It took a while, but all traces of snow and ice are gone from the parking lots, sidewalks, driveways, and loading docks of the lower 48. That means it’s finally time to put away ice cleats, grips, and other personal traction devices until winter returns and your employees need them again. But instead of simply collecting ice cleats in a box or stuffing them in a supply closet for months on end, take a few minutes to do the following:
- Inspect each traction device for unusual wear or damage. Be on the lookout for cracked, worn, or rusted studs, over-stretched elastic, broken links, and similar problems.
- Immediately repair or replace damaged ice cleats with equivalent products from CozyWinters. Attending to known issues now instead of waiting until next winter will ensure your employee safety gear is ready for immediate use in the event of an early or unexpected storm.
- Consider stocking up on individual replacement spikes and studs so substitutions can be made onsite without any downtime or lost productivity.
- Store ice cleats and traction devices on a flat, even surface to help them keep their shape. Avoid rolling, bunching, or folding these products for long-term storage.
Ice cleats, stabilizers, and grips are essential to outdoor employee safety in the winter and other times of inclement weather. So extend the useful life of each pair of YakTrax, WinterGrips, Get-a-Grip, or MonsterGrip cleats you own by addressing potential problems early and following the end-of-season storage tips listed above.
As the seasons change from winter and spring into summer, the focus of outdoor safety shifts from staying warm to staying cool.
High temperatures and intense sunshine combine to make heat exhaustion and heat stroke serious risks for those engaging in moderate to vigorous outdoor activities for sustained periods of time. So if you’re planning a running, hiking, biking, climbing, or similar outdoor adventure for the near future, be sure to follow these 7 tips to beat the heat:
- Wear lightweight clothing made of breathable fabrics or moisture-wicking material to absorb sweat and keep your skin dry. Avoid cotton and dark colored clothing, which tend to retain more heat than high-tech synthetics.
- Soak small face cloths or hand towels in water, and then roll them up and place them in the freezer the night before your outing. You can carry the frozen towels in a plastic bag and pull one out to dab your face and neck whenever you need a quick cool-down.
- Begin hydrating approximately one hour prior to the start of your activity by sipping 8 to 12 ounces of water, juice, or other nonalcoholic, decaffeinated beverages.
- When possible and if safe to do so, try to schedule vigorous exercise for the coolest times of the day. In most places, this generally means before 7 a.m. or after 8 p.m. during the summer months.
- For longer outings, be sure to pace yourself or your group to help prevent overexertion. Allow adequate time to acclimatize to the weather and temperature conditions, and increase speed or intensity very gradually.
- Take frequent breaks in a cool, shaded area away from direct sunlight. Use these opportunities to rehydrate, refuel with nutritious food choices such as cold fruit or yogurt, and assess all group members’ physical condition.
- Consider wearing an evaporative or hybrid cooling vest from CozyWinters. Available in many styles, these vests provide up to 10 hours of cooling action even in very hot conditions, making them perfect for sports and other strenuous activities.
Summer is coming, which means triple digit temperatures, high humidity, and the very real dangers of extreme heat are not far behind. But don’t let the elements keep you cooped up at home for the entire season. Instead, use these tips to help beat the heat so you can enjoy everything the great outdoors has to offer.
Spending quality time with pets is one of the most important responsibilities of any owner. This not only provides pets with the exercise they need to stay healthy and nimble, but also deepens the bonds of loyalty, love, and companionship between human and animal. Here are some ideas for pet friendly outdoor adventures that will bring you and your four-legged bestie closer together this summer:
- Give your dog a fun workout by taking him to an agility park in your city. Unlike a standard dog park that is little more than an open field, an agility park features a variety of obstacles such as ramps, beams, and tunnels designed to improve your dog’s speed, balance, and agility.
- Take your pet to the woods or mountains for a long hike on marked trails. Many state parks (and some national ones) are dog friendly as long as you follow the rules. Remember to bring extra water for your dog, and perhaps even an ice-filled Kool Collar from CozyWinters to help prevent dehydration and heat exhaustion. For smaller pooches, consider bringing a backpack pet carrier to use when tiny paws get too tired to continue.
- Spend an afternoon out on a boat or go swimming in a lake or river. Many dogs love to swim, so this would be an ideal activity for a hot summer day. Just make sure to take plenty of breaks and use the Paws Aboard Doggy Life Jacket as an added safety measure.
