Dressing For Winter Chores

| 1/18/2017 11:23:00 AM

Does it sound like something too simple to even talk about, dressing for winter? I thought, perhaps this was an area that people just didn't care about, because they already knew how to dress for winter. But it wasn't until I met a young lady who told me her story about moving from New Mexico where she knew nothing of winter that I realized the usefulness of speaking on this topic.

Her first year was spent on her off-grid homestead wearing jeans and a very impractical jacket. She shared how cold she was that first winter and how she now relishes in her layered polar tech and new, lined pants. So, I got to thinking about those out there who may be looking at relocating to a wintry state and have never had to ponder what to wear when it gets 20 degrees or below. Now you will know! 

Chore Wear

There are only three concepts you need to know: Close to skin moisture management, mid layer for insulation, then the shell. ​My first layer starts with a light chamois that is wicking. Moisture management is key to staying warm in this first base layer. Materials that work well are merino wool or a brand name material like Patagonia Capilene®. There are other materials you can use for close-to-the-skin base layer, such as silk, but I find the moisture management of some of these brand name companies pretty darn good. I buy all of my active winter wear from Sierra Trading Post. This is an online store that sells brand names at deep discounts.


Your next layer is going to be the mid layer for your insulation. I always check to see what the temps  are to decide how "thick to go." Polar fleece comes in different weights, so if you buy this material, it is versatile for your mid layer. We also like merino wool. Merino wool is a commercialized wool that is more streamlined than regular wool. You can wear it close to your body and it's warm, soft, and works well for winter use! In fact, most of the socks we own are merino wool.

Lastly, you will consider your final outer layer, which will vary, also according to the weather. For cold, windy days, I pull out my Goodwill ski jacket from Solomon. It is thick and woven tightly but not so thick that it restricts my movements. Ski jackets usually are not as practical for chore wear, but that is why I use Goodwill. I can buy a brand name ski jacket that will work for my chores and not worry about getting it dirty.

My husband will wear a waterproof shell on windy days when the temperature drops below zero and he finds himself in the woods or on the ice fishing. We also both swear by wool! Wool is warm and is water-resistant. We both have army-issued wool pants that are more than 20 years old, still in excellent condition. In addition, we both have wool shirts and sweaters. Nothing beats wool, and I find myself wearing my wool pants and sweater more then my conventional winter jacket.

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