them for someone who sometimes struggles with the heat.
There are a few things I didn't like about them. First, you need to be careful about spreading the crystals equally around the products to prevent them from being lumpy. This isn't a big deal after the first time that you do it. Second, they retain water so they can be heavy. This didn't bother me, but I imagine could bother some. Finally, I feel a little silly running in the Neck Bandoo. Then again, if you've seen me with my various electronic equipment, Elliott, and the dog cruising through town, I'm not sure if I look that much MORE silly.