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Category Archives: Family Fun

Pet Friendly Spring Vacation Tips

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Going on spring vacation is made all the better if you can bring your pet along for the journey. That way you don’t have to worry about finding a responsible sitter or leaving your furry friend at a kennel for the duration of your trip. And of course you get to enjoy some quality bonding time with your cat or dog while visiting some amazing places.

But pet friendly vacations don’t just happen; they require a lot of research and planning to go off without a hitch, so take these tips into consideration before you depart:

  • Choose your destination wisely to ensure the distance and method of travel (e.g. car or airplane) are suited to your pet’s temperament and age.
  • If traveling by air, book only direct flights and stick with airlines that allow your pet to fly in the cabin rather than the cargo hold. Most airlines will only allow pets in the cabin if their carrier will fit under the cabin seats. Also many airlines will only allow a limited number of pets per flight, so be sure to book your pets at the same time that you are booking your flight, otherwise you could get to the airport on your travel day and not be allowed on the flight with your pet.dog travel
  • If traveling by car, keep your pet restrained in a Dog Digs Portable Pet Crate (or similar product), both for the animal’s safety and to avoid distracted driving.
  • Understand that even in pet friendly hotels or motels, there may be restrictions regarding the size and number of animals permitted in each room. When traveling with a large dog or multiple pets, be sure to confirm that they will be allowed at your chosen lodgings. Many hotels will not allow you to leave your pet in the hotel room when you aren’t there, so make sure to get answers to these questions before booking.
  • Plan your itinerary with your pet in mind. For example, outdoorsy type activities such as hiking and camping would be much more appropriate than whole afternoons spent at museums, galleries, and other venues where pets are not allowed.
  • Never leave your pet unattended in a vehicle, even if you crack the windows and use cooling products like the Hound Cooler Pet Bed or Kool Collar dog collar. Interior temperatures can rise to life-threatening levels very quickly even in spring, so it’s not worth your pet’s life to take this risk.
  • Bring your pet’s favorite toys and bedding to reduce anxiety and help him feel secure while away from home.
  • Make sure your pet always wears a collar with an ID tag containing your name and cell phone number. (Even if they have a microchip!)

Taking your pet on spring vacation with the rest of the family can lead to happy adventures and lasting memories for all, so use these tips to help ensure a safe trip!

5 Reasons to Go Outside This Winter

family in snowIf winter isn’t your favorite season, then you probably need lots of coaxing to even consider venturing outdoors. After all, what possible benefit could there be to leaving the soft, luxurious warmth of your heated electric throw or the soothing coziness of your heated mattress pad only to endure the freezing temperatures, biting wind, and gloomy skies that are all too common in February?

Well, as it turns out, there are actually numerous benefits associated with making an effort to spend more time outside this winter. Here are five of the most important ones:

  • Getting out of your home or office can alleviate feelings of cabin fever and help reduce stress.
  • Taking a short walk and breathing in some fresh air has been shown to clear the mind, improve focus, and increase both creativity and cognitive ability.
  • Exercising outdoors in winter is more challenging than exercising indoors, which can result in better workouts, a higher calorie burn, and greater energy levels throughout the day. Just be sure to dress appropriately for your activity and wear battery heated gloves or other heated apparel to retain body heat.
  • Going outdoors on sunny days not only stimulates vitamin D production, which is essential for strong bones, but also helps combat the “winter blues” (aka Seasonal Affective Disorder).
  • Spending quality outdoor time with your kids will create memories that last a lifetime. They won’t remember that PS4 game they received for Christmas and played for two weeks, but they will always remember the snowmen you build, the snowball fights you have, and the wild rides that you take together down the local sledding hill.

Sitting in front of a crackling fire with a good book and a mug of hot chocolate while the winds swirl and the snow falls is a perfectly acceptable and altogether appealing winter pastime—as long as you don’t let it become your only winter activity. Be sure to go outside for a short time every day (or at least several times a week) so you can enjoy all the invigorating benefits listed here.

