Thursday, 1 March 2012

How to stay warm while working in the cold

I am in Edmonton, Alberta for 16 days helping this branch of the company that I work for play catch-up while their PM techs are in school.  It has been one day of travel (after my 1 hour flight turned into over 4 hours when it was too foggy to land in Edmonton!!) and one day of work so far.  I already have some ideas on what works and what doesn't for staying warm.
  • Long johns are you friend!  Whether you're wearing coveralls, dickies, carharts, jeans, or whatever type of leg covering.. WEAR LONG JOHNS.  They make you feel bulky for about 10 minutes then you get used to them and forget they are there keeping you toasty.
  • TOQUE.  I have been told that "toque" is a slightly Canadian word so for those outside of the great white north it is a warm hat.  I really don't understand how you cannot have a word for a "warm-hat".  If not toque then what?    Anyways..  In cold weather you lose most of your body's heat through your head.  By simply wearing a toque your body doesn't close the blood vessels to your extremities in order to send warm blood through your head.  Keeping your head warm with a toque lets your blood warm up those fingers and toes!
  • Layers and layers and layers and layers.  I mean it's pretty well-known to dress in layers when it's cold but people still ignore that rule!  Today I wore a long sleeve undershirt, my work shirt, my fleece sweater and my high-vis coat.  I was packing up in the shop and had to peel off some layers to stop myself from getting a good sweat going before going out into the brrrrrrr of Edmonton.  I have extra socks in the work truck and a pair of coveralls.
  • Wear gloves.  Adding even the thinnest layer between your bare skin and the bitter cold air makes a world of difference.  It's also nice to put lotion on and wear gloves so your hands don't look like the ice on your windshield after drying out in this crazy Albertan air! 
  • I have mixed feelings on drinking hot beverages when it's cold.  Yes it feels amazing to hold a warm drink and warm up your belly but for some reason I feel the need to pee is much worse when you are also shivering.  However, if you layer properly and wear your toque then you shouldn't have to worry about shivering ;)
  • Keep moving
  • When all else fails... hug your running generator for warmth!
As the next couple weeks continue I will update this if I find some other awesome ways to stay warm!  Let me know if you have any great ways of staying warm... even if they come in a flask ;)

View over BC
Compared to the view over Alberta

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