Pinetop, AZ in spring
Cue the music.
In all seriousness, winter is well on its way. Flagstaff has already experienced below-freezing temperatures in town. And if last year is any indication, we may be in for some extended cold weather down here in valley.
It might not just be cold, either. Just like last winter's long goodbye, it could be 6 months of wind, water, and temperatures in the 30-40 degree range in the city.
Sheriff's deputies, search and rescue, and agencies outside the urban hot spots of Phoenix and Tucson will be working in snow, ice, freezing rain, and otherwise authentic winter conditions.
Cold Weather gear isn't always the best for going hands-on. The bulky, heavy, fluffy jackets we've all traditionally worn do keep us warm, but really get in the way of everyday work. So what can we realistically do to improve our ability to get the job done in inclement weather?
Staying warm means blocking heat energy transfer from leaving our bodies. Just like sound, heat has a more difficult time traveling through air versus solids. It's why sweat works so well to keep you cool. The liquid saps heat from your body and transfers it into the air.
Fortunately, there's all sorts of new technologies that work to trap very small pockets of air against the skin and inside our clothing, letting us enjoy warmer garments that save a lot of bulk.
Windproofing isn't exactly new, but it's taken on a new identity with windproof/breathable garments. Materials like Goretex Windstopper let air in and out of the jacket, carrying moisture away while stopping cold wind from blowing across your skin. The result is a really nice combination of warm and dry.
Goretex really got big when the waterproof/breathable thing caught on. While there are some alternatives out there that work a little differently, they all pretty much do the same thing. They let moist body heat air escape, while preventing water from entering the shell.
Imagine a non-breathable waterproof garment, like a sheet of plastic. Sure, the rain isn't getting in. But it's not really doing you any favors when sweat and body heat build up, making you wet and uncomfortable anyway.
DWR treatments don't really get the job done in actual rain. They're fine for getting caught outside and quickly getting into a building or vehicle, but they won't withstand a downpour or prolonged exposure. Plus, they eventually wash out of your clothes. They are a great addition to virtually any piece of clothing that isn't waterproof, though.
How we trap air is evolving. Materials like micro fleece, Coreloft, Primaloft, Thinsulate, and others are helping to minimize bulk and trap more heat.
We haven't been able to beat Down feathers yet, but we have some materials that imitate fine feathers to trap smaller and smaller pockets of air in multiple layers. When you need cold weather insulation to perform, these and other technologies should be your go-to.
Combine all these technologies, and you're ready to layer your winter weather gear. Instead of heading directly to bulky winter weather coats, try layering for less bulk and greater effect.
Start with the Under Armour ColdGear Base 4.0 Top and Bottom. A lot of people won't wear insulated bottoms, even in cold weather. But it means you need fewer layers on your torso to contain your body's heat energy if you don't let your legs act as giant heat sinks in the cold winter winds.
Depending on the weather, your metabolism, and your body fat, you might find that these are enough for short trips outside your building or vehicle worn under your regular uniform.
For more wet and windy weather, combine these base layers with an Elbeco Shield Soft Shell jacket. Lined with micro fleece, this breathable windproof and waterproof soft shell is the next step to sealing yourself in from the elements.
You don't have to sacrifice utility on outer garments, either. This layer combination is thin enough to wear an outer carrier over or under it, whichever you prefer. If you're wearing concealed armor or your carrier underneath the jacket, there are plenty of utility pockets hidden all over the jacket to help you keep quick access to the things you need, while protecting them from rain, snow, and cold. Plus, this is specifically designed for CCW with quiet, easy-access magnetic pockets and built-in 'holster' pockets.
That means your backup stays quickly accessible, even in a blizzard. Plus, you don't need to worry about corrosion or dirt when it's protected by the Shield jacket's waterproofing.
Since it doesn't outwardly look like a law enforcement uniform garment, it's also great for off-duty and plainclothes wear.
When you need another layer of protection, Elbeco's Shield Genesis outer shell provides another windproof, waterproof trapped layer of air.
Whether you're facing a cool breeze or a high-altitude blizzard, we've got what you need. You might be surprised to find out that we also carry brands like North Face, Eddie Bauer, Spyder, Carhartt, Marmot, and more.
Contact with any apparel needs you have, whether you're an agency or an individual.
Skaggs Public Safety Uniforms
2602 W. Baseline Rd. #12
Mesa, Arizona 85202