Author Archives: Jim

The Benefits of Traveling with Ice Cleats

Safety is often times the number one core value of trucking companies, no matter what industry they serve. In order to carry out this value, it’s important for truck drivers to be prepared at all times, which requires them to have all of the necessary equipment and tools. What do truck drivers need in order to perform a job safely and efficiently? Believe it or not, one of the most important items for a truck driver to have is a pair of ice cleats.

Why are ice cleats important? They will improve a truck driver’s traction and balance on ice and snow, and will ultimately increase your safety on the road. A proper fitting pair of ice cleats are required by most trucking companies and even if they are not required, it’s never a bad idea to add a pair of ice cleats to your closet if they will help prevent you from slipping and falling.

Did you know that the third largest cause of workplace injuries are slip and fall accidents? Yikes! If you are a trucking company investigating the benefits of an ice cleat requirement, you’ll find that there are several. For starters, you’ll see a reduced amount of Worker’s Comp claims from employees because they will be less likely to injure themselves while on the job. You also might see a reduction in insurance policy costs because ice cleats typically comply with insurance standards.

A major reason why truck drivers (And really anyone) resist wearing ice cleats is because they feel like they are not very versatile. However if you browse our large selection of ice cleats you will see that they have come a long way since their humble beginning. Get-A-Grip manufactures a pair of ice cleats that easily attach to casual, dress, and athletic wear. You’ll hardly notice that you have them on! If you’re on the road with your kids during winter vacation, don’t forget to pick up a pair of ice cleats for them too. We have several well-fitting options to choose from.

In addition to packing a pair of ice cleats for when you’re traveling on the road for work, we also recommend bringing cooler for fresh food and water, a basic tool kit and a roadside emergency kit. What items do you bring along with you on the road? Share them with us in our comments section or on Facebook!

5 Best Things About Fall

fall_leaves_1_Gorgeous foliage. An end to stifling heat and humidity. Pumpkin spice everything. The approach of the holidays. There are so many great things about fall that it was difficult to limit ourselves to the five we love best, but here’s what we came up with:

The weather
Daytime temps are perfect for most every kind of outdoor activity imaginable, from hiking and picnicking to biking, flying kites, and exploring new neighborhoods on foot. Meanwhile, cooler nighttime temperatures yield ideal sleeping weather, particularly with the aid of a heated blanket later in the season.

 

College and pro football
Let’s face it: baseball hasn’t been “America’s pastime” for at least a decade now. These days, it’s all about college and pro football, so whether you prefer partying with a huge crowd in the student section at a university stadium or cheering on your hometown NFL team from the comfort of your La-Z-Boy, you’ll rejoice in the fact that football is back.

 

New TV shows
It’s finally time to bid farewell to the perpetual reruns and terrible reality shows that make up the bulk of summer television programming. Fall marks the return of regular cable and network TV schedules, which means fresh episodes of your favorite sitcoms and dramas, as well as a whole slew of new series to get addicted to.

 

Flattering clothes
Keeping fit enough for a typically revealing summer wardrobe is hard work, which is why most of us feel a great sense of relief when we can start wearing blazers, sweaters, and other clothes that hide our imperfections while still presenting a flattering appearance.

 

Winter is getting closer
Winter is obviously our favorite season, so perhaps the very best part of fall for us is the fact that we’re a couple months closer to long weekends of winter sports and activities in our heated vests, battery-heated gloves, and boot warmers.

 

This list covers a mere handful of the many benefits and pleasures associated with fall. As you enjoy what the season has to offer, don’t forget that now is the time to start gearing up for winter. We recommend stocking up on heated clothing and related accessories right now to ensure you’re ready for the cold and snow that’s just around the corner.

How to Clean Your Electric Blanket

With autumn quickly approaching, the nights will soon be cool enough to warrant use of an electric blanket. Whether you intend to purchase a new full-sized electric blanket, travel-sized electric blanket, or heated throw from CozyWinters or simply pull an existing one out of summer storage, here are some tips on how to clean it before use.

