GRIT’s Guide to Rain Gear
GRIT’s guide to rain gear that will keep you dry instead of drenched.
Embrace rainy weather rather than dread it.
The scenario is bound to play out on your farm at some point – you run down a mental checklist on a nice spring evening planning must-do chores for the following day. The livestock will need feeding, of course, but the horses also need to be shoed, and cleaning the root cellar just can’t wait.
Then you wake up in the morning to an unexpected rain pounding your roof. Or, more likely, you only have the usual chores to do in the rain, but the goats got out, and you need to go fix fence.
At some point, you’ll have to endure the rain to get necessary work done. That day is coming, so you might as well accept it and be ready. Here are the keys to keeping dry and productive when you could be drenched and miserable.
Off on the right foot
The most important things to keep dry – and with cold weather, dry means warm – are your feet. A good pair of rubber boots will go a long way to keeping you on the job until the work is done. Rubber boots have the advantage over waterproof leather boots – they are less likely to spring a leak at the seams. Also, leather boots don’t stand up as well to blood or other barnyard byproducts. Rubber boots are impervious to most chemicals, and they are easy to rinse off when the work is done. With farm life, blood, muck and manure are often unavoidable – whether you are birthing calves or repairing a frost-damaged water hydrant.
Durability and affordability are keys to maximizing your investment, so rather than picking up a pair of $20 boots at the local farm supply store that will last one rain season, tops, I suggest spending a little extra money for a boot that will last years.
Three quality boots in the $75 to $110 range include the classic Northerner brand, the Muck Boot and Xtratuf boots. All three boots are American-owned, by Honeywell, which has the last American rubber boot production plant, right on the banks of the Mississippi River in Rock Island, Illinois.
I love my pair of insulated Northerners (a 3-eyelet insulated pair retails for around $90, and you can get other models for less). I wore them as a youngster – I remember wrestling for an eternity with the bootjack (mine were undoubtedly hand-me-downs and probably a little too small, even well before I passed them on to someone else), trying to pull them off after a day out in the mud.
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