Men's Clothing: The Best Shirts For Heavy Outdoor Work

Guide to selecting proper clothing for outdoor work. Overview of different materials and their advantages and disadvantages.

Outdoor work can be brutal, especially in extreme heat or cold. There are a variety of work gloves, work boots, hats and eyewear available wherever you look. However, probably the most important piece of clothing you need for outdoor work, to ensure both protection and comfort is the shirt.

The shirt is important in the sense that in addition to providing warmth, it must also be comfortable and have the ability to stand up under the body's perspiration. For this reason, many men have discovered that shirts made for professional runners, containing a material which "Ëświcks' away perspiration from the skin provide both comfort and durability. This ability to keep wetness off the skin helps decrease irritation, and therefore enables you to work more efficiently.

In extreme heat, in addition to providing protection from skin irritation, your shirt should also provide protection from the sun. For this reason, light colors are most efficient. The light colors do not absorb heat the way dark colors do, rather, it reflects off the shirt, minimizing the light and heat effect. A white cotton shirt will sometimes be your best choice, along with the athletic shirts we mentioned earlier for extreme heat. These athletic shirts, in addition to managing perspiration, are also extremely lightweight, and are available in a variety of colors, depending on both your comfort level and the degree of heat you work in.


In extreme cold, there are many misconceptions. Some will swear by wool socks and shirts. Then they swear at them as they become soaked with sweat and itch and irritate your skin. If you insist on your wools, a suggestion for your comfort is to apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly onto your skin before putting them on. If you don't care for that, an aloe-based lotion may accomplish the same result. In any case, there are many wool-like products available in outdoor shops that may be more comfortable under laboring conditions. Dressing in layers is a popular mode of dress. In dressing in layers, you can add or subtract layers as the day goes on. This is helpful in fluctuating temperatures, and layers are the best method for trapping the body's heat. One suggestion for layering is to start with a light cotton undershirt, topped by a thermal undershirt. Add to that a medium-weight, hooded sweatshirt, and then finally, a fleece or flannel overshirt. The overshirt should be large enough to button over all those other shirts. It makes no sense to layer, only to leave your top shirt open to the elements. Gloves and hat are a must, hats with face coverings among the best. Warm comfortable socks, again, possibly in layers, a thin pair topped by a heavy pair, will keep you from aching, frozen toes.

In either temperature, hot or cold, a measure of common sense will help you out a lot. Drink plenty of fluids, preferably water, and add or remove clothing to fit you degree of comfort. After working in the cold, remove your shirt layers when entering a warm place. After working in heat, an overshirt when you are through will help bring your body temperature back to normal.

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