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Accessory review: CLIMAWARE mobile Cryothermic Scarf

Imagine, if you will, that you saw the product of the future – the coolest thing to happen in mobile/wearable/transportable gadgetry in years, and very few of the people you showed it to saw it the same way you did. That’s what I’ve been struggling with since CES 2013 after visiting the Dhama Innovations CLIMAWARE booth and attempting to explain why something that looks like a whiplash-treating medical device is a world changer.

The CLIMAWARE Cryothermic Scarf is a product from Dhama Innovations that either heats or cools your neck and is powered by a rechargeable battery similar to the ones in cell phones. At any point you can click the controls and start removing roughly 1/7 of the caloric heat your body produces (if I did the math right), or press a button and have a toasty warm scarf. The heat ranges are 60F-140F, and I have been told that it removes 15 watts of heat.

As I see the progression of popular mobile technology, first we took the radio out of the house, then we took out the phone, and then the TV and internet. And now finally we brought the air conditioner with us. The kitchen sink is still debatable as to whether we’ve achieved a mobile version yet.

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I’ve been using this scarf for nearly a month every day for an hour or two, recharging as I go along and measuring the kilowatt draw using a Kill-A-Watt. I’ve attempted to do the math on what it’s like to raise or lower your body temperature by use of the scarf versus having to heat and cool a 400 square foot area, but then you get into factoring outside temperatures, R ratings on insulation, core temperature averaged for a diet of 2400 calories, and the results I got were that I am not capable of doing those calculations. It’s some significant energy savings if this works for you, but yours will vary. And if you hate the scarf, it’s a useless set of numbers.

What I did discover is if you’re the hot one in a room of people who are too cold or at the perfect temperature, slapping on the scarf and setting to cold will make you perfectly comfortable without having to modify the temperature of the whole house. If you’re the cold one, it will send a lot of heat into your neck, but for me it generally did not do much more than make my neck happy. I’m about 220 pounds, though, so your heat absorption will vary.

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the heat/cooling pads, generally covered by the silver sock

Unfortunately I got this to test during winter. This has made my attempts to use the much more impressive cooling mode a little more difficult than most, but fortunately I’ve got overly hot places I go (such as the gym) to attempt to simulate.

When the device is working in cooling mode, you should get better athletic performance from keeping yourself cooled. I don’t know what increase in performance I had, if it was even measurable, but I did notice I was not too tired, nor was I as horribly grubby. So there was that. My guess is the scarf is probably not capable of significant athletic improvement, but it did make me more comfortable.

The marketing of Climaware’s YouTube videos seems to be aimed at athletes, but the scarf (and the climate controlled dress shirt that I’m not reviewing here) at least, I would not particularly consider using in an exercise capacity. I wouldn’t consider the scarft because the heat/cool and power buttons tend to like to press themselves while you’re jogging, moving, or dodging things thrown at you in dodge ball. It’s a perfect little device if you’re not jostling about all the time, though.

2013 01 25 12.07.26 - for some reason we don't have an alt tag hereThe good

  • You can heat and cool yourself for several hours on an average charge
  • You can get yourself to the right temperature pretty quickly
  • You can turn it on and off as you want and you don’t require chemicals that can’t be stopped to make the thing work
  • You can add a bit of water to aid in heat dissipation if it’s really hot outside. For moderate temps it seemed to work fine just using air cooling
  • You can take this into the world and be comfortable hiking, camping, dining outside, etc.
  • The battery/control unit is detachable, you can wash the scarf

If I did the estimates right using the Kill-A-Watt, the cost to power one of these things running non-stop is under $4 a year, which is significantly less than you’ll spend adjusting the temperature of your surrounding by 10 degrees one way or the other with an air conditioner or a heater.

The bad

  • The exterior gray wrap that goes over the thermal contact points tends to fly off when you take the scarf off to show it to someone
  • The battery hangs around your neck. When the battery pack bumps into things it’s quite possible to bump the heating/cooling switch by accident, and I do that roughly once per use
  • It looks a little more like a neck brace than a scarf or portable AC
  • If you haven’t shaved today, it tends to grab neck hair and pluck it
  • Blue fabric appears to fray fairly quickly under continued use and shows dirt

So far I’ve used this product as a warming scarf while bundled up, and then shortly afterwards as a cooling scarf while I was still bundled up and waiting on someone where it was warm. It saved me having to strip a couple of layers of warmth only to put them back on in a minute.

2013 01 25 15.29.06 - for some reason we don't have an alt tag hereI used it as a heated neck warmer while on my motorcycle in 50 degree weather. It kept my neck warm, and the bikers I showed it to have asked me to report back when it’s 80F+ outside on how well it cools, since motorcycles don’t generally carry air conditioning. I have a feeling it’ll be great with the wind moving the heat off your neck.

I’ve used it in cooling mode while I tried to get to sleep and was still too hot. It worked like a charm except I woke up with a sore throat as I’d frozen myself. Also, if you turn over and the heat has nowhere to escape to, you’ll end up noticing just how much heat it’s channeling out of you very quickly.

