Let me clarify something right off the bat. The Neptune is titled as a Thermoregulation System for a reason. It’s not simply a heated shirt because it works with the body’s natural heat loss and retention mechanisms to ensure that your internal environment stays relatively stable. This means that it’s difficult to actually overheat while wearing the Neptune even while running in warmer weather. That doesn’t mean you won’t feel hot but you certainly won’t overheat, in most cases, because your body will send blood to other areas where the pouches are not located in order to ensure heat loss. Kind of the opposite occurs when out in the cold. In this instance, the body attempts to retain as much of the heat in the core area of the body as possible. This is why the heated pouches are located around the abdomen. Another way the body loses heat is through the process of convection. Basically airflow. You will notice this on a windy day or when you stand in front of a fan. The air immediately next to your skin is warmed by your body. This warm air is then recycled with cold air that is blowing at you. The Neptune Inferno pouches act as a wind blocking barrier to resist some of this convection heat loss. This is especially important on a windy day or while cycling or skiing. I have taken time to go through this long explanation because I have heard from numerous people the phrase, “I don’t want to overheat!” This makes me laugh. You are simply not seeing the entire picture if this is your thought process but that’s okay because that’s what I’m here for!
In the paragraphs below, you will find a lengthy description of how to best apply your Neptune your goals and a variety of instances whether that be to optimize performance in a race like world’s toughest Mudder or to Simply be comfortable at your kids soccer game. Your Neptune is a tool with many more applications than you may have considered. I feel this piece of apparel is basically like the Leatherman in your gear bag… You won’t really know what all you can use it for until you have it. Which brings to my first point…
The bottom line is also step one, you can’t use the Neptune unless you have it with you!!! This may sound like a no brainer, however, this issue is the biggest complaint I hear from Neptune customers…”man I wished I would have brought my Neptune!” Call it Murphy’s Law or a lack of preparation but you need to bring it/wear it if you think there is even a remote chance you may need it. The method in which you implement it can vary a lot but at least you will have it as an option. Heck you can wear it as an undershirt and no one will even know you have it on!
Inferno Pouch Configurations– by changing which spots you have the pouches you can control their desired effect.
- Fully loaded- all 6 pouches means maximal heat production and protection against wind and heat loss due to air flow.
- Front/ Back- this combination of 4 pouches will still provide a lot of heat retention while still allowing some airflow. It will also give you the flexibility of moving the pouches to increase airflow and/or use the empty pockets for nutrition, etc.
- Front only- this 2 pouch configuration allows for a little bit of extra heat as well as a front wind breaker. This is the optimal configuration in moderate temps where wind is an issue during running and especially during cycling
- Side only- you would utilize this 2 pouch setup if you are just bringing the Inferno pouches along just in case you get into trouble. Examples would be a chance of rain, a change in temps during your outing, or maybe the chance of getting stuck at an obstacle during an OCR (obstacle course race)
- Rear only- a person experiencing low back pain might use this style to help warm up that area during physical activity
- Empty pouches inserted various pockets- a person might use the empty pouches as windbreakers when extra heat is not really necessary.
- Empty Pockets- this would be the style utilized when you are using the shirt as a compression shirt, racing jersey or training top
Use as a Rash Guard
- Watersports often require participants to wear a shirt for protection. This might mean to avoid overexposure to the sun or protection against chafing under a wetsuit. Either way the Neptune Armor shirt is just what the doctor ordered for this application. It is coated with a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) to help it shed water and dry quickly. This combined with it’s light compression design will mean that it will not stretch and sag getting in the way.
Use as a Base layer
- When you using the Neptune as a base layer the number of heaters used will depend a lot on the application. For instance, if you are wearing it while hunting where you are basically seated then but have warm Gore Tex/ waterproof clothing then you would need less heat than if all you had was Polartec. Along those same lines if you are going to be hiking then minimal body warmers will probably be necessary
- The fact that the pouches double as a windbreaker make it ideal for skiing.
- Using the Neptune as a base layer when you are doing something where you will likely get wet is also a great idea because of it’s quick drying properties as well as its ability rewarm your body on it’s own. One of the fastest ways to get hypothermia in the cold is to get wet and stay in those wet clothes.
Use as a Training Aid
- You can use pockets during the the summer to carry ice or ice packs to help cool you down.
- You can also use the pocket to carry nutrition or your phone during a ride or run or even in the gym.
- Use the body warmers on a tight low back any time/place
Use as a Racing Top
- The Armor shirt is designed to be durable and quick drying and the pockets are multifunctional. This make it a perfect racing top for:
- Obstacle Racing
- Rock Climbing
Points to remember
- When in cold water the warm heaters can cause condensation to develop inside the pouches. This is normal and won’t likely produce enough water to halt the chemical reaction that causes them to generate heat.
- Never overstuff the pouches. This can pop the seams. If this does happen you can use Wetsuit repair cement to re-glue the seams
- Should any of the pouches leak and become waterlogged then simply remove the body warmer, wipe out the inside of the pouch with a towel and insert a fresh warmer
- If you only use the warmer for a few hours then you can place any partially used warmers into a ziploc bag and squeeze out the extra air. This will allow you to reuse the body warmers.
