Thursday, June 21, 2012

Gear Review: TriggerPoint Cool Point Hand Cooler

As I put together my plan for the Eagleman 70.3 to do what I can to not overheat, one of the tools I was planning to use was the TriggerPoint Hand Cooler which I think used to be made by a company called Bex. TriggerPoint may have acquired the technology from Bex and re-branded it. The premise itself is pretty simple. You wear a pad that straps around your hand. Inside the pad is a re-usable frozen gel pack. As you run, the frozen pad cools the blood that passes through your hand which in turn, cools the rest of your body. The product also claims to send thermoregulation signals to the brain which I interpret as a way to fake out your brain that it isn't as hot as it thinks it is. Conceptually, it all made sense so I decided to give it a try. For $20, it was not that expensive and would be a great value if it actually worked to keep me somewhat cooler for my long runs.

The original plan was to use this at Eagleman 70.3 but unfortunately that plan was quickly squashed as I didn't have access to a freezer where we stayed to keep the gel pad frozen. If you plan on using it for a race, this is a logistical consideration to keep in mind. I did end up using it earlier this week for an 8-mile run and unfortunately, the Hand Cooler doesn't look like a viable solution.

The pad itself fits well onto the palm with an adjustable strap. It was not real cumbersome to wear while I was running. Since there is some fabric between the cooling gel pack and your hand, you can feel the coldness but it does not get un-comfortable from being too cold. The issue comes down to how practical the Hand Cooler is. After about 20 - 25 minutes, the Hand Cooler was basically de-thawed and by 30 minutes, no longer providing any cooling sensation. For an 8-mile run, this was not going to cut it and became more of an inconvenience for the duration of the run having to have a soggy gel pack strapped around my hand. To be fair, while it was frozen, it did seem to help with feeling cooler. For folks going out for thirty-minute runs/walks, this may be a viable option but as a solution for long distance runs, especially in the summer heat, I would not recommend using the Hand Cooler as an effective tool to stay cool.

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