DO:heated blanket

  • Remove all cords and controllers from the blanket
  • Vigorously shake the blanket to dislodge dust, pet hair, and other debris
  • Presoak in a mixture of cold or lukewarm water and laundry detergent to help get rid of tough stains or musty odors
  • Follow the manufacturer’s washing instructions printed on the care label attached to the blanket
  • If the instructions are missing, run the blanket through the “gentle” or “delicate” cycle of your machine
  • Put the blanket in the dryer for no more than 5-10 minutes at the lowest heat setting
  • If necessary, gently stretch the blanket out to its original shape after removing from the dryer
  • Finish drying by draping the blanket over a clothesline
  • Hand-wash with cool or lukewarm water in a tub if your washing machine is not large enough to accommodate the blanket

DON’T:

  • Dry clean, as the chemicals used in this process can damage the wires and insulation
  • Wring or twist to remove excess water
  • Iron the blanket
  • Use commercial dryers found in laundromats since the heat they generate is too intense
  • Use clothespins, safety pins, or similar items to secure the blanket to a clothesline
  • Plug in a blanket with frayed or damaged wiring, cords, or controls

Nothing beats the feeling of snuggling up with a warm electric blanket on a cool autumn night. Follow the above steps to get your blanket looking and smelling as fresh as possible before you put it into use for the season.

How to Improve Circulation

Poor circulation can be caused by any number of medical or lifestyle factors, including diabetes, hypothyroidism, lack of exercise, smoking, and obesity. Individuals that suffer from poor circulation typically experience coldness or numbness in their extremities, pain or cramping while walking, and slower healing of wounds. More serious issues, such as greater susceptibility to blood clots, kidney damage, and heart problems, may develop if the condition is left untreated.

If you currently exhibit any signs or symptoms of poor circulation, you should see your doctor immediately. In the meantime, you might be able to improve your circulation by doing one or more of the following:

  • universal-heated-wrap_HEngage in some form of moderate aerobic exercise, such as walking, swimming, or biking, for at least 30 minutes per day
  • Stand up at least once an hour to stretch, shake out your limbs, and get your blood flowing a bit more
  • Wear battery heated socks (which you can find at CozyWinters.com) or compression socks to promote circulation through your lower legs
  • Do simple yoga poses designed to aid circulatory performance
  • Use far infrared heat technology, available in our Universal Heat Wrap, on your legs, back, shoulders, neck, and elsewhere to penetrate deep into tissue and stimulate blood flow
  • Limit your consumption of sodium, saturated fats, caffeine, and unhealthy, processed foods
  • Keep well hydrated by drinking at least 64 oz. of water per day
  • Prop your feet above heart level for a few minutes several times throughout the day to increase lower body circulation

Although these tips are in no way meant to replace professional advice or medical treatment, they could help improve blood flow and ease some of the discomfort caused by the more common side effects of poor circulation. Give them a try today.

Top Hiking Destinations in the U.S.

summer hikingHiking perennially ranks as one of America’s most popular summer pastimes—and for good reason. It is an activity that just about everyone can participate in, regardless of age or experience, and doesn’t require a whole lot of expensive gear to get started. In fact, if you are relatively fit and can walk while carrying a moderate amount of supplies (chiefly water and first-aid basics), then you can enjoy the scenic natural beauty found in abundance at these top U.S. hiking destinations.

Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon boasts 15 official trails leading from either the North or South rim into the park’s depths. But if you want to attempt a descent, you’ll need a permit (and a bit of luck) to do so. That’s because the Park Service issues only 13,000 hiking permits per year, fulfilling less than 50% of the more than 30,000 requests received.

Yosemite National Park

With more than 800 miles of hiking trails, Yosemite can serve as your favorite vacation destination for many years to come. First-timers are recommended to remain in the Yosemite Valley portion of the park, which features Half Dome, El Capitan, waterfalls, and plenty of wildlife.

The Appalachian Trail

Spanning 14 states, six national parks, and eight national forests, the Appalachian Trail is one of the most flexible hiking options listed here. You can choose to tackle as long or as short a portion of the 2,178-mile trail as you like, or even take several weeks to traverse the entire distance—which many people have likened to a spiritual journey.

Glacier National Park

This oft-overlooked treasure is situated in northern Montana near the Canadian border and offers visitors a wide variety of prime hiking terrain ranging from verdant meadows to crystal-clear lakes, towering mountain peaks, and, of course, expansive glaciers. But be forewarned: many of the popular areas of Glacier National Park are covered in snow until late July or early August, so it might be necessary to pack some Yaktrax spikeless ice cleats even for summer outings.

Denali National Park

Experienced hikers that want a truly unique adventure should make it a point to visit Denali National Park in Alaska. Trails are concentrated near the park entrance only, so anything beyond that will basically yield a wilderness experience. Mount McKinley, glaciers, miles of unobstructed views, and peaceful solitude are just a few of the reasons to go.

