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A friend of mine in high school had a crappy old Delta 88 complete with that horrid GM 350 diesel. As a result he was endlessly rebuilding it, even in the wintertime. His secret to keeping warm while pulling the engine in 35-degree weather? Insulated coveralls. The ones you see here are a cotton set from work-clothes masters Dickies, but you can find a set at most tractor supply shops — or pretty much any place working people shop.

Of course, all coveralls aren’t created the same. These Dickies include a thick 10-ounce “duck” fabric that’s slightly water-repellent plus double reinforced knees and elbows. You get lots of pockets, too: two side-entry and a zippered pocket on the chest, and a left wallet pocket. Six-ounce poly fiber-fill lining provides warmth.

But my favorite bit about these particular coveralls? They’re brown. While black and blue (the other colors Dickies offers) look great, you’re totally screwed if you’re under the car and drop a screw on yourself. You’ll never find it without crawling out. Brown strikes the perfect balance between looking decent when dirty and functionality. Plus no one else wants ’em, so you’ll often find ’em on sale.

Expect to pay around $75 for a set, and unless you’re working in ’em day in and day out, expect them to serve you well for years.

Insulated Cotton Duck Overalls [Dickies]
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Via Amazon [What’s This?]


17 Responses to Don’t Freeze Your *ss Off: Insulated Coveralls

  1. Toolhearty says:

    Insulated coveralls in 35-degree weather? What are you going to put on when it gets cold?

    Even if you don’t do a lot of work outside, if you live in a place where there’s actual snow and ice for a good chunk of the year, doesn’t hurt to throw some of these in the trunk of your vehicle.

  2. Will Atwood says:

    Take a look at Carhart branded brown duck jackets and insulated coveralls, bib overalls [which are just super great for those cold days in the shop], vests etc. I have been wearing Carhart brand since 1970 and they have heavier duck, more insulation, and are just better built for heavy use than their competitors. Here in the West they have been the cow country standard for at least 20 years.
    I am not affiliated in any way with any brand of clothing or manufacturer.
    Thanks Will

  3. Toolhearty says:

    I had to go the Carhartt insulated bibbies and coat route ’cause I have the shape of body that coveralls just don’t fit.

  4. Gough says:

    There are great for situations where you’re not moving and bending a lot, but I think insulated bibs and a jacket are a lot more flexible. Around here, these seem to be the favorite of mechanics and heavy equipment operators, while the bibs/jacket combination is more popular with carpenters, etc.

    Right now, it’s 6 above (wind chill -8) and I’m heading out to work on a remodeling job and I’ll be sporting insulated bibs. Normally, I’d wait for it to get cold before wearing insulated gear, but I’ll be doing finish work today and not moving around as quickly.

  5. Gough says:

    Plus, what Toolhearty says. I’m long-waisted with comparatively short legs: not a comfortable combination in coveralls.

  6. jeff says:

    Bib man myself. I’ve had my Carharts so long that they have faded from brown to tanish white. Red quilted lining. They are champs.

  7. David Bryan says:

    Like Jeff says. If yours are still brown, you ain’t getting your money’s worth out of them. Twenty-seven years ago I was working on top of a mountain in Wyoming where it would get down to -40 degrees, and I’d be inside and outside all day and overalls and a parka worked a lot better for me than coveralls. And at that elevation, on a clear day at 0 degrees F. with no wind you’d want that parka off.
    I wouldn’t scoff at 35 degrees F. either. I’ve never felt so cold in my life as I have working on a boiler on the Arkansas River when it was in the thirties and close to freezing.

  8. Toolaremia says:

    I have a set of Walls insulated coveralls just like this. I’m a big fan of coveralls when working outside in the Winter.

    Chuck, your friend could have saved himself a lot of work if he’d just put a water separator and proper fuel filter on that Olds. Never would have had to fix it again. There was nothing wrong with the engine itself.

    The problem was by then the beancounters were running (ruining) GM and they skimped on proper fuel handling and other things. Diesel fuel back then was horrible, and you really *had* to have a separator and hardy filter. So water got into the engine, lifted the heads, and the uninitiated blamed the engine instead of the fuel and the beancounters.

    See “Diesel problems” here:

  9. river1 says:

    no need for insulated coveralls i just throw a pair of long pants on for the cold season. course i live in AZ where it’s pretty comfortable even when it’s cold


    later jim

  10. Blairb says:

    Another plus for the bibs, jacket combo is that sometimes while working, the jacket can be either too warm, or cumbersome, and at that point you can just take it off. With coveralls your only options are to unzip the top of the coveralls, leaving the flap hanging(not the best for safety when working with power tools), or removing the coveralls altogether.

    I often wear a pair of bibs, with a light insulated zip up hoodie, and the jacket over that to start the day, then , as things warm, I can remove whatever component needed to maintain comfort.

  11. toolhearty says:

    river1 Says:
    December 10th, 2009 at 4:56 pm
    no need for insulated coveralls i just throw a pair of long pants on for the cold season. course i live in AZ where it’s pretty comfortable even when it’s cold
    later jim

    Hi Jim! Die in a fire, okay! Hehe… (just kidding…mostly)

  12. BC says:

    It’s -4* here right now… and I’ll be either cleaning battery posts or replacing a battery in the wife’s Jeep today. Sometimes there’s not much you can do to stay warm, especially when you can’t get the vehicle in the garage.

    I have a pair of Carhartt insulated bib overalls and a Carhartt jacket; add some gloves, a balaclava for wind protection, and some boots, and as long as you’re moving, you’ll stay warm.

  13. Gough says:


    Good point about the balaclava. The best one that I’ve found, by far, is called the Head Sokz. It’s sort of a modified balaclava made out of fleece that can be worn in variety of ways. It makes me look even dorkier when I’m suited up, but I’ve actually NEVER been cold when I’ve worn it.

  14. Jeff L says:

    Wierd that the last two posts are about exactly what I wear outside. Bibs, Carhart jacket and a fleece balaclava that can be worn as a neck gator, balaclava or regular hat.

    That’s what I used today to replace a radiator in the Jeep.

  15. mike says:

    too restrictive

  16. larry mcberry says:

    Great idea on keeping warm. Will look into it.

  17. Cris says:

    Insulated coveralls are the best thing ever for winter. I understand overalls’ appeal when you’re going in and out a lot, but for extended stays outside insulated coveralls have worked best for me. It always seems that wind will find its way in between overalls and a jacket. I like the all-in-one comfort from the wind and cold that coveralls provide.

    I’m originally from Minnesota, and coveralls were an important part of my winter routine on the farm I grew up on. I would wear them even at relatively warm temps (like the 35 mentioned) because my legs are going to get cold when my torso does, so much of the time for me if it was cold enough for a jacket, it was cold enough for coveralls. When it got really cold, I’d break out the layers. That worked well for me.

    I second the votes for Carhartts. They work great in colder climates. In cooler climates, Dickies or Walls are fine. Now, I have a pair of Dickies for most winter weather here in Kansas, and I keep my well used Carhartts for when I head back to Minnesota.

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