staying cool on Kauai
June 28, 2013 12:31 PM   Subscribe

We're traveling to Kauai next week, staying in Kekaha. I need some ideas for staying cool, especially at night.

We're staying in Kekaha, in a house with no AC. I'm taking daily medication that makes me perspire more, and it seems like any little thing I do here in the Bay Area has sweat poring down my face and back. I'm worried about this trip now, especially trying to sleep at night. What can I do, what can I bring, which bedroom should I try to sleep in to take advantage of natural cooling (as it exists). Our house is across the street from the ocean. Right now I'm aiming for north side as a general rule, but if anyone has any more specific considerations, I would love to hear them.
posted by oneirodynia to Travel & Transportation around Kekaha, HI (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: In my experience, many (most?) Hawaii houses have overhead fans, which will help a lot. If the doors and/or windows are screened, leave then open as much as possible to take advantage of the cross breeze.
posted by BlahLaLa at 12:42 PM on June 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I grew up in hot-as-hell Texas with no air-conditioning in our bedrooms. I hate hot weather and tolerate it very poorly.

Take a cool shower before bed. Sleep under a fan, possibly with a cool, damp washcloth. Hawaii isn't as hot as it seems (except from 1-4 pm. Siesta then, or try to drive up into the clouds that sweep through Waimea Canyon.)

Random tangential suggestion: Do the Alaka'i Swamp Trail.
posted by purpleclover at 1:11 PM on June 28, 2013

When I'm in that sort of situation (where hopefully you have a fan at least!) I bring a little squirt bottle that I can fill with water to spritz myself when I wake up from being too hot. Especially focus on hands and feet. If it's really bad I would get up and soak my wrists in the coldest water I can get.
posted by brilliantine at 1:20 PM on June 28, 2013

I've found sitting in front of a fan and using a spray bottle to spritz myself with water helps keep me cool. Wear loose, light colored, linen or cotton clothing if possble. Keep the shades drawn in the house to block out the sun. Drink plenty of water, and keep treats in the freezer like popsicles or chopped fruit. I also just read about putting your sheets or a small pillow in the freezer before bedtime. Supposedly putting it in a bag before putting it the the freezer prevents ice from forming on it. It's an odd and interesting idea that just might work.
posted by random thoughts at 1:22 PM on June 28, 2013

Hawaii isn't oppressively hot. It's cooled by ocean breeze and the architecture takes advantage of that; and it's not gross-tropical-humid, only face-feels-good humid. I'd rather be in Hawaii that in any hot inland place in the summer. Don't worry.
posted by fingersandtoes at 1:26 PM on June 28, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I am also on a medication that makes me sweat more, I'm already 'hot-natured', and I was in Kauai last summer. The good news Kauai is amazing and beautiful and totally fabulous. The bad news: Though I wasn't especially uncomfortable during the day, I was pretty miserable at night. SF Bay Area cool breezes through my windows at night has spoiled me. I didn't find the ocean breezes to be nearly has helpful as I'd hoped.

My only advice is to second the regular spritzes from a spray bottle (fill it with mostly ice and water to melt overnight). Take a cool shower before bed. Find out if the house you're staying in has fans, open all possible windows in the evening, and set up the fans to help pull in cross breezes. Freeze bottles of water to put in bed with you. I find if my face and feet are near a bottle of ice, I feel less awful overall. If you're super miserable, wet a sarong, wring it out, tie it on, and sit in front of a fan. It's not ladylike, but it's super refreshing.
posted by mostlymartha at 1:59 PM on June 28, 2013

Best answer: I grew up in a hot and humid tropical country, and it was not uncommon for people to take 2 to 3 short, cool showers a day, especially before bed. If that's too much trouble, wiping your face and neck with a cool, thoroughly dampened face towel can be very refreshing, or even just rinsing your feet with cool water in the shower. Keep yourself well hydrated, and make sure you have plenty of ice on hand to suck on if things get a bit dire.
posted by peripathetic at 2:10 PM on June 28, 2013

Best answer: Buy ice packs that you can keep in the freezer during the day, and sleep with at night. (Or, on preview, freeze water bottles.) Put them in your bed about five minutes before getting in yourself (one on your pillow, one down by your feet) to cool down the sheets. Cuddle with them as necessary throughout the night.

In terms of bedrooms, your best bet is going to be one that has windows on opposite sides of the room, for cross-ventilation.
posted by tan_coul at 2:13 PM on June 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

You might consider a Chillow. They do keep your head and neck cooler in my experience, which is often enough. I'd get a fan, even if you leave it behind, so you're not miserable.
posted by OneSmartMonkey at 2:20 PM on June 28, 2013

I grew up in Phoenix and went to outdoor concerts in the summer (I know, lunatic.)

One hack we had was to put ice in a bandana and tie it around our neck. If you can put ice on your pulse points you will be comfortable. So I can endorse the idea of the Chillow. Also, giant cups of pop with lots of ice held against your wrist pulse point is pretty great.

Also, 3 cool showers a day at minimum.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:59 PM on June 28, 2013

One thing that helps a good amount is wearing a (very light, breathable) shirt while sleeping. I learned this living in Taiwan. Sleeping nekkid always left the bed and covers sticky, but using a shirt kept the sweat contained to the shirt. Helped me sleep and wake up feeling relatively clean.

Also, if showers aren't practical, just submerging your face in cold water can help a lot. I often filled my sink with cold water, took a deep breath, plunged my face in, bubbled all the air out then repeated. Left my face feeling cool and clean, at least temporarily.
posted by jiawen at 3:06 PM on June 28, 2013

I don't have a lot of good advice but as a data point, I want to say that I went to Kauai a couple years ago (Poipu, west side) and the trade winds were low and it was swelteringly hot and very difficult to sleep. Our place was on the ocean and had no AC and no overhead fans. You are smart to plan for this.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:00 PM on June 28, 2013

Response by poster: Thank you! There are lots of great suggestions here, I'm going to try a number of them and will report back. I like the idea of the Chillow and frozen waters bottles quite a bit, as I am always too hot when sleeping. Frozen treats seem wise as well. And I am going to make sure that if there is a bedroom with an overhead fan, I will be the one sleeping in it. :)
posted by oneirodynia at 9:48 PM on June 28, 2013

I used to live on Kauai. Our house didn't have A/C (few do) and we relied on cross-ventilation and the tradewinds to keep us cool. I don't really recall being miserable from heat at night. Most of the houses are designed to take advantage of the trades.

But I can't help you with the roosters waking you up at 4am....
posted by kamikazegopher at 4:32 AM on June 29, 2013

When I can't take a full shower, I find that just sitting on the tub and washing my feet cools my body down quite a bit. It's surprisingly refreshing.
posted by hydra77 at 10:19 AM on June 29, 2013

If you have access to fans put one in a window blowing outward. Put a second one blowing inward. Hopefully, you'll be able to create a cross wind that way.

Here's what I learned from my mechanical engineer husband. If you only have one fan, use it to blow hot air out before you go to bed. The fan blowing on you while you sleep will certainly help, but blowing the hot air out of the room before bed will drop the overall temp of the room.
posted by 26.2 at 4:02 PM on June 29, 2013

Response by poster: Okay, I made certain to get a corner room on the northeast side of the house. We had excellent cross ventilation via windows, a big screen door, and an overhead fan. I slept under a very thin sarong. The corner room was really what saved me- it was the breeziest in the house. Showers before bed helped as well.

Driving up into Waimea Canyon was also very refreshing, though the only time I was ever cold was on the helicopter trip (doors off). Thanks for all the great suggestions!
posted by oneirodynia at 5:19 PM on July 16, 2013

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