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Jan 30, 2013

5 Essential Winter Travel Gadgets

5  Essential Winter Travel Gadgets

Grip Track

It does not happen often, but when it does, it is bad. Snowstorms in NYC are a pain for drivers. Not only is your car gets snowed in, but you will also be piled on by the snowplows if you are parked on the street. And since the actual snowfall does not last long, you would have to deal with the frozen ice that will be left on the ground. I had to deal with this a few time since I got my car. Most of the time had to dig down to the asphalt to get some grip under the tires. And on our recent trip up north, I had some issues getting up a hill after a snow storm (more here: Travel Essentials of Nearcation). Grip Track, laid under the spinning tires, would give some traction, especially for front-drive cars. This could be helpful in the snow as well as on the icy roads, mud, and loose gravel.


Metal-rimmed snow shovel


Shovel, of course, is very useful to dig out your car if you are caught in a snow storm. During travel, especially during winter and in places known to get snow, you want a compact shovel that is with you throughout the season, packed away in the trunk or another compartment. I have learned it the hard way to keep one around in the car as soon as the temperature dips below 40. Last year I found and purchased a foldable metal shovel, similar to this one: Aluminum Sport Utility Shovel. While most shovels will do the job of digging, they are not all made the same. I had a plastic one previously and it barely lasted a season, and I looked like I was playing in the sand box when trying to dig my car out.



Ice scraper

Cars come equipped with defroster on the front windshield and in the rear. The older models might not have these or working as well. An ice scrapper that heats up on its own would help clear out the snow and ice from the side windows. This gadget plugs into the car's cigarette lighter. Small and convenient in size it can be easily stored in the trunk. My preference, though, is a standard ice scraper. I had a couple of heated ice scarpers, however, neither worked very well. Maybe if I combined the two into one, they might have had enough heat to melt the ice. The human powered scrapper works well with my cars defrosters.



Touchscreen Winter Gloves


Touchscreens on the smartphones are sensitive and react to the energy in our fingers. In the cold winter months, taking your gloves off to work your phone is not much fun in 10 degree weather. Hence the innovation to make gloves function with the smartphones. Yarn woven into these gloves mimics the energy and accuracy of human touch, allowing gloved hands to manipulate touchscreen devices. This cold-weather accessory also protects screens from smudges while using the phone by wiping down the screen with the material. The touchscreen gloves are warm enough to stand up to harsh winter conditions, but are soft and breathable.


Ear Warmers with Headphones
Just because it is cold outside, does not mean you would want to stop listening to your favorite tunes while en route. However, listening to regular earphones would leave your ears vulnerable to freezing temperatures.  Ear warmers with headphones, such as Urban Headphones Ear Warmer, are a great solution. Their behind-the-head design snuggles the back of the head without disheveling hairdos, while delivering high-definition stereo sound on your walk or run.

Ears are warm but your head is cold and you still want to listen to fav tunes?
There is a hat for that -

Sound Disk Sports Beanie
The disks in the cap are positioned on either side, partially behind the ears. They can be adjusted to fit over the ears to drawn out the sound. Though while traveling, placing slightly off, would let listen to music and be aware of your surroundings at the same time. Beanie's sound disk connection also comes with built-in microphone for use with iPhone®, Android based smartphones, and other mobile devices.




Did You Know?:
Cold can decrease your smartphone's battery life. When the temperature dips below freezing, the lithium-ion batteries can loose some of their charge. However, this is not permanent. Best operating temperature for these type of phones is 32 degrees to 95 degrees F (0 degrees to 35 degrees C). Stepping inside a warm place and restarting your phone should bring the power levels back up.


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