Working in the winter rain or snow isn’t fun by any means, but it’s a necessary part of your job. Wearing the right winter gear makes ALL the difference.
If you can swing it, it’s well worth it to spend the money on high-quality winter gear that’ll last you for multiple seasons. It’s worth the investment – it’s better to have just one or two coats that serve you well for multiple seasons than several coats that aren’t totally reliable.
No matter what your budget, though, you can find a winter coat that works for you. Here are a few tips to keep in mind during your search.
Surviving the cold is all about layers, which means you need to make sure your coat will still fit over all of that bulk. Buying one size larger than you normally would should do the trick, but if you can, try on the coat with some layers underneath to see how it fits.
Look for waterproofing.
If you expect to encounter snow and rain this winter, make sure that you own at least one layer that’s completely waterproof. Some examples of high-quality waterproof materials include GORE-TEX or a DWR coating.
Pick your insulation.
You have two insulation options for warmth: down filling or synthetic insulation. If you live in a snowy or rainy area, consider opting for synthetic insulation rather than down, because down filling doesn’t insulate as well when it’s damp. On the other hand, down filling is more lightweight and compact than synthetic.
…But look for a slim fit.
Winter gear is bulky enough as it is. You need your coat to be well-insulated, which means it will be pretty thick, but look for something that’s not unreasonably bulky or heavy. Waddling around like a marshmallow isn’t exactly practical.
Some shiny fabrics are very easily torn, so if you work with fencing or other sharp pointy objects on the farm, that can definitely get frustrating. Instead, look for a thick and tear-resistant material that will hold up.
Lots of pockets.
Can you ever really have enough pockets? I don’t think so! Look for a coat with big pockets and plenty of ’em. The pockets should be secure enough to hold items without letting them fall out.
Opt for a hood.
Hoods help protect you from the rain and snow, and they also keep your head warm. There’s really no downside to having the option there, even if you tend to wear a hat and scarf. Look for a coat with an adjustable hood – a drawstring or snaps.
High-quality work coats are almost always a bit pricey, but you can save a lot of money by buying secondhand. Look for a coat that’s still in good shape – a season or two old is your best bet, and believe it or not, people do get rid of their winter coats after a couple years if they’re no longer “in fashion.” Luckily for you, fashion is the least of your worries when it comes to working in the cold! You might even end up with a fancier, cuter coat than you expected this way.