Summer is a challenging time for dressing well and feeling fresh, especially for guys in those humid parts of the country where a short walk to your car can leave you swampy and unprepared for work or any kind of social gathering.
The heat seriously limits your wardrobe, too. Any time we post a summer Getup featuring pants or a long-sleeve shirt we get tons of comments from guys in Florida, Texas, the mid-Atlantic, the South, and the West (basically, anywhere not bordering Canada) saying they could never wear anything other than boxer briefs and a cold towel and hope to stay dry.
We get it. Nothing kills your confidence more than sweating through your shirt or heading into a date knowing your rod & tackle are sweltering belowdecks.
Sweat, perspiration, and general wetness are the enemy. Good moisture management is the solution.
Thankfully there are a host of high-tech products that have appeared in just the last few years to specifically help guys maintain maximum freshness and confidence in the summer months, and we’ve rounded up the best of the best.
Primer Partner Pick
Little known fact: sweat itself is odorless.
The human body has two main types of sweat glands and both produce odorless sweat. The funk arises when sweat in the armpit and groin areas mixes with bacteria that naturally inhabit those zones.
We have a widely-accepted and almost universally-utilized solution for the underarm area. So why can’t you walk into Walgreens and get a similar product for your undercarriage?
Chassis is here to change that.
Chassis Premium Powder was created from the ground up over a four-year period of intensive R&D by a team looking to create the moisture management solution for the jungle-like conditions all guys experience down there every day.
We can attest: they have succeeded.
The guys at Chassis weren’t happy with the bare-bones options available to guys, namely, baby powder or so-called medicated powders. They either smell medicinal or like, you know, babies, they clump when wet, and don’t hold up to all-day use.
Chassis has addressed these men's body powder issues by specifically engineering a down-there powder that is talc, aluminum, and paraben free, but still extremely hydrophobic – meaning it doesn’t absorb moisture, it repels it.
If you’re not sure what hydrophobic means in practical terms, check out this insane product testing video. The stuff doesn't even dissolve in a cup of water.
The Chassis scent is mild and pleasing and they also offer a scentless version. We’ve also found it to provide excellent chaffing protection when running, cycling, or hitting the gym – something baby powder could never achieve.
Chassis also offers a 5-in-1 Shower Primer that deep cleans and softens body hair to further reduce chafing and discomfort, and a soothing Extreme Cream for already-irritated areas.
In an overall moisture management strategy, Chassis is an excellent place to start – and definitely the most essential tool day to day for a universal problem guys face.
Another approach to controlling moisture in your downtown bonanza is by upgrading your underwear. Cotton, while cheap and plentiful, is not your friend in the hot summer months when you need to maximize breathability and minimize odor retention.
Introducing the one underwear fabric to slay all others: Merino wool.
You might be thinking, “You want me to wear wool in the heat of summer?” Yes. 100%.
Smartwool has just come out with an upgraded, highly engineered version of their excellent PhD underwear that takes full advantage of merino wool’s amazing natural properties.
First, merino wool is an excellent thermoregulator. It wicks moisture to keep you cool in the summer months and retains body heat in the winter.
Second, merino is naturally antimicrobial, so it doesn’t trap stink – ever. I’ve personally put this to the test on multiple 30+ day hiking trips, usually bringing one merino t-shirt and a single pair of merino wool boxer briefs. I can confirm: the stuff simply doesn’t retain funk. It’s like a miracle.
Paired with a solid powder like Chassis, you’re looking at a major upgrade in your summertime downstairs situation.
Smartwool has brought guy-targeted body mapping and chafe-free waistbands to their newest PhD build, and while $48 is a steep initial investment it’s a fair price to pay for a never-funk, moisture regulating base layer.
3. Body Wipes
Continuing the theme of Baby Products Re-Engineered For Men we arrive at body wipes. These are basically giant wet naps that have a pleasing, masculine scent so you can de-sweat and de-funk on the go.
Keep them in your briefcase, car, or if you struggle with moisture and freshness carry one with you when you leave the house – they’re discreet enough to fit in a pants or jacket pocket in a pinch.
We especially like body wipes for social engagements that happen directly after work, when you don’t have a chance to shower at home or the gym.
This isn't the spray deodorant we grew up with.
For the past two decades scientists at the major consumer products companies have been quietly working to reinvent spray deodorant and they’ve finally succeeded. Gone are the days of starchy spray-on smell-hiders that don’t perform as well as stick antiperspirants.
We’ve been testing Dove+Men, Degree, and Axe for over a year now and found them all to perform extremely well when it comes to moisture management, all-day staying power, a lack of heaviness, and – perhaps most important for a spray deodorant – none of the drawbacks of applying a gel or stick to your body.
Nobody loves white stuff in their armpit, or the wet goopiness of gels, or the stains that stick deodorants can leave on clothing.
Dry spray addresses all of these issues by being moisture and alcohol free – kind of an amazing leap forward after a lifetime of dealing with a caramel-like texture under your arms.
Several, including Dove+Men, offer formulations that are 25% moisturizer – handy for guys who experience underarm chafing as a result of the summer months.
You know the old survival adage “Cotton Kills?”
You may not be on the mountainside but summer presents you with any number of social survival situations where you can't afford to get wet and stay wet, which is what cotton does in high heat, high humidity situations.
The answer is to have a few non-cotton pieces in your closet when the application demands it and linen is the perfect alternative fabric choice for summer.
Linen is considered a stiffer fabric. What that means for the wearer is that it doesn’t cling or drape as easily against the body, which allows more airflow over both your body and the fabric.
Zoom down to the molecular level and you’ll discover that linen’s structure enables it to absorb as much as 1/5 of its weight before giving the feeling of being damp or wet. By contrast, cotton’s density means it becomes waterlogged much more quickly.
Linen’s looser fitting, cooler-wearing properties mean you can rock a long-sleeve shirt or pants in the warmer months because you’re freed from having to wear as absolutely little as possible to stay cool. Definitely worth a look.
What are your tips and tricks for staying fresh in the brutal summer months? Share them below!