Working in the Heat: A Summer Checklist

Despite the steamy forecast, work must still get done. To help you tackle the sweltering temps, we’ve put together a handy summer checklist that will get you through the longest and warmest work days of the year.

You’ve probably already noticed, but it’s getting hot out there. And it’s only supposed to get worse. Despite the steamy forecast, work must still get done. To help you tackle the sweltering temps, we’ve put together a handy summer checklist that will get you through the longest and warmest work days of the year.

1. Hydrate

It probably goes without saying, but your number one objective for each and every work day should be to hydrate. Why so? Because when you sweat on the job you’re losing vital fluids that help you maintain your physical and mental edge. How much fluid are you losing? Well, a 2010 study found that athletes lose 6-10% of body weight during challenging athletic events. While you may not be running a marathon every day, you are performing strenuous tasks for hours on end. That kind of activity requires your body’s favorite fuel – water.

How much water should you drink? The Institute of Medicine suggests an average, healthy man consume approximately 125 ounces (or around 16 cups) of total water — from all beverages and foods — each day, and woman consume 91 ounces (or around 11 cups) daily. Keeping in mind that 20% of our daily fluid intake comes from food, that’s still a lot of gulps from the water jug throughout the day. And remember, those are just averages. If you’re performing strenuous activities in warm climates, then you probably need even more.

Our picks for staying hydrated and cool:

Products Featured: YETI One Gallon Rambler Jug, YETI 36 oz Bottle, YETI 30 oz Rambler with MagSlider Lid, YETI Tundra 50 Cooler


2. Dress Cool

Think your clothes don’t matter? Think again. When you’re working in the sun and heat all day long, the gear on your back can make or break your performance (and health). It’s not as simple as a cut-off t-shirt and shorts. Instead, you want loose-fitting, breathable garments made from light-colored fabrics that will not hold in heat. And when it comes to the sun, the more coverage the better. That’s because your skin (and ultimately your body) dehydrate when exposed to sunlight. Not to mention the long-term impact sun has on your health. It’s estimated that outdoor workers are two times more likely to develop nonmelanoma skin cancers than indoor workers. That’s why you often see landscapers and roofers in pants and long sleeves, even during the hottest days of the year.
So what materials work best? Cotton is a popular choice for hot weather. It’s a breathable, lightweight fiber that does a good job of wicking away moisture and keeping you cool at the same time. For super-hot days, it’s also a great option for soaking in water and wearing for a quick cool down. There are also a number of cotton and polyester-blended fabrics that offer enhanced sweat-wicking features that can pull sweat away from your body while on the job.

One last thing to remember about fabric colors: While it’s true that lighter-colored garments will keep you cooler on hot days, they will NOT offer as much protection from the sun as a darker garment can. Want something in the middle? Some experts recommend blue clothing. Because it’s darker, it offers more UV protection, but because it’s not as dark as black it still won’t trap in as much heat.

Our picks for dressing cool:

Carhartt K87 - Workwear T-ShirtDark Khaki Carhartt 101964 - Force Extremes™ Relaxed Fit Cargo Pant

Cool Blue Carhartt 100410 - Force® Short Sleeve Pocket T-ShirtHeather Gray Carhartt 100393 - Force® Long Sleeve Pocket T-Shirt


Products Featured: Carhartt K87 Workwear T-Shirt, Carhartt Force Extremes Relaxed Fit Cargo Pant, Carhartt Force Short Sleeve Pocket T-Shirt, Carhartt Force Long Sleeve Pocket T-Shirt 


3. Accessorize

Yes, accessories matter on a job site too. A wide brim hat, for instance, can protect your neck, ears, nose, forehead, and scalp from harmful UV rays. On top of that, most styles are ventilated so heat can easily escape while you’re working.

Safety glasses are another accessory you should never forget about when you’re on the job, especially during the summer. In addition to flying debris, safety glasses can protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. Even your socks can offer relief during hot days. If you’ve worked on your feet all day long, you know how sweaty your socks can get. Why are sweaty socks bad? For starters, sweat can cause odor, and odor leads to, well, stinky shoes and feet. But more importantly, wet feet can cause serious problems like blisters and lead to possible infections. This is where sweat-wicking fabrics come in real handy because they will pull moisture away from your feet and keep things well ventilated.

Our accessory picks:

Carhartt 101199 - Billings HatCarhartt 102000 - Force® Mandan Boonie

Carhartt A328-3 - Force® Performance Low-Cut Work Sock 3-PackGray Carhartt CH120S - Billings - Gray Lens with Gray Frame


Products Featured: Carhartt Billings Hat, Carhartt Force Mandan Boonie, Carhartt Billings Safety Glasses, Carhartt Force Performance Low-Cut Work Socks


Working long hours in the sun and heat can be downright dangerous. That’s why preparation and planning are key. Here are a few final tips to keep you safe and productive this summer:

  •  Drink a glass of water when you wake up in the morning. Our bodies naturally dehydrate while we’re sleeping, so the sooner you can get fluids in your system the better. After that, keep a water bottle or jug with you at all times while on the job to replenish lost fluids.
  • When it comes to clothing, light and loose is key. Loose clothing allows air to flow between your skin and the fabric, increasing evaporation, allowing heat to escape, and leaving you more comfortable.
  • Whichever fabrics and colors you choose, it’s always recommended that you protect yourself with additional sunscreen if you’re working long hours in the sun – that includes applying sunscreen under your clothing.

Stay safe out there!

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