6 Ways to Stay Cool this Summer Outdoors
Updated: Sep 3, 2022
Summer brings the heat! It is a great time to get outside and enjoy the extra hours of sunlight however, the high temperatures can be uncomfortable to dangerous, especially for people with underlying health conditions. How can you stay cool and enjoy the outdoors? I have plenty of experience with this issue, and I have compiled a list of items that can help to beat the heat! I will provide well-reviewed examples of each item:
Pros and Cons
Must-Haves Items to Stay Cool this Summer
Water bottle Fans
1. Cooling Vests
Vests are probably the best option for people with medical conditions that are highly sensitive to hyperthermia. It is a great options for outdoor hikes or tours on extremely hot days. Most vests allow you to remove or add the amount of cooling packs to the vests to adjust the intensity of the chill delivered.
Pros: Hands-free, you stay dry, cools centrally
Cons: The vest may restrict your outfit choices, cold packs need to be refrigerated/frozen prior to wearing.
2. Cooling Towels
Theses towels are a favorite of amusement park goers because the can be clipped onto your clothing or bags in a neat pouch and taken out when needed. They keep cool after wet with water. If you are traveling in a group this can be an affordable option to hand out to everyone in your group. I used it for a family trip for all 7 members of our party.
Pros: Easily portable, lightweight, inexpensive
Cons: Need to have access to water to wet periodically
Cost: around $15-20 for 4 towels
3. Neck Fans
Most newly versions are bladeless and are designed to avoid long hair becoming entangled in the fan mechanisms (which used to be an issue with older neck fans).
They are battery operated and some have methods to recharge.
Pros: Portable. No special prep prior to use (i.e. filling with water or chilling). Low risk ruining a hairstyle.
Cons: Requires batteries to power,
4. Handheld Fans
The handheld fan is available with or without a misting feature. The fan is an oldie but goodie that has been updated. Many new versions can double as cell phone holders and chargers.
Pros: Inexpensive and portable
Cons: Requires batteries. Need available water source if using misting. Not hands-free so can limit your participation in other activities
5. Cooling Hats
I consider this a good option for outdoor activities like sports. This is not the option for someone worried about the appearance of their hair as the hat needs to be wet in order to activate the cooling affect.
Pros: Easily portable. Brim provides slight shade from the sun.
Cons: Hat hair.
6. Water bottle Fans
Why stop with just a fan or a water bottle when you can have both. This is a convenient combination of two classic ways to stay cool.
Pros: Inexpensive and portable
Cons: Requires batteries.
Summer Heat can be Dangerous
Extreme temperatures during summer aren't just uncomfortable but can be dangerous. People with chronic medical problems can be more vulnerable to the heat, but anyone can suffer from hyperthermia. Planning ahead for the weather can protect you and your loved ones and allow more fun in the sun. In addition to the above-listed items you should also do the following:
Wear lightweight clothing
Avoid prolonged direct sun exposure
Stay well hydrated
Wear good sunscreen.
I have a lot of experience with trying different ways to stay comfortable in extreme temperatures. I have traveled to the deserts of the Southwestern USA, muggy Northern cities, sultry Southern states, and the Caribbean when they hit triple digits. My choice to keep cool depends on the activity that I intend on participating in that day. For instance, if I am bike riding or hiking I prefer a hands free options such as a vest, hat, or the towels. When I am watching a show I may use the handheld fan. The neck fan is good for touring or shopping so that both my hands are free if needed and I do not have to worry about hat hair.
Make sure your choice is activity-appropriate (zip lining with a handheld fan may get complicated).
Choose budget-friendly options when traveling with larger groups
Consider how long the method is effective and travel with extra water or batteries if needed.
I hope this list of items helps to keep you safe and cool and enjoy this summer to the fullest.
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