A Backpack for Job Sites
For thousands of years, tradespeople have been climbing ladders and scampering around on scaffold platforms with only one hand on the railing because the other held the toolbox. And sustaining millions of injuries in the process.
The solution, of course, is to use both hands for scampering. Milwaukee's Jobsite Backpack makes that possible. It has tons of tool storage space, a laptop compartment, a molded base to keep it upright on the ground and a handle on top to make it easy to move short distances. This is the perfect solution for you folks who regularly work on roofs, off scaffolds, or at any job where climbing is part of the daily routine. It could also come in handy for maintenance workers who have to lug their tools around huge facilities. Pick up the Milwaukee Jobsite Backpack wherever Milwaukee tools are sold.
A Safety Two-in-One
You'll be more likely to use eye and ear protectors if they're readily accessible, so why not keep them together—better yet, why not buy a pair of safety glasses that has built-in earplugs? These ReadyMax SoundShield safety glasses are equipped with a pair of earplugs that tuck into the ends of the earpieces/temples. Pull the plugs out of the earpieces when your work gets loud, and yank them back in with the retractable string when it quiets down a bit. These are perfect for construction, hunting or just cutting up wood in the garage. There are various styles to choose from—some glasses are tinted, some clear—and replacement earplugs are available. Check out the Readymax Soundshield Glasses at amazon.com.
High-tech Work Boots
Work at a place that requires steel-toe boots? Then listen up. Wolverine just introduced a new boot that's much more comfortable but still offers solid impact protection.
CarbonMAX boots have a protective cap composed of millions of tiny carbon nanotubes that are combined in a honeycomb pattern. The result is steel-like impact protection with much less weight and thickness. A lighter and thinner cap translates to a more comfortable boot. Check out Wolverine CarbonMAX boots at wolverine.com.
No More Need for a Tool Belt
If you've never loved wearing a tool belt, check out BL?KL?DER work pants. They have pouches and loops for tools, screws or whatever. And, the pockets over the knees hold foam pads. BL?KL?DER, a Swedish company, has been making work wear for 50 years and is just now starting to catch on here in North America.
It makes pants from tough to nearly indestructible, as well as shirts, hats, vests, jackets and even a work kilt! The clothing is available online and at some stores. The BL?KL?DER X1600 pants shown here are available from ACE Tool.
Next Generation High-Tech Work Shirt
What's the worst part about working outside on a hot day? We think it's the sweaty clothes that stick to your body, and the dirt and filth that stick to your sweaty clothes.
Dickies has introduced a shirt that can help. It's called the Next Generation Work Shirt, and it's made from a newly engineered fabric that wicks moisture away from your body. It also stretches more and has soil-releasing properties. Maybe best of all, it's still durable like other Dickies work shirts. Buy a Dickies Next Generation work shirt here or pick one up at work wear retailers nationwide.
Better Ear Plugs
It's hard to find good ear protection. Earmuffs work great, but they're uncomfortable on hot summer days. And those soft, spongy foam earplugs you find everywhere quickly absorb sweat and become useless.
One favorite that fits many people is 3M's Tekk Disposable Ear Plugs. They're made from a stiffer type of foam, can handle a little sweat and comfortably mold to the inside of your ears. Get 3M Tekk Disposable Ear Plugs at amazon.com.
Smartphone Life Preserver
If your phone has ever taken a swim, you know the cost of a water proof case is peanuts compared to replacing the phone. This Ugo pack goes a step further, with room for your other prized possesions, too.
The touch screen works through the clear plastic, and there's enough room inside for credit cards, cash and a key fob. Other phone cases can withstand water, but this baby may be the only one that floats, making it a heck of a lot easier to retrieve. You can check out the different colors and configurations and buy an Ugo pack at ugowear.com.
Faster Ratcheting Tie-Downs
When you're trailering heavy equipment such as a Bobcat skid steer, you need to secure it with long, heavy-duty straps. Often you I have to pull 20 ft. worth of strap out of the ratchet, thread it through the tie-down loop and then pull most of the strap back through the ratchet. It's irritating. That's why GearArmour's Side Loading Ratchets are so great.
Instead of pulling the entire length of strap in and out of the ratchet, the side of the ratchet housing swings away so you can load the strap into the ratchet at any point along the length of the strap. Pick up Gear Armour Ratcheting Straps at home centers and online in various lengths and load capabilities.
