The winter months in the northeast are cold and bitter. But while others are cuddling up around the fireplace, you’re out there braving the elements getting some work done same as any other day. You don’t take a break just because Mother Nature decides to throw some colder temperatures into the mix. Your only concern is getting your hands on the right gear to make sure the job gets done right. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the toughest gear craftsmen need to tackle the bitter winter months.
Merino Wool Socks
Your feet take a beating throughout the workday, especially when it’s colder outside. A great pair of thick, winter socks can make sure your feet stay warm while even adding a little extra layer of padding for protection. Although thicker socks are a dime-a-dozen, we recommend investing in some made from merino wool. This robust material is comfortable, heat-trapping, and durable. These socks are so awesome, they just might knock themselves off. In terms of specific brand names, you can get by with saving money on an off-brand with this piece of gear.
You’ve probably heard of or even worn thermal underwear in the past. Although people generally call any kind of long underwear or undershirts “thermal”, not all materials offer the same advantages. Merino wool, once again, is going to be the best material to use. As the first layer of clothing, thermal underwear has to serve two functions: locking in the heat while keeping perspiration away from your skin to prevent chills. Thermal underwear made of merino wool checks both of these boxes. Carhartt, Duluth Trading, and REI are a few solid places to start your search for great thermal underwear.
A balaclava, more commonly known as a ski mask, is perfect for keeping your head, face, neck, and ears warm when working outside in freezing temperatures. If you’re wearing a helmet, this essential piece of outdoor gear can help trap even more heat. There are some styles that even cover the nose and mouth, but this boils down to personal preference and the demands of your particular job. Regardless, fleece is an excellent material to use as its warm, non-itchy, breathable, and durable. This neon-yellow fleece balaclava delivers on all of these must-haves and even makes you more visible when working in the early mornings or evenings.
As a craftsman, your hands are your most important and prized tools. When the cooler weather comes around, it’s vital to keep your hands warm and toasty without completely immobilizing them. The best working gloves are durable, warm, and flexible. Of course, there’s a constant trade-off between these factors. Thicker, insulated gloves will keep your hands toasty but won’t allow for much movement.
On the other hand (pun intended!), lighter gloves offer more dexterity but less protection against the biting cold. In the end, you should have a few pairs of outdoor gloves you can use depending on the temperature and demands of the project. While no specific brands stick out as worth mentioning, this Popular Mechanics post does a great job of breaking down some of the highest-quality gloves into specific advantages.
Having the right gear for the winter months isn’t just about comfort, it’s also about safety. If you don’t have a thick, protective jacket, you’re more likely to tense up, lose mobility, and open yourself up to potential injuries. When looking for the best winter jacket for working outside, you need to take a few things into account: what it’s made of, how much it weighs, and its mobility. If you’re looking for great insulation, a jacket with down is an excellent choice. However, you don’t want something too bulky and heavy that you feel weighed down.
The same is true for the jacket’s design. You should make sure it’s not too cumbersome so you can still move your arms easily. Carhartt and Dickies are going to be your best bet for finding jackets that are designed specifically for outdoor work. While brands like NorthFace and Patagonia might have better-insulated designs, their material isn’t going to be up-to-snuff for the more hands-on craftsmen jobs.
If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a craftsman, head over to IAmMadden.com to search for immediate job openings nearest to you. Madden has been a trusted name in the industry for decades, and our passion is still burning bright. Feel free to reach out to learn more about what we offer. Let’s build something.