The great outdoors is a spectacular place to be. Rolling hills, beautiful skies and glorious landscapes leave us breathless. The seasons come and go bringing a myriad of new scenes and players. Winter re-introduces us to dark mornings and frosty starts and winter workwear is what keeps so many of us safe from the elements.
There are a variety of options out there and it can be quite overwhelming when we’re trying to kit ourselves out for the coldest time of year. Choosing clothing that will shield us from the inhospitable chill doesn’t have to cause a headache. In this blog we will consider what characteristics you search for when choosing winter workwear and why natural fibre is such a great choice.
To make things really straightforward for you we will also look at some key outdoor roles and make specific recommendations.
Characteristics of winter workwear
What are you looking for in your winter workwear?
There are three things that come to mind immediately;
When face to face with a frigid day you need warmth. This goes far beyond being purely for comfort (which is also really important) but survival. Core body temperature is the temperature of your internal organs which need to be kept between 36.5 °C and 37.5 °C for normal human performance. If your core body temperature drops below 32°C then you’re in life or death territory so it’s really important to keep warm!
All workwear needs to be durable, but winter workwear needs an extra level of strength because not only are you handling your normal work hazards you’re also dealing with rain, sleet, frost, wind and snow! You want to invest in quality products that exceed your expectations and last for years to come.
Protection is an all encompassing topic. We’re not just talking about protecting your fingers and toes from frostbite! We’re also discussing safeguarding your feet from blisters, stopping your body from getting cold from worked up sweat and giving you the security you need to do what you need to do without compromising your wellbeing.
Additionally you want to think about how easy it is to layer the items because if you’re moving between heated environments and the outdoors you want to be able to strip off a bit without compensating.
Think about the fact that the clothing you equip yourself with is your only defence against mother nature - choose wisely!
Is natural fibre a good choice for winter workwear?
New Zealand Natural Clothing are advocates for natural fibres - but what makes them such a good choice for winter workwear? Let’s look at some prime examples and their qualities.
Possum is one of our favourites because not only is it a fierce contender for winter workwear, it also helps the local ecosystem when we control their population to protect our native species.
Possum is unfreezable which is practical for cold weather. It is also lightweight giving you the warmth you need without weighing you down. Possum fibre takes moisture away from the body and releases it into the air which means that your clothing won’t get smelly either. As a bonus, possum is silky soft so you have comfort as well as a strong piece of workwear.
Another top contender is merino wool. Merino wool regulates your body temperature which is already a big plus.
Other benefits of merino wool are that it expels moisture keeping you dry. It’s low allergenic as well which makes it a perfect option for people with sensitive skin. Because merino wool is so soft it’s a super base layer option!
Sheep wool is the workwear champion. It’s a coarse wool but designed to cope with outdoors work. Jerseys that are made from a combination of sheeps wool and nylon, stop them from snagging which makes them the ideal winter workwear choice.
Alpaca fibre is the definition of durable, they last and last! Not only will it be an investment of a lifetime (or three) it’s hypoallergenic. Warmer than sheep's wool, alpaca naturally repels water and is fire resistant - giving you that extra security.
Specific winter workwear
You know what you want from your winter workwear and you’ve had a brief introduction to some of our natural fibres. Now we’re going to look at five professions that are largely outdoors and give specific recommendations for winter workwear.
A hard graft if there ever was one! You’re outside erecting buildings regardless of the weather. You may be up on a scaffolding or laying foundations. You face the weather throughout the winter and work well into the darkness!
Outdoors more than in as a farmer, the crops and animals don’t stop on account of weather so you’ll be out there 365 days of the year making sure that your land is being taken care of. You need something that is as hard wearing as you are…
In and out of heated vehicles to front doors through sleet and snow. Your hands are on the wheel all day and you’re sat in one position for a big chunk of your shift. You need something that regulates your temperature and protects your hands too.
Regardless of the temperature - the hounds will be desperate to get out! Doing up to six different walks a day you will be out in the chill for hours. Ideally you need a lovely warm pair of gloves, a snug hat and something to shield your body from winter!
Pandemic, snow storm, frozen fingers - the animals still need to be taken care of. Risks to their safety don’t disappear with the bad weather, although it would be nice to have a break now and again!
Natural fibres offer the best protection because they are designed to keep the animals they originate from out of harm’s way. Winter can be such a challenging period with its dark moods and creeping cold so it’s essential to be prepared and have quality clothing to keep you warm and safe.
We’re nutty about natural clothing so if you need guidance choosing the most ideal garment for your specific needs then give us a shout - we’re here to help kit you out for any eventuality!
Just drop us a line in the chat box if you have any questions.