I played dodge ball with it on, and here it failed. No amount of coaxing would make it work. I think the battery was probably near dead, as the next charge it worked fine. That or the jostling kept shutting it off. I played for keeps.

It’s an absolutely amazing invention, and Dhama Innovations makes a slew of other products that look like they wouldn’t fall into any of what I consider the bad categories of the scarf. However, I will point out what I find bad about the scarf are mostly minor annoyances.

If you’re going to use this to be comfortable in a non-frantic exercise fashion, it’s an amazing tool. I imagine this would be a godsend at music festivals like Bonnaroo where the temperatures regularly bake the crowds to at least one heat death. I’m also pretty confident this thing would rock while camping.

Unfortunately, as stated before, it’s been pretty cold in Tennessee lately. I’ve only had a few chances to test how well it works as a cooling device, and as a warming device it can scald you if the movable cover slides off the heating and cooling points.

But I think about the ability to just be comfortable wherever you’re at when it’s too hot or too cold. I don’t know, to me this is a big thing. Think about the energy you’d save if you could keep yourself comfy while letting your house or apartment’s ambient temperature more closely mirror the outside world. The amount we spend on heating and cooling is absurd if you consider that for the most part, all that needs cooling in the house is us.

I’ve struggled with how to write about this device. In my opinion, it’s amazing, a potential life saver in hot weather, a huge energy saver if you can just make yourself comfortable instead of having to make your entire house comfortable, and it’s just kind of neat. It’s not connected to a phone or computer, but it’s part of the whole technology wherever movement.

I think some things that need to happen to make the scarf perfect. I’d like to see an extension cord so the battery isn’t around the neck and I’d like the ability to lock the controls, but for probably the first generation of a portable rechargeable air conditioner I’m kind of amazed. Their other products look like they’ve got most of the scarf issues licked too.

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This is off their website, on mine the buttons were 90 degrees to these

If you’re interested, you can watch the story of how they fit an air conditioner in something the size of a scarf that you can put in your pocket, if you want to see the more sporty products you can watch some of them demoed here, and the scarf can be ordered at the Dhama-Innovations website.

I will say as a criticism that that the website looks like they were a bit short for words and threw in a lot of filler, although I understand how it’s hard to convey that potentially the biggest technological energy saver the modern world has seen looks a little like a whiplash collar and cools your entire body by cooling the blood in a major artery.

While I don’t think the current presentation of these is the ultimate must-have, this thing impresses the hell out of me for what it could do, and the rest of their products (such as the cooled/heated dress shirt) look significantly neater for someone who’s always too hot or coldin a dress shirt.

It’s a little bit pricey, coming in at $158.00USD, unless you consider you potentially can save that in a few months by not using air conditioning at your house. Your mileage will vary, as will your desire to wear a portable air conditioner.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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32 thoughts on “Accessory review: CLIMAWARE mobile Cryothermic Scarf

  • One step closer to Back to the Future :D

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    • Avatar of Paul E King

      If they had flying skateboards and a Mr Fusion I would go and beg to work for this company.

      Reply
  • Avatar of spookiewon

    THIS is what I’ve been looking for! My office is in a building that is old and cannot be heated OR cooled adequately. I’m freezing in winter and cooked alive in summer. I NEED this! WAY, way better than the HAPIfork!

    Reply
  • Hi – any update on using it in TN warmer weather? I am curious how it performs on a bike, as well as its potential for warehouse or factory workers (I’m in TN, too). Any additional reviews/comments on its performance?

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    • Nope, it finally broke 70 yesterday in Nashville but I didn’t have it with me. I’ll play with it some when it comes back up

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      • Hola – any updates, maybe? :-) I’m highly interested in this but afraid to pull the trigger until I have more info. Quite pricey – but would be well worth the price if it actually made a significant difference in how a person felt when working/riding in heat. I recognize it will not be A/C on the skin, but cooling those major arteries and the neck area in general should, in theory, really make an impact.

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        • I meant to use it yesterday but couldn’t find it. Will try to locate/use it today when I get back home. It’s 80 out so I think I should be able to get a decent feel of how it’s working.

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        • sorry, going up update in the comment space below so it can be replied to

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  • Ok, update 2013-06-08

    Weather.com says it’s 80, my thermometer says 82. We’ll split the difference and say it’s 81. Direct and indirect sun

    Going to compare this to a week and a half ago at 84 degrees direct sun.

    Operation: mow the yard

    without: got half the yard done, showered, exhausted, felt completely dehydrated.

    With: got entire yard done. Warm but not miserable. Do not feel dehydrated.

    Without: night before had 2 beers, but not enough to make me dehydrated.

    With: I had more than I feel comfortable posting publicly. We’ll leave it at I should not have been walking.

    Conclusion: it may have worked, or I may have adjusted to the hotter temperatures, or the alcohol in my blood stream may have thinned the blood.

    Not enough data.

    Got to mow another yard tomorrow, will contrast with the same yard also two weeks ago.

