Winter weather uniform

Keeping my horses at home means I’m the only person responsible for their care. Most of the time, it’s enjoyable and rewarding. But in the midst of winter, when the wind is howling and temperatures are cold, it’s awfully tempting to sell the farm, move to a house in a hip part of town, and let someone else brave the elements!

I’ve amassed a collection of cold-appropriate gear that’s seen me through several winters. I reach for these items almost every time I leave the house and head out to do barn chores- they’re my winter weather uniform!

Lands’ End Squall Jacket: I bought this jacket when I was working as the barn manager at a therapeutic riding center, way back in 2011. At the time, I spent most of my day in the barn or outside, moving horses around, cleaning stalls and paddocks, and grooming and tacking up horses. This jacket is windproof, waterproof, and warm. The hood is large enough to comfortably stay up, and it’s detachable if you’d rather not wear it. The sleeves feature adjustable Velcro cuffs, so you can cinch them down over your gloves to keep the chill out. The zippered pockets are large enough for several treats or a cell phone. My jacket was purchased in December 2011, so it just turned six years old. It’s held up very well- I’ve had no problems with the zippers, the Velcro closures, snaps, and the material is still waterproof. The price on this jacket is extremely reasonable; I highly recommend it for a good, all-purpose barn coat!

Wearing the coat hood-up on a rainy day.

Patagonia Capilene Midweight Bottoms: You know that line in the song “Oklahoma” that says, “OOOOk-lahoma, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain”? It’s true! The wind regularly blows upwards of 15 miles per hour, meaning summer feels like living in a hair dryer and winter gives new meaning to the phrase “polar vortex”. I settled on this Patagonia baselayer after trying a couple of other brands. They do a good job of blocking the wind and keeping me warm. I’ve got a pair for 2012 still going strong and added another pair in 2015.

SSG 10 Below Gloves: Waterproof, windproof, and warm, these are my go-to gloves for barn chores. I can completely submerge my hand into the horses’ water tank and remove ice while staying warm and dry. They’re a little bulky, but I have enough mobility to buckle blankets and unsnap gates without a problem.

My favorite gloves for winter!

Sperry Saltwater Duck Boots with Thinsulate: As much as I’d love to have a stylish pair of Dubarry boots, my calves are too big and my bank account is too empty. When I bought these last winter, I was looking for something easy to get on and off that was waterproof and warm. These short boots fit the bill perfectly! I like that there’s no fussing with laces- I can slip them on and off quickly. They’re short enough that it doesn’t matter how thick my baselayer and pants are. They’re warm and comfortable, and offer good traction in wet or muddy conditions. They’re reasonably stylish, too, and I often wear them while running errands in cold weather.

Earflap hat: Unless it’s raining, I prefer a hat to a hood. My extensive collection of baseball caps doesn’t cut it in the winter, though. I reach for my silly-looking knitted hat with ear flaps every time I go out the door. I have one that’s similar to the one linked (right down to the snowflake design). It features a fleece lining that isn’t itchy, and the ear flaps keep me feeling warm and cozy. Do I look ridiculous? Probably. Do I care? Not at all.

Buff Band: Perhaps the single most versatile piece of clothing I own, the Buff Band is something I wear in all seasons. In the winter, it serves as a neck gaiter with all the benefits of a scarf without the bulk. When the wind is really blowing and the temperatures are really low, I pull it up over my nose and mouth. It makes breathing icy air a little more bearable!

Since Oklahoma’s winters are fairly mild compared to the rest of the country, I’m sure many of you have a different set of barn gear for cold conditions. Is there something you use all the time? I’d love to hear about it!

20 Replies to “Winter weather uniform”

  1. It’s so funny because I was just working up a similar post! For me, my under armor winter layers and insulated coveralls are where it’s at. I actually can get so warm I work up a sweat, even when it’s below zero!

    1. Great minds think alike, haha! Or maybe it’s just cold minds!

  2. My post today was just complaining about the cold and why did I think horses at home was a good idea, lol.

    I will be looking into those boots although I need to find a deal. My Dublin boots are nice but not that insulated and I would love something easier to get on and off for chore time in the winter.

    Tempted to try the gloves but pretty frustrated that nothing seems to work for me thus far and I’ve bought so many gloves! I can get my hands warm but the tips of my fingers still end up frozen!