- Grab some grub at an outdoor cafe. The summer is all about dining al fresco, and a lot of eateries now allow pets to hang out at the outdoor tables with patrons. If your dog is friendly to other people and well-behaved around food and general bustle, you’ll both be able to enjoy a great meal or snack in the open air.
- Pack up the tent and some sleeping bags and go camping. Exploring the great outdoors is always better with your best friend at your side. No matter where you live, you’ll be able to find pet friendly campsites within a reasonable driving distance, so load up the car, throw a protective dog seat cover over the back seat, and get ready to commune with nature for the weekend.
Spending quality time with your pet doesn’t have to be limited to daily walks around the neighborhood or the occasional game of fetch in the backyard. For a more exciting option, try one of these pet friendly outdoor adventures with your cuddly companion this summer.
Spring is a fantastic time to go camping. Nature is waking up and transforming the bleak winter scenery into a lush and colorful landscape filled with gorgeous flowers, leafy trees, and active wildlife. In addition, daytime temperatures are typically mild and comfortable at this time of year, and the insect population is nowhere near summertime levels yet. Plus, this is still considered the off-season at most campgrounds, which means lower fees and fewer people to contend with.
As great as spring camping can be, you shouldn’t just load up the car, pile in the family members, and head out to your favorite spot without taking some preliminary steps first. So review some of these basic camping tips along with our partial gear checklist before you leave:
- Inspect all tents and sleeping bags for rips, tears, and holes. Make sure all zippers and closures work as intended. Repair, patch, or add a touch of WD-40 where necessary.
- Check that lanterns and flashlights are in working order. Replace batteries as needed.
- Test your stove and other cooking equipment to confirm that fuel sources and igniters are fully operational.
- Spray jackets, boots, and tents with a waterproofing product to help protect against unexpected rain and inclement weather.
Partial gear checklist
- Sleeping bags rated for temperatures as low as 40ºF to keep you warm during the cool/cold spring nights.
- Foam pads to place under sleeping bags and provide an extra barrier between your body and the cold ground.
- Waterproof tents and tarps or pop-up shelters to cover them in case of rain.
- Base, middle, and outer layers of clothing that can easily be added to or removed in response to sudden changes in temperature and weather. You might also consider bringing some battery-heated apparel for spring hiking excursions to guarantee warmth even at higher elevations.
- Flashlights, lanterns, and other forms of lighting.
- Cooking equipment, including adequate fuel and enough utensils for the entire family.
- A fully stocked first-aid kit, along with an emergency radio and a paper map of the area.
Remember, these lists aren’t meant to be all-inclusive; your needs will vary depending on factors such as family size, camping style (e.g. minimalist or “glamping”), and the kind of equipment you own. But you can still use our tips as a starting point to help ensure your spring camping trip is safe and fun for all involved.
Proper hydration is the foundation for a number of essential physiological processes such as temperature and heart rate regulation, joint lubrication, nutrition absorption, and more. This is true for both humans and animals, and is a constant requirement all year round.
That said, staying hydrated is particularly important in summer when sizzling temperatures and the scorching sun combine to quickly deplete the body of water and electrolytes. Add in some moderate to strenuous outdoor activities like hiking, biking, or playing sports, and it’s not long before dehydration (along with its accompanying symptoms of dizziness, headache, confusion, and excessive thirst) can set in.
Fortunately, keeping your family and pets hydrated is easy—especially when you follow these tips.
- Bring plenty of bottled water for outdoor activities and sip liberally for the duration of the session. A general guideline to follow for adults is to drink approximately seven to 10 ounces of water for every 15 minutes of exertion. Children may have lower requirements depending on relative size.
- Even when staying at home or in the office, strive to consume at least 64 ounces of water daily.
- Although water is the best for replenishing lost fluids and maintaining hydration, juice, coffee, tea, milk, and even soft drinks can also be helpful in this regard.
- Don’t forget that certain foods, including broth, citrus fruits, yogurt, and many vegetables are high in water content and thus contribute to overall hydration.
- Monitor hydration level by keeping an eye on your urine. A pale yellow color is most desirable, while dark yellow urine or significantly lower output could indicate dehydration.