Keeping Warm in a Chilly Office

cold-officeTo a majority of people, an air conditioned office is viewed as a welcome refuge from the hot, muggy midsummer temperatures that are currently afflicting most of the country. But, as the old adage says, you can have too much of a good thing, and this applies as much to artificially cooled workspaces as to anything else. So if the thermostat in your building is set to a point where it’s causing you more discomfort than relief, here are a few strategies for keeping warm in that chilly office:

Dress for your work environment

Even if the weather forecast calls for temperatures in the high-90s, you should still pack a jacket, sweater, cardigan, wrap, or shawl to combat the cold that you know is awaiting you at work. When you get in the habit of dressing for the office temperature instead of the outdoor temperature, you’ll naturally want to avoid bare legs (think pantsuits instead of skirts), short-sleeved tops, and other fashion choices that might leave you feeling frosty.

Get up and move around

Sitting quietly at your desk for long periods of time is the best way to ensure that the air conditioned chill goes straight to your bones. Counteract this effect by getting up at least once an hour to take a quick lap around the office, walk up and down a couple flights of stairs, or do some stretches to get your heart pumping and blood circulating. You can even go outside for a few minutes to let the summer sunshine warm you up.

Break out the winter gear

If sweaters and stretching aren’t enough to stop the shivering, don’t be afraid to break out some winter gear. For example, our CozyWinters electric throws and electric travel blankets are not only toasty warm, but also compact enough to store in a desk drawer when not in use, making them ideal for the office. And we’ve seen plenty of folks using space heaters, fingerless gloves, and wearable blankets throughout July and August to help fight the office chill.

Don’t let an overly air conditioned office have a negative impact on your comfort and productivity this summer. Use these strategies and your favorite CozyWinters products to stay warm all year round.

Follow the Snow

Most people can’t wait for winter to give way to the warmth of spring and summer, but skiers and snowboarders are a different breed. They exult in the cold and snow, and usually can’t make it through an entire off-season without indulging in their favorite activity at least one more time.

Of course the challenge is finding a suitable venue for skiing or snowboarding when temperatures are in the high-90s across most of the country. Fortunately, if you’ve got the cash and vacation time, you can follow the snow to these amazing locales:

North America

The two best places for summer skiing in North America are Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada, and Palmer Glacier on Mount Hood in Oregon. Whistler Blackcomb, which is suitable for intermediate and advanced skill levels, offers glacier skiing from June to August, while Palmer Glacier is open to the public from May to September.

follow the snow summer skiing portillo chile resortSouth America

Summer in the Northern Hemisphere means winter in the Southern Hemisphere, so for a true cold-weather snow experience, pack up your SporTube snowboard case and head south of the equator.

There are plenty of major ski resorts in South America to choose from, but the most popular ones include Portillo and La Parva in Chile and Bariloche and Cerro Bayo in Argentina. These resorts run the gamut in terms of powder quality, terrain, and off-piste options, and also vary in their degree of family-friendliness and cost, so do your research before you go.

Europe

The Alps are a terrific downhill skiing and snowboarding destination all year round, and can be accessed via world-class resorts in Switzerland, Austria, France, and Italy. Norway also offers exciting winter sport opportunities, so don’t leave Scandinavia off your list of locations to investigate.

Tips for Sleeping Better in Hot Weather

hot sleepAlthough nighttime temperatures may still cool and pleasant for many, the summer heat could make it more difficult to fall—and stay—asleep in warmer parts of the country. Obviously, if you have a working air conditioner in the bedroom, getting comfortable at night won’t necessarily be much of an issue. But if you’re not in a position to crank the AC, or you simply want to reduce your energy bill, consider implementing the following tips for sleeping better in hot weather.

 

Before sleep:

  • Keep hot air and sunlight out of your bedroom during the daytime by closing the room’s windows, curtains, and/or blinds
  • Drink a glass of cold water before heading to bed to help lower your body temperature
  • Rinse off with a cool shower prior to turning in
  • Change your bed linens to light, breathable cotton to take advantage of the material’s natural ventilating properties
  • Consider getting lightweight, loose fitting, breathable pajamas – or sleep clothes made of sweat-wicking material
  • If possible, keep bedroom doors open to allow airflow
  • Skip the socks – your feet help regulate your overall body temp, so if they’re hot, you’re hot!

