How do you stay warm working outside when it’s extremely cold? If you are a geologist, archaeologist, forest worker, construction worker, or work a job that requires you to stay outdoors, then you know that climatic change doesn’t mean you get a day off. This means that through every season, you will be out in the field working when required.
During the winter, the temperature begins to drop and it gets extremely cold. During this season, working outdoors becomes more dangerous and challenging, making it very necessary to take extra precautions to maintain safety and health. You need to go the extra mile to ensure you keep your body dry and warm throughout your work hours.
I have itemized a list of ways on how to stay warm working outside in winter, and following these guidelines will help you keep your body in the best condition as you work in the cold. This will ensure your winter is productive irrespective of the temperature.
6 Things To Do To Stay Warm Working Outside In The Winter
1. Layer Up
The most important thing (obviously) to do before stepping out in the cold is putting on appropriate clothing. Of course, dressing up is paramount but you’ll need more than one layer of clothing to keep most of the cold out. There are at least three (3) layers of clothes you must put on. But for maximum warmth, I’d recommend four (4): wicking layer, mid-layer, insulation layer, and a shell layer.
- Wicking layer: This is the first layer of clothing you’ll put on. It’s the base on which other pieces of clothing will be worn on. The wicking layer is that which is closest to your skin and should be able to keep all the moisture away. The best options to use here are polypropylene or synthetic fabrics which are great for removing moisture from the skin.
- Mid-layer: While the first layer works to remove the moisture from your skin, the second absorbs that moisture and evaporates it. This layer is usually the clothes you wear on a daily basis, which is your shirts and pants. Just like the first layer, synthetic fabrics will work. You can also use wool for this layer. And ensure the clothes are fitting enough and not too loose.
- Insulation layer: The third layer requires a very thick coat capable of providing maximum warmth. Insulation, in this regard, means trapping heat so it doesn’t get out. Hence, you’ll need a breathable material such as a wool sweater or a fleece that will be just perfect.
- Shell layer: The shell layer which is the outermost layer is also very important. It is meant to protect you from the wind, rain, and other weather conditions. A treated fabric that is capable of shielding against wind and water will serve you just fine.
2. Protect Your Hands And Feet
Usually, the hands and feet are the first to get cold so it is important to get both covered up properly. Investing in a very good pair of gloves, preferably cold-resistant, will go a long way in keeping your hands cozy and toasty. The same applies to your feet. Insulated boots and a good pair of wool socks will be enough to keep your feet warm.
However, there may be times when work will not permit the use of gloves. If such occurs, the alternative is using hand warmers in your pockets. You can get a pair of hand warmers at almost every sports store.
3. Cover Your Neck And Head
You can lose a lot of heat through your head and neck. This is why it is important to keep both covered and wrapped because your head area gets affected by the cold as much as the other parts of your body.
Get a nice knit cap for your head, ear muffs, and a very thick scarf for your neck. A ski mask can also work wonders because it can keep your entire face warm. You can also get a balm for your lips to keep it moisturized and prevent it from cracking.
4. Get Artificial Heat
There are times when you’d need more than items of clothing to keep the cold away. At those times, you may need an artificial heat source to fight the cold. There are propane heaters that are great for that task and are easy to acquire. Propane heaters are a better substitute for campfires because they will provide heat without causing any kind of workplace hazard.
5. Keep Your Body Fueled With A Warm Drink/Food
A great way to fight the cold is to drink something warm. Keep a thermos handy, filled with your choice beverage to keep your insides warm when it gets too cold. When it is time for lunch, do not eat cold food. Instead, get a hot meal or come equipped with a thermos filled with warm soup.
Working in the cold will have you burning a lot of energy more than you would if the temperature was warmer. So, you will need to keep your body fueled, hence, the hot beverage or meal.
6. Always Be In Motion
When working outside in the cold, it will be a big mistake to be stationary. Your body can generate a lot of through when you move around so it is important you do so. Obviously, if you’re working, there’s a probability you’ll be moving constantly. But you want to be careful not to generate too much heat so that you do not begin to sweat. Generating too much sweat while covered in so many layers in the cold can become a problem. So you just have to find a balance between generating enough heat to stay warm, but not too much to cause sweating.
We know how uncomfortable it can be to be outside in the winter season. Just about everyone would love to stay home, sitting close to a fire to keep warm and toasty. But a call to work during this season should not be as uncomfortable as you imagine. Following our guidelines will make working outside in the winter as comfortable as can be.
Also, if you work in a group, it will help to buddy up so that one person is not left alone out in the cold for too long. The buddy system will help workers check in on each other at intervals to make sure everyone is dealing with the cold as safely as possible.