Mascot Cooling Vests – It’s Your Choice
The single most common factor you are likely to encounter with any mascot costume – custom, off-the-shelf, animal, humanoid or object –is that you will get hot after wearing the costume for a period of time. Whether you are a seasoned sports mascot or a company volunteer may determine how long it takes before you need a break and a cooling vest may help to make performing more comfortable and also extend your time in costume.
What Is a Mascot Cooling Vest?
No matter what type of cooling vest you are considering, they are all worn over your clothes and underneath the mascot suit. They provide a cooling barrier between your body and the heat that gets trapped inside the costume. There are several types of cooling vests available on the market. The most simple is a plain garment made of polyester twill. It has pockets in front and back that can accommodate standard gel ice packs.
Another common style has a more structured shape, with a zip front and channels sewn into the front and back for custom ice packs. This type of cooling vest is also popular for outdoor workers, firefighters, etc. The same vest can also come with a hydration system, where you can draw liquid through a straw. The liquid is stored in a reservoir that is part of the vest.
Is a Cooling Vest Necessary?
Many experience performers will tell you that they prefer not to wear any type of mascot cooling vest. The primary reason is that it adds weight to an already heavy costume. If your mascot character is required to be very agile – running, jumping, acrobatics – a vest can inhibit your movements. In addition, many performers do not like the fact that with a cooling vest, there are temperature differences between their core and the rest of their body.
Some performers, experienced or not, are big proponents of cooling vests underneath their mascot costume. For some, it can be an important mitigating factor against the heat and perspiration, especially in very hot climates or if the costume is worn for an extended period of time, for instance in a parade.
Ultimately the choice to wear a cooling vest or not is up to the individual. You can always try performing without one first and see how quickly your tolerance develops. If your personal comfort level or environmental conditions dictate, then a mascot cooling vest may be for you. Comfort, health and safety are the most important considerations for any mascot performer, so do what feels right for you.