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Iconic Iron Tuff

Why Iron-Tuff Is Our Most Iconic Cold Weather Clothing Collection

Working in the cold is a year-round fact for many. Around the world, tough-as-nails men and women go to work in sub-zero coolers, even when it is hot outside. Others follow the cold, working in Arctic and Antarctic tundra, fishing boats in stormy seas and other places some folks would say are too cold to venture. These cold weather warriors need protection that’s just as tough as they are. That’s why we still offer our original subzero protection-The RefrigiWear Iron-Tuff® Collection.

There are tons of important factors that have gone into making Iron-Tuff the legend that it is today. There’s the damn-near-unstoppable technology inside an Iron-Tuff garment, the amazing levels of warmth and the comfort that lets you keep working and performing at your best. They’ve all come together in this line of cold weather clothing that’s been keeping people warm in the toughest jobs on the planet for over 65 years. So how did RefrigiWear’s Iron-Tuff line come to be, and why do we still stand behind it as some of the most rugged and iconic insulated workwear ever made? Iron-Tuff’s history goes back almost to the founding of our company, and the tradition of quality is still going strong decades later.

What’s the History Behind Iron-Tuff?

Our insulation pros at RefrigiWear have spent years perfecting the best warmth technology around—the kind of iconic tech that holds up over time. When you’re talking history and icons, there’s no gear in insulated workwear that’s been known for quality like RefrigiWear’s Iron-Tuff. When Myron Breakstone and Mortimer Malden founded RefrigiWear in 1954, they had a simple mission: to make tough, comfortable workwear that would give workers in cold environments the warmth they needed without slowing them down. They decided they would be known as “The Modern Way to Keep Warm,” and it still holds true!

RefrigiWear launched the Iron-Tuff line all the way back in 1960. Iron-Tuff’s reputation took off later that year when Clare Conley, a writer for Field & Stream magazine, took a skeptical eye at our claims we made about our “-50 Degree Suit.” He thought they couldn’t possibly hold up, but after testing the suit for an hour in a quick-freeze room that got as low as -60ºF, he published an article admitting that Iron-Tuff was no joke—our coverall suits really were that warm.

After the Field & Stream article, hunters and sportspeople across America adopted Iron-Tuff as their go-to for keeping warm in the wilderness—but the biggest challenge was still to come, helping construction workers build the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline.


Iron-Tuff and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline

Still one of the biggest construction projects in American history, the pipeline required welders, teamsters, heavy equipment operators and laborers all working together in temperatures that sometimes dipped as low as -70ºF on the northern coast. Many sections of the pipeline had to be engineered on the spot and laid using construction techniques specially invented for the purpose. Iron-Tuff’s insulated suits and jackets were vital in keeping the crews warm and dry when Mother Nature was crashing down on them with all of her force.

RefrigiWear was the only company making clothes that could hold up to the brutal weather conditions the TAPS crews faced every day without being replaced constasntly. Some crews even had to work through the cold Alaskan winter to keep the project on schedule—and Iron-Tuff’s signature coveralls were all that stood between them and the killer temperatures.


Why Are Iron-Tuff Garments So Incredibly Warm?

Whether our customers working in a warehouse freezer, a Midwest ranch in the dead of winter or on the airport tarmac waving in flights, keep them warm on the job is our number one goal. The brave folks who bust their butts in frigid temperatures are the ones that our team keeps in mind when designing Iron-Tuff garments. And thanks to years of working with them and figuring out exactly what they need in great winter workwear, we’ve created the next generation of Iron-Tuff featuring these innovations:

  • RefrigiWear’s own RefrigiFill™ synthetic insulation, a high-grade synthetic insulation that lasts longer and performs better than other insulation
  • Water-repellent finish on the outer shell to keep out rain and snow—two things that can make you very cold, very fast
  • Extra wind-sealing technologies like knit collars and cuffs that make a total warmth barrier
  • Bound seams that make a more solid and resistant barrier to the wind and cold
  • Fleece-lined hoods and collars for maximum warmth and comfort

Why Are Iron-Tuff Garments So Damn Durable?

The secret to the toughness behind our Iron-Tuff garments and the reason they resist the elements so well is in their solid construction. We build them to last because you need clothing you can depend on, no matter what the conditions are. Some of the most important features that make Iron-Tuff clothes so durable include:

  • Brass rivets sewn in at common stress points to help prevent rips when you’re pushing yourself to the limit
  • Nylon outer shells designed to resist ripping and tearing, rated at 420 denier for exceptional strength
  • Reinforced heel patches to reduce the friction between the heel of your RefrigiWear pants and your boot heel
  • Rugged, high-quality zippers that are built to withstand rough conditions
It wouldn’t be Iron-Tuff if it weren’t built to last—so as long as you follow proper care instructions for your Iron-Tuff garments, they’ll protect you through years of hard work and cold temperatures.

What Are Some of RefrigiWear’s Top Iron-Tuff Options?

After all these decades, the Iron-Tuff line is alive, well and better than ever. We’re still coming up with new Iron-Tuff innovations for the people in the toughest cold-weather jobs around, and we’ve kept adding great new items to the lineup. Here are some of our most popular new Iron-Tuff models:

  • The Iron-Tuff Coveralls, also known as the legendary Minus 50 Suit, made us a household name in cold weather wear and with good reason. Our latest and greatest version has all of our classic protective features, like the Iron-Tuff fleece collar, anti-draft waistband and water-repellent finish. And with 11.25 grams of our RefrigiFill™ insulation, it’s got the warmth that made us famous.
  • The Iron-Tuff Inspector Coat is our take on the classic trench coat, with extra features for comfort and functionality. It’s a knee-length coat that’s got the insulation power of our warmest garments, but it also includes features like side slits for pants pocket access and an adjustable back strap for a comfortable fit. The perfect coat for when you’ve got to take charge and show the winter who’s boss.
  • If you need more movement and airflow but don’t want to lose warmth, the Iron-Tuff High Bib Overalls might be just what you’re looking for. They’ve got adjustable elastic suspenders to accommodate all body types, plus a high front and back and reinforced heels for a more durable build. Combine them with the rest of your favorite warm gear to make the ideal insulated combo.
  • Insulated headwear is now part of the Iron-Tuff lineup with the Iron-Tuff Snap-On Hood. For harsh conditions where you need full head protection, our hood has you covered. With a self-locking drawstring and a knit wind seal under its durable nylon outer shell, it makes an easy snap-on addition to your Iron-Tuff jacket or coveralls, completing your protection against Nature’s worst temper tantrums.

Iron-Tuff also offers hi-vis options, like our Hi-Vis Jackoat with Reflective Tape and Hi-Vis Snap-On Hood, for situations where your safety regs make hi-vis essential. Safety is at the core of what we do, so we like to make sure we meet all our customers’ needs and keep them well-protected on the job and beyond.

When you have to take on the toughest and coldest jobs, there’s one name that the pros have trusted for over 60 years: Iron-Tuff. Not only did it produce some of the very first ultra-insulated workwear to come on the scene, but the Iron-Tuff brand is still a symbol of rugged performance—because we’re still tweaking, designing and imagining better workwear every day. That’s RefrigiWear and Iron-Tuff in a nutshell: a tradition of success and a future of innovation.