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Don’t Have AC? Here’s How to Stay Cool & Unboiled This Summer

Cool linen sheets, a Dyson air conditioner-purifier combo, and a portable AC necklace will keep you from curdling this summer.
New York, US
Ian Burke
Brooklyn, US
June 7, 2021, 9:13pm
air conditioner fan pillow
Photo: Composite by VICE Staff

From one boiled egg to another: It doesn’t have to be this way [takes mayonnaise bath]. We do not have to boil to death in our apartments, especially if we haven’t schlepped up the AC unit yet.  A whole spectrum of comfort exists between “crawdaddy boiling” and “ice toes” when it comes to matters of the seasons—even if you don’t have central air. There lies a place in-between, where totally competent, comfortable coping exists. 

Sure, nothing slaps like a fresh Frigidaire AC unit, or an apartment with central AC (we dream, we dream). But cool linen sheets and the habit of rubbing ice cubes on your wrists’ pulse points makes a big difference; a strategically placed fan, positioned by a low-light window, can [cargo pant Dad voice] improve your whole cross-ventilation situation a lot, champ. 

You don’t have to feel like a kebab on the spit when you wade through your home. That sensation is reserved for winter, or anal bead play. You just need to make a few summertime tweaks to feel a little less awful, even if you don’t have a sophisticated home cooling system. Rube Goldberg that jazz with ice packs, standing fans (that also purify your air), and a better set of blinds. 


Welcome to your iced out, Super Soaker baptism.

You own cryptocurrency

I have a proposition for the communists: Dip into your Dogecoin purse for a portable neck fan robot, because you need more than just big brother breathing down your neck. Imagine the look on your friends’ faces when you wear it to lunch on a heatwave day, and order French Onion Soup because you have a portable face glacier. 


Portable Neck Fan

Stay at half-mast

It may run contrary to our instincts, to close the windows and shut the blinds, but doing so can help keep heat out of your apartment. You are going to need a fresh air flow in your apartment, and if you only have a single window keeping it closed might not be an option, so here’s an idea: get some roman shades (they’ll look great with your Japandi furniture) and roll them down three fourths of the way. We love a natural wood finish, but these also come in white, which will repel the heat even better. 

World Menagerie

Cocoa Gyala Semi-Sheer Roman Shade

Don’t sacrifice your window to an AC unit

It’s always a bummer, but we do it because we don’t want to turn our bedrooms into a Crockpot. Most window AC units cost a few hundred dollars anyways, and investing in a Dyson cooling—and purifying—fan system is one of those things you will thank yourself for immediately, and in six years. It removes gases, 99.97% of allergens and pollutants as small as 0.3 microns, and it has a delightfully unimposing presence; a svelte, cool wall-mouth with a remote control that looks like an iPod shuffle. Wouldn’t it make a handsome couple with your Roomba? 


Pure Cool TP01 Purifying Fan

You still use traveller’s checks

What is this? A 1940s film noir? Own the fact that you love the classics, because you can’t really go wrong when you return to pieces with timeless design. You’re perfectly content sitting at a desk with a fan that looks like it fell off Amelia Earhart’s plane. 


Retro Brushed Nickel Table Fan

A fan with a fully developed personality

Who needs new friends, when you have a standing fan that looks like a dapper human out of the right corner of your eye, at the right time of night? There’s a degree of self-loathing most aesthetes/Libras have when they look at a fuggo home appliance amongst all their beautiful home decor. That’s just not the case here. This fan hits that mid-century vintage note, but not in a way that feels too kitsch, and (fun fact) it was an extra in Cars.

West Elm

Senior Pedestal Vintage V-Fan

A window fan that takes up little space 

We love a self-aware appliance. This fan knows you really don’t want to put a massive AC unit in your window, so it took off its top hat and elevator shoes to fit riiiiight in there at a fraction of the height (and price) of a jumbo unit. And it doesn’t just blow in fresh air, but sucks out stale air. Kind of like a snake plant


Transom 4 Speed Low Profile Window Fan

Your sheets might be “suffocating” your pores

Dude. Your poly-blend sheets are the equivalent of rubbing your body in Vaseline, or making sheets out of Hefty trash bags. There is very little breathing room for your pores. Linen, however, is one of the most naturally breathable cooling materials out there. Just look at everyone’s outfits in Jurassic Park (top marks go to the grandpa in that all-white ensemble). Replacing your sheets can be costly, but it’s a smart investment when you consider how much time we spend asleep. Trust us, they’re worth it


French Linen Flax Sheet


Soft Hemp Linen Sheets

I’m your private dancer

Any old music will do. This Vornado (say it with me) has the swagger of a Sky Dancer (IYKYK) that spent a few years learning pole and drinking with Drake, and we love it. “It packs a lot [of] power in such a compact tower,” says one reviewer, “It also runs very quiet.”


V-flow Air Circulator Tower Fan with Remote Control

A second skin

If you live alone, or have a very tolerable roommate, you likely know the joys of putting your underwear/pillow cases in the freezer. This meaty cloth is an upgrade from that logic, and “[uses] high grade and extra thick PVA with evaporative technology” to keep itself cool after being submerged and wrung out with cold water. “The more water it comfortably holds,” say its ice lairds, “the longer it takes to evaporate, which means the longer it stays cool for you.” 

Chill Pal

PVA Cooling Towel

This might be cheating, but it’s worth it

A big multi-tasker. This air conditioner is more (easily) portable than those chonky AC window units, which already makes it less of a commitment and hassle if/and/when we move, and it not only cools but circulates and dehumidifies the air in your room. No more swamp ass! 


Portable Air Conditioner

Go eat a cold bowl of fruit, and don’t forget to stay hydrated

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