The British Army spent much of the first two decades of the twenty-first century fighting in desert conditions in both Iraq and Afghanistan. As such methods of keeping troops cool in high temperatures were much in demand and as well as the usual hats, shorts and sun protection, some other methods of cooling were also available. Today we are looking at a neck cooling scarf that works by transpiration. The scarf is a long length of tan cotton cloth that can be wrapped around the neck and worn under other clothing and equipment:
The ends of the scarf are flat and a small loop is provided to allow one end to be tucked into the other to hold it securely around the wearer’s neck:
Inside the scarf are water absorbent poly-crystals which can be seen as a bulge in the centre of the scarf:
The scarf is submerged in water for around twenty minutes and these crystals absorb water and can hold a considerable quantity. Throughout the day this water evaporates and as it does it draws heat away from the body as transpiration, cooling the wearer down. A full set of instructions are provided with the scarf:
Examples of the scarves were available to buy from companies such as BCB, but this example is a British Army issue item and comes with an NSN numbered label sewn to the rear of it:
These scarves are very cheap, but the evidence seems to be that they are quite effective and certainly would have been welcomed by the troops on operations issued with it.