If you work outside, extreme temperatures can make your job much harder on your body. Whether it’s plus 35 degree heat with humidity, or minus 20 degree cold with a windchill, it’s much harder to work outside in extreme weather. The good thing about extreme cold weather though, is that there are more things you can do to keep warm than there are to cool down in the extreme heat, and with the right gear it’s possible to work outside on even the coldest day in relative comfort. Here are the best ways to stay warm when the weather’s cold.
The best piece of advice for staying warm in really cold weather is to wear layers. This is especially true if your job has you going between outside and inside on a regular basis. On deep cold days you will want to have 4 layers – a moisture-wicking inner layer, a light insulating layer, a heavy insulating layer, and a wind/waterproof layer. When you go from outside to inside, you can remove the heavy insulating layer and the wind/waterproof layer and be comfortable in both environments.
Waterproof your boots so that they aren’t letting moisture in and chilling you from the outside. Wear water repellant or water resistant outer layers to avoid getting damp and chilly. Even more important than keeping water from getting in is what to do with the moisture created by sweating. That’s why the moisture-wicking inner layer is the most important layer you put on. This layer includes anything directly touching your body. Socks, underwear, and thermal underwear/long johns should all be comprised of material that wicks moisture away from your body – these should be made of synthetic materials and never, ever cotton. Gloves should be waterproof and warm while still allowing flexibility.
Keep your Head Warm
As much as 50% of your body heat is lost through your head. Even if you’re wearing layers and doing everything else right, if you’re not wearing a hat, you’re going to be cold. If your job requires a hard hat, you can wear a balaclava or other close-fitting head covering under the hard hat, if not, choose a warm hat, preferably with ear flaps to keep you warm.
By dressing correctly for the weather, using layers and keeping out moisture, it is possible to stay warm while working outside on even the coldest of days.