You can hydrate til the cows come home, wear a hat big enough to shade a village, take detours through air-conditioned shops, go on as many wet rides as the park affords, and still the heat—particularly the sweltering humid heat of Florida’s Walt Disney World—can take you down. Our ill-tempered moments in the park, though rare, are almost always the result of heat-invoked crankiness.
But whether it’s the sweat-inducing summer days in Anaheim, California, or the suffocating heat and humidity of Florida in the first weeks of September, we’ve braved the worst of it in the hopes of having the parks to ourselves. Yet for everything we’ve done to mitigate the enervating effects of oppressively uncomfortable conditions, including: shifting our park attire to athletic wear designed to mitigate heat, investing in backpacks and camera straps designed for maximum airflow, and even slowing our aggressive pace to a stroll. While each helped somewhat, by far the most impressive addition to our heat-fighting arsenal has been our Frogg Toggs® Chilly Sport™ towels, which came to us not through our extensive and ongoing research in this area, but from a recommendation by a die-hard and particularly hirsute Burning Man devotee who confessed he’d nearly passed out from the heat on multiple occasions and his Frogg Toggs literally saved him.
All right… so, what exactly is it?
What makes the Frogg Toggs line of Chilly products uniquely effective is a combination of a “hyper-evaporative” material combined with the cooling effect of evaporation. Back when baseball was played in flannel uniforms in the heat of summer, players had a simple, cheap and innovative means of portable air conditioning: a cabbage leaf and rubbing alcohol. The alcohol-soaked cabbage cup fit easily between head and cap, and created a constant and cool draft as the alcohol evaporated away from the player’s head. Water merely would have dampened the player’s head, whereas alcohol’s rapid evaporation rate created a current of airflow that lasted the duration of the alcohol. Frogg Toggs Chilly line is based on the same principle: When wet, the product feels cool as a result of the evaporation process whisking the heat up and away from the body. When the cooling ceases to be, the product need only be re-wet in order to reinstate its cooling effect.
We opted for the towels: smart looking if not a bit ascot-chic; but really, it was the idea of maximum coverage on our necks and chest, where our camera straps create the most added heat. We recommend checking out the Frogg Toggs website for the product that best suits your own needs.
Our own experience
It was in front of the Tiki Room in the Magic Kingdom that we began to feel the weight of the Florida climate: heavy on the humidity, bolstered by death rays of heat, and our stamina and frame of mind began to wilt. We remembered our Frogg Toggs, and lo’ and behold, there just happened to be a convenient water feature right in front of us.
Wetting down the 17×33-inch ascot/scarf/neckerchief/towel was a bit like pulling pasta through a roller, but it remained soft, lightweight and somewhat springy without becoming soggy and drippy. Instantly it was cooling, but without any jolt of a chill or the feeling of dumping a bottle of water down your shirt. It was just breezy and nice, and a magic elixir to the debilitating effects of heat prostration.
From that point on, we took our Frogg Toggs as seriously as hydration and sunscreen.
If heat is a serious concern, so much so that you’d rather brave the crowds than the heat, a Frogg Toggs Chilly product could make all the difference. It definitely did for us.
This is not a paid endorsement.