What You Need (and Don’t Need) to Keep Cool This Summer

Image: Gollykim / iStock

With hotter weather approaching, now is the time to stock up on the essentials you need to keep cool in Summer.

Summer in Australia is never a cool experience, except maybe for folks down at the Antarctic Research Station. For many of us the Summer months involve getting out into the sunshine, hitting the beach and living that kind of cool lifestyle that the tourist brochures sell our wide brown land on to folks who live overseas.

2020 probably isn’t going to be that kind of year, however. Thanks a whole heaping bunch Coronavirus, although if there’s a tiny silver lining to all of this, it’s that we should see a drop in Australia’s alarming skin cancer statistics as a result.

Still, it’s pretty likely that many of us will be spending much more time stewing at home in the heat this year. It doesn’t have to be that way with a little preparation, because there’s plenty of ways to lower your core temperature somewhere beneath blistering even as Summer’s hottest days emerge with these approaches to keeping cool in summer.

Air conditioning can keep you cool

For many of us, the solution to keeping cool in Summer is air conditioning, typically via a wall-mounted unit installed at your property. While it can have some hefty effects on your power bill it is also an easy way to cool down a larger area of your home – if you can afford the unit in the first place, and mostly if you’re an owner rather than a renter.

For renters, it makes a lot more sense to invest in a portable air conditioning unit. There’s a fair amount to consider when choosing a portable AC unit, which we’ve written about here in some detail.
Bear in mind that you’ll need a window nearby for the air pipe and that shouldn’t interfere with the security of your home, as well as the generally smaller areas that they can keep cool.

You don’t have to spend a fortune on a portable air conditioner – here’s a cheap model on Amazon, for example – but if your budget is more constrained, you could consider a simple humidifier instead.

While the core job of a humidifier is to add humidity to the air – it’s in the name after all – that has the general effect of lowering room temperatures as well, especially if you buy a model that can also perform evaporative cooling by throwing ice cubes into the back of it. There are plenty of options for portable humidifiers, whether you prefer a smaller desk-based option or a larger unit for a bigger room.

If you get caught out by ordering times and it’s a super-hot night already, you can always keep cool in summer by creating a makeshift humidifier with little more than a simple damp towel and a fan of some sort, as long as you’re careful about placement. Not as effective for sure, but possibly better than melting.

Can’t I Just Have A Really Cold Shower?

Actually no. OK, you can have a cold shower – I’m not your Dad – but the reality of using cold showers to lower your body temperature is that it can actually make your body retain more core temperature. It turns out that the ideal in hot weather is actually to have a slightly warm shower.

What About Cool Gadgets To Keep Me Cool?

There’s a whole range of products you could buy that promise to keep you cool, such as cooling pillows for example, but with a little ingenuity you can create your own cooling gizmos that can then work as more than just temperature unitaskers.

We’ve already written about how you can keep cool using little more than your underwear – and no, we’re not talking about streaking.

You’re more likely to get better results with a cheap hand towel in that scenario to keep cool in Summer, because it’ll retain the cool water for longer, letting you get the best temperature benefit. Plus, y’know, you’re not wearing underwear on your head, which has to be a plus.

Although if you are going to throw something into a fridge, invest in a simple set of icy pole moulds, because you can rapidly cool your body and replenish your sugar levels with a simple and affordable home-made icy pole.

If you want to avoid all that sugar, you can just make up some ice cubes in an ice cube tray. Those can also be useful to throw into your pet’s water bowl, because our furry chums also suffer in the heat. Naturally, you can also drop some ice cubes into your next drink if you’re going for more of a James Bond level of cool.

You could invest in a small personal fan, and while they can be quite cheap the area of effect isn’t going to be massive. That’s true even of the larger plastic fans that just about every store starts stocking right now, because a fan is only really shifting air around and benefitting from a smaller temperature variance due to the wind it creates.

One easy gadget that you should have on hand for the hot weather anyway is a drinking water bottle, because hot weather naturally dehydrates us anyway. Invest in a water bottle designed to be freezable and you can sip at cool water throughout those long hot summer days, or in a pinch use it as an impromptu cooling pack in its own right.

Editor’s note: Descriptions and features are as taken from manufacturer/seller claims and user reviews on Amazon.


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