Stuff We Love: New Winter Work Wear
Warmth and comfort mean higher productivity on cold days
When working outside in winter, it’s hard to beat a trusty pair of quilted overalls or coveralls to ensure warmth. But many work wear manufacturers are moving from these bulky and heavy winter options to the lighter layered clothing that has become standard in the winter sportswear world. This new layered winter work wear provides better breathability and warmth with enhanced mobility. Today, Marty Dyck is going to look at some new work wear options that will insure warm, comfortable and productive days on a cold job site. Watch the video below for Marty's take on these new winter work wear items and then read on for greater product detail.
Helle Hanson Pro Lifa Base layers
The best way to ensure whole body warmth is to start with a base layer that wicks moisture and retains body temperature. Helle Hanson’s Lifa Merino base wear does just that. Their interior Lifa fabric transports sweat away from your body while the Merino wool exterior gives superior insulation and warmth. This is the perfect combination for high activity on cold days. The tops come in a crewneck or zip turtleneck; both, along with the bottoms, come in a variety of colors. I wore the half-zip turtleneck alone under a down jacket in low double-digit temps while doing some fairly aerobic activity and was plenty warm and dry. These high tech long-johns are going to cost you a bit more than their traditional counterparts but the level of comfort and warmth they provide make them a solid investment.
Helle Hanson Chelsea Evolution Service Pant
When first pulling these pants on they felt a bit tight for the size ordered and I thought maybe they run small. But after having them on for a while, I found them increasingly comfortable and just the right size. This is mostly due to the four-way stretch fabric that allows you plenty of mobility while still being snug on your body. They actually felt like good pair of well worn-in jeans, especially with the familiar jean-like front pockets. The additional cargo thigh pockets have flaps that reveal inner pouches for accessories and tools. There are also two rear pockets, and the right one has a flap with a hook and loop closure. The hammer loop on the right side isn’t quite where I like it but at least it’s there if you need it. The build on these pants is solid with gusseted crotch that won’t tear and a reinforced bottom hem to avoid that familiar boot fray. The black pair we wore seemed to show dirt and dust easily but they also come in a lighter colored camouflage material. While perhaps not the best pants for a consistently cold and wet work situation, we found that, when worn over a solid base layer, these were warm and certainly comfortable in 20-degree weather.
Truewerk T-2 Werkpant
Much like the Helle Hanson pants these Truewerk pants have a snug, comfortable feel. Their four-way stretch fabric is not only tough and tear resistant but it’s also water resistant and very breathable. With articulated knees and a gusseted crotch, it was easy to move around in these pants, and the smartly laid out cargo pockets easily accommodated tools and my cell phone. The right rear pocket has a zipper enclosure for your wallet. We got a pair of the sand-colored T-2’s but they also come in light or dark gray and navy. If you’re consistently working in super cold temps you might want to consider Truewerk's fleece lined T-3 version of this pant, but we found the T-2's just fine in double-digit temps over a base layer. On top of all these features and functionality, I liked the look of these pants and would wear them on and off the jobsite.
Truewerk T3 WerkVest
One of the keys to being warm on cold days is keeping your core warm. I’ve always been a vest guy partly because of that. But even more, I like vests because they allow a lot of mobility and perfectly complement a lighter outer layer like a hoodie or waterproof shell. This Truewerk T3 vest has a grid fleece lining that provides a thermal layer of insulation below the smooth bonded fleece exterior. The smooth exterior doesn’t trap sawdust like most fleece vests and works well under outer clothing because it doesn't bunch or catch. Despite the bonded exterior I found this vest still very breathable and I liked its high collar that zips up to keep your neck warm. Either on its own on more temperate days, or teamed up with an outer layer when it’s really cold, this vest should prove itself an essential piece of winter work wear.
Truewerk T2 Fleece Hoody
Designed as a technical mid-layer, the T2 Fleece WorkHoody provides the warmth needed for under-shell layering during cool to cold-weather work. But because of its “HardFleece” outer surface, that is not only water resistant but also abrasion and debris resistant, there’s no reason you wouldn’t wear this hoody as an outer layer as well. We found it worked well with the Truewerk T3 vest underneath in extreme cold and just fine on its own for more moderate temps. The inner fleece wicks moisture well, keeping you dry when working up a sweat, and the four-way stretch fabric allows not just breathability but a lot of movability as well. It’s available in ANSI Class 2 High-Viz Yellow or Black.
Helle Hanson Kensington Lifaloft Jacket
The key to the Kensington jacket’s superior warmth is Helle Hanson’s Lifaloft filling. It’s a synthetic insulation based on a yarn fiber design that doesn’t absorb moisture like polyester fibers. This means that this Lifaloft jacket should provide plenty of warmth, even when wet, with less weight and bulk. The construction of this jacket is thoughtful in that it has articulated sleeves with tough ripstop elbow guards and there are no shoulder seams that can bind with underlayers. There is also an extended back that should keep your tail warm and dry, while both the lower jacket and hood have drawcord loops that easily cinch in to seal out the cold. The color choices here are navy or black. Helle Hanson claims that the manufacturing of its Lifaloft material leaves a lesser water and carbon footprint than comparable polyester choices. This is just another added bonus for a jacket that will for sure keep you warm in the most extreme winter weather imaginable.
About Marty Dyck
Marty is a professional woodworker and the owner of Good From Wood, a custom woodworking shop located in Stillwater, Minnesota. Specializing in unique, vintage barn doors, custom skateboards and other innovative wood products, Marty hopes to always build the piece that everyone talks about. Click the links below to learn more about Marty.
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