Pop culture is full of stories of items of clothing that impart special powers or enhanced abilities to the wearer: Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers, Magneto’s Helmet, Harry Potter’s Invisibility Cloak, Wonder Woman’s Indestructible Bracelets, Links Pegasus Boots, etc. The right field clothes, though not literally magical, can make scientists feel like they have enhanced science abilities.
Field clothes are all about function and comfort. For me, versatility is also key: the best field clothes for the Arctic can perform in the multiple environments I work in (shore, small boats, ships, diving). Scientists have Strong Feelings about field clothes, enough to inspire cartoons: https://twitter.com/thelabandfield/status/613074213834985472/photo/1
Here are my top 3 items for arctic field work:
- This hat:
It’s wool with fleece lining (warm!). When I’m not wearing it, I can hang it by the strings and it becomes a cubby pocket for tools, sunglasses, spare gloves, snacks, whatever. This hat was a gift from a friend who bought it while backpacking through Napal, which makes it extra special.
- These pants:
I’m not a big fan of pants in general because it’s nearly impossible to find ones that fit really well and are built to last. These pants though… these pants I have Strong Feelings about. They fit amazingly (especially amazing because I ordered them online). They are skinny enough to easily put on boots (see below). They don’t drag on the floor when I wear sandals around camp. They have double fabric in the front so I don’t worry about wearing them out. They have So Many Pockets, including one on the side of my leg that perfectly fits my phone within easy right hand reach. I love these pants.
- Xtra Tuff steel toe boots:
This post was inspired by these boots. The morning of my flight out of Texas, I was rather anxiously pacing around, triple checking I didn’t forget anything…but then I put on these boots*. Immediately, I felt calm and excited – field season was here! Comfy, sturdy, and waterproof, these boots are the emblem of field season. To me, a good pair of shoes is not just foot protection but an enabler of experiences and adventures.
*Why would I wear these on a 23 hour trip? Because they are hard to pack efficiently, easy to slip off at TSA, and comfortable. Plus happy field season vibes.