Gear for a More Pleasant December
The crew comes from a diverse background with varied amounts of experience working outdoors. With the winter rain in the forecast, we should all remember the motto of “no bad weather, just bad gear.”
To start from the ground up, one would be wise to get a pair of rubber boots and a couple layers of socks. Hiking boots don’t usually come up high enough, and they can be hard to clean. A basic rubber boot can get a daily or weekly washing, and won’t cost too much either. As for socks, I prefer wool under a cheap cotton sock. Cotton socks will stop dirt and mud, and they can be laundered with warm or cold water. Wool socks are more breathable, and also perform well under wet conditions, but are usually more expensive and harder to launder. By layering, you save time dealing with the mud that always finds a way into boots.
With pants and shirts, the base layers should be warm but not bulky. Our job involves a lot of movement, so keeping a good range of motion by having snug under-layers is important. Wool is good, but not as important here as at the sock layer.
After that layer, some cotton canvas-type gear can be a good choice because of its durability. If you don’t have a good piece of clothing, I recommend getting durable stuff and practicing repairs, which will allow it to last several seasons. On top of that layer, on the torso, a rain-shell jacket can be helpful. For dry days, some crew members have several cotton hoodies tucked away to wear.
The last component to good farm gear here in the valley is rubber bibs, the wearing of which is basically non-negotiable. The crew gets so much moisture on their bodies from the winter soil and rain that a pair of easy-to-clean bibs with suspenders will keep one happier for longer in the field.