Growing up in the Midwest, I’ve been battered with brutal weather since before I can remember. One of my first trips that I can actually remember as a child was to a great place in Canada called Tober Mory, which has amazing limestone cliffs that drop into beautiful Lake Huron. It also has some massive amounts of snow and bone chillingly cold temps in the winter. On this trip, my mother and father both made sure that I was dressed warm but also taught me one of the best winter warmth tips I’ve ever learned… tuck in your shirt!
Though this may seem like something that is second knowledge to many of you that are used to working or growing up in cold temps, there are still plenty of other people that think it’s totally lame to tuck their shirt in and would rather freeze than do it! Though it may not be the most fashionably acceptable thing anymore, it is one of the greatest ways to trap that nice warm air against your skin instead of letting it escape through that flapping shirt tail!
Layering of clothing has been going on for years and years and for good reason, it works! We’ve described some great options for layering for winter work in the past with our blog post about Beating the Winter Chill but I’d like to touch on something a bit more simple that can guarantee to keep you more warm this winter.
So we can start by layering our clothing to create a great base for winter warmth. My first layer is usually some sort of synthetic base layer that helps wick away moisture. This could be something as simple as one of the shirts that you received at your local comp, every comp seems to be moving towards synthetic shirts, to something like a synthetic long underwear type of layer. Another great option is the Solidur CoolMax long sleeve shirt. This is comfortable against your skin and as I said, helps wick away the moisture that you are going to work up while working. I make sure that I tuck this layer into my chainsaw pants.the next thing I put on is a Bartlett buff. The buff is great because it traps the warmth from coming out the top of my base ayer and my mid layer.
My mid layer is made up of the Solidur Hi-Vis Polar Fleece. The fact that it has a high neck is a major plus because it gives my buff a place to lock all that warm air into my core. The other great thing about it is it’s ability to dump out some of that moisture through the mesh arm pits. Obviously we want to trap the warmth in our core area and thats where tucking your shirt in and your buff will shine but we also don’t want to get too overly sweaty because this will cause us to get cold and then lead into greater issues that start with just being uncomfortable to major issues like hypothermia. As Les Stroud would always say about cold weather camping, “If you sweat, you die.” So, now that all that moisture is being dumped out of our under layers, you should be able to stay dry and comfortable.
Recently I had an employee working with me that hasn’t done much work outside in the winter. As the temps started dropping he would complain about how cold he was at work. Obviously I don’t want someone being THAT uncomfortable while on the job nor do I want their mind on how cold they are instead of on what is happening around them. I mentioned to him one morning that he should start tucking his shirt in and wearing a buff. I explained that the tucked shirt and buff help trap warm air in pockets that are close to your core instead of letting the cold winter wind whip up his shirt and then right out the top at his neck. He tucked his shirt in and grabbed a buff. The day ended up being around 15 degrees Fahrenheit at it’s highest and when we got back to the shop, I asked him how he felt. He said he couldn’t believe that something as simple as those two things could be such a game changer! I was pumped that I could finally pass down some of that simple knowledge that I leaned some many years ago to help someone else stay a bit warmer throughout the long cold winters in Michigan!
What types of simple tricks do you have that can make our jobs easier? We would love to read them in the comments and share in future posts!