As I’ve mentioned before, I’m spending the summer doing a partly-pedestrian commute. Though it’s a great way to get exercise and reduce my carbon footprint, I have to struggle with the Atlanta heat. Walking to school, even early in the morning, is sort of like swimming through a soup made of car exhaust and UV radiation. It’s sweaty and humid. I’m not a fan.

So, in order to avoid being known as the “freaky sweaty chick” in my morning chem session, I’ve come up with a few ways to either reduce sweating during my commute or make it less obvious once I’m there. Though the morning commute is still pretty hot, I can at least look normal once I arrive at my destination.

Use a side-strap bag: I used to commute with my beloved Timbuk2 laptop backpack. I had to quit, however, because that backpack has the same flaw as any other: it traps heat (and thus sweat, and my shirt) against my back. By switching to a side-strap bag (I use this one, but any messenger bag or tote with a short strap would do), I allow heat and my shirt to flow away from my body. This means that–at least from the outside–I don’t look as hot as I am. Anything that moves heat away from your body is a good thing.

Kill the t-shirt: During the school year, I wear pretty much the same outfit every day: a v-neck t-shirt and some jeans. I’ve moved away from the t-shirt during the summer because it is awful about showing sweat stains. Jersey knit (the stretchy fabric t-shirts are made out of) clings and takes a long time to evaporate. Instead, aim for woven cotton or linen button-up shirts. If you buy them in a slightly larger size than your normally wear, it increases the amount of air circulation you’ve got going on and keeps your shirt away from your skin. If you want fabric recommendations, check out this Put This On post.

Keep your hair up and dry: If you have hair long enough to pin up, do so. Having your neck exposed to the air makes you feel about a billion times better. Even if your hair isn’t long enough to need to be pulled back, it’s useful to dry your hair (or wash it the night before) when you leave the house. Wet hair will make you feel sweaty even before you’re actually hot. It’s gross.

Blot your face: When you get to your destination, duck into the bathroom and use some tissue or a paper towel to wipe off your neck and face. A shiny face is a really obvious indicator that you’ve just been sweating. If you don’t wear makeup, just use whatever’s around you–if you do wear makeup, go for the oil blotting sheets so you can remove oil without pulling off your foundation.

With these strategies, I’ve managed to make my summer commute a little more bearable. Do you have any heat-fighting tips? Share in the comments!