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10 Essential Pieces of Cold Weather Gear for Farmers

1.) Leather Work Boots

Because farmers spend most of their working days on their feet, it makes sense to invest in high-quality footwear. In addition to protecting your feet from the elements, a rugged work boot with safety toes can offer protection against smashed toes caused by heavy equipment or livestock. Features such as water resistance, a slip resistant outsole and a comfort gel layer will ensure strong footing and comfort. Many of the features of our leather work boots will keep your feet warm, dry and comfortable.

2.) Moisture-Wicking Socks

While we’re on the subject of footwear, let’s talk about the importance of moisture-wicking socks. Although your boots can repel moisture from getting into your boot, they can’t do much for the moisture caused by your sweat. When you’re sweating inside your boots, the last thing you want is a cotton sock that soaks up all your sweat and keeps it there. To avoid damp, uncomfortable feet, it’s essential that you wear moisture-wicking socks. Moisture wicking socks are made from special materials that allow them to wick away moisture from your feet to the outside of the material so that it can evaporate, leaving feet dry and warm. As a farmer, you’ll want not only moisture-wicking socks but also socks with some padding for additional comfort for the heel and ball of your foot. These leather boot socks are a perfect match for your Titanium Leather Boots and offer excellent insulation and breathability.

3.) Insulated Bib Overalls

From rain and snow to blisteringly cold windchill, a quality pair of insulated bib overalls can protect farmers from the most extreme cold weather conditions. However, not all insulated bib overalls are created equal. The best bibs for farmers offer flexibility, insulation and resistance against minor tears and scrapes. Some homesteaders prefer the look and feel of duck bib overalls, while others want the comfortable, lightweight feel of an insulated softshell bib overall.

Regardless of which bib you choose, pay close attention to the features. Make sure that your bib is wind-tight and water-repellant and provides enough insulation to keep you warm in cold temperatures. Additional features such as warmer pockets and scuff-resistant knee patches will come in handy when you’re fixing fences in the cold or need to give your hands a brief respite from the cold.

4.) Base Layers and Mid Layers

To survive for long periods in the cold, farmers must know how to layer. Layering incorrectly can make you too cold and wet or even too hot and bulky. With the right base layer and mid layer, you can set the foundation for your cold weather gear.

Let’s start with the base layer. The point of a base layer is to trap heat and wick away sweat. For farmers, a good base layer is usually thermal underwear made from a merino wool blend, which has both thermal and moisture-wicking properties.

Mid layers provide additional insulation and draw heat to the next layer for greater warmth. Mid layers are usually sweatshirts and hoodies made from warm fleece. If you’re looking for the most amount of insulation in a mid layer, check out RefrigiWear’s Insulated Quilted Sweatshirt.

Made from cotton/polyester fleece, our insulated quilted sweatshirt offers a triple layer of warmth with 310g insulation. It’s also made from shrink-resistant fabric, so there’s no need to worry about it shrinking in the wash.

5.) Insulated Vests

An insulated vest offers greater core protection and can be worn over any shirt or sweatshirt. What do we mean by "core?" It's essentially your torso, where you have your vital organs (heart, lungs, kidneys, etc.). If you keep your core warm, your heart can pump more blood to your limbs and extremities (like fingers and toes), which keeps your whole body warmer.

But vests are also very versatile. Since they are sleeveless, vests give you great freedom of movement for your arms and shoulders. Plus, you can easily take off a vest if you start to work up a sweat and don't need as much warmth, which is often the case if you're moving around a lot and building up body heat.

6.) Insulated Jackets

You'll always be thankful for a good insulated jacket when temperatures drop. If you’re working outside in sub-freezing temps, you’ll need a jacket with enough insulation to keep you warm. Pay attention to to if a jacket provides info about how many grams of insulation are provided and if the jacket has a comfort rating down to a certain temperature.

