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The Best Gear to Stay Cool While Running: The 5 Best Products to Beat the Heat!

The Best Gear to Stay Cool While Running: The 5 Best Products to Beat the Heat!

Having the proper running gear to help keep you cool and dry is an incredibly important, and many times, overlooked factor. Whether you are planning a vacation and still want to train, or you live somewhere that is seasonally hot, running in unusually warm conditions can not only be difficult, but it can also be downright dangerous.

Many runners live in warm climates year-round and, therefore, don’t have the luxury to wait until temperatures subside in order to train. Some folks travel regularly for work and may be training for an upcoming race. If you are going to be in an area that is hotter than you are used to for an entire week, you may not have the convenience of waiting until you return to resume your running program. This is where cooling gear for running comes into play!

Running in extremely warm climates can be exhausting, uncomfortable, and hazardous for your health. Many runners suffer, and even die, from heatstroke and dehydration every year. It is very important to plan ahead and take the necessary precautions prior to running in dangerous conditions. Running in hot climates is no exception. Being able to maintain a safe core temperature is imperative when doing any kind of training in extreme heat or direct exposure to the sun. With the running community continuing to explode in popularity, a multitude of companies have emerged that specialize in making some extremely innovative running gear.

Mission Original Cooling Towel

mission cooling towel

Cooling towels are an extremely popular option with runners for their reasonable cost, ease of use, and for their versatility. The Mission Original Cooling Towel features evaporative cooling technology and has a UPF rating of 50. It is 10 inches by 33 inches and can be draped over your neck or head, or even used as a headband.

The Mission cooling towel works by thoroughly wetting the towel, wringing it out, and snapping it three times, which activates the cooling technology. It comes in 5 great colors and is made of a soft, durable microfiber material that is safe to wash in your washing machine. In addition to being able to use it for running, it is also great to bring along to the gym, yoga class, golfing, or any other outdoor sporting activity.

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Chill Pal 12-in-1 Cooling Neck Gaiter

chill pal cooling neck gaiter

Neck gaiters are a closed tube of fabric that can be worn around the neck and face to help keep you warm or cool and protect you from the wind, sun and the elements. The thing that makes the Chill Pal 12-in-1 neck gaiter unique, is that it can be worn in a variety of ways including, as a neck gaiter, headband, face cover, balaclava, full ninja cover, dew rag, hair cover, a bandana and a multitude of other ways.

The Chill Pal works similarly to the cooling towel, in that you simply soak it in cold water, wring it out, and it’s ready to wear. Once it becomes warm again, you simply repeat the process, and it is ready to keep you nice and cool for a while more. Obviously, if you are running in an extremely warm environment, the cooling effects are not going to last as long as in other situations, but the protection from the sun and moisture-wicking are worth it alone. Please also note that unlike the cooling towel, the material this particular gaiter is made from does not provide UV protection.

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BALEAF Men’s UPF 50+ Sun Protection Shirt

baleaf men's upf protection shirt

This UV-protectant running shirt is a great option for those who do a lot of their running in direct exposure to the sun. Its technical fabric is quick drying, moisture-wicking and there is no tag to help reduce chafing on those longer runs. There are short-sleeve, long-sleeve, and pullover options. The long-sleeved variants feature ragland sleeves to provide a full range of motion.

The shirts are 100% lightweight polyester and highly breathable to allow them to dry quickly when you sweat. They are machine washable and safe to put in the dryer, and they come in a variety of different colors. There is a bit of a difference of opinion in the sizing, as some report the sizes are accurate and some mentioned that they run a bit on the large size, but over 2,400 reviews note the sizes as “true-to-size”. The Baleaf men’s UPF 50+ sun protection shirt provides a quality similar to Colombia-brand UV gear, but at a much more affordable price.

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Bani Bands Men’s & Women’s Cooling Headband

bani bands unisex cooling headband

The Bani Bands men and women’s cooling headband is a great unisex headband that will not only keep the sweat out of your eyes, but it will also help keep you cool on those hot, summer days on the trail. Bani Bands Cool Core technology can change temperatures from 105 degrees Fahrenheit all the way down to 53 degrees in just seconds! Their patented cooling technology is activated by soaking the band in cool water, wringing it out and waving it in the air. 

Most Bani Bands products are designed and sewn right here in the US. They come in a wide variety of designs and colors. In addition to being a headband, they can also be used as a neck gaiter, hood, facemask, cap or scarf. They are non-slip, stretch, and machine-washer safe. They are approximately 4 inches wide in the front and 1 and tapers to about 1.5 inches in the back. Bani Bands are made with high-quality materials and come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. They are also owned and operated by a female, United States veteran!

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Skinnies Sungel SPF30

skinnies sungel spf30

The most important defense against the harmful UV rays of the sun, is, and has always been, good, quality sunscreen. SPF protection is a critical, and often overlooked, component of our summer and warm-weather running plan. Sunnies is based in New Zealand, and made in the U.S. It’s formula features an innovative waterless gel, so it is quick-drying and doesn’t feel greasy. Not using water also literally means their product is not watered down, and it is also better for the environment.

Skinnies is designed to last throughout the duration of your run, while providing UVA and UVB protection. Since their product isn’t diluted, it stays on your skin longer, even while sweating. It is also great for those with sensitive skin, as it contains no alcohol, parabens, emulsifiers, preservatives or fragrances. It is coral reef safe, vegan friendly, safe for babies and pregnant women, and it is also not tested on animals. Another added bonus for runners is that Skinnies doesn’t sting your eyes while you’re sweating!

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Are you new to running? Click here to read our article on “How long does it take to build running endurance?