How to Stay Warm in Winter: Clothes You MUST Have for Winter on the Homestead
I am a person who gets cold easily---especially my fingers and toes. Like seriously. COLD. FREEZING cold! I have heard all my life, "It's all about your clothes! If you have the right kind of clothes, you won't get cold!" Right.
I have been trying to find the "right" kind of clothes for years! Decades spent skiing and hiking outdoors, and I still couldn't find the "right" clothes for staying comfortably warm. Plus, moving from a super hot climate (Las Vegas, NV) to a cold climate really took some trial and error with clothes for several months of the year.
So now, after three years here in the mountains, and being in the middle of our fourth freezing winter where temperatures range from the single digits to highs only in the 20's to 40's....I have finally found some garments that work to keep me warm in the cold. I thought I'd share my favorites with you today!
FTC Affiliate Disclosure: There are affiliate links scattered throughout this article. If you happen to click through and make any kind of purchase, I'll receive a very small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you--Heidi
Let's start from the skin up:
How to Layer for Warmth:
If you are going to be outside for an extended length of time, you'll need to think in terms of layers....LOTS of layers. If you are just running outside for 30 minutes or so, then you can make some adjustments.
But let's assume the worst: You are hiking or riding a quad or a horse for an hour---or several hours. OR you need to spend some time in the chicken coop. OR the horse corral needs some work. OR the solar panels need to be cleaned off. OR a number of other things that will seriously cause you to FREEZE your heinie off if you are not dressed right...and yes! It's true.
You just need to dress right. I FINALLY, blessedly, figured it out!
Number One: Base Layers
These are the items of clothing that go directly next to your skin. Personally, I love thin heat gear, like silk or the new high performance undergarments. But my husband prefers to use old-fashioned thermals. You can get old-fashioned thermals at Walmart, and most men find them easy to slip on under their jeans. Personally, I don't like that feeling, so I tend to go with a sleeker option. You may even be able to find these at Costco for even less---I did!
And here are some fleece lined leggings---I LOVE these. I'll actually just use these to run out and feed the animals before sun-up on winter mornings, and I survive! Size up if you get these--they run small.
Number Two: The WARM Shirt
You can even wear the warm shirt next to your skin, since it amplifies the heat from your body. But if I'm going to be out for a long time, I'll put that extra under layer on too. I love Under Armor Storm for heat. Seriously. I have not found anything else like it. There is some kind of heat ribbing that really holds the heat in, and if you sweat, it wicks it away. Perfect! This is the exact half zip shirt I have, and I could NOT live without it! They have them in Men's too!
Number Three: A Fleece Mid-Layer
OK--There are tons of options for this layer! Depending on what activity I'm doing, I'll just grab a great sweatshirt or hoodie, or a super warm fleece top that's rather loose. I have found that wearing a looser top for this mid-layer allows the warmth to stay in better. I usually wear my son's Army sweat shirt he left at home one year from the 2nd Ranger Battalion. It's great. But if you don't happen to have winter time Army gear laying around, here is a good option instead: A Polar Fleece Zip Up Hoodie. I don't actually have this top---but I suspect it would be similar to my son's. If I get the chance, I'm buying this because it's cute!
Number Four: A Great Outer Layer (Coat)
I have to admit to wearing my husband's coats most of the time, except for when I'm riding my horse. He has a Kuhl coat that is super warm, loose, fits over all the layers, and I LOVE it! Your man will love it too, I bet! It looks great, and it is WARM. OK---since that coat is about 7 years old, I couldn't find it anywhere....but here is a great fleece lined, waterproof coat option for women or men!
I just have to show you this Outback Trading Company Oilskin Duster, too. It comes with an optional inner fleece layer. The outer is oilskin, which the cowboys used to wear. I was dubious at first, but my husband fell in love with this coat, and when he got his, I decided I needed one too.
I can't believe how warm this coat is, and because of the snap system, they give you great mobility too. They strap around your legs, so the coat actually doesn't get in the way. We ride in these coats, and they really do keep us warm! This is what we got each other for Christmas this year. You can buy them at CalRanch, but they are a LOT less expensive on Amazon. For sizing on an average sized woman---I chose a Men's XS, but a Men's Small would have been fine, too.
Here is Mr. V. in his coat:
Number Five: Extremities
Depending on what you are doing, you need different kinds of boots. If you have snow, like we do, you sure don't want to be sinking down into it on the way to the corral or the chicken coop.
My favorite work around the yard cold weather boots are Bogs. They come in different heights, too. The ones I have are rated for -40 degrees (Yes! MINUS Fahrenheit), and even if I am barefoot in them, I can run out and get chores done without my toes freezing into nubbins! I could NOT and will NOT live without these! The only thing is, I would have bought the taller ones because our snow is often measured in feet instead of inches in the winter!
Edited: I just found a NEW favorite muck boot: Muck Brand Boots (Imagine that)! lol I bought the tall ones, and even if we get a really good snow storm, I don't think i'll be getting snow in these boots, as they fit snugly around my calf. They are flexible for different size calves, too. These run a bit large, so you can get some thick warm socks in there easily!
I love my Carhartt Beanie with pull out face cover. Mr. V. has one too, and these are fabulous. Hubby actually sweats in his! I don't sweat in it, though---it just keeps me nice and warm.
Edited: This year I discovered the Minus33 brand of beanies. They are a wool blend, and although they are rather thin, they do keep your head nice and warm. If you are looking for a bit more fashion, you'll probably love these!
If you want a cowboy hat option that is waterproof, wicks sweat, and is also warm, especially if you have a layer covering your ears---the Outback is the hat we both own for riding, and even working outside in winter sometimes.
Extra Ear and Neck Covers---Face too, if you want:
Nothing beats the Buff! This is a long wool or cashmere tube that you can put over your head, over your face, or both. It can act as a turtle neck too. It's pretty versatile, and I have two of them I use all the time. They are surprisingly inexpensive for what they are made of as well.
Gloves are the most difficult clothing item for me because my hands always always are cold. Freezing in fact. So what I go for are gloves lined with fleece. The Polar tech kind seems to work the best for me. NOTE: These are not the ones I have. I couldn't find them. But I do have several with the heat gear fleece lining, and they seem to be the best ones.
Honestly, wool is best. The thicker, the better for me. They just have to fit into my boots. I like Darn Tough, People Socks, and Smart Wool best. My husband is a big fan of People Socks. Darn Tough actually has a great guarantee, too---If you get a hole in them, you can send them back for a replacement. I think that's a pretty good guarantee!
Here are some other cold gear clothes we wear depending on what we are doing:
Mr. V. loves his insulated bib overalls. And for super super cold days, I love the coveralls below. I take a Men's Small, and I am 5'5", 135 pounds, for reference.
I don't have these bib overalls below, but aren't they cute?
What do you like to wear to keep you warm while you're doing homestead chores? I'd love to know---especially since this took me so long to figure out, and I have a real learning curve! I'm sure some of you know some things I don't know! Help a sista' out! :-) Leave a comment!
Hugs and Self-Reliance!
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