Because of its durability and warmth, an Arctic Duck Jacket is a great choice for tough and dirty work. With ample insulation and water-repellent exterior, you’ll be warm and dry for any job. These jackets are rugged, made to last and designed for working conditions. Although duck jackets aren’t too difficult to clean, pay attention to washing instructions to avoid damaging the insulation.

If you’re dealing with extreme cold, you will want as much protection as you can get. An Extreme Softshell Jacket, which provides maximum warmth and flexibility, is perfect for temps below zero. And it's also hard to beat the classics like Iron-Tuff, which is as tough as they get in both materials and construction. 

7.) Lightweight Rain Jackets

Not all cold weather requires thick insulation and puffy jackets. For days that are above freezing, a light rain jacket may be best for some farm duties and chores. The point of an outer layer is to protect you from the elements – it doesn’t always need to provide additional insulation. For cold fall mornings or light rain in early spring, consider wearing a fleece hoodie underneath a cold weather rain jacket. This Lightweight Rain Jacket from RefrigiWear is perfect for dealing with the wind and rain while you work the fields.

Windproof, waterproof and breathable, this rain jacket features a detachable hood and a lining in the sleeves for maximum comfort and protection from the elements.

8.) Neck Gaiters

The neck area is extremely sensitive to the cold, especially the wind. It won’t matter how insulated your torso and legs are if the wind is biting at your neck. A merino wool neck gaiter will block out windchill and provide warmth without being scratchy or irritating.

Why merino wool? This natural-grown fiber has moisture-wicking and insulting abilities that can help keep your neck warm and dry. More than just neck protection, a gaiter can be pulled up to protect your nose, mouth, chin and even most of your ears from the cold as well.

9.) Insulated Gloves

A pair of insulated gloves are essential cold weather gear for anyone working with their hands. These insulated Cowhide and Canvas Gloves have Thinsulate and foam insulation to keep your digits nice and warm in freezing temperatures. If you need less bulky gloves, choose on or a pair of performance gloves, which provide more dexterity. But remember that nothing is as durable as leather gloves when you need something that stands up against abrasions, rough materials or even barbed wire. 

10.) Knit Cap

Although it’s a common myth that we lose half our body heat from our heads, it’s still important to protect your head from the cold. This myth stems from the fact that you’re more likely to feel the cold where there are more blood vessels, and your head has a lot.

That being said, headwear is a must in very cold and even cool temperatures because your head and ears are very vulnerable. With a knit cap, you’ll have protection against cold temps and windchill. We recommend our Watch Cap, which is made with merino wool and an acrylic blend knit. It also features a moisture-wicking lining to make sure sweat evaporates instead of getting trapped against your head and making you colder.

Battling Extreme Cold—It’s Not Just the Elements

When choosing cold weather gear, many items can seem like overkill. Do you really need a neck gaiter or bib overalls with heavy insulation? The answer is yes, and here’s why: It’s not just the cooler temperatures that can be dangerous, it's also the amount of time spent in the cold. The better prepared you are with your winter work clothes, the more time you can stay outdoors and get more done.

It doesn’t take long for frostbite or hypothermia to occur, especially with high windchill. While you look at each cold weather piece on this list, don’t ignore the importance of its unique features. The small details can make a world of difference when you’re battling extreme cold for hours on end.

The Best Cold Weather Gear for Farmers

Working days may be shorter in the offseason, but farmers still need cold weather gear to brave freezing temperatures in safety and comfort. Here are the most essential clothing items that no farmer should be without in the dead of winter or early spring.

Subzero winter days on a farm can be miserable when you aren’t properly dressed for the weather. With these essential pieces of cold weather gear, you can maximize your productivity and make the most of short, winter days. Just remember that knowing how to layer is key to staying warm in frigid conditions. If you need assistance finding the best cold weather gear or choosing the right base or mid-layer, RefrigiWear is always happy to help. Get in touch with us, and we’ll outfit you in cold weather gear that’s built to last.