Maverick Marketing
By Columnist
msnbc.com
updated 6/18/2004 8:34:07 PM ET 2004-06-19T00:34:07

I’ll bet you’ve never given too much thought to this problem. Seriously, how often do you complain that your pillow is too warm? Most of the time you’re probably asleep when this is a problem. But if you’re one of those people (like me) who sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and can’t find a cool spot to lay your head down –- do I have a clever gadget for you!

It’s called the Chillow. Chill + pillow = Chillow. It is a thin, flat foam pillow/insert that’s made of super soft medical-grade materials that are hypoallergenic and nontoxic.  You can rest your head right on top of the Chillow or put it in your pillow case on top of your favorite pillow. 

After taking it out of its packaging, you first have to activate the Chillow by pouring two quarts of lukewarm water into its filling spout. You then follow the instructions to slowly squeeze the excess air out of it. Close the fill valve and that’s it. Your Chillow never has to be activated again (although they recommend you squeeze any excess air out once a month).

So, the Chillow uses no electricity, batteries, refrigeration or hocus pocus. It is actually a water-driven heat sink and radiator all in one small package. Luckily, it’s a lot softer and comforting than the radiator in your car. It stays cool when you let air flow over it. If you want it even cooler for any reason, you can put the Chillow in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes.

Next question: does it work. The answer is a resounding yes! First of all, I’m amazed that with all of the water you pour into it, that the outside always remains bone dry. When you put your head on the pillow you’re welcomed with a cool –- not cold -- pillow. It’s actually very, very refreshing. I’ve spent a few weeks with my Chillow and can report that it never fails to amaze and relax me.

I was slightly concerned with the fact that by the time I wake up the Chillow is slightly less chilled. Not warm, but not chilled. But the Chillow people explained that this was intentional: “At night after an active day, when your metabolism is high and you’re hot, the Chillow is cool and refreshing. But in the early a.m. hours, when your metabolism is low due to inactivity, and air temperature is at its coolest, the Chillow is lightly cool to lightly tepid, which is exactly the temperature you will enjoy.”

The Chillow inventors also say it’s perfect for sunburns and hot flashes. Not being able to recreate either during my tests I’ll have to take their word for it.

Now, you may ask, the price? Only $29.99 suggested retail and you should be able to find it for less on the Web. The Chillow makes a perfect last-minute gift, too, since it should be available in Walgreen stores across the country, though you may have to ask for it. 

The people at Maverick Marketing have big plans for their device. They’re currently making a large-scale Chillow for dogs called the Canine Cooler. I predict my 10-year old Weimaraner, Elwood, will love it.

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