Quick Tips for a Great Family Ski Trip

family skiingTaking a family ski trip can be a fun and exciting way to break up the otherwise monotonous days of winter. But as all good parents know, any activity involving children must be carefully planned out beforehand in order to avoid potential problems that could spoil the whole day. So before you book accommodations and buy lift tickets, check out these quick tips for having a great family ski trip:

  1. Choose a ski resort with the facilities and amenities best suited to your familys needs. Not all resorts cater to the same kind of clientele, so you’ll need to do some research to verify that your desired destination is geared towards families. Depending on your children’s ages and experience levels, this could mean anything from offering free entry for kids and child-friendly lifts to having wide terrain, gentle slopes, toboggan runs, or supervision/babysitting available to guests.
  2. Dress for the weather. The quickest way to derail a fun day on the slopes is to be underdressed for the elements, so be sure to check the local forecast regularly and prepare accordingly. Layering is always a smart move, especially when you combine base garments with Gerbing Gyde battery heated jackets, fleece vests, and gloves. Battery heated clothing is ideal for children because of the ability to manage the heat output and make adjustments up or down as the day becomes colder or warmer.
  3. Have the kids take lessons before sending them out on the slopes. If your kids are relatively inexperienced, then the first order of business should be to enroll them in the resort’s ski school. Beginner’s lessons can last anywhere from one to two hours, and will give your kids enough technique and confidence to tackle the bunny hill on solo runs for the rest of the day.
  4. Be willing to cut the day short if need be. No parent wants to admit defeat, especially after ski and boot rentals and lift tickets have been paid for. But if things clearly aren’t going well—due to bad weather, general crankiness, or similar reasons—and aren’t likely to improve quickly, be willing to call it a day and return to the lodge or home earlier than expected. You might lose out on some cash, but preserving everyone’s sanity and preventing injuries is more important in the end.

Before booking your next family ski trip, take the time to research resorts, order Gerbing Gyde battery heated apparel from CozyWinters, and schedule lessons first. Doing these things, along with being flexible with your expectations, will help ensure your family has a trip to remember.

7 Ways to Keep Your Dog Safe This Summer

Summertime provides dog owners with ample opportunities to romp with pets in a variety of fun settings. From barbecues on the beach and boating on the lake to hiking in the woods, fishing in the river, or simply playing fetch at the local dog park, there are always plenty of great destinations and activities to choose from.

But summer also provides ample opportunities for dogs to get sick or injured, which is why extra vigilance and preventive measures are so important for maintaining good health. Here are 7 ways to keep your dog safe from summer hazards:

  1. Beware of walking your dog on hot surfaces such as asphalt, cement, and even beach sand. The pads on dogs’ paws are sensitive to heat, and can burn or blister after prolonged contact with these surfaces, so save your walks for the early morning or late evening hours.
  2. Immediately clean up any antifreeze/coolant spills in your garage or driveway. This substance is appealing to dogs because of its sweet taste, but is incredibly toxic and can cause serious illness or death.
  3. Do not leave your dog in an unattended vehicle while you pop into the store for “a few minutes.” Even with the windows cracked, the interior temperature of a vehicle can reach triple digits very quickly in the summer and might result in heat stroke for any pet trapped inside.
  4. Understand that dogs cool from the bottom up (that is, from their belly to the top of their back and head), so a product like the portable Hound Cooler cooling bed is much more effective at regulating your pet’s body temperature than an ordinary fan or the shade of a tree.
  5. Keep your dog away from lawns or gardens that have been treated with pesticides. Though many commercial products are labeled “pet safe,” quite a few industrial strength varieties are toxic to dogs and could lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and other forms of gastrointestinal distress.
  6. Use a doggy life jacket, such as the Fido Float vest available at CozyWinters, to keep your dog safe while boating, fishing, and frolicking on the beach. Even if your dog enjoys swimming, you never know when exhaustion might kick in, so it’s far better to be safe than sorry.
  7. Take appropriate measures, including using special collars, shampoos, dips, and prescription medications, to protect your dog from fleas, worms, ticks, mosquitoes, and other parasites.

Short of staying indoors all summer long, there’s no surefire way to avoid the many pet related dangers out there. But following the above tips will do much to keep your dog safe while participating in all the fun activities the season has to offer.

Great Father’s Day Gift Ideas

What makes a great Father’s Day gift? Opinions are sure to vary on that one; however, it’s probably safe to say that neckties, cologne or aftershave, and kitschy products emblazoned with slogans like “World’s Greatest Dad” are out of the running. Instead, the best gifts tend to be the ones that Dad not only needs, but will actually use. So based on these criteria, here is the CozyWinters Father’s Day gift guide for 2015:

gerbing golf seat warmerFor the sporty dad

Battery heated stadium cushions and apparel, including vests, foot warmers, and mittens, will help protect your dad from the cold while watching his favorite sports teams in fall and winter. Sporty dads who aren’t content to spectate from the sidelines would also enjoy products like our heated golf cart seat, heated camo hunting vest, and heated ski jacket.