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  • Hi – I am back to your posts, now, after a b-trip. More testing completed? I can relate to how cooling the body allows for a greater amount of work to be completed, and certainly a bandana is not a/c to the body…so the yard mowing experiment is valid enough for me. Further comments, after some sober mows? :-)

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    • Hey Chad, I’m working on a re-review but I have a unit with a defective battery. The company has agreed to send me a new one.

      Unfortunately my battery lasts about two minutes. It’s obviously defective so they’re replacing it.

      I should be able to complete the re-review soon, unfortunately it may be a couple of weeks though

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        • They’re sending me a new one, I’m sending this one back because they’ve never had the issues I had with a unit before and they’re going to discect it to figure out what was up with it, or potentially me

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  • Hi – following up – get a replacement? (You can tell I’m really hoping this thing works for bike riding).

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    • nope – I have to get this particular defective unit shipped back before I get the replacement, and working three jobs and baby have left me brain damaged…

      actually got everything togeter to ship today and forgot to take it

      Reply
  • okie dokie – i’ll buzz again in a month or so…

    Reply
  • Avatar of Chad

    Hola – me again – ever get that replacement?

    Reply
    • Lemme check and see if it shipped. They have the defective in their hands now (got held up at my company with a customs slip is the latest fun stuff)

      Reply
    • Got an email from them a bit ago – they received and are shipping me a new one next week. It’ll be the end of the warm weather by the time I get it, but should have a few days to try it out in Tennessee heat

      Reply
      • Avatar of Chad

        Ok, NP – I’ll ping you in a few more weeks, then – sorry to keep bugging you, I am just highly interested in the efficacy of this tech. If it works, I have several levels of next steps to pursue…

        Reply
        • So unless I am guessing wrong, the scarf is showing up tomorrow. Can’t think of anything else that would be showing via DHL / fits with the shipping timeframe.

          I have 5 days of low 80’s to test it in. I’ll make sure I post something here after first use, probably have a full write up in a week or so if it works fine.

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  • Hi again – how’d it work?

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    • No idea, the freaking temperature dropped to the 50’s. The days it wasn’t cold it was raining or I didn’t have it.

      It makes it cold around your neck, but I honestly can’t say what level as it’s colder outside at the moment… timing has been all wrong for the AC side of this..

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  • I thought it also worked in reverse? Heating, instead of cooling…I guess you could crank the thermostat up to 85 and walk around the house with it on :-)

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    • oh sorry, yeah, the heating portion is great. I’ve used the hell out of it. Heating scarves however are not new.

      It can get hot enough to burn you, but generally as long as you keep it on your body dispenses the heat nicely.

      The cooling, I don’t know a good way to metric is. It’s like having a cold damp rag on your neck, and it works significantly better when you keep putting water on it.

      I ran it for it seems maybe two hours, but might have only been one, and it was like a cold damp rag on my neck. Gets colder when you put water on the outside of it and it can evaporate the heat.

      It does extremely well at cooling for a little bit until it can’t evaporate heat any more as it’s built up in the neck area. Keep it wet and it’ll keep cooling as it can evaporate heat.

      I’ve really attempted to weigh the pros and cons of this – the thing’s amazing, but after a while you’ve got to put water on it. Now, if you do it right the water’s not all over the place, but if you need it enough you’re going to get wet.

      It moves a lot more heat out of you than a wet rag though.

      Got an idea – my back sucks so I have to soak in absurdly hot water alternating with absurdly cold water. I’ll wear the thing when I’m in – pretty sure at that point I can tell how well it cools…

      It’s 31 degrees out at the moment and cold as hell in my office…

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    • ok, hot test will be happening in 20 – trying to locate a thermometer that goes past 110

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    • ok, unfortunately I do not quite have correct comparisons as my first test and second required me to be sitting in slightly different positions due to the battery hanging off of the scarf which I was not feeling like testing the water resiliency of.

      Tub of water as hot as possible (I believe the heater is set to 120) I measured using a kitchen thermometer at 113 but that thing’s been around forever.

      Without scarf – took about 5-7 minutes before my face was pretty sweaty.

      With scarf, putting hot water on the back of the unit every few minutes I broke a sweat at about 15 minutes and at about 20 minutes the scarf stopped being able to evaporate heat off the back of it. Basically it was so hot there was no where to put the heat. I blew some air on the back of the scarf and it got cooler again.

      Whole experiment ~40 minutes, never got very sweaty, although I can’t account for tub cooling, etc.

      Unlike previous problematic scarf times, the unit had no issues staying on constantly, and I believe if I had air flowing across the back of the unit that it would probably have continued to function.

      So, as a short-term AC unit I’ve decided this works. It still has the issue if catching beard/neck hair.

      I’ll try to get some more cooling testing done on the thing.

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  • Interesting – sounds like it might work on a bike then, with the wind moving past.

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  • What is the link/email of the folks selling it? I’ve misplaced it…

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    • http://dhama-innovations.myshopify.com/ appears to be one of the places… seems like they have another layout that I remember…

      As a note, would have happened today if the wife wasn’t sick and I had to deal with the baby, but tomorrow i’m taking the bike out to test it… putting on full winter gear, it’ll be 70 so that should give me an idea of the cooling power.

      Reply

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