Friday, March 11, 2011

Review of RiteTemp Athletics Ball Cap Cooler

[This is the first in a two-part product review of RiteTemp Athletics cooling products. Look for the second review on the RiteTemp Athletics Officially Cool pad in the near future]

Amateur umpires do what we can to survive the blistering summer heat. Some use a wet towel on the neck; others suck on ice chips; still others dunk their heads in ice water between innings. We all have our preferred tricks to try to cool off.

RiteTemp Athletics has recently introduced a product that is both inconspicuous and effective at making you more comfortable during those scorching ball games. The RiteTemp Athletics Ball Cap Cooler is a cooling pad that fits in your hat and applies cooling comfort to your forehead. If you are more comfortable during a hot summer day, you will be able to focus and concentrate better on the field. The Ball Cap Cooler was given to Major League Umpires to test, and the video below is an endorsement from MLB Umpire Gary Cederstrom.

I could call the Ball Cap Cooler a fancy, high-tech ice pack, but that wouldn’t be fair or accurate. It is actually a single, flexible HTF Exotherm cooling cell. OK, that still sounds like a fancy, high-tech ice pack, but, unlike an ice pack, it is engineered to absorb heat within a certain temperature range, so it is never too hot or too cold. 

Rupturing the cooling cell is advertised as virtually impossible; however the HTF Exotherm is an organic and non-toxic compound that is certified by the FDA as safe for skin and organ contact. I wouldn't eat the compound in the unlikely event of a rupture, but its safe to touch. The cell is covered in an easy to clean polymer surface which is hygienic and does not absorb any sweat or odors.

RiteTemp sent me two Ball Cap Coolers to test. I was excited about this as the cooling cell is advertised to last between 30 minutes and an hour before it must be recharged. I figured that if it worked, I could wear one while I charged the other one in a cooler with ice water.

What I discovered surprised me. Within three minutes after dunking the Ball Cap Cooler in ice water, the cooling cell was completely charged. It will also charge itself if kept in an air conditioned environment.  Put into practical terms, one cooling cell will cool for two to three innings, then charges in ice water for a half inning, then cool for two to three more innings, etc. Pretty impressive, eh?

The RiteTemp Ball Cap Cooler fits into the sweat band in your cap. The advertising states that “because of its slim profile it doesn't affect the fit of adjustable or fitted hats.” The Ball Cap Cooler is slim, but it did alter the fit of my cap by about 1/8 inch. Like many umpires, I use a tighter fitted cap on the plate, and a loser fitted cap on the bases (1/8” larger than my plate cap). The cooling cell slipped into my base cap and made it fit just like my plate cap. The fit was comfortable and applied the cooling relief directly to my forehead, and also cooled the space between my hat and my head, so I have no complaints.

I received this product in February in Missouri. The temperature was in the mid-twenties, so I wondered how I would test the Ball Cap Cooler. During a recent trip I placed the charged cooling cell on my car seat, sat on it, and set the seat warmer on low. This attempt was to simulate the type of radiant heat from a hot summer day.  Was this test scientific? Well, no, but the results seemed to substantiate RiteTemp Athletics’ claims.

The cooling cell was cold, but not unbearable such as you would expect from an ice pack. My test gave me an appreciation for the effectiveness of this product. It did not leak or sweat in any way. The cooling cell remained cold for about 50 minutes when it began to slowly lose its cooling properties. By one hour the cell had turned transparent and it was time to recharge it.

The RiteTemp Athletics Ball Cap Cooler is sold through the HTF consumer website for $24.99 with free shipping.

Fair or Foul?
I look forward to testing the Ball Cap Cooler during the summer. I’m sure it will provide welcomed cooling relief while on the bases. So far I am very impressed with this product and call the RiteTemp Athletics Ball Cap Cooler “FAIR!”

*** UPDATE***
HTFx, Inc. the parent company for RiteTemp Athletics, has announce that MLB umpires will use RiteTemp Athletic Products this year. Below is the press release:


SCOTTSDALE, AZ.  Representatives from RiteTemp Athletic Products™ attended the Umpire Retreat last week to instruct the 68 professional umpires on the use of their new cooling products.

RTA Officially Cool products were chosen for use in all non-domed stadiums for the 2011 season after being field tested in the 2010 season by select umpires including; Ed Rapuano, Joe West, and Gary Cederstrom.

“I started using OFFICIALLY COOL under my chest protector in the 2010 season and it is amazing. I don’t feel as tired and can better concentrate on the game”, says Rapuano.

The umpires will be using two kinds of cooling products for relief from heat stress. The first is a cooling pad designed for use in the field or underneath a plate umpire’s gear during games.  Its unique heat absorbing material (HTF Exotherm®) keeps the umpire’s core temperature in a safe range while improving his mental acuity.  The pad lasts about 2 hours (4-5 innings) and can be easily swapped out via a side zipper in the newly redesigned uniform shirt. Spent pads are quickly recharged in a cool environment such as an air-conditioned room or a refrigerator.

The second is a “Heat Stress Recovery Kit”. Several times per year umpires end a game with a trip to the hospital, suffering from the physical effects of heat stress. The Kit, which consists of a cooling seat, cap and vest, will be used post-game in an effort to eliminate these occurrences. It helps the body regain a stable core temperature, normal heart rate, blood pressure and other vital signs in about five minutes.


Ian Spatz said...

Potentially the same product here for less?

Pete Reiser said...

I don't have any info re: Cool Under Fire, it is not an HTFx, Inc. company. I can tell you that I have seen complaints regarding other "cap cooler" products (

The complaint is that the cooling pad does not maintain its cooling properties. A testimonial from Dr. Bradley Thomas (Chief of Sports Medicine, Dept. of Orthopedic Surgery-- Harbor/UCLA Medical Center and Associate Professor, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine) states that he uses RiteTemp products on his patients because they are "self-regulating to the optimal temperature, providing therapeutic cooling in
the mid 50 degree Fahrenheit range without over-cooling."

Also note the endorsements from MLB Umpires Gary Cederstrom and Ed Rapuano.

Are other products effective? Maybe. This one seems to work. I will write an update on these products in July or August when the weather gets HOT.

Stephen O'Neal said...

Any word on when the chest protector version will be available. I wear an HSM behind the plate so the cap version is not really a help...I guess I will have to install zippers in my shirts to be like the pros now :-)

George Kirkland said...

Just looked at Gerry Davis site and found the chest protector version available for purchase. The performance version, which is advertised to last 1.5-2 hours, is listed at $129.90. The endurance version, advertised at last 3 hours is listed at $149.90. Each version comes with two pads. I'm not sure about the rest of you out there, but at this price point, I'll keep using cold towels and ice chips. Who knows, for $50 bucks, I might even be able to get that blonde in the third row to come down and fan me during the half inning ;-0