5 Pieces of Gear All Aspiring Farmers Need
I’m sure I’m not alone when I admit that I’m a bit of a gear head. Like one of my closest friends likes to say, one of the best parts about new hobbies is buying the gear. Farming has a ton of specialized tools and gear, and while some of it won’t make or break your operation, a lot of it makes our lives as farmers easier, more enjoyable, and even a bit more stylish. I could write pages and pages of recommendations on tools and barbed wire and tractors etc, but for today we’ll stick to apparel with the 5 Most Important Pieces of Gear All Aspiring Farmers Need.
1. Leather Work Gloves
My Grandfather is one of those old school guys that can work barbed wire barehanded but for all the rest of us mere mortals (and aspiring farmers), we need a nice pair of leather gloves. I prefer the deer leather work gloves found at Feed & Seed stores like Southern States, as my glove of choice. I’ve found they last a long time, and while they’re thick enough to stop most barbs from getting through, the leather is supple enough that you won’t lose all your dexterity. One thing to note, make sure to try the glove on and remember when they get wet (from hard work and sweating!) they will get a little smaller. I prefer a tight work glove because the last thing you want is barbed wire constantly getting hung up in the extra materials at the end of the finger. In this case a tight glove is much preferred over one a bit too big. Plus is there any cooler look than a pair of beat up work gloves hanging out of the back pocket of your Wrangler jeans?!
2. Work Boots
This is a no-brainer but I can’t stress it enough. As farmers, we are on our feet for most of the day and a good pair of boots is a must have. There are tons of great brands out there, just be willing to pay a bit of a premium for quality. It’s like most things, you get what you pay for. Your feet will thank you and so will your wallet when one great pair of American-made boots lasts through years of hard work. Check out Redwing Boots and Wolverine for two of the toughest working brands out there. As with most things though, different situations call for different types of boots. I personally have a pair of heavy duty, steel toed Wolverines I wear while building fences and working with cattle (to protect my toes from being stepped on), a lighter pair of hiking boots I wear in the summer and while doing easier tasks like checking up on the cows, and a pair of tall Muck Boots for dealing with the cold and slop in the cooler months. Oh and how could I forget my Ostrich leather Ariat cowboy boots for hitting the town! Before you know it, you’ll have more boots than any other type of footwear!
Weather plays a huge role in farming. From praying to rain to praying for a bit of sunshine to dry up the mud, as farmers we check the Weather Channel more than 99% of the general population. Sadly though, no matter what the weather man says, animals need to eat, crops need to be harvested, and the weather needs to be dealt with no matter the forecast. That’s where a great jacket, or in this case, multiple jackets, come in handy. As much as I like boots, jackets are my first love. There’s nothing better than having the perfect jacket for the conditions. Not only does it make the work easier and more efficient, but it also makes me feel cool too!
The first jacket every farmer needs is a heavy duty Carhartt jacket. This has got to be the most iconic piece of farm gear out there. It takes a season or two to break it in, that’s how heavy duty the material is, but after you do it’ll last for years and years of hard work. My Carhartt has grease stains, stains from calf milk, and a pocket full of syringes and 4 different size nails. Oh the life of a farmer!
In addition to my trusty Carhartt, I’m a big fan of a waxed duster just like the villains in Westerns always wear. It feels a bit like a Halloween costume but it really does keep you warm and dry, just don’t wear it when you go to the bank or the tellers may press the silent alarm when you walk in!
For a bit fancier jacket, I’m a huge fan of Barbour and Filson jackets. I’ve got a beautiful waxed canvas Barbour jacket that is modeled as a shooting jacket. With big front pockets for shotgun shells and a game pouch, it’s built for bird hunting and other outdoor gentlemanly pursuits. It’s one of those pieces of gear that’s built for doing everything. From checking on cows in the rain to going out to a nice dinner on a cold evening, it does it all and looks darn good doing it.
4. Tough as Nails Pants
Whether you’re into the old school denim overalls (NASCAR style) or Wrangler jeans or Carhartt coveralls, finding the right pants to fit the conditions is important. Farming is tough enough when you’re dressed correctly. Throw in the wrong clothes and your job just became that much harder. When it comes to farm pants, it’s important to remember you get what you pay for. The stylish Levis from Belk aren’t going to hold up like the work jeans from the local Tractor Supply. With that being said, I have been known to channel my inner hipster and rock some suspenders with my farming get up. Just be ready to get picked on a bit for it!
5. Brush Chaps
I recently bought a pair of Single Tin brush chaps from Filson and could not be happier with my purchase. They were built for bird hunters in the field but I’ve found they work perfectly for farming. Every farmer needs a sturdy pair of pants but these chaps are on a totally different level when it comes to toughness. I’ve walked through some the gnarliest briars out there without any issues and they keep barbed wire from snagging on your legs. The only downside is they are a bit warm in the Summer, but hey, sweating like mad sure beats being stung by bees and scratched to ribbons by thorns. Plus that extra warmth comes in handy in the Winter. Oh and did I mention they are 100% waterproof too? Trust me, buy a pair. They’ll outlast you, they work perfectly, and quite simply they’ve made my life as a farmer much more enjoyable and easier. What’s not to like about that!
P.S. I’m sure you could wear them while riding a horse. They don’t seem much different than regular equestrian chaps.