Why the Go-To Layers for Police are Wool
During the winter months, I often get asked about what I do to stay warm at work. As a police officer, there is a strong likelihood that I will be out of the vehicle for extended periods of time without the opportunity to duck out of the cold and get warm. I have been provided with some of the necessary gear to assist with this, however, as someone suffering from Raynaud’s Disease, the basic gear does not cut it for me. If I get cold, I lose the dexterity in my extremities, starting with my fingers and toes. With this job, that just can’t happen.
Years ago, I was engaged in a conversation with an acquaintance of mine, Scott, who is an Alaska State Trooper in the remote Fairbanks region. In the winter he regularly sees temperatures reach below -50*F. He gets aggravated that his vehicle bottoms out at -40*F and he doesn’t see the real lows. He’s my go-to for the warmest gear out there. Scott told me that he wears Minus33 gear. I had not heard of them at the time. With Scott’s “hands down” approach that it was the best gear on the market, I looked it up and I haven’t gone back since.
As with any cold outdoor activity, layering is your key to success. In my case, and I think it would apply to any uniformed profession (military, fire fighters, etc), you need to take into consideration the temperatures for the day and assume that, at some point, you will likely be stuck outside for a long time in those conditions.
This is why I love the options Minus33 provides. Three different weight options give the wearer the choice based on the conditions. I find that I can wear the Lightweight options when it’s a little cold and I just don’t want to have to wear a jacket when jumping in and out of the car, and I can add a jacket and be fine if stuck outside. During a snowpocalypse, I’ll opt for the Midweight layers, top and bottoms, with some expedition weight socks and I’m good at car accident, after car accident, after car accident. In NH we had a stretch of -20*F temps for about a week straight. Only under those conditions do I wear the Expedition weight top and bottoms because I find them so warm, that unless it’s beyond frigid, I cook in them.
I do have a “go bag” in my cruiser with extra gear, just in case it’s needed. I carry a spare pair of Minus33 expedition weight socks, because wet feet in cold temps are dangerous and miserable, a Minus33 balaclava for extended time outside, Minus33 liner gloves and mittens if needed, a spare Minus33 hat (because sh#t happens), along with goggles, hand warmers, some type of foot traction and a multitude of other items.
The beauty is that you can mix and match the layers accordingly. With the option of a jacket, I find that I don’t need a super warm layer on the top. However, my thin wool pants only provide a limited warmth and the bottom layer has to be a bit warmer. I can often wear a lightweight top with the jacket and then the midweight bottoms.
I’m excited to try the new Woolverino layers Minus33 has that provide a bit more of a stretch to them, as that’s helpful under the body armor, so it doesn’t bunch up. In the warmer weather, I find the lightweight top layers provide the protection from the body armor against the body, while wicking away sweat and keeping you cool. I also like the ankle socks for the warmer days. Best thing is, the wool doesn’t hold body odor like other brands do so you don’t gag when peeling off the body armor after cooking on a road detail on a 90*F day. Don’t forget first responders, it’s flame retardant too. Other synthetic materials will stick to you when they burn.