Man works outside dressed in draft-reducing cold-weather work clothes from RefrigiWear.


Whether you’re working hard or playing hard, cold temperatures demand insulated work clothes designed to protect you from those conditions and keep you warm. But there are more things to consider than material and insulation.

Every jacket has multiple draft points – areas of the jacket that are vulnerable and could let in the cold. It’s important to know what these are and how the work jacket you are considering addresses potential exposure to drafts.

Draft points are areas of the jacket where drafts can enter, bringing in cold air. These are the waist, wrists, zipper, and collar.

How to Avoid Cold Drafts at the Waist

The waist as a draft point is a concern because it leaves the kidneys vulnerable to cold. Kidneys are part of your core and vital organs and if your body senses that your core is cold, it reduces blood circulation to your arms and legs to warm your core. Your arms and legs take the hit to protect your vital organs, which can lead to frostbite.

Look for insulated work jackets with an adjustable inner waist seal that you can tighten against drafts. Longer jackets that fall below the hips also help protect against drafts at the waist. Many RefrigiWear® cold weather work jackets feature an extended back for this purpose. A lined base layer securely tucked in is another great way to protect against cold drafts at the waist.

Woman wearing insulated work jacket wears glove with a fitted wrist to make a seal against the sleeve.

How to Avoid Cold Drafts at the Wrist

The cuffs of your jacket can help protect you from cold. Stretchy knit cuffs not only close off your sleeves to protect from drafts, they secure your sleeves in place so they don’t slide up your arm, exposing your skin to the cold.

Some base layers and jackets come with cuffs designed to hook over your thumb offering more security from drafts. Other types of seals at the wrists include elastic cuffs that are meant to stay tight and Velcro closures that can be adjusted tight or loose depending on how much protection you need.

Man zips up an insulated work coat on a jobsite in winter.

How to Avoid Cold Drafts at the Zipper

By their nature, most zippers are not a solid seal against the cold and wind. Plus, the zipper area is protecting the largest opening on any jacket, vest or coveralls.

Flaps under the zipper and storm flaps over the zipper on the outside help protect this draft point from cold penetration. Jackets designed for the harshest conditions usually have a flap that snaps over the zipper. This reduces cold entering through the teeth of the zipper and keeps your core warm – protecting your vital organs and arms simultaneously.

How to Avoid Cold Drafts at the Collar

One of the most overlooked areas for a draft to enter is the collar because style often wins out over functionality. However, if your neck and throat are exposed to drafts, we all know how much colder we feel. Luckily, there are several ways around this.

Stand up collars made of soft fleece or fur help prevent drafts from hitting the skin because they can be pulled up to protect your neck and throat. They also can hold the position and not fold down again, like a knit polo shirt.

Insulated jackets with lined hoods are another feature that helps reduce the drafts at the collar. Adding a scarf or neck gaiter also protects the neck area against drafts and are recommended if you are facing extremely cold conditions.

Man wears insulated work jacket and a beanie under a hard hat.

Get Maximum Protection from Your Cold Weather Workwear

If left unaddressed, draft points reduce the effectiveness of your jacket. To make sure the jacket protects against the conditions you will be in, find out what features the jacket has to protect your draft points.

If the jacket itself doesn’t address it, accessorize and layer appropriately to stop the cold in its tracks There is no one perfect solution to protecting yourself against draft points, but ignoring them means sacrificing warmth and comfort.