COOL-A-CLAVA Review and DIY

Cool-A-Clava

About the COOL-A-CLAVA

One of the biggest problems for DE drivers that use their street cars is it is not economical or feasible in most cases to install a blower for a forced air helmet.  Another problem is there is not a lot of head room in cars such as a Corvette that will allow for a forced air helmet.  In the past there was not a good solution, however COOLSHIRT has the fix you must have.  Welcome the COOL-A-CLAVA from COOLSHIRT Systems.  The COOL-A-CLAVA is designed to fit in any helmet and connect in line with an existing COOLSHIRT System.  The COOL-A-CLAVA changes the game for helmet cooling.  The COOL-A-CLAVA can be installed in your helmet in just a couple minutes with some double sided tape, fabric tape, or Velcro.

First Thoughts

When I first received the COOL-A-CLAVA, it came packaged with some basic instructions and the connectors already attached.  The COOL-A-CLAVA comes with a male and female connector to be installed in-line with your existing COOLSHIRT System.  The connectors can be easily changed out if you want to use the COOL-A-CLAVA standalone with your COOLSHIRT System and can be purchased from Performance Stop.  The COOL-A-CLAVA has a soft felt feet to it which mimics the inside of your helmet.  The hoses are about 36" long which gives plenty of length to run down to the side of your shirt and around a HANS or other neck protection system. The COOL-A-CLAVA is very flexible and conforms to the inside of the helmet.

COOL-A-CLAVA Package Front COOL-A-CLAVA Package Back COOL-A-CLAVA Out of Box

Installation

The COOL-A-CLAVA comes with basic instruction.  See below from COOLSHIRT that was included with our COOL-A-CLAVA.

  1. Insert COOL-A-CLAVA up into helmet.  We recommend using double sided tape or Velcro to hold it in place.  The COOL-A-CLAVA should be checked for comfort before using tape or Velcro to hold in place.
  2. Once the COOL-A-CLAVA is in the helmet, place the helmet on head just the way you normally would.  Keep the hoses coming off of the product out of the way.  You want the hoses to come out of the base of the helmet in the back of the head.
  3. Once in the car, route the COOL-A-CLAVA hoses so they do not interfere with any other safety equipment.  The hoses will be routed down to your shirt.  If using only the COOL-A-CLAVA you can route the hoses to your hose coming off the cooler.
  4. Plug the male fitting from the product into the female fitting of the hose coming from your cooler.  Plug the female fitting from the product into one of the male fittings from your shirt.  Plug the other male fitting from the shirt into the other female fitting on the hose coming from your cooler.
  5. Turn the cooler on.  It will pump the water through both the shirt and COOL-A-CLAVA.

For the most part I followed their instructions for our installation.  What I found was Velcro didn't stick too well on the inside of my helmet.  I took my helmet to Michael's craft store to see what they had that did stick.  I found some Res-Q Tape that worked very well.  This is a clear double-sided adhesive tape for fabric.  It’s temporary, removable, and most importantly very thin.  The tape sticks better to the COOL-A-CLAVA than it did to my helmet fabric.  What I did was put one strip of tape down the middle of the COOL-A-CLAVA and one across the top near where it will fit near your forehead.  Next I did one last test fit to make sure I know how I want it to fit before peeling the backing tape off.  I peeled the backing tape off the strip on top first and stuck that in my helmet first placing the very edge at the forehead area of my helmet.  Once that was stuck I peeled the backing tape off the strip down the middle and slowly worked my way from the forehead to the back of the helmet making sure it stuck.  Using this Res-Q Tape was nice because it was thin and flexible.  The COOL-A-CLAVA doesn't fit perfectly flat all the way around but the wings help it fit.  Once you place the helmet on your head, the COOL-A-CLAVA flattens out and has good coverage across the top of your head.  Once I wore the helmet for a few minutes then took it off the COOL-A-CLAVA was flattened in the helmet and ready to use.  One last thing we did was place a blue zip-tie on the pump output from the COOLSHIRT Cooler as well as both ends of one hose line.  We did this so we knew which hose is the pressure side and can either connect the shirt or COOL-A-CLAVA to flow the coldest water first.  We had the concern that the water direct from the cooler might be too cold and wanted to make sure we can make quick connections without trying to trace it back.  I recommend having a drain kit to be able to drain the water from the COOL-A-CLAVA.

COOL-A-Clava Taped COOL-A-CLAVA Test Fit COOL-A-CLAVA Installed RES-Q Tape

First Use

My first use was at the Houston SCCA Autocross on August 7th, 2016 at the Houston Police Academy.  The high temperature for the day was 100°F and 91% humidity.  Typical summer day in Houston and a perfect day to test the COOL-A-CLAVA.  I found how I installed the COOL-A-CLAVA in my helmet works well.  For the most part it stuck well around my forehead which is what held it in place.  The first time putting it on was slightly tricky but once you get a routine down with the hoses it is simple.  The hoses were long enough to reach down the side of the car to the hose.  I keep my hoses outside of my harness so once I was buckled I connect my hoses.  When I first turned on the pump and while all the air was being purged is an interesting feeling.  Once it is full of water and flowing it is very refreshing.  With a black helmet and the convertible top down, the COOL-A-CLAVA was more than able to keep up even after flowing through my shirt.  It is a must to run through the shirt first as the ice water directly to your head will give you brain freeze.  Even just sitting idle in pits it was getting a little cold but that's first world problems COOLSHIRT users are more than happy to deal with.  I would recommend this for anyone who races and has an existing COOLSHIRT System.  For $99 it is the best addition you can add to your driver cooling setup.

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Article written by Michael Anastasio.  E-mail us with questions or comments at [email protected].