As Calgarians, we should all be quite familiar with how to dress for outdoor activities here in Alberta. However, whether out of convenience, or through thinking, “It will only be a short time out in the weather,” many of us do not bother to dress correctly for a chore such as snow shovelling.
At Mirage Landscaping, your premier full service commercial and residential landscaping maintenance and snow removal company in Calgary, we understand that you are unlikely to suffer serious harm from exposure while working in your yard. But when it comes to shoveling and other rigorous outdoor activities, it pays to remember the words of Les Stroud, Survivorman, and fellow Canadian, who is fond of saying, “You sweat and you die.” It’s his warning about how physical harm from exposure usually begins under your own clothes. Snow shoveling while improperly dressed can make you pretty miserable in even moderately cold temperatures…especially if you are damp with sweat. We here at Mirage Landscaping make our winter living with snow removal, and we have all had occasion to reexamine how we dress. Here is some of what we have learned in over three generations of service to our clients.
A Moisture Wicking Base Layer is Essential
The surest way to feel the full chill of winter is to get clammy and wet from the inside out. Many people use cotton or cotton blend undergarments and socks during winter activities and wind up getting cold fast. Avoid wearing only cotton as your base layer. It is a worthwhile investment in your comfort to acquire a synthetic or woolen base layer, usually consisting of some polypropylene blend, or merino wool. Also buy synthetic or woolen socks. If you get itchy from wool’s kinked fibres, wearing a thin cotton base as part of a two-ply inner layer will work very effectively.
Synthetics will readily absorb moisture and transport it away as evaporate, passing it through to the next layer. Wool transpires too, but due to the cellular construction of the woolen fibres it will also hold up to 30 per cent of its weight in moisture while still maintaining its insulating effects. However, wool is not for everyone. If it itches to a point you can’t ignore it, don’t keep trying, go synthetic.
Use A Removable Middle Layer
The perfect middle layer for some is a pullover hooded sweatshirt. As a cotton-based garment that can’t be opened up, it is not actually an ideal choice. A better choice would be a wool button front shirt. Such a shirt makes getting rid of excess body heat less of an all-or-nothing proposition. You can unzip your outermost layer and unbutton the shirt to create venting, something that cannot be done with the common pullover hoodie. Again, a middle layer that transports moisture is far more ideal than a cotton one that absorbs it.
Use A Weather Beating Outermost Layer
The one layer where even wool has been soundly beaten by synthetics is in the outermost layer. In fact, the most sophisticated winter jackets out there feature either a fully removable second layer of polypropylene fleece, or goose down or polyester fill surrounded by a nylon shell featuring active venting. The nylon shells themselves now commonly come with what is called a “durable water repellant” silicone finish and/or a transpiration membrane such as Gore-Tex. Many of the best “system parkas” feature zippered vents in the armpits to release excess heat.
Without a knit cap, gloves, and boots that can withstand the cold, it won’t matter much how sophisticated your core layering is, you will still feel chilled. Also, if you don’t eat something ahead of strenuous snow removal, you will feel metabolically colder. Finally, a good thermos of hot coffee, tea, or chocolate will be the most rapid way to get warm again if you begin suffering from the temperature.
Mirage Landscaping—Your Best Bet For Beating The Cold During Snow Removal
Rather than subject yourself to Calgary’s freezing temperatures and biting wind chill just to shovel snow, why not call us in to take care of it for you? We come fully equipped to battle the elements and handle your commercial or residential snow removal needs while you stay comfy inside. We will always offer you courteous service and a free quote. Come the thaw, when the temperatures can still be most unpleasant, we can handle your spring clean up for you too.