My Five Essential Gardening Clothes
Working as a full time gardener I am exposed to the elements every day but to be able to earn a living I have to be prepared to work in most weather conditions, not just the dry, warm sunny days. As our British weather can be somewhat challenging at times, to say the least, I need to ensure that the workwear I choose keeps me warm and safe throughout the year.
Here is my essential kit guide that I could literally not garden without.
KEIS Heated Gilet
The KEIS heated gilet was originally bought to keep me warm whilst travelling as a passenger on my husband's motorbike but we soon realised that this gem could be utilised far more frequently by taking the edge off of cold winter mornings gardening.
This battery operated gilet is the updated model which uses Micro Carbon Fibre heat pads to warm the cosy heated collar, front and back panels. My previous heated gilet had no heated collar and was powered by a small battery which neatly fitted into the gilet's front pocket but had a shorter battery life. This updated model has a much larger 5200mAh Lithium-Ion (Li-ion) battery so the pack can last most of the day but due to its size I now need to wear the battery in a discreet pouch round my waist - luckily I would not know I was wearing it, so not in the way.
Battery life can be extended by using in medium or low mode rather than high; expect at least five hours warmth before recharging required.
There has been many a winter's day where I know I would not have been able to function if it was not for wearing the heated gilet. I can highly recommend to anyone who spends long periods of time outdoors all year round, although it is an investment. There are often discounts to be found if purchasing all the items as a bundle.
The heated gilet is priced around £155 | Portable rechargeable battery pack £85
Charger £20 | Temperature controller £30 | Carry pouch £8
Check out at KeisApparel.com
Trousers and shorts with integrated knee pads
Any gardener will know you spend a lot of time kneeling and this can be bad for your body long term so I use integrated knee pads within my workwear trousers and shorts. Gardeners can be prone to bursitis or 'handmaid's knee' which is inflammation around the knee joint from repetitive pressure so knee pads help reduce this impact. I also use a handheld knee pad so my knees get double protection - after suffering for months with 'handmaid's knee' last year I am trying my utmost to avoid it happening again.
I have been using Hyena Krakatoa trousers and Hyena long 'pirate' shorts for years. They come with a variety of tool pockets which saves having to wear separate tool belts and of course the essential integrated removable knee pads but they unfortunately appear to be no longer available which is a great shame as they were also reasonably priced around £27. So for this winter I am trying out a 'new to me' brand Engelbert Strauss (priced around £73) which have an extensive range of practical workwear for men and women. They look the business!
Check out www.engelbert-strauss.co.uk/womens-workwear-trousers
Agricultural / Marine waterproofs
If there is one thing that will stop you working it is getting wet so I tracked down these hardy waterproofs - no moisture is getting through here! Sometimes you just have to crack on and ignore the rain and this Guy Cotten ensemble allows me to keep working whilst staying warm and dry. It has a 'magic hood' which can be tapered to fit over a cap to keep the rain from trickling into your eyes but leaves you hands free without hampering vision. I do not know what I would do without them.
I use the Guy Cotten Isoder Jacket, green priced at £50.41and the Guy Cotten Pouldo Trousers (Glentex) green priced £26.66.
Keeping your head warm is another necessity as we move through autumn and closer to winter. If you keep your head and core warm you can carry on working without turning into an ice cube.
I use a fleece lined elasticated black hat by 'Scruffs.' Knitted ear flaps and a peak to protect from the elements. A snug option to help keep me toasty.
Find at Screwfix.com for £12.
Steel toe capped boots
Whilst volunteering at Tyntesfield National Trust property and studying practical horticulture at Cannington Walled Gardens I learnt the importance of good footwear. You could not step foot on site without steel toe-capped boots to comply with health and safety and I have carried this with me into my professional life. You spend many hours a day and week on your feet in all manner of conditions and it is absolutely integral that your feet remain warm, dry and of course protected from heavy machinery and blades.
For the past couple of years I have used Portwest steelite rigger boots. They are fur lined so cosy on cold mornings, waterproof, have oil, heat and pierce resistant soles and the 200 joule steep toecaps keep my toes safe. Two handy thumb strap loops at the top of the boot ensures they are easy to pull on. It is a hardy long lasting protective boot. Very reasonably priced at around £24.
Can be purchased at ActiveWearGroup.com
Please note I am in no way endorsed or sponsored by any of the featured brands/companies. The products above are what I have personally tried and tested for years.
All opinions are my own.
All photos by Debi Holland 2020