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Welding in the summer allows for lightweight gear due to the warmer temperatures. Using a long sleeve shirt or a cotton welding jacket will keep you protected during these warmer days. For climates that have harsh winters, welders need to change their wardrobe to stay warm and protected during the winter season.
This article will cover our favorite welding jackets for cold weather. Flame resistant garments often come with a hefty price tag, but they offer superior protection from sparks and slag. FR jackets are available in lightweight models, but this article will cover the ones that will keep you warm while out in the field.
For MIG and stick welders, repelling sparks is a must. Getting burned on the job is not a fun scenario – so the FR garments are worth a look. FR clothing can resist sparks and spatter for longer periods before holes develop. Sure, you can get away with non FR clothing, but holes will develop faster. This is especially true if you are running larger stick electrodes or heavy MIG wire.
Shop welders often don’t need heavier winter clothing since shops are usually equipped with a heating system. However, field welders, ironworkers and pipe welders are exposed to the elements all the time. If it’s snowing and 0 degrees, they still have work to get done. Deadlines are mandatory, and the oil company won’t let you stay home just because it snowed a few inches.
Extreme weather can cancel a days work, but contractors often require work to be done regardless of the temperature. As an employee or independent welder, you must show up if you want to get paid.
Carhartt FR Duck Active Jacket
This stylish FR jacket from Carhartt is a great choice for field welding in colder climates. Its classic duck color makes it great for any wardrobe, and its quilt lining will keep you toasty in adverse weather conditions.
It is machine washable, but we recommend air drying it whenever possible. As mentioned in our other articles, flame resistant properties tend to diminish with each wash and dry cycle. It is wise to limit your washings if you want to preserve the FR properties.
This model meets the NFPA standards, and it will hold up well while performing heavy stick and MIG welding. The National Fire Protection Association only gives ratings out to garments with the utmost flame protection.
This jacket is also available in black as well as a dark navy color.
If you want to stay safe on the job site and remain stylish while out on the town, the duck active jacket is worth a look.
CAT FR Sweatshirt With Removable Hood
For welders that prefer a more casual, lightweight top, this Caterpillar hoody is worth a look.
It meets NFPA standards and can withstand the hottest of welding arcs. It is constructed of 55% modacrylic and 45% cotton. The modacrylic material is a synthetic copolymer that is extremely durable. It is moth and mildew resistant, which allows it to last longer than traditional materials.
The zippers have Nomex FR tape to prevent arc burns. As mentioned in our different welding glove articles, Nomex is a highly durable material that is a top choice for FR garments. It is generally found on higher end models as it is more expensive to produce.
The removable hood is great for days that are a bit warmer, and it features an FR drawcord as well.
This hoody also features a hand warmer pocket as well as a hidden cell phone pocket.
If you are looking for low key flame resistant top, this CAT hoody is worth researching. It is available in black as well as a darker navy color.
CAT FR Uninsulated Jacket
This is another good option from Caterpillar. It is used more as a shell since it is unlined – this is great for wearing a hoody or a fleece underneath. If you tend to overheat, this is a great layering piece that can be kept in the back of the truck.
It has multiple NFPA ratings which makes it a good choice for even the heaviest welding processes. You can remain safe from sparks while fabricating heavy duty pieces.
The storm blocker plus technology allows this jacket to be windproof and waterproof while remaining breathable. If you live in a snowy, wet climate, this is a huge plus. The seam tape on this jacket really helps with its longevity, and we think its a great fit if you’re looking for a long lasting work jacket. The seam tape really protects the thread from fraying prematurely.
The hidden snap closure and flap protects the front zipper, and adds a bit of style to this jacket.
88% cotton/12% nylon construction keeps this jacket lightweight and breathable. It can be used in the winter, but is also a good choice for those chilly days in the fall and spring. The nylon adds a bit of moisture wicking capability as well as a bit of stretch.
It features a nice mix of exterior and interior pockets which allows for phone storage as well as other smaller items.
This CAT jacket is available in navy as well as black. Although it is a lesser known jacket, we have been quite pleased with its performance during the winter months.
Rasco FR Hooded Jacket
This is a more classically styled 100% cotton jacket that you will see on job sites as well as in the streets. Its baggier fit allows for more layers underneath, and also fits well on larger folks.
