As much of the U.S. broiled through 90 -plus degree days this month, a cardboard container arrived on my desk recognized “CAUTION.” Inside was a black spandex getup laced with 120 feet of medical-grade tubing, along with a knapsack, ice packs, a pump and a lithium-ion battery. Also included were a drainage tube–and an invoice for $1,911.15.

In the epithet of climate reporting, I had ordered a dozen different items that promised to keep me cool outside of my air-conditioned office.( The companies agreed to send samples, which I returned after trying .) I had important questions to answer: Do these things job? Are they practical? Would I look like a walk-to publication of SkyMall?

As global warming moves summertime temperatures in some places to the edge of what humen can tolerate, personal cooling products may soon go from gimmick to necessity. Already this year, flights were grounded in Phoenix because air temperatures outstripped 120 degrees Fahrenheit( 49 Celsius ). It reached 134 degrees in Death Valley–but that’s a dry hot. By comparison, the soggy 96 degrees in Washington last week may sound mild, but to this Toronto native it called for some technological intervention.

I started with Cool on the Go ($ 50 ), a battery-powered devotee that hangs on a lanyard around your neck, blowing air at your chin. This is not quite as silly as it voices. The result is similar to an ocean breeze from a few blocks away, or passing the open doors to an air-conditioned mall on the other side of a busy sidewalk.

Bloomberg News reporter Christopher Flavelle holds a Cool on the Go battery-powered fan.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/ Bloomberg

There are drawbacks. When turned to full force, which is the only way to get any real chilling result, the fan’s motor is amazingly loud–less desk devotee than dust-buster. The chill was easily overwhelmed by the actual air currents of a downtown Washington street at midday, such as the exhaust from a passing metropoli bus. And wearing something that provokes a mini Starship Enterprise may not be swankiest thing for that Hamptons brunch.

For those who favor discretion, a number of corporations give relatively innocuous neckwear that cools when wet. One such company is Mission, whose instructions for the HydroActive Fitness Multi-Cool Neck Gaiter and Headband ($ 18) could have been written by the Wizard of Oz:” SOAK in sea, WRING it out and SNAP three times .”

Flavelle wears a Mission HydroActive fitness multi-cool neck gaiter and headband.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer

I tried wearing the gaiter around my neck, between my scalp and the open collar of my shirt; sure enough, the cloth seemed cooler, longer, than regular wet cloth. If anything, it was too cold–after about 20 minutes, I started to get an achy, flu-like excitement. The esthetics didn’t help: Tucked into my collar, the gaiter looked like an ill-applied cravat.

The company also stimulates the HydroActive MAX Towel ($ 20 ), which can go around the neck or over the psyche. When I soaked the towel in water, a sticky soapy film bubbled out, which induced me to move to the next item in the pile.

A better neckwear option for work robe is from Nano-Ice, a Boston company whose founder, Sam White, elevated money through Kickstarter. Its cooling scarf ($ 49) was less chilly than Mission’s product, but still enough to blunt the heat index. If a summertime scarf isn’t your thing, the product is also available as a necklace.

Flavelle wears a Nano-Ice cooling scarf.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/ Bloomberg

If you’re looking for something more dramatic, other options is to simply affixes an ice pack to the top of your brain. That’s the gist of the Cool5 8 Baseball Cap ($ 31 ), make use of Ohio-based Polar Products Inc. Under the dome of the cap is a circular pocket, inside of which is tucked a frozen cooling pack. The style the hat is erected, the ice sits immediately on your scalp.

This leads to a number of interesting results. First, the hat sits strangely high, giving the impression you’re hiding something under it, which of course you are. Second, having an ice pack against your skull reproduction the symptoms of an ice-cream headache, without the fun ice cream proportion. And for all that, the hat’s chilling impact doesn’t spread to the rest of the body, so that the wearer is still hot but now has a migraine as well.

The company’s Fashion Cooling Vest ($ 138 – $205) operates far better: Internal pockets along the front and back of the vest comprise ice packs, which sit close enough to the skin to cool without causing inconvenience. The corporation mailed me a women’s vest, which a colleague gamely agreed to wear around the block. She said it wasn’t precisely fashion aesthetic she would wear regularly, but she’d be happy to wear it on a hike.

Flavelle wears a women’s Polar Product style cooling vest.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/ Bloomberg

But if summers keep getting hotter, investing time outside might require something more than a scarf or vest. That brings us back to the box differentiated “CAUTION” and the battery-powered, ice-water-cooled compression suit. Its manufacturer, Coolshirt Systems, in Stockbridge, Georgia, makes wearable cooling equipment for racecar motorists, film crews, firefighters and surgeons. The professional orientation is apparent: I had to call the company to ask which nozzles inserted where.

But for those working willing to invest the money and hour, the suit’s effect is exhilarating–for a while. The move of a button generates a swoon whirring noise, as the battery-powered pump in the knapsack ($ 640) begins moving chilled water through the tubing. After a few seconds, that sea races through the shirt ($ 247 ), for a chill effect unnerving in its suddenness. A few seconds later, the flow makes the tubes in the shorts ($ 223 ), making the excitement of being submerged in sea.

A Coolshirt Systems 2COOL compression shirt, left, and Coolshirt Systems 2COOL compression shorts.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/ Bloomberg

I tested the attire by going for a midday running; the temperature was 90 degrees, and for the first 10 minutes I scarcely noticed. But after 15 minutes the water “ve lost your” of its cold; within half an hour, all chilling impact had stopped. At that phase, I was stayed two miles from my office, running in the heat in black spandex.

I would have tried the suit again, to experiment with a different mixture of water, ice and icepack in the knapsack, if not for another drawback: The shirt proved impossible to take off on my own, its network of tubes inducing difficult to bend. Merely with the help of my editor could I wiggle free.

Jay Buckalew, Coolshirt’s chief executive officer, said his company’s revenue is on track to double from last year, to$ 5 million, partly thanks to people trying to stay comfy doing everyday activities–attending a football game or mowing the lawn–amid warming temperatures.

What will it take for chilling devices to make their route into the average person’s summertime routines? Zachary Schlader, a professor at the University of Buffalo who focuses on thermal stress, told people are slow to change their habits; if you’ve lived hot summers before without assistance, you’ll probably resist starting now.

But for people in the warmest areas who can’t or won’t invest their entire summertime hiding indoors, without some kind of icy hat or tube-filled shirt,” it’s going to get so hot that we’re not able to cope .”