How to Stay Warm When Working in the Cold
How to Stay Warm When Working in the Cold

How to Stay Warm When Working in the Cold

Get the job done comfortably and safely when you're working in the cold. 

By Caterpillar | Posted: January 10, 2023

Hard work doesn’t stop just because it’s cold outside. We’ve put together tips so you can get your job done comfortably and safely, even during the cold winter.

1. Dress in Multiple Layers 

Multiple lighter layers are better than one thick layer. Why? Because the air warmed by your body heat gets trapped between each layer. More layers = more warm air keeping you comfortable. Each layer serves a different purpose:

  • Base Layer: This should be a close-fitting layer made of moisture-wicking stretch material. The material lets you move and keeps you dry.
  • Insulation Layer(s): This should be a material like fleece or wool that will trap your body heat. You can wear two separate insulation layers if needed. The first should be lighter and closer fitting, such as a fleece sweatshirt. The second should be heavier and loose-fitting, like a down jacket.
  • Shell Layer: This outermost layer should be a waterproof and windproof jacket like this one that protects you from the elements.

2. Cover the Head and Neck 

It’s a myth that you lose half your body heat from your head (it’s more like 10%). But it’s still important to keep your head and neck covered. Wear an insulated face mask, neck covering and a hat, or consider a balaclava.

3. Keep Your Hands Warm and Mobile 

Keep your hands warm while still being able to do precise, detailed work with a pair of water-resistant gloves like these that are padded and lined for warmth.

4. Layer Your Socks

Wear two pairs of socks. The first pair is a base layer that wicks away moisture and keeps your feet dry. The second pair should be a wool-like material that provides a thick layer of insulation and keeps your feet warm.

5. Wear the Right Boots

Consider composite toe boots instead of steel toes – they don’t conduct cold and will keep your feet warmer. Slip-resistant boots, like the ones shown here, help provide extra grip and prevent falls while walking on slippery wet ice. 

Shoes or boots should be both fully insulated and waterproof. Consider going up a shoe size to ensure room for both layers of socks and room to move your toes.

6. Have a Spare

You can always be prepared. Socks get wet. Gloves and hats go missing. Be equipped with extras.  

7. Eat Enough

As your body tries to stay warm, it will burn extra calories. Make sure you eat enough at mealtimes and, if needed, plan for snacks. 

8. Stay Hydrated

You know it’s important to hydrate in the heat. But it’s also crucial in the cold — dry winter air causes you to lose a considerable amount of water, especially when working hard. Avoid beverages that contain alcohol or caffeine – they’re dehydrating. Keep water with you in a thermos like this one to prevent it from freezing.


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