Tips for toiling outside in bad weather

A piece of heavy plastic can help keep

A piece of heavy plastic can help keep out wind, moisture and cold while you're working outside. (Credit: Tim Carter, 2013)

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Working in the cold weather hasn't changed much over the decades. What has changed dramatically are clothing and footwear choices that will allow you to work comfortably outdoors all day long.

1. High-tech textiles are material gains

Many synthetic fabrics are perfect for working outdoors. You can get a wide variety of these short-sleeve T-shirts, long-sleeve T-shirts, fleeces and so forth at stores that cater to hikers and campers. The textile technology dealing with preventing hypothermia has advanced miles in the past few decades. Never wear cotton on cold, rainy or snowy days.

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2. That's all, volts: Battery-powered jackets

You might try the heated jacket. It is powered by a small, 12-volt lithium-ion battery. These jackets are rugged and made with outer shells that can take the demanding construction environment. There are three heat settings, so you can regulate the temperature, depending on the outdoor temperature and your level of exertion.

3. Get waterproof boots

It's really important that your feet stay dry all day, so invest in boots that are waterproof and made from special fabric that breathes. You'll want a pair of rubber boots, too, for those really wet days and muddy job sites.

4. Pulling the wool over your feet

Wool socks are excellent because wool is a natural fiber that has the ability to insulate, even when wet. Always have extra dry socks with you in case your feet do get wet. If you get chilled, your dexterity drops and you start to concentrate on staying warm. If you get distracted by the cold or lose feeling in your hands and feet, that's the recipe for accidents and injuries, not to mention frostbite.

5. The dry facts about keeping moisture out

It is best, when you can, to keep water off you as you work. In certain situations, you can do this by building small temporary structures that allow you to work in a dry cocoon. Try attaching a piece of heavy plastic to the wall where you're working to stop cold wind and any water from bothering you.

6. The answer's not blowing in the wind

When dealing with temporary structures outdoors, don't underestimate the wind. A gust of wind can blow over a structure, causing major disruptions. If you leave the structure up overnight when you're gone, you could have a major problem if your structure blows down.

7. Temporary heaters can be a dangerous

You also have to be very careful if you are using portable heaters around or in these temporary structures. Not only are there significant fire dangers should your temporary structure catch fire, but you can have a problem with toxic fumes created by heaters that burn fuel.

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