The hood is removable via the snap buttons – this reveals the crimped collar underneath and allows for a more professional look. The brass front zipper is pretty heavy duty, and it is similar to the zippers you would see on a Carhartt garment. These brass zippers tend be a bit sticky at first, and they can benefit from some zipper lubricant from time to time.
The pouch styled front pockets are great for warming up your hands, but we don’t recommend storing important items in them. Since the sides of the pockets have large openings, storing a phone or important tool is probably a bad idea.
We really like the ribknit cuffs and waistband on this jacket. These FR elastic cuffs allow your torso to retain maximum heat throughout those colder days. The elastic cuffs are seen less and less nowadays, so we think Rasco did a good job of including them.
This jacket does have a few nice interior pockets for more important items like a phone or a wallet.
If you’re looking for a winter welding jacket that is a bit more affordable, this Rasco model is a solid option.
Carhartt FR Full Swing Quick Duck Jacket
This is a high quality midweight option from Carhartt that features the rain defender water repellent finish. This isn’t a fully waterproof jacket, but it will withstand inclement weather while out on the job. This is a good choice for the swing months where it isn’t quite freezing, but the weather is on the move.
The freedom gussets under the arms allow for maximum movement, especially while in tight spaces or while performing overhead welds. These gussets also prevent the sleeves from riding up the arm.
This jacket also has a flex elbow which helps with additional movement as well. Carhartt has introduced these flex technologies into a lot of their clothes, and they have been received quite well by tradesmen.
The two lower front pockets are nice and roomy with zipper closures. This makes them great for storing a tape measure or a few small hand tools.
It has triple stitched seams throughout the jacket, which is the industry standard for longevity and durability. The higher end FR garments tend to have these triple stitched seams, but it does make the clothing a bit more expensive.
In addition to Carhartts FR rating, this model also meets NFPA standards and has the sewn on patches to match these certifications.
The front zipper has a Nomex zipper tape protector, which is one of the best FR tapes on the market. Nomex is even more flame resistant than kevlar.
For a midweight FR garment that remains stylish, this Carhartt Quick Duck jacket is hard to beat. It is on the higher end of the quality spectrum, but as with most Carhartt products – it lasts a long time and can withstand some serious abuse on the job site.
Black Stallion Truguard FR Cotton Hoody
For welders that don’t want to spend a lot on a flame resistant jacket, an FR hoody is a good alternative. They are usually more affordable and more attainable for a field welder on a budget.
Black Stallion makes quite a few FR tops that are in the more reasonable price range. They last for a good amount of time, but they also appeal to the more frugal welder.
The full zippered front allows for easy removal of this jacket, and the zipper is also equipped with a flap for maximum protection.
The detachable hood allows this hoody to turn into a collared sweatshirt. For winter days when the sun is shining, removing the hood can make this a more lightweight garment. If it starts to snow, you can just reattach the hood.
The scribe pocket allows you to store a few marking utensils for doing layout markings. Soap stones and silver pencils are the most common choices for welders.
The large black Stallion logo on the right sleeve adds some good style to this jacket, and the black and yellow color scheme goes with just about any outfit.
For welders that prefer to keep more cash in their pocket and spend less cash on clothing, the Black Stallion FR hoody is worth a look.
The welding industry has so many clothing options available, that it can be hard for newcomers to know where to start. From regular jackets to FR jackets to hoodies, the prices and styling vary quite a bit.
While we do recommend flame resistant clothing to prevent burns, it isn’t always necessary. For those doing light duty TIG work and low voltage MIG welding, an FR garment might be overkill. Heavier welding arcs require heavy duty clothing, but not all welders use these high amperage processes (such as dual shield flux core, stick welding, etc.)
The FR jacket market is targeted more towards field welders, ironworkers and pipeliners. These workers are always out in the elements, and going back to the truck isn’t always an option. Having a reliable FR jacket is really beneficial for these welders.
If you tend to weld in warmer climates, then a lightweight FR cotton jacket is probably all you’ll need. The processes and applications you’re performing will dictate what type of clothing you need.
If you’re a new apprentice welder or a welders helper – take a look around at the other workers. Their clothing options may give you some ideas for options that will work well in your line of welding.
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