 

During sleep:

  • Position two fans at strategic locations in the room to create a nice cross-breeze
  • Put a bowl of ice cubes in front of the fans or drape a damp towel over the fan to further cool the air it circulates
  • Use a product such as the Cool Pad from CozyWinters to help absorb and dissipate your body heat to make you more comfortable in bed
  • Place an ice-filled plastic baggie or a frozen washcloth over the pulse points in your wrists or neck for targeted cooling
  • Heat rises, so consider moving the bed downstairs or ditching the bed frame to get your mattress lower
  • Get out of the house entirely by setting up a tent in the backyard or sleeping on a screened-in porch

 

A good night’s sleep can be hard to come by in the summer when temperatures hover in the 80s or 90s even after the sun goes down. If you don’t have access to air conditioning, try these tricks for beating the nighttime heat.

The Dangers of Leaving Pets in Hot Cars

hot carIt’s natural to want to take your dog or cat with you when you go on a long road trip, spend a day at the beach, or simply run errands around town. After all, pets are an important part of the family, and it wouldn’t be the same to do these things without them.

However, driving with a pet can lead to some dangerous situations, particularly when you have to enter a store, restaurant, or other establishment where animals are not allowed. You may be tempted to just crack the windows and take care of your business while Fido hangs out in the car, but this is an extremely risky move that should be avoided when the weather warms up. Consider the following:

  • Even with the windows cracked, it takes mere minutes for the temperature inside a parked vehicle to surpass 100 degrees on an 85-degree day.
  • Your parked car is not safer for your pet just because you’ve had the air conditioner on recently. As soon as you turn the AC off to go inside, the interior temperature will immediately begin to rise.
  • While cooling pet products (such as the Hound Cooler Pet Bed) do provide comfort in hot conditions, they do not reduce the dangers of heat stroke or death under such extreme conditions as leaving your pet in a locked car. These products are meant to provide cooling in survivable conditions only, where there is sufficient air-flow for ventilation and preferably access to shade or cover.
  • You never know what might happen to delay you on your errand. Something you thought would take only a few minutes could suddenly end up taking twenty or more, causing your pet to suffer.

Despite the well-known dangers of leaving pets in parked vehicles in hot weather, thousands of owners do it every year – usually because they are merely not aware of the real risks. If you come across a dog or cat in obvious distress in a locked vehicle, please take action using one or more of the following suggestions:

  • If you witness someone begin to leave their dog in a locked car, offer to hold the dog on its leash outside the car while the owner completes their errand.
  • If the car is in a parking lot, you can ask customer service/the front desk of nearby buildings to make an announcement for the owner to return to their car.
  • You can call the local Humane enforcement, police, or animal control authorities (be ready to give the make, model, color, and license plate of the car).
  • If you do not know the number for local or specialized authorities, PETA recommends that you call 911 to report the offense and wait on the scene until responders arrive.
  • Be aware of any local, state, and federal laws that may outlaw “reasonable force” by civilians (such as breaking into a car to rescue a pet in distress) prior to attempting rescue.

It’s perfectly possible for you to enjoy car trips with pets in warm or hot weather. Just make sure you do so responsibly by never leaving a dog or cat alone in a parked vehicle. As a general rule, if you or a child would be uncomfortable or at risk due to the temperature, so would your pet.

How to Keep Your Dog Safe in the Water

The warm spring sun makes May an ideal month for getting out of the house with your dog to enjoy activities such as early morning jogs, Frisbee sessions at the park, and excursions to the beach, lake, or river.

While canine safety is not such an issue during park play or on-leash jogging, it is a major concern whenever water is involved. That’s because just like humans, not all dogs have equal swimming abilities or endurance levels. Plus, accidents and injuries are always a possibility, which is why you need to be prepared for anything. So before you head out on the water with your canine companion, read these tips about how to keep your dog safe:

  • Never let your dog play in the water unsupervised – keep him in sight at all times
  • Regardless of swimming ability, always use a canine life jacket (such as the Paws  Aboard model sold at CozyWinters) to protect against danger due to fear, cramps, exhaustion, or other problemsDog-Life-Jacket
  • Be aware of others nearby that may pose an unintentional risk to your pet – such as children, other dogs, or boats
  • Provide your dog with a shaded rest area and give him plenty of breaks throughout the day. If not swimming in fresh water, be sure to provide some to drink regularly
  • Use a doggy boat ladder, pool ramp, or similar product to give your pet a safe and easy way to exit the water by himself (available at CozyWinters)
  • Rinse your dog’s coat after a day in the water to remove any salt, chlorine, or other impurities that may cause discomfort or skin problems
  • Be sure to thoroughly dry your pet’s ears to prevent possible infection

One of the supreme joys of dog ownership is being able to spend quality time with your pet during your regular hobbies. If your plans for this spring and summer include frolicking in the water, keep the above safety tips in mind so you can protect your beloved canine companion from danger.