- Cats subsisting on a diet of canned food should drink an additional two to four ounces of water per day. Cats on a diet of dry food need approximately two to three times the amount they eat (e.g. five ounces of dry food would translate to about 10 to 15 ounces of water).
- The widely accepted rule of thumb for dogs is 8.5 to 17 ounces of water per 10 pounds of bodyweight, meaning a 25-pound dog needs anywhere from 21 to 42 ounces per day.
- Provide pets with constant access to clean water. A product such as the CleanFlow Filtered Water Bowl at CozyWinters helps remove impurities and promote consumption.
- When taking pets on extended car trips and outings, be sure to bring a portable water bowl and provide frequent opportunities for drinking.
Now that we’re edging into summer, the dangers of family members and pets becoming dehydrated are ever increasing. But you can keep your outings safe and fun for all involved by using our ideas to stay cool and hydrated.
Hot flashes are one of the most common symptoms of menopause. Characterized by sudden flushing of the face, sweating, rapid heart beat, and/or tingling in the fingers and toes, hot flashes range in intensity and duration. For some pre-menopausal and menopausal women, they occur only occasionally and are considered little more than an inconvenience. For others, however, hot flashes occur daily and are severe enough to cause dizziness, nausea, or even blackouts.
Regardless of the degree to which hot flashes affect your life, it’s worth knowing how to deal with them when they strike. Towards that end, here are some ideas to help you keep your cool during hot flashes:
- In colder weather, dress in layers that you can remove when you feel a hot flash coming on. In warmer weather, opt for moisture-wicking fabrics that pull sweat away from your skin and allow you to cool down faster.
- Try to avoid known hot flash triggers, including alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, spicy foods, and stress.
- Sip ice water throughout the day and keep cool washcloths available to place on your forehead or neck when required.
- Purchase a cooling mattress pad, cool gel pillow cover, and other cooling bedding products from CozyWinters to make nighttime hot flashes a lot more bearable.
- Consider using natural remedies, such as a few drops of peppermint oil applied to the inside of your wrists and elbows or supplements containing evening primrose, to keep hot flash symptoms under control.
- Eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and make other positive lifestyle changes to improve overall health and wellbeing.
- For extreme cases, talk to your healthcare provider about using prescription medication or hormone replacement therapy to reduce the severity of hot flash symptoms.
If you’re nearing menopause age or are already there, chances are you’ll soon experience the discomfort associated with hot flashes. When that happens, use the suggestions above to help keep your cool so you can get back to the daily demands of your life.
Whenever you engage in vigorous exercise or sports such as skiing and snowboarding, you run the risk of suffering from pain and stiffness after the activity. Known as delayed onset muscle soreness (or DOMS), this is not a serious condition; however, it can interfere with your ability to walk, climb stairs, or even sit comfortably for the next few days.
While there is no surefire way to prevent DOMS—even the most highly conditioned athletes can experience soreness depending on how hard or how long they go—you can reduce the associated pain and speed up recovery time by trying one or more of these treatment options:
- Take an over-the-counter medication such as Advil (ibuprofen), naproxen sodium (Aleve), or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug to reduce swelling and provide temporary pain relief.
- Gently stretch or foam roll any sore spots in your calves, quads, hamstrings, or IT band. You can find general stretching and foam rolling instructional videos on YouTube, as well as routines designed especially for skiers.
- Soak in a hot bath or jacuzzi or sit in a sauna to loosen tight muscles, promote circulation, and promote recovery.
- Replenish your body’s energy stores by eating balanced, nutritious meals and drinking lots of water in the days following your ski run. Fruits (especially cherries, bananas, melons, and pineapple), complex carbs (rolled oats, brown rice), and lean protein (poultry, fish) have been shown to have positive effects on DOMS, while adequate hydration is always a key to recovery.
- Follow the RICE treatment protocol (rest, ice, compression, elevation) for muscle soreness that persists for more than three days. If you suspect that your pain is being caused by something more serious than DOMS, stop all strenuous activity and see a doctor as soon as you can.
Skiing and snowboarding are tough on your body, so don’t be surprised if you need to spend a few days recuperating after each session on the mountain. Just be sure to use some of the above treatment ideas to relieve your exercise induced muscle soreness and help you get back on the slopes as soon as possible.
