7 Common Sense Hacks for Staying Cool When Working in the Heat
How to Stay Cool Outside in Extreme Heat
1. Set up a shade canopy
The first summer on our property, we had absolutely no shade. Whether we were working on food preservation, making root beer or working on our DIY hot tub, we were in full-sun. All day long.
This year, we smartened up a bit.
Jesse already had a 10×10 shade canopy, so we set it up!
We also purchased a larger 10×20 canopy for the extra shade. Guests love it when they’re over for a visit.
Now, whether we’re milling lumber with our portable sawmill or fine-tuning our solar power system, we have a place to retreat to!
2. Reduce heat by setting up a misting system
In addition to the canopy, a tip for working in the sun is to try setting up a mist cooling system to keep the heat at bay.
We were able to build our system for $15 or so from a local garden store.
While this obviously doesn’t cool down the temperature of the air, it can help to moisten your skin and cool you down by evaporating.
You’d be amazed how a little mist to the face boosts morale on a hot summer day!
3. Get to know the shade schedule on your property or work site
For us, we have a lot of projects to do all around the property, so it pays to know what will be in the shade and when!
When we were finishing up our off grid water system, there were portions to do at the bottom of the hill (sunny in the day) and top of the hill (shaded most of the day)… so we chose to work in the shade, but never stopped working!
Work smarter to avoid heat exhaustion.
4. Wear hot weather clothing
This is something we’re passionate about – wear the right clothing for working in the heat. Chose clothing that’s lightweight, wicking, light in color and even long sleeve shirts that protect your skin from the sun.
Hot Weather Clothing for Men
Here are two of Jesse’s go-to clothing articles for the summer. Can you tell? He wears them daily! Proof is in the videos!
Armachillo Sun Cape Hat – Jesse doesn’t like wide-brim hats (he feels they limit his vision), but a baseball cap doesn’t provide enough coverage. He was happy to find this cape hat to protect his next! The best of both worlds!
Armachillo Long Sleeve Cooling Shirt – Jesse was skeptical about this shirt because it was so lightweight (usually means it’s not durable), but low and behold, it’s standing up to the test of time. Jesse’s been wearing this daily for almost two months, and even though the shirt has been abused, it’s holding up well! This is just ounces in weight, comfortable, flexible, and keeps the sun off Jesse’s skin
Hot Weather Clothing for Women
Finding quality work-wear for women has been a particular challenge. Luckily, we were introduced to Duluth Trading Company and Alyssa’s needs for the heat have been met!
What we love about Duluth is that not only is their clothing highly-functional (they take great care to incorporate their customers’ feedback into their designs), but dare I say, it’s even fashionable. I might even call it flattering which is a huge bonus in work-wear.
Dry on the Fly Slim Leg Pants – I’ve previously had bad luck with these lightweight wicking pants, so I was hesitant to order these, but I’m in love with these. I love that these are slim leg (less bulk in the calves), they’re stretchy, ironically great to work in, lightweight and wicking. I have another pair of these on the way in khaki.
Armachillo Cooling V-Neck T-Shirt – This is my favorite shirt to-date. Lightweight, synthetic, wicking, and flattering in all the right places. I love the v-neck, gusseted back and definition in the waist… all things that make otherwise boring work-wear flattering on the female body!
Action UPF 50 Shirt – This is another summer favorite. I despite sunscreen, but by wearing this, I’m able to protect my precious skin from the rays of the sun. Duluth has more options in their summer lineup… check them out for a shirt that fits your needs and style.
Outdoor Research Sombriolet Sun Hat – We’ve had these for over a year now and love them (me more so than Jesse)! Highly durable, UPF 50+, wide brim, ventilation and a draw string. What more could you possibly want?
5. Try products to stay cool in the heat
These things sounded gimmicky to us at first, but we’re happy to report that these things do feel good when on your body!
Frogg Toggs The Original Chilly Pad Cooling Towel – We this thing once and it will stay cool for hours. We tested this out the other day and were surprised with how cool the towel gets and stays. It does have a cooling effect as the breeze moves over the towel, and it’s nice to just push against your check when you’re over-heating!
Cooling Bandanas – A similar option to the chilly pad, cooling bandanas are reusable and provide a constant cooling effect.
6. Avoid working in the heat of the day all-together. Try to find indoor activities
Easier said than done when trying to build a house as we are, but use this free project management software to organize our lives. We have task lists for “evening work” and “heat of day work”.
We recently got an RV air conditioner and let’s just say it’s really upped our productivity.
For us, there’s ALWAYS work to be done whether it’s inside or outside work, so when the heat is really unbearable, or we’re not under a strict deadline, we try to take advantage of air conditioning!
7. Hydrate DAYS in advance
It’s a no-brainer to stay hydrated when you’re working in the heat. However, not everyone knows that to be adequately hydrated, you must drink plenty of water days before you’ll need it!
We try to drink copious amounts of water maybe three days before we’ll be working in the sun.
Also, be sure to have water next to where you’re working. If water is near you, you’re more likely to drink it!
If all else fails, throw in the towel to have some fun!