How to dress when working outside during the winter

How to dress when working outside during the winter

Like it or not, as Albertan’s, we must face the fact that winter is here. Working outside is a big part of our lives, but are you dressing properly? How does one dress properly when there could be a 10-20 degree temperature change in one day? So how does one dress when working outside?


That’s right, layers! The loose fitting layers trap in heat and allow you to adjust your clothing with work activities or weather changes throughout the day. Probably a few of you are laughing right now and thinking, “Well we know you need to layer under coats and work pants”, but do you layer your feet, hands and head? Also very important in staying warm and eliminating any chance of frost bite.

LAYERING-from head to toe:


Most of your body heat is lost through your head. Sometimes more than a toque is required. A balaclava can be worn under your toque or hard hat and is excellent for protecting the face from frostbite.


2a-Base layer:
This is the layer next to the skin, the wicking layer, to remove perspiration from your skin. Synthetic, wool or polypropylene fabrics are the best for your long johns and tops.

2b-Middle layer:
The middle layer should consist of two insulating layers, light layer and a heavier layer. A looser fitting light fleece or thin wool sweater are great light insulating layers. You want them loose so they can be removed easy should the need arise. A heavier fleece or wool sweater will trap heat in the body and also can be removed if needed.

2c-Outer layer:
You also want to protect our bodies from wind, rain, or wet snow. A windproof and waterproof coat should be worn over the first two layers.


Mitts are the best protection, however not always practicable. As many outdoor jobs require finicky work, thin gloves should be worn under the mitts. This will allow you to remove the mitts, do the work and replace the mitts, without ever exposing skin to the elements.


Everybody knows that once your feet are cold so is the rest, no matter how many layers you have on. Best way to keep your feet from feeling the cold is the two-layer sock system. First a thin polypropylene sock to wick away moisture and then a wool sock keep the foot warm. Boots that fit is a must, your toes need wiggle room, if your boots are to tight, circulation is restricted. It’s also recommended to have an extra pair of socks handy.

So now that your’re all layered up and ready to work outdoors, there’s just one more thing you need to remember…Clothing must follow any regulations and be appropriate for the job!