UV and Sun Protection Make This an Ideal Cooling Jacket for Summer

What makes LifeLabs’ CoolLife Sun Shield Windbreaker worth talking about – by Gear Patrol Studios.

a man and two women hiking up rocky terrain wearing coollife clothing

Welcome to Talking Points, a series that looks at what makes some products worth talking about, brought to you by Gear Patrol Studios.

Today, it’s no longer enough to slather on the SPF. Instead, more and more consumers are looking for lightweight sun-protective clothing – a category that is only expanding and becoming more advanced.

For the last few years, the sun protection apparel segment has become more competitive, and many high-quality products are now assumed to offer some level of UV protection. Sun shirts have evolved to make way for sun jackets and other similar outerwear layers. But outerwear means more material, especially when layered, and necessitates a way to keep sun-exposed folks comfortable. The answer: cooling tech, which is what makes LifeLabs’ CoolLife Sun Shield Windbreaker so exciting. The piece marries classic sun protection with cooling materials in a 50+ UV-proof cooling jacket. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the piece is – we’ll say it – fashionable.

Last month, I had the chance to test the jacket myself on a twenty-mile bike ride through Brooklyn, ten miles each way. I'll explain how the jacket's tech kept me cool during the day and wind-proof in the evening. Hopefully, it can keep you cool on a less grueling, leisurely ride.

The Backstory

Science-Backed Cooling Clothing

LifeLabs is a self-described “materials science company” founded by Professor Yi Cui, director of Stanford University’s advanced materials laboratory, and Meng Sui, a chemist and CEO of the clean energy foundry EEnotech. Cui and Sui offer an ‘unprecedented’ focus on sustainability and ultimately aim to reduce energy consumption with every piece of LifeLabs tech developed. To date, the company has “11 patents designed to allow humans to use less energy.”

In its latest release, the team developed “CoolLife” – the world’s first infrared-transparent fabric. The textile is designed to release your body heat and can cool your internal temperature by 3°F, and more effectively than comparable fabrics. It does so with Polyethylene, a sustainable, recyclable polymer. LifeLabs explains that Polyethylene, “transfers body heat away from the skin more efficiently than any other performance fabric in the world” and adds it’s also “the most sustainable among natural and synthetic textiles in the world, according to the Materials Sustainability Index.

LifeLabs has harnessed its CoolLife material to launch a full line of cooling clothing for work, sleep or play. Those interested in exploring the full range of cooling clothes (and accessories) from t-shirts ($49) to sleepwear sets ($79) to sheet sets ($169) at the LifeLabs site.

The Gist

What Makes it The Best Cooling Jacket for Summer? UV, Sun and Heat Protection

LifeLabs knew it wouldn’t be enough to simply launch a revolutionary new textile. For the Sun Shield Windbreaker, they doubled down on sun protection by choosing a material that’s not just sustainable but also offers 50+ UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor).

On top of that, the jacket also offers enhanced wind resistance and a compact “sun tent” hood that can be hooked around the brim of any baseball cap for added protection. But the clothes that keep you cool (obviously) also have to look cool too.

The men’s jacket reads more Techwear than Gorpcore – a welcome surprise when compared with other popular UV protective clothing – and is currently offered in a sleek gray or bright blue colorway. For women, the jacket offers the same lightweight, sun protection in an icy ultra-light blue or bright coral color.


How Do Cooling Jackets Work? And When Do I Need One?

In New York, there are hundreds – if not thousands – of people who bike to the beach all summer long. In other cities, states, countries and climes, loads more do the same sort of trip, or simply commute via bike – and here, I am one of them.

Biking ten miles one way under the high noon sun, and then back against strong, beachy winds, requires one piece of versatile gear. In my case, the SunShield Windbreaker kept me protected from the sun and wind without ever prompting me to overheat. When I did sweat through it, the material quickly air-dried, and I’ve since brought it with me kayaking, hiking and ambling around the city and experienced more of the same.

I found it to be ideal apparel for any sunny all-day activity, especially since it can be packed and folded up into even the tiniest travel packs. So if you’re looking for the summer inverse to your lightweight fleece or packable down liner, try this jacket for yourself – you’re sure to look as cool as you feel.

Price: $129


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