Brace yourself, Philly. An arctic front that hit the area Wednesday night sent temperatures nosediving into the teens, with high winds and snow squalls predicted.
If you can work from home, we’re envious. But if you have to brave the cold, here are some tips on staying toasty from Philadelphians who spend most of their workdays outdoors.
Postal workers endure their frigid delivery routes with the help of base layers made from lightweight fabrics, according to Ray Daiutolo Sr., regional spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Service. When layered under sweatshirts and jackets, materials such as polyester, merino wool, and nylon are better at wicking sweat away from the body than heavier fabrics such as pure cotton and linen.
In snowy weather, coats with a waterproof or water-resistant outside layer are always a good idea.
“If your clothes get wet, it is important that you remove and replace them to avoid frostbite,” Daiutolo said. “Staying dry should be a top priority.”
Warm, well-fitting boots can make or break your day when it’s extra cold outside — but choose carefully. Waterproof and water-resistant boots can be the difference between a terrible day on the job and a good one.
Jamie Dillon owns the dog-walking/pet-sitting service Happy Tails of Philly. By her estimate, she’s outside from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. almost every day.
“One year I wore a pair of Hunter rain boots out on a walk because there was snow,” Dillon said. “But that was a terrible idea. Rubber doesn’t keep heat at all, so my feet were absolutely freezing at the end, even with the liners they make.”
Dillon said that she usually wears hiking boots with foot warmers when she’s walking dogs because they provide good traction and keep her feet warm, even without bulky wool hiking socks. Most hiking boots that lace up to the ankles also are waterproof, because they’re made for fording rivers and streams.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but putting a little extra thought into layering your clothes can make long and short walks — to work, to a grocery, to the State Store — much more bearable. (If you haven’t invested in long underwear or long-sleeved thermals, now is probably a good time to do so.)
“Not only will the multiple layers keep you warm, but if temperatures increase, you can easily remove a layer to remain comfortable,” Daiutolo said.
Dmitry Gorbunov, a roofer with Good Deal Constructions, likes the brand Carhartt for durable workwear. He gets through long workdays outside by consuming plenty of hot drinks, and covering his nose and mouth with a scarf or balaclava.
Dillon said that dressing in layers keeps her comfortable. She keeps different types of coats for different types of weather.
“I like Patagonia because their jackets are made specifically for the outdoors,” she said. “I usually try to shop at stores like REI because they’re pretty knowledgeable about coats.”
While Gorbunov has spent plenty of chilly days on the job, he said it’s important to know when to draw the line.