While getting a cold is never any fun, it’s particularly annoying in the springtime. Instead of being able to go out and bask in the mild weather and sunshine, you’ll be stuck indoors trying to treat your runny nose, cough, sore throat, and general fatigue. These symptoms can linger for anywhere from a few days to up to two weeks, depending on different factors such as the type of virus that initially caused the illness and the strength of your immune system. To help speed recovery, follow these tips for dealing with spring colds:
- Stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water and other fluids, including juice, tea with lemon and honey, and clear broth.
- Run a humidifier—such as one of the quiet ultrasonic models available at CozyWinters—in your home or office to moisturize the air, relieve congestion, and ease breathing. Change the water in the humidifier daily and follow the manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations to prevent the buildup and discharge of mold and mildew.
- Supplement the effects of your new humidifier with the use of a decongestant nasal spray or decongestant tablets. Just be sure not to use any nasal spray for more than three consecutive days, as doing so can lead to further congestion.
- Gargle with a mixture of 1/2 teaspoon of table salt dissolved in a cup of warm water several times a day to soothe a sore throat.
- Fill up on chicken soup to take advantage of its anti-inflammatory properties and natural decongesting action.
- Use over-the-counter cough syrups or cold medicines to provide temporary relief for various cold symptoms.
Although the common cold is considered a minor illness, it can cause major disruptions in your life by keeping you away from work, school, or the outdoor activities you love. To get back on track faster, follow the tips listed here as soon as you detect any telltale symptoms.
In our last post, we talked about how you should wash your battery heated jacket, gloves, and liners before storing them for the summer to help ensure they’re ready for action as soon as you need them again. This time around, we’re going to focus on battery care for those same products.
Most of the battery heated clothing we sell at CozyWinters is powered by lithium ion (Li-ion) battery packs. These battery packs are consumable, meaning they have a limited shelf life, and are designed to last anywhere from 300 to 500 discharge cycles. With proper storage and care, lithium ion battery packs will consistently hit the upper end of their lifespan, so we suggest that you follow these tips:
• Never store a lithium ion battery pack in a completely discharged state. Instead, a 25% to 60% charge is recommended prior to storage.
• Disconnect the battery pack from its connectors and remove it from the device before placing it into long-term storage.
• Store lithium ion battery packs in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and extreme changes in temperature.
• Recharge the battery pack at least once every three to six months regardless of whether or not you intend to use the garment it powers. This will help improve performance and extend battery life in the long run.
The batteries in your CozyWinters heated apparel require special care to keep them operating at peak performance levels and promote overall longevity, so make it a point to follow these guidelines for summer and offseason storage.
Please keep in mind that different manufacturers may have different storage protocols for their batteries, so the above tips are simply intended to be general guidelines rather than specific instructions.
With spring taking hold across most of the country, it’s just about time to store your CozyWinters heated apparel and electric blankets until next year. Before you do so, however, it would be a good idea to wash the items to rid them of a season’s worth of sweat, dirt, and funk. That way everything will be clean and ready to use at the first sign of winter’s return.
Of course, the obvious question here is, “Can I safely wash heated apparel?” For a majority of products sold at the CozyWinters online store, the answer is yes—but we recommend that you check the manufacturer’s care instructions first. These can typically be found on the inside label of the garment or at the manufacturer’s website, and should always supersede any other advice for washing that particular item. If the garment or blanket doesn’t have care instructions, you can follow these general guidelines:
- Disconnect battery pack and store connectors in battery compartment
- Ensure garment pockets are empty prior to washing
- Apply stain remover or spot treatment products to heavily soiled areas to improve chances of getting the garment clean on the first try
- Set washing machine to the gentlest cycle and use only cold or warm water
- Whenever possible use a mesh washing bag to wash your heated apparel in, especially if it’s provided with the garment
- When the wash cycle is done, immediately remove items from machine
- Hang dry on hangers or a clothesline only
- Do not twist or wring out the garments, as this can damage the heating elements and connection points
- Battery-heated gloves and 12V heated insoles should be spot-cleaned only
- Always store heated apparel with batteries removed and cables disconnected
The heated apparel and electric warming products you’ve purchased from CozyWinters are designed to withstand occasional, gentle wash cycles and line drying. As long as you avoid dry cleaning, twisting, and wringing the items, they should emerge from your washing machine in good working order.