For many of us though, it’s the time of the year where the temperature dips below shorts weather (unless you are morbidly obese in WalMart), and the sleeves come back on your shirt (unless you are a testosterone filled hunter). I am neither.
What does a desk monkey know about keeping warm? Don’t you work in an office set to 70? Who killed Jeffrey Epstein? All valid questions my friend.
I spent almost 20 years working outdoors most every day. I was a utility locator, and a pretty average one at that. My greatest skill was I showed up every day, rarely called off sick, and consistently ran good numbers in the group, but I was also efficient. I knew the fastest routes, and I also understood the best way to dress for weather, so you had maximum mobility, and avoided illness. So here we go.
- Dress so that initially you are a little cold. I know, this doesn’t make any sense, but hear me out. It’s okay to be a little cold. Once you get moving around, your body will generate heat, your clothes will trap it, but you won’t be so overwhelmingly hot that you sweat profusely, thus making you colder in the long run.
- Dress in layers. I used to wear long underwear, and then switched to runners clothing. The runners clothing kept you warm, but swept the moisture away from your skin, thus keeping you warmer. I then had a t shirt, hoodie, and jacket. In IL, in the winter, you always need the hoodie, but not always the jacket, because you work up heat.
- Wear a stocking cap. Yes, it will mess up your hair. Carry a brush or comb. Heat escapes from your head, and if you wear a stocking cap, you slow down that process. I always like a hood over my head as well, because it stops the wind from abusing your skin.
- Wear a scarf/cowl. A cowl is the thing that goes around your neck. Hunters often use them. I always did. When it is -20 windchill, you basically saw my eyes behind glasses, and no skin. A scarf/cowl keeps the wind from blowing into your jacket from around your neck. The less the wind hits you, the warmer you keep.
- Wear electrician gloves. They look like batting gloves, but are form fitting, so if you have to do something that requires fingers outside for a period of time, this gives you some protection. You can also but the Nike/UA/Adidas/whoever sells the runners gloves, but if you use them a lot, they will wear down, and carpenters gloves are $5, runners gloves are $30. Be thrifty my friends.
- Don’t drink alcohol. Thins the blood. Though warming going in, in the long run, will make you colder. I never had an issue with this working obviously, but if shoveling or snowblowing, can be an issue.
- Wear proper shoes. If you are wearing tennis shoes, your feet are going to freeze. If you are wearing an insulated boot, they aren’t for the first few hours. Gang, you can spend $200 on a good pair of boots, but honestly, most the boots I bought were $40 at Walmart, with some gels, because we put a beating on them, and they last about 8 months because you are walking through mud, cement, septic fields, heat, rain…they deteriorate. I got a nice pair of lined ¾ boots, insulated, that I wear when I snowblow or shovel, and toasty as can be.
- Spend the money on decent gloves. Not to work in, but in general. Keep those fingers warm. I used to have a pair of rabbit lined gloves, and they were amazing. If you think that’s cruel having real fur, it’s because you never wore rabbit lined gloves. I like leather too. Why? Warm, flexible, durable, and there is a reason people say “fuck like bunnies”, they are never going to go extinct, and are pretty tasty too. Same with cows.
- Fleece. It is light weight, stops the wind good enough, and probably stops a layer of clothing easily. I have fleeced lined jeans I wear when I snow blow. I’ve never once been cold in them. A little baggy to trap heat, they are awesome. It’s the reason I can stay out for hours, and the boy can’t.
- Loose clothes. Trap the heat, let it work for you. Tight clothes whisk it away, and you freeze. I know, shivering burns calories, but it’s a hard way to lose weight my friends. Loose clothes has an igloo effect. You use your own body to warm yourself. Been used for centuries, hasn’t changed.
- If you don’t have to, don’t sweat. Sure, if you are doing some labor outside in the cold, you will sweat. That’s why you dress in layers. Strip down. Be a little chilly.
- If your fingers or toes start to burn, or not work as well, get inside. You don’t have to prove how tough you are, because nobody looks cool missing a toe. Honestly, it looks creepy. Same goes with any skin. If it is burning, go inside, have a hot chocolate or coffee, then go back out after your body returns to normal, blood flow returns.
- Cuddle with a kitten. The best way to warm up is to cuddle with a pet. They like the attention, and their body heat will warm you up. Blizzard the Wizard could use her magical powers to warm Eli, but recommends a quick nap, with her on his lap, and fixes him right up, so why not you?
- Put up bird feeders. Life is hard for outside animals, and it’ll warm your heart knowing you are helping them survive.
That’s all I can think of kids. Those new fangled electric socks and jackets will just make you sweat and catch colds. Get lots of rest, eat more calories than normal if you are going outside, because you will burn them. And mostly, just use some common sense.
J “Jack Frost” R