While Virginia is considered a southern state, we still get some brutal winters come through. It’s been one for the books this year and we are only a little ways through.
We’re starting a new series called Chewn’ the Fat that will be Brooks’ two pennies on just about anything. For our first installment, we’ll talk about Brooks’ winter weather gear.
This guy has had to overcome zero degree temps, wind chills in the negatives, frozen water systems, and cold livestock.
How does he do it? With a lot of faith and prayer. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to have a few pieces of winter gear to keep him warm.
Join us as we dig into what keeps our farmer warm.
Jil: So Brooks, what is your favorite way to brave the cold?
Brooks: Base layers! I like to wear them below my normal button up shirts and pants. My favorite base layers are the Patagonia midweight Capilenes. They’re moisture wicking and have odor control. So, even in the dead of winter if you’re sweating they will keep you dry and fresh.
Jil: Yes, I know… I do your laundry… Folks, in case you’re wondering what’s in MY toolbox??? Oxyclean… Lots and lots of Oxyclean.
Brooks: I have been wearing Vertx pants for 4 or 5 years now every day and I love them. They make different materials for different conditions and have good pockets and a stretchy elastic waistband. So, they fit well even if you are wearing long underwear underneath.
Brooks: I’ve got several coats that I wear. It really depends on the elements – raining, bitter cold, windy, etc. But, my go to coats are my Carhartt and a lightweight rain coat. Marmot makes a great rain coat that cuts the wind, too. I love having a lightweight that can be packed away in my truck or bag. My Carhartt is a heavier duty coat that I usually wear when I’m doing rougher work and the elements are worse.
I pick coats with a smooth zip up front to prevent buttons from catching the net wrapping on hay bales. Also, if it’s too warm but still windy or wet then I cut out one of the other layers first.
Jil: That makes sense. What about socks and shoes?
Brooks: I used to be a diehard Smartwool fan. But, I’ve had issues with them wearing out quickly so I’ve had to switch. Now I use Darn Tough brand. They seem to hold up well and stay on! I can’t stand it when socks fall down into my boots.
As far as boots go, Redwing all the way. Definitely buy the Goretex because if you work outside like I do days and conditions can change in a minute. Here is the link for those boots. They’ve lasted me more than 4 years under very heavy use. If it’s muddy or just wet grass these things continue to work as hard as we do everyday.
If we’re talking rainy or snowy days, then I recommend Wetland by Muck Boot. By far, the best wet weather basic work boot.
Jil: I have a pair of Muck Boot boots and they are the best. I’ve had mine for YEARS! Wear them for most of my farm jobs. So, last but not least, your melon… how do you protect your head from the colder elements?
Brooks: I wear our ThorneBrook Farms hat everyday of course! Also, I like the Carhartt hat that covers my ears when its super cold or a beanie on top of my ThorneBrook hat. Another favorite is to use a neck gaiter.
Jil: Ahh, the TBF hat. Love our hats. Is there anything else you think you’d like to add to the Winter Weather Gear list?
Brooks: These are the things that I have found work well for me. Not to say they are the best. I am always looking at trying new or different things to improve my current go to stuff. I would like to wear all the super nice items but due to the nature of my work they all tend to get grease on them or dirt and manure. I’m always ruining my stuff so I have to keep that in mind.