We can all look forward to the dog days of summer. The trouble is, its hard to focus on staying cool and safe when there’s excitement all around. Lots of sunshine and warm weather is great but it’s important to protect yourself from the sun and the heat. A sunburn will ruin the day after a good fishing trip, but nothing will spoil a day faster than heat exhaustion.

Check out our expert tips for staying cool in the summer and beating the heat while enjoying time outside.


Stay Cool in the Summer With Optimal Hydration

Hydration isn’t just something that happens during activity. If you expect to be outside sweating and working hard, whether scouting for deer season, planting food plots for dove season, or fishing for that personal best on your local lake, ensure you’re hydrating 24 to 48 hours before your activity. Then the body doesn’t just need water in order to stay hydrated. You also need essential vitamins and minerals, such as potassium and sodium. Beverages such as sports drinks can provide these extras and are essential before, during, and after your time outside. This is key for staying cool in summer months while being heavily active.

For everyday hydration, you should drink 8-10 cups of water daily; when it’s hot out, that volume should be increased to 13-15 cups. Remember that’s for water, not soda, tea, or coffee, which are diuretics that will pull more water from your body. If slugging back that much H2O is difficult, try adding flavor enhancers like Liquid IV or Mio; some flavors even include caffeine for the energy junkie like myself. A good rule of thumb, regardless of the season, is when your water is half gone, that’s the time to turn back.


Block the Rays to Stay Cool in the Summer

There is no perfect solution for sunscreen. All of it will keep you from getting burned when applied correctly but depending on your activity it may last less time than expected. Per guidelines you should reapply every two hours regardless if it’s SPF 20 or 100. Spray-on sunscreens are popular but can damage the finish on electronics and are not recommended for boaters. Many coastal towns have put ordinances in place to limit certain types of chemicals found in common sunscreens as they negatively impact coral reefs, check with your guide before picking a specific brand just in case. We recommend this one by Safe Sea; as an added bonus, it also prevents jellyfish stings!


Protect Yourself with Ideal Clothes to Say Cool & Safe

Proper clothing is a crucial and often overlooked aspect of being outside during the summer. Clothing is undoubtedly a catch-22; the average person thinks having less on will keep them cooler, and generally, that’s true. However, between sun exposure and moisture-wicking properties of warm weather clothing, most outdoorsmen are better off covering up before heading out. When spending a day on the water, I’ll trade out the cotton t-shirt for a long-sleeved tech-tee like the Aftco Samurai or Marshwear Pamlico shirt. The material breathes while keeping me protected from the sun and bugs. A lightweight button-down fishing shirt like the Columbia Tamiami is another go-to for me. Both styles dry quickly when I eventually end up in the water.


Protect Your Face and Beat the Heat

A hat not only shades your eyes to grant you better vision but can, with the right shape, help keep you cooler too. Wide-brimmed bucket hats, like a Tilley hat, keep your face and neck shaded while providing some breathability on the top. 

Neck gaiters and sun buffs are another excellent way to keep your face from getting sun and wind-burned while on the water. I also use a camo Buff for my spring turkey and early teal season hunts to keep the mosquitos out of my face.


Staying Cool in the Summer by Putting Your Best Foot Forward

Going barefoot when out on the water is tempting, but I recommend a lightweight pair of tennis shoes. The boat deck can get pretty hot, and a sunburn on the top of the foot is miserable. Olukai makes some great quick-drying sneakers that grip the slick fiberglass decks of a flats skiff and won’t track much mud onto the boat if you decide to patrol the flats on foot. For the woods, skip the heavy hunting boots. Most are designed for cold weather and pack a decent amount of insulation. Sneakers or a pair of “jungle boots” from the local Army Navy store are my go-to. Both are lightweight and, while not waterproof, don’t hold water like a leather boot.

Embrace the Dark

Easiest Tip For Staying Cool this Summer? Enjoy the night.

When the summer sun blazes during the day, finding relief becomes a priority. One way to beat the scorching heat is by embracing the magic of the night. Engaging in nighttime activities like frog gigging, bow fishing, and nighttime eco tours not only provide a respite from the sweltering temperatures but also offer an opportunity for thrilling adventures. Grab your flashlight and venture into the darkness as you embark on a frog gigging expedition, skillfully aiming your gig to catch those agile amphibians. Alternatively, test your archery skills during a bow fishing escapade, aiming for the perfect shot as you glide along the shimmering waters. For nature enthusiasts, nighttime eco tours are a fantastic choice, allowing you to explore the mysterious realms of nocturnal creatures while enjoying the cool breeze under the moonlit sky. Embrace the enchantment of summer nights, as these exhilarating activities keep you entertained and refreshingly cool amidst the heat of the season.

Staying cool is an important task while enjoying the outdoors in the summer. Keeping yourself out of the sun can sometimes seem like an impossible task, but you’ll earn brownie points with your dermatologist. Besides, the fewer bouts of heat exhaustion and sunburns you get, the more time you get to spend outside doing what you love. So remember, drink your water, wear some sunscreen and get at it!