Keeping Cool in a Fur-suit
It’s no secret that fur-suiting is cool, but it’s also hot . . . Down right sweltering, in fact. This tutorial was written to share some tips on how to stay cool and being safe while having fun in your fur-suit. First, I'll go over some basic techniques that anyone can use.
Number One: Know Your Limits
Knowing your limits is the number one way that you can stay safe while in suit. When you first start fur-suiting it’s always best to do so for short time periods. Start by trying on your fur-suit for 15 minutes, take at least an hour break, and then try for thirty minutes. By taking these breaks, you’ll be able to gauge just how long you can fur-suit before you begin to “crash”.
As easy as this sounds, it isn’t. It’s actually very easy to have so much fun in your fur-suit that you forget yourself and push your body past its limits. It’s recommended that you either set an alarm or have a friend supervise. This friend should be able to tell you when your time limit is up.
It’s absolutely not recommended for you to fur-suit for the first-time at a convention or public-event. It’s much harder to find a place to take your suit off in private at an event. You’re also in much more danger of getting too caught up in all the excitement to take the breaks you’ll need, but think you don’t.
Number Two: Drink Water
When you fur-suit you can very quickly become dehydrated. I recommend drinking at least a bottle of water before you get into your fur-suit and drink another bottle for every hour you’re in fur-suit. Neglecting to drink lots of water can lead to dizziness, terrible headaches, and can even cause you to pass out. By drinking water you can extend the amount of time you can comfortably fur-suit by quite a bit.
Since you may not want to remove your head every time you need a drink, having a straw is a must. For long flexible straws, try buying some airline tubing for fish tanks and cutting it into two-foot segments. You can find airline tubing cheaply at most department stores that have a pet section. Since most airline tubing is a minimum of six feet, you’ll have straws for your friends too!
Number Three: Wear Under Armor
Wearing a cooling type under armor beneath your fur-suit can make a huge difference in how hot you feel while in suit. Under Armor can be expensive, but there are many different brands of sports wear that do the same thing. Since under armor is designed to wick away sweat, it also goes a long way in keeping your fur-suit dry and sweat free. A wet fur-suit gets very short hugs!
NUMBER FOUR: Eat Bananas
Fur-suiting is like running a marathon, in that it is physically exhausting and will use up all of your energy. You wouldn't eat cake before running a marathon would you? (Please don't answer that!) The point is, that to insure that your body has all the necessary carbohydrates to produce energy, you should eat something rich in carbohydrates before fur-suiting. Bananas are just one example. You should eat about an hour before you perform, otherwise the food will tire you and/or make you sick.
Now that I've gone over some basic steps for keeping cool, I have some additional solutions. I have not personally tried some of these methods, but I have heard quite a bit from others who recommend them so I'll be including them in this article.
Some fur-suit makers, including CityMutt, can include small computer fans within a fur-suit head. Fans can draw fresh air into the head and blow stale air out. They are invaluable in keeping a fur-suit head ventilated.
Cooling Gel Packs
There are a multitude of brands and kinds of gel packs that are designed to keep a person cool in hot temperatures. The basic concept is to have a gel pack that has been in the freezer for some time, pressed against a key area of the body, such as the neck. The amount of time that the gel back remains cold depends on the specific product, but typically they last 1-3 hours. These are great for prolonging the amount of time you can comfortably suit.
A cool shirt (aka blue tubes) is a shirt with a electrical component that runs chilled water through tubes in the shirt. Cool shirts are a bit more high tech and can be expensive. They are said to perform better than any other solution, but the electrical component usually comes in the form of a backpack or waist pack which can be somewhat bulky. However, if you don't mind the extra weight, it is one of the best available solutions to heat exhaustion.