Though most of us don’t even want to think about it when we're still enjoying warm fall days, winter IS coming. But ice-cold temperatures don’t mean you and your team have to freeze. We’ve rounded up our best suggestions for warm, protective gear so that you can be safe and snug when the thermostat drops well below zero!
It turns out the long-held belief that “50% of your body heat escapes through your head” isn’t actually true. But what IS true is that your face, head, and chest are more sensitive to extreme temperatures than the rest of your body, meaning that special protection is necessary against cold-related medical conditions. Materials that insulate while wicking moisture are key — think polyester fleece and microfibre.
Lined toques, such as Bob Dale Gloves’ Thinsulate-lined acrylic knit toque, protect your head and ears in extreme conditions. If you’re looking for high-coverage face and head protection, balaclavas are an excellent choice. The Storm Master acrylic knitted balaclava from Surewerx and Erdogyne’s Fleece Balaclava are great examples of how breathable materials are used to simultaneously protect you from the elements while also wicking away moisture.
As anyone who works outside knows, good hand protection can be the difference between comfortably powering through the workday and needing to stop frequently to warm up. Look for gloves that keep water and cold air out for hours with moisture-repelling and insulating materials.
The best gloves offer multilayer protection to keep fingers warm, like the Breakdown Glove from Watson Gloves. It has a 3M Thinsulate™ C100 lining to protect from the cold, along with a Spandex outer shell and neoprene cuffs to keep out moisture, dirt, and debris.
Coats and Protective Clothing
The key to staying warm and comfortable? If you guessed layering, you’re right! Ensuring you have proper base layers, mid layers, and outer layers lets you adapts to changing weather and environments, keeping you dry and protected.
Start with a moisture-wicking, loose base layer that is both breathable and insulating. Helly Hansen’s Juneau crewneck and pants are designed for cold climates, using soft polypropylene to control moisture and retain warmth without being restrictive. Your mid layer will typically be your regular work gear or uniform, which is then topped with your outer layer. Choose outerwear that includes an insulation shell and durable layers to protect against abrasion wind, rain, and snow, such as the Insulated Winter Parka from Surewerx. These quilted safety parkas use 300 Denier PU coated oxford polyester for a 100% waterproof third layer that keeps the elements out while trapping heat in, while still managing to be breathable in allowing moisture to vent outside.
In Canada, over 42,000 workers are injured due to slips, trips, and falls, of which 67% actually happen on the same level. Obviously, as the weather turns, snow and ice hazards create more risks, which is why footwear becomes more important than ever. The thing is, even deeply lugged soles which are perfect for mud, snow, gravel, etc. may be inadequate for ice. Your best option? Personal ice traction gear and footwear, which now come in a variety of newly improved designs and materials.
Products like ICEtrekkers Diamond Grips fit over a variety of footwear types and provide aggressive traction for all winter walking conditions due to its patented Diamond Beads — case-hardened steel alloy and strung on steel aircraft cable that have hundreds of biting edges that grip in every direction. Another ice traction option is a full winter boot like the Baffin Duralife Icebear Safety Boot, a lightweight abrasion resistant Polyurethane (PU) moulded boot that protects the feet up to -50°C and contains an oil and acid-resistant rubber lug outsole that provides added traction on packed snow and icy conditions.
Sometimes toques, boots, and gloves don’t cut it — and it’s time to bring out the warming packs. They’re an affordable way to instantly heat up extremities, though it’s important to look for materials that won’t irritate your skin. Erdogyne N-FERNO® Hand Warming Packs provide warmth for up to 8 hours and use all-natural materials that feel comfortable. Plus, you can get more use out of them by sealing from oxygen in a Ziploc bag and reusing it the next day!
If you want to perform at optimum levels in cold environments, you need to stay hydrated. What’s more, cold conditions can increase the risk of dehydration because low temperatures tend to suppress thirst, even when your body requires fluids the most. Take frequent breaks and sip fluids that contain electrolytes like Sqwincher Sports Drinks to enhance water intake.
To check out all our winter gear options, head to our Gear Up For Winter page!