- Never place the Neptune Armor shirt nor the Inferno pouches in the dryer. Air Dry only!
- The DWR on the Armor shirt will begin to lose its effectiveness after numerous washes. You can “recharge” this water repellency by occasionally spraying it with a product such as Nikwax TX. Direct
World’s Toughest Mudder/ Xtreme Sports
- Racing Top
- Heaters are optional
- The empty pouches can be inserted to protect against wind
- As you transition to the night you would add the heaters and likely be able to run a lap with without having to transition into anything more (the ability to do this can vary a great). You can also just add a windbreaker/ rain jacket such as a Frogg Toggs in order to better trap in the heat and limit the direct airflow around your skin.
- Under the Wetsuit
- The body warmers need a constant supply of Oxygen to continue to produce heat. Putting the rear zip wetsuit over the Neptune will smother the body warmers. However, the Neptune System and warmer still provide insulation to the cold which makes a huge difference….
- Having the Neptune under a wetsuit will also increase the air pressure on the pouches. This can cause them to leak. However, it doesn’t really matter if the warmers are wet in this instance because they are serving pretty much as an insulator in this situation (see point above)
- Optimally you would have a front zip wetsuit that will allow you to not only vent excess heat when you are too warm but the venting also allows the body warmers to start breathing again and start producing heat again.
- Over the wetsuit
- Wearing the Neptune over a wetsuit will allow the Neptune to breathe and provide the insulation effect on the outside of the wetsuit. However, there is less heat transferred directly to the body in this instance
- The best plan of action when the Neptune is over your wetsuit is to wear a windbreaker jacket as an outer layer. This will trap in the heat produced by the body warmers. In the event of extreme cold and/or high winds I recommend utilizing this method because you will receive the protection from the cold water from your wetsuit; extra warming from the Neptune and well as another layer of windblocking from the pouches, and then the added external insulation properties from the jacket. You can always vent the jacket should you get too warm.
- Why won’t you necessarily feel the warmers? Your skin notices a change in temperatures. This is why you use the back of your hand to feel for a fever. Once the heater warms your skin to match its temperature you will no longer feel it. This doesn’t mean it’s not working.
- I noticed after wearing the Neptune the spots where the warmers were are red for a long time. Why is this? See above, the warmers have warmed the spot where they touch the skin. This causes a flushing effect this can last up to a few hours after the body warmers are removed.
- Will the body warmers continue to produce heat under a wetsuit or under water? The warmers need Oxygen to push the chemical reaction that generates heat. The wetsuit will allow some air to reach the warmers but the decreased air flow will limit how much heat they will produce. Underwater however the chemical reaction will stop and they will stop producing additional heat until they can breathe again. In addition, the warmers contain Iron Oxide and charcoal. These two ingredients happen to make great insulators so even when they are not producing heat they help prevent you from losing your own body heat.
- What would the pouches to leak? The pouches have a permeable membrane that allows air to pass through but not water. This passage of air prevents a vacuum effect that would normally draw air and water in through the top trifold. However, if something prevents air from passing through the fabric then it is possible that water could be drawn in through the opening. This is a possible scenario when the Neptune is worn under a wetsuit. The Neoprene is blocking the fabric on one side and your skin is blocking it on the other.
- Will putting the Neptune in the drier damage it? Yes, the high temperatures in the drier can damage the lycra and will most definitely decrease the life of the product.
- Can I use the body warmers without the pouches? NO! This can result in the warmers burning you. Yes, I tried it and it did burn me and leave scars!
- How do I keep the pouches from coming out of the pockets? You will notice that there is a built-in fabric overlap at the top of each pocket. The purpose of this is to allow your to tuck the pouch up under the lip to prevent it from coming out.
- What type of warmers should I buy? The Neptune Torch pouches were specifically designed to hold the 3 inch x 5 inch Hot Hands Super Warmers. These larger body warmers get much hotter than the smaller hand warmers and they also last up to 18 hours whereas the hand warmers only last about 4 hours.
- Should I wear anything under the Neptune? This will depend on the application but just remember this; the further the warmers are from the skin the less direct heat transfer there will be. Also, if the item under the Neptune gets wet (which will speed in cooling you) and it doesn’t dry quickly then it doesn’t matter how fast the Neptune dries. This decreases the effectiveness of the Neptune and increases the likelihood you will get cold.
- A lot of my compression shirts tend to “ride up.” Will that happen with the Neptune? The Neptune Armor was designed to be about 2 inches longer than a comparable light compression shirt. This limits the chances the Neptune will come untucked and ride up. However, the rigidity of the pouches/warmer will mean these will pull up a bit if your arms go overhead.
In the end the Neptune is a tool… a weapon! When used correctly it can give you the competitive edge over the athletes around you. If nothing else it will provide that warm hug of comfort you need when things get tough. Good luck and Godspeed!