"There's no such thing as bad weather,
only unsuitable clothing.”
― Alfred Wainwright
This phrase hails from Scandinavian heritage which feels extremely fitting for our climate here in the upper Great Plains.
When working outside for extended periods during the magical season of winter my main priorities are:
Be comfortable enough to work.
Stay dry, obviously.
Focus on keeping neck, feet and fingers warm.
The right tools can make all the difference for the job and I consider wearing appropriate clothing an indispensable tool. Number two speaks for itself; if you've ever been cold, ever, you know. As for the final priority, if my neck gets cold, my shoulders hunch, I clench my jaw and my whole torso ends up cold plus tense. Keeping the neck warm doesn't seem like it makes much of a difference, but once I made it a focus, it made all the difference.
So to start with the neck: I usually layer with a hooded sweatshirt. Even if I keep the hood down for most of the day, it provides a taller collar at the
back of my neck. On really cold days, I add a silk scarf or as the western world calls them, wild rags. A standard wild rag is 36"x36". I bought 26.5"x26.5" for the kids to wear and they fit me for a cold, but not frigid day. These are a great way to add a little color to your face & outfit for the day; pick something that really lights you up!
*Tip: I like to search square silk scarf and purchase mine from Amazon...
From the top, now down to the bottom: I invest in shoes that can keep me warm and dry, allow me to move how I want to move all day, every day and hopefully last an entire season or more. I size up in some winter boots. It's important for the toes to be able to move or else they get cold faster.
These are my favorite, it's too cold and wet for tennis shoes but it's not winter season yet, boots. Also, they clean up like a dream! Caked in manure? Washed right off and they looked brand new; new enough to wear to town! For this reason, I will continue to buy these possibly forever.
When we plan to be in the mud or working cows, I go for these rain boots. It's extra, I know, BUT they are insulated. So when it's colder, that does make a difference. Bonus they wash up really great and can be worn to town. Double bonus they have a great warranty and customer service, I know from experience!
This pair of fuzzy, lined rain boots is on my list! I don't need another pair of shoes right now, but when I do this pair of boots looks cozy, functional, and adds a stylish touch.
I added sherpa insoles to my rain boots when it was absolutely frigid and never took them out. BEST $20 I possibly have ever spent. Incredible stocking stuffer to try in any shoes!
Now these are the trusties that I calve in. I tried the big pack boots, but I couldn't move well enough so I switched to this pair. When everything is frozen, they work perfect. By the time we are in slop city during the melt, I cringe at how nasty they get, and also switch them out because they start to get too warm. I sized up a half. Think mobility of a sneaker, warmth of a boot! I actually have two pairs, the brown boot has a microfleece inside and the gray boot I wear is SHERPA LINED! Sherpa is next level amazing!
Snow pants! I wear snow pants instead of coveralls. They make it infinitely easier to pee, they are light, they don't pull on my shoulders, and it's less bulk in my coat. Plus way more nursing friendly. Did I mention they also dry much faster? I got mine at our local farm supply store and I'm going strong on three years. Here is the pair my mom wears.
Leggings were meant to tuck into boots. Leggings were meant to be worn with snow pants. They slide inside easily, stay up, and fit in boots nicely which keeps the bottoms dry! Bonus, if I have to go to town, I take my snow pants off, keep boots on, swap my dirty coat for my town coat that's in the mom car and not only do I look presentable, I look trendy! This is my favorite pair of leggings. Perfectly thick, great rise, stay right where I put them, and wash really well. They do go on sale!
I love ski/snowboard coats for the farm so no surprise that this came from @dopesnow.
My literally perfect green coat is really hard to come by now. If you want to try searching Billabong Into the Forest, you might get lucky!
Here is how I pick a coat: I usually search in the ski or snowboard section. Those coats are meant to be able to move and usually have a longer fit that covers my butt. This keeps me warmer, dry, and comfortable in public wearing leggings. I usually size up so I can wear a sweatshirt under and again, movement, plus pregnancy. Finally, what makes this coat such a gem is the POCKETS. It has a "bucket" style pocket and a regular slide your hand in from the side pocket. I use the "bucket" pocket to drop a knife in, my gloves, and my phone and none of it ever falls out. Then I have even more room in the side pockets. My next coat purchase will surely be focused on finding this type of pocket setup again. I linked an option with similar pockets that I would consider.
Here is the "perfect" coat if you want to see what the listing pictures look like or see it in this stunning pink!
I have a two stage approach to gloves. I always have these roping gloves along during every season. In the winter I wear them to get gates or use my fingers when the mittens are too bulky. If I'm outside longer and need the warmth, I like leather mittens that have finger slots. I wash my leather mittens with the rest of my outerwear then lay them to dry. I have also bought larger leather mittens and worn the roping gloves inside them. This makes going back and forth between gloves super fast!
Chapstick: Love this one! You can get it cheaper elsewhere, but I know sometimes you don't get to leave the farm so having it delivered prime is actually cheaper than finding a way to leave!
My face really gets dry in the winter from the wind and cold. This lotion is the only one I've found yet that can handle my level of dryness. Make sure it's the extra-dry, I think it makes a big difference.
My phone battery does not get along well with the cold. I got this charger pack during harvest and it's been so helpful! It's all in one piece, which is the best part!
Figuring out how to dress for the farm in the winter is tough. It's not quite like being on an all day outdoor adventure that needs base layers because it's likely there will be cab time. There is a delicate balance of being dressed warm enough to be outside for hours if the situation springs up, but also being prepared to be in and out of equipment all day.
This is my tried and tested winter uniform, but I'd love to hear if you have something that works really well you; I'm always up for trying something new!