Keep Your Pants On
For guys without the hips or butt necessary to keep their pants up with just a belt, suspenders are a must. Clip-on suspenders can be hit-or-miss, however, because the clips seem to quit holding at the most inopportune times. That's why Duluth Trading's Button Suspenders are some of the best. The wide straps and leather clasps are built to last and won't let you down…so to speak. And they come in tall sizes for big galoots. Duluth Trading also sells 'Instant' Buttons that can attach to any pair of pants you choose. Get Duluth Trading Suspenders and buttons at duluthtrading.com.
Action Work Jacket
If your worn-out work jacket is ready to be replaced, check out the Duluth Trading Co. Flannel-Lined Action Jacket, No. 32526. It's made from the ultra-durable 'Fire Hose' fabric and has all the other good stuff: attached hood (no zippers or snaps), under arms and shoulders designed for nonbinding movement, and best of all, the rugged zipper that should last the life of the coat. Plus, it has more pockets than a billiard hall! Buy the Flannel-Lined Action Jacket at duluthtrading.com.
The Mitt That Can Conquer the Cold
I was never that fussy about gloves or mittens until I bought these pigskin mittens at my local hardware store a couple years back. These mittens are great! Not only do they fit somewhat like a glove, but they are comfortable, tough, water resistant and, best yet, warm. The inside of the mittens pairs up the index and middle finger and gives the ring and pinkie their own compartment. You can pick up lumber and actually carry bigger tools to the job site with some dexterity. You're not going to be picking up dimes or nickels off the sidewalk, but that's not a job for mittens anyway. They're so good that they usually sell out before the season ends, so order early. Find the Kinco Lined Pigskin Mitt at gearx.com.
Disposable Floor Protector Booties
If you've ever been inside a hospital, you've seen booties like these. They're handy at home, too, especially if you're a DIYer. Use them if you're coming inside and your boots are muddy. Keep them around when you're painting to be sure you won't track paint into another room. Have a few at the door to your shop to prevent sawdust footprints in the house. You get the picture. You can pick some up at any home center, usually in the paint department, for less than a dollar a pair. If you fall in love with using them, buy a whole box of Polyethylene Shoe Covers online.
Carhartt has introduced a cotton/polyester blend fabric called 'Force' that wicks away sweat better than pure cotton does. They not only keep you from feeling clammy and sweaty but also hold their shape really well after repeated washings, and they resist snagging. One chest pocket, lots of colors. They're more expensive than other T-shirts—but if you hate to be soaked in sweat, you'll like them. Pick up a Carhartt Force Performance T-Shirt at carhartt.com.
Slip-In Knee Pads
Reinforced knees on your bib overalls make them last longer, but why are there holes at the bottoms of the reinforcement? Turns out there are two good reasons for it.
One, when the top layer of fabric gets a hole in it, debris collects inside, and the opening lets you clean it out. And two, you can slide knee pads, like these Soft Knees from Working Concepts Inc., into that space. So, as long as you're wearing my bibs, you don't have to mess with my uncomfortable strap-on knee pads. The foam pads are easy to install, and if you don't wash your overalls in hot water, you don't have to remove the pads until it's time for a new pair of bibs.
Get Keen on Keens
The Keen Company started out making airy, comfortable sandals with a rubber protective toe. The distinctive (some would say goofy looking) Newport sandal was born, and it became an instant success.
Keen now makes a wide range of shoes and boots, including durable work shoes perfect for folks on their feet all day like medical staff and service industry workers. A steel toe is also an option for people in warehouse and industrial settings.
Keens are not the cheapest, nor perhaps the prettiest, shoes, but they sure are comfy. Go to keenfootwear.com to find a retailer near you.
If you spend a lot of time working and playing outdoors in the winter, good gloves are a must. These Kinco insulated work gloves really stand up to the test. Even sled-dog mushers swear by them. The pigskin palms are very tough and don't get stiff after they've been wet. The insulated lining works surprisingly well, and the cloth back lets your hands breathe. They're available with safety cuffs (easier to slide on) or elastic cuffs (keeps snow out better). Best of all, they're only about $18 a pair. Buy a pair of Kinco gloves online.
No More Knots
Ropes work great to secure tarps, but tying secure knots with the right tension can be tricky. The CamJams from Nite Ize have come to the rescue. Now all you have to do is anchor one end of the cord, run the other end through the CamJam; clip the CamJam to a grommet, and pull the cord—nothing could be easier!