How do I dress for summer in Calgary?

Warm weather can be dangerous, if you don’t protect yourself properly from the sun’s heat and UV rays. This is especially true for Calgary, the sunniest city in all of Canada. This guide is intended to help new immigrants learn about sun care and dressing for summer in Calgary. Before heading outside, it is always a good idea to check Environment Canada or The Weather Network for weather warnings and advisories and to learn what the forecast is for the day.

How do I dress for summer in Calgary?

The Basics

UV stands for ultraviolet. It is a type of energy that comes from the sun and some artificial light sources. UV levels are affected by a number of factors including the time of daytime of year, and cloud cover. Generally, summer is when UV rays hit the hardest. Keep in mind that sun and heat levels are highest between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

The Dangers

UV radiation from the sun is the leading cause of skin cancer. UV rays can also cause sunburneye damage, and premature aging.  Visit here to find out more.

Being in the sun for a long time can also lead to heat illness. Examples include heatstroke (the most severe), heat exhaustion, and heat cramps. Heat illness is caused by either a lack of water or salt in the body. People who are more at risk for developing heat illness include:

  • Children
  • The elderly
  • People who work outside
  • Athletes and people who regularly exercise outdoors
A UV chart that tells you what protection is needed for what level. Weather networks always report UV levels.
Summer in Calgary: What to Wear

When temperatures are high it’s extremely important to stay cool and protect from sun rays. Be sure to wear:

  • Sunglasses that protect from UV rays. Most companies mark this information on the glasses.
  • Loose, lightweight clothing. Wearing tight clothing will only make you sweat more.
  • Light colours. Dark colours will absorb heat and make you feel hot while light colors reflect heat.
  • hat with a wide brim. A wide brim will provide additional shade.
  • Clothing that covers your arms and legs. Wearing long clothing will reduce exposure to the sun.
  • Sunscreen. Sunscreen is the number one way to protect against the sun. Visit here and here for sunscreen tips. Look for sunscreen that is water-resistant and at least SPF 30.
Summer in Calgary: What to Do

There are lot of things you can do to keep safe in hot weather:

  • Don’t leave children or pets alone in closed cars. You may be gone for only five minutes, but cars are very good at absorbing heat.
  • Limit time spent outdoors. It is best to stay indoors until temperatures are cool. If you have to be outside, seek shade or air-conditioned buildings
  • Drink plenty of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
  • Avoid alcohol or caffeine. These drinks will dehydrate you.
  • Put on sunscreen. Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before you leave the house and re-apply every couple of hours.
  • Don’t exercise or do hard labour during the warmest part of the day. Wait until it is cooler.
  • If you sweat a lot, drink fruit or sports drinks like Gatorade to replenish your salt levels.

CIES Guides are a volunteer-led project made possible through contributions from the community.

Thanks to Asantewa Nkuah for help with this guide. If you want to suggest a correction to this guide, or want to submit one of your own, please contact us.