The spray trend seen on products like GEIGERRIG pressurized hydration packs takes a new turn in the Q-FOG. This bike-mountable apparatus is a personal mister designed to keep cyclists cool on long, hot summer rides.
Currently up for funding on Indiegogo, the 80-gram (2.8-oz) Q-FOG is a simple device designed to cool hot, sweaty cyclists and mountain bikers. It's billed as the world's first spray device for cyclists and includes a user-activated spray mechanism and a 100-ml water reservoir, both of which attach to the handlebars and stem. When the cyclist gets hot, he or she can pump the spray handle, which looks similar to a brake lever. The Q-FOG sprays a fine mist all over the cyclist's torso, and the ensuing evaporation provides a cooling effect. Q-FOG designers say that the device provides enough water for more than 300 sprays and about two to three hours worth of ride time.
My first impression when coming across the Q-FOG was: why? Why would you install a bulky water bottle on handlebars that are already crowded with brakes, gear shifters and other hardware? Biking can certainly get hot, but there are a number of other simpler ways to cool down. And if you want to spray yourself, you can always do so with your water bottle or hydration pack. Why weigh yourself down with a bulky, top heavy system?
Then I remembered a recent mountain bike ride in the desert. It wasn't particularly hot temperature-wise, perhaps 80° F at the peak of the outing, but there were no trees or shrubs above knee-height and few clouds. The sun poured down relentlessly, and there were long flat sections and gentle uphills that required maintaining a constant pedaling rhythm. There were few breezy downhills to provide reprieve, and some of the canyons the trail meandered through felt like industrial ovens. So ambient temperature aside, it was HOT. We took breaks periodically, but breaking too often would have cut into our momentum, making the ride longer and hotter. A spray system designed to be used without stopping would have definitely been beneficial on that particular ride.
Of course, not every ride is like the one above, and the Q-FOG will likely be unnecessary for many rides and many riders. It seems like it will be most useful in hot, dry environments where evaporative cooling works well. Spraying yourself down will be of little value in a humid environment where your jersey is already soaked through with sweat, though a spray to the face should provide a quick cooling effect. While its appeal may be limited, the Q-FOG is an interesting accessory that could prove useful to both diehard and novice cyclists looking to beat the heat.