OK, so whilst many of us can cosy up with a hot cup of tea in the office this winter, some of the UK’s workforce will have no choice but to brave the unpredictable and often bitterly cold winters we can experience in the UK. Most outdoor workers are great at keeping warm – but when the weather hits an extreme, it’s a good idea to review the basics and take note.
The goal is to conserve as much body heat as possible. The body like any structure, heat loss will occur the most when there are openings. So it is important to cover up to reduce the areas at which the skin or thin layer clothing are exposed.
1. Thermal Insulated Coveralls are top of the shopping list. The design largely eliminates core body heat loss whilst allowing a good range of motion whilst working. You won’t be parading these at London fashion week, but they are incredibly practical.
2. Glove selection is a skill. The fabric and texture need to be suited to the job, but it is important to find and buy gloves that allow you to use a liner. If this means buying them a bit bigger – do it. Insulated Mittens have now been developed with various finger configurations inside for increased dexterity and warmth.
3. Hats and helmet liners are very effective at preserving neck and head heat. It is common knowledge that the head radiates the most heat on the human body, so it is important to reduce this heat loss by wearing fleece lined fabric hats (like this KARA black hat) which are comfortable and good insulators.
4. Use skin creme, moisturisers and barrier creams on exposed skin. You are basically trying to ward off hypothermia and keep your skin working for you. Try to cover the skin you can’t otherwise with clothing, without looking like a complete alien!
5. Layering clothing over the core of your body. Layering is one of the most effective techniques for staying warm. Air is one of the best insulators there is, so you should be using it to your advantage by choosing at a minimum three layers. A thin base-layer, followed by a warm fleece which traps the air, then a thick insulated outside shell jacket like this quilted Randeno Jacket and Vernon Fleece combo.
6. Grow a beard. You would be wise to do , unless you want to wear a ski mask but they aren’t designed for use with a hard hat. Beards are somewhat fashionable now with “Movember” coming up. So now you have an excuse to grow a beard for practicality and a charitable cause!
7. Double layering socks and insulated boots – If you are going to be standing or walking on cold surfaces these are good ideas. Steel toed shoes are well known for acting like a “foot fridge”. So if you can, ask for a composite toe boot and try standing on a mat, plywood or some kind of insulating barrier if you are outside for a long period of time. Check out these Saga composite boots.