Clothing and Gear
Dress for the Job: Construction Gear and Jobsite Accessories Every Pro Needs
Construction professionals have to worry about a lot more than spilling coffee on their tie before the daily staff meeting. Construction is hard: hard on clothes, hard on gear, and hard on people. Here are some great tips that will help you stay cool when it’s hot, warm when it’s cold, and clean when it’s dirty.
Slanted Pockets for Easy Access
Wearing a tool belt makes it hard to reach your pant’s pockets. And it’s a pain to undo your belt every time you need to grab your truck keys. Several years ago I discovered that some of the pants and shorts I wore had slanted pockets, which allowed me to reach in under my pouch to get at my keys. Now, all my pants have slanted pockets. I buy either Carhartt or Duluth Trading brands, but there may be others as well.
Homemade Neck Gator
As a siding contractor in Minnesota, I learned really fast how to dress for the cold. I always thought that neck gators are one of the most important, yet under-appreciated garments on super cold days. But they aren’t as easy to find as gloves or hats. My solution is to cut a hole in the top of a $4 stocking cap, to make a perfect, cheap neck gator. I bet I repurposed at least a dozen stocking caps over the years.
Keep Old Eyeglasses for Messy Jobs
Construction work is hard on eyeglasses. Whenever I got a new pair, I always kept the old ones in my truck. To avoid breaking my new glasses, I wore the old ones during demo jobs, and when I had to slither around in crawl spaces. I also wore them during those jobs where it was impossible to keep clean, like painting a ceiling.
Sweatbands from Old Towels
I hate wearing safety glasses when it’s hot and muggy outside. Sweat pours off my head and right into them, which means I have to stop every few minutes and wipe them off so I can see again. My wife came up with a great solution. She cut an old bath towel into 4 to 5-in. wide strips for me to use as headbands. Now, whenever I work in the heat, I just tie one around my head to absorb the sweat. The downsides: I look like a ninja wannabe and end up with a weird looking tan.
Glove Swap Program
I always bought those brown jersey gloves for me and my crew. They were light, easy to pull off and on, and super cheap. I bought them by the dozen. The problem was, as a lefty, my right glove always wore out faster than my left. All the righties on my crew had the exact opposite problem. So instead of throwing both gloves out, I would swap my slightly used left-handed gloves for their right ones. We got twice the mileage out of each pair!
Poor Man’s Raincoat
My tile saw kicks out a lot of water every time I cut tile. I wear a trash bag to keep the front of my shirt dry. I cut three holes (head and arms) and slip it on like a shirt. If the bag doesn’t get completely filthy, I’ll store it with my saw for the next time, otherwise I’ll toss it. I’ve also used a bag to keep me dry while packing up my truck in the rain.
Duct Tape Socks to Break in New Boots
Recently, I splurged for new $150 pair of hiking boots. After two hours of wearing them for the first time, my ankles were so chafed I could hardly walk. I didn’t know how I could ever wear them long enough to break them in. I got the solution after mentioning my dilemma to my daughter. She faced the same issue on a wilderness trip in Northern Minnesota. She brilliantly wrapped duct tape around her socks where the chafing was, and boom—problem solved.