For the outdoorsy dad

Does your father like to spend most of his summer camping, fishing, hiking, biking, boating, or simply doing yard work? If so, then he’ll appreciate something from our line of cooling products. We carry neckbands, vests, and evaporative hats designed to provide hours of portable cooling power in the face of intense heat and sun.

heated motorcycle glovesFor the motorcyclist

If your dad is the type of guy who loves riding so much that he can’t bear to put his bike in storage even when winter hits, then take a look at our range of heated motorcycle gear. We have everything from battery heated jackets and pants to heated glove liners and insoles to keep him cozy from head to toe. Be sure to also check out our heated motorcycle seat kit for instant warmth anytime.

For the organized dad

Some dads have adopted the old phrase “A place for everything and everything in its place” as a personal motto. These are the men who can’t rest until all the gear is unloaded, cleaned, and put away after an outing or who never let the slightest hint of disorder creep into the garage or workspace. For a dad like this, nothing would be better than receiving wall-mounted ski and snowboard racks, boot dryers, coat and accessory racks, and similar gear storage solutions.

heated-back-wrap_HFor the active dad

Dads that work a lot and play a lot can expect to experience sore or tight muscles from time to time—especially as they age. So this Father’s Day, your active dad will appreciate getting one of our safe and effective heat therapy wraps to soothe his stiff back, creaky knees, or gimpy ankles. We offer a variety of wraps, massagers, and pads that provide all-over or targeted relief for the most common sore spots.

These are just a few of the great Father’s Day gifts we have available now and ready to ship before June 21, so visit CozyWinters today!

7 Tips to Beat the Heat

Hiking in summer May blog 4As 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

Pet Friendly Outdoor Adventures

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:

  • cooling-dog-vest_HGive 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 Camping Tips & Gear Checklist

spring camping tipsSpring 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:

Basic tips

  • 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.

Most Underrated Ski Resorts in America

You don’t have to be a snow enthusiast to know that Aspen, Jackson Hole, Park City, and Lake Tahoe are home to some of the most popular ski resorts in the country. These are the kinds of places that host the Winter X-Games every year and have A-list celebrities posing for pics on every slope.

Unsurprisingly, they’re also outrageously expensive and always teeming with people, which can make your skiing or snowboarding experience less than ideal. Rather than put yourself through that kind of hassle, check out these underrated ski resorts instead:

Black Mountain – Jackson, NH

Black Mountain is a family friendly resort located about 150 miles north of Boston. It receives plenty of fresh powder every year, caters to all ages and ability levels, and offers tremendous value for price-conscious skiers. With lift ticket and rental packages as low as $41, it’s hard to find a better bargain for similar terrain.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGrand Targhee Resort – Alta, WY

With Jackson Hole in the neighborhood, Grand Targhee doesn’t get nearly as much traffic as it deserves. The resort lays claim to a vertical drop of 2,270 feet, groomed Nordic skiing and snowshoeing trails, and unbeatable views of the western Tetons every step of the way. And if you can’t make it this winter, don’t worry. Grand Targhee has a summer season that spans from June to September.

Bridger Bowl – Bozeman, MT

An annual snowfall of 350 inches ensures that the 2,000-acre Bridger Bowl resort remains a skier or snowboarder’s paradise all winter long. Reasonable pricing, the variety of terrain, friendly locals, and the college town atmosphere of Bozeman (home to Montana State University) make this a great destination for your next getaway.

Silverton Mountain – Silverton, CO

Calling all experts: if you haven’t spent a day at Silverton Mountain yet, you’re really missing out! This resort limits the number of visitors to 100 daily, which means you’ll have its 1,800 acres of prime powder practically to yourself. But you won’t find any groomed runs or cut trails among those acres, so your ability level must be up to snuff. Guided, unguided, and heli-ski packages are available through advanced reservations only.

While these resorts might not have the same widespread cachet as their more luxurious counterparts, the quality snow, underpopulated slopes, and budget-friendly pricing make them attractive alternatives, so consider them for your next outing.

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.