    1. I am ALL about the easy on/off with the boots. Sperry periodically has coupons; I always keep an eye on their Facebook page.

      I like the SSG gloves a lot and find them pretty warm. Cold hands aren’t usually a problem for me, though, so I’m not sure if they’d be toasty enough for you.

  3. ooooh i love that buff band!! i typically like scarves bc i can pull them up over my face and around my neck, but yea they can be bulky. i also like ear bands in most conditions, tho when it’s really cold i’ll bust out the fleece hat. i adore these uber cheap fleecy leggings called Mopas that are on amazon for like $7 that are seriously the warmest base layer ever, and generally fit under most of my breeches. for base layers up top i usually hit up the active wear section at marshalls or tj maxx. esp yoga or running type shirts do a great job of insulating and sweat wicking without adding a lot of bulk. and bonus, most of them have thumb holes!

    mostly tho? i would just prefer it to be warmer plz thank you.

    1. I have a confession: I kind of hate thumb holes.

      I’ll just be hiding under my desk now.

      1. *gasps, clutches pearls*

  4. I love when I actually have a reason to use ALL the knitted items!!! All that time spent knitting was not wasted no matter what anyone says! Oh, and muck boots (or your friendly generic brand muck boots are just as fab) are a must. Always warm and waterproof and no matter how deep the mud and chicken shit is when you are trying to catch chickens because they are f***ing stupid and are afraid of their coop you do not get chicken shit on you unless you slip and fall and your child laughs at you and you start shopping for a condo asap……

    1. Rachael, I REALLY feel like you need to start blogging about your (mis?)adventures because you crack me up

      1. Lol. But, that would take time away from my knitting
        And then people would know that I was in fact crazy!

        1. Oh, and I will second those SSG gloves. They are great!

  5. Love my lands end coat, too! Some of their stores (not the ones in sears; their actual stores) have “off the counter” sections where they have imperfect or returned things. I found my jacket there for about $25 which is amazing. I’ve been rocking an Arctic Horse skirt instead of coveralls and honestly love it. The only thing I don’t love is that hay falls in my open pockets… but maybe I should just zip them shut. I have struggled with footwear and ended up with Columbia Onmi heat snow boots (rated to -32!) but they lace up, so I generally risk freezing my feet in the mornings for turn out and slide into my river type boots. I’ll have to look at the duck boots and see if they come taller!

    1. That’s a heck of a deal on your coat!!

      I’ve seen the Arctic Horse skirts online, but haven’t seen one in person- I’m glad to hear you like yours!

      1. Lands End is kind of the best, in general. The “imperfects” area is a great way to get killer deals, and generally I can’t actually find anything really wrong with the items.

        RE: The Arctic Horse skirt, I look like a crazy person wearing it but it’s like wearing a wind proof sleeping bag. Paired with a pair of taller boots, I could wear just jeans outside to do my hour to hour and a half of barn chores in the negatives below zero and not freeze to death, and it is a great wind block so I can pull it on over sweat pants or other things the wind goes right through and be warm and comfy.

  6. Packable down is the best thing to happen to winter since skiing was invented. It’s super lightweight, but really warm. My favorite packable down items are from Eddie Bauer because they’re a lot more affordable that North Face. I also love my Ariat Bromont tall boots. I too prefer the easy on/off of short boots, but when the stupid snow is up to my knees, I like something a bit taller. The Bromonts are Thinsulate lined from knee to toe and are pretty water proof too. I’m totally with you on the ear flap hats too! I have one from my college that’s knit on the outside and fleece lined inside and it’s one of my favorite things.

  7. Oh boy I loathe those SSG gloves. Hate. They feel like someone has wrapped my hands in polo wraps and they’re not even that warm. They are waterproof, I will grant you that! I’m glad you like them though. I have tiny hands (proportionate to my overall size) and gloves are always a struggle for me.

  8. Allie-Rocking E Cowgirl says: Reply

    My Carhartt coveralls are absolutely essential to my winter wardrobe!

  9. I love your boots – definitely eyeing those for next winter when I’m out at the stable more often.

  10. I need better winter gloves for the barn — I’ll have to check this brand out!

  11. Buffs are the best ever.

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