I guess it’s not that much of an accident that the arrival of the cold weather coincided with the arrival of a couple of parcels stuffed with winter workwear. I was keen to unpack them because my winter kit is looking, literally, a bit thin.
Fashion and Practicality?
It can’t be just me that has noticed that the current look for cold weather coats is quilted – not the bulky quilting of previous times, but the slimmer, flatter type of padding that is not only warm, but is also far less bulky and easier to move around in. Several of the items featured this quilting, so I was intrigued to see if they were warm and practical on site.
Hat, Socks and Boots.
I shall start with top and bottom before I get to the body warm clothing – the lined beanie hat with discreet JCB logo really does make a difference to keeping warm outside. I don’t look good in any type of hat but I always wear one outside in the cold and wet, and this one was better than the majority I have used. Comfy too! As for the bottom bits – a two-pack of work socks was a great pairing with the black JCB work boots. The socks are bulky enough for you to feel the extra insulation value, but not so thick that they will make your boots feel tight. The socks have reinforced heels and toes, and a comfortable rib around your legs that keeps them up and you warm. Yes, you do really feel the difference between summer socks and these winter socks!
The 4CX/B boots were made of black Nubuck leather with high standard protections against sole piercing, static electric shock and slipping as well as protected toecaps built in. I was glad to see that they came up a bit higher past my ankles than my summer shoes, and the last four fixings on the ankles are hooks – making it easy to put them on – but more importantly easier to take them off at the end of the day. Padded ankles and inners help keep you warm and comfortable, so it didn’t take long for these to become my winter site boots for the foreseeable.
Keeping the Body Warm
We are always advised to keep ourselves warm by using different layers of clothing that can be added or subtracted according to conditions. Great advice if you have the right gear – and now I have.
Over a base layer of a simple T-shirt, the obvious thing for the weather hovering around 3 to 4 degrees Celsius is the JCB Essential black sweatshirt. Made of 80% cotton and 20% polyester with ribbed hem and cuffs to keep cold air out, it provides basic warmth, but will also absorb moisture if things get a bit hotter after moving some bricks. It is a comfy fit and long enough to partially cover your bottom too. Really practical.
Then you have to make some the choices according to work in hand and the cold. Will it be the 1945 Padded Gilet with Thinsulate lining? With three zipped external pockets (two of them for warming hands!) and an internal pocket it is lightweight enough for medium warmth, but with the freedom of not having sleeves. Ripstop nylon offers practicality since it will inevitably come into contact with building materials.
Or you could choose the Essentials Full Zip Fleece. This is made of micro fleece with a funnel collar that fights fairly tightly around the neck for extra warmth. The fleece is a skinnier fit so that you can add another layer on top without looking like the Michelin Man. It too has two side pockets for warming hands.
I found myself not being able to choose between the two in terms of warmth – so the fleece became sort of indoors and the Gilet sort of outdoors because it is water resistant.
Easily fitting on top of the fleece if you do your sizing correctly - outer garments need to be bigger to accommodate layers underneath - is the 1945 Ecomax Jacket. This has a padded Thinsulate body in ripstop nylon with softshell sleeves. The funnel neck stops draughts down your neck especially if you pull the full length zip all the way up under your chin. There are zipped pockets on each side to accommodate hands for warming and another pocket on the right-hand side that will hold a phone securely. Inside low in the lining near the waist is another hook and loop closure pocket. I liked the fact that the jacket is long enough to come past the waist for extra warmth, and the sleeves have a nifty lift-and-close elasticated cuff that keeps draughts out and will deter rain too. So far I have only been out in light rain in this coat, but I was cosy and warm inside it. And with the reflective but discreet JCB logos front and back it helps to be seen.
Finally, is the Trade lightweight padded jacket. Stylish enough, in my world, to be worn around town or visiting clients to give a quote, it is lightly padded and made of ripstop fabric. The nylon material is showerproof with an elasticated, padded hood and elasticated cuffs to keep out wet and wind – which it does quite effectively. There are the two of my favourite zipped pockets for handwarming as well as another pocket on the chest near the zip for phones, pens etc. There are also reflective JCB logos front and back and the politely termed ‘contoured back’ that keep your bottom warm as well as allowing rain to drip off into space rather than onto the back of your trousers.
Design, Design, Design and a bit more thought.
With a bit of careful thought and some trying on, potential users of this range of clothing will get the benefits of the Progressive Safety design team’s efforts. It really does work as a whole and end users can pick and choose what will suit their needs on a cold/wet/damp/windy day or all of the above on the worksite. It also helps that the look is stylish and modern as well as being practical.
Aimed at: Pros and maybe amateur who need tough, warm clothing
Pros: Flexible, tough, stylish and practical.