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Understanding Down Bedding

pacific coast down blanketDown bedding has long been prized for its warmth, breathability, and durability. Though more expensive than synthetic alternatives, the right down comforter or blanket can provide many years of service in warm, mild, and cold climates alike. To be sure you get the most out of your investment, it’s important to understand what to look for before buying. Here’s a brief guide to get you started:

Fill power

This term refers to the volume of one ounce of down and can tell you the relative warmth and quality of the bedding in question. For example, our Pacific Coast Light Warmth down comforter has a fill power of 550, which is a lighter weight suitable for summer and warmer temperatures. On the other hand, our Pacific Coast SuperLoft comforter has a fill power of 600, making it great for cold winter nights.

Construction

There are two major types of down bedding construction: baffle box and sewn through. The baffle box method incorporates vertical fabric walls throughout the comforter to keep the down in place, while the sewn through method simply involves stitching the top and bottom parts of the comforter together. Baffle box construction is recognized as superior since it helps distribute warmth evenly.

Ticking

The ticking is the fabric covering of the down product and is there to ensure the fibers don’t leak out. The Pacific Coast line of down bedding featured at CozyWinters is crafted with 400 thread count BarrierWeave fabric made of 100% cotton. BarrierWeave is not only tightly woven, but also specially finished to provide up to three times more leak protection than ordinary ticking.

Size

As with any other bedding product, the down comforter or blanket you choose should be based on your bed size. At CozyWinters, we offer down bedding in twin, full/queen, and king options to accommodate the most common mattress sizes.

Now that you know what to look for in down bedding, be sure to check out the full line of lightweight, medium-weight, and heavyweight comforters we have at the CozyWinters online store and buy the best one for your climate.

How to Store Pet Food Safely

Just like human food, the quality and edibility of pet food degrades over time. But unlike human food that is typically eaten within a week or so of opening, a single large bag of pet food can serve as your dog or cat’s main meal source for a month or more, which leaves it highly vulnerable to nutrient loss, mold, pests, and general spoilage. That’s why safe storage is such a vital part of ensuring your pet gets the freshest, most nutritious kibble possible. Here’s how to do it:

  • july 3 storing pet foodKeep dry pet food in its original packaging. Dog and cat food bags are made with special liner materials that help block out oxygen and moisture while also serving as a barrier to prevent the fats and oils in the food from leeching out. In addition, the original packaging should have a “best by” date and a batch or source code to consult in the event of a product recall.
  • For extra protection, put the food (still in its original packaging) in an airtight container. Glass or metal containers are preferable, but plastic can work too. Just be sure to wipe down the container every time you swap out the food bag.
  • Store the food in a cool, dry place well away from direct sunlight and sources of moisture. Food containers and packages should also be kept off the ground to help prevent mites and other pests from burrowing in.
  • Try to use all dry pet food within six weeks (42 days) of opening the package. If your pet cannot finish the food within that timeframe, consider purchasing smaller bags in the future.
  • Never pour new food on top of old food in the bag or container. When consolidating two bags of food, make sure the older kibble goes on top of the newer product so it can be used up first.

As a loving and responsible pet owner, you naturally want to give your dog or cat only the best quality food packed with the nutrients essential to animal health. So take the steps outlined here to store pet food safely and help preserve the freshness of every bag you buy.

How to Store Ice Cleats and Other Winter Items for Summer

storage solution winter productsWe know what you’re thinking: It’s now the middle of July and the cold, ice, and snow are impossibly far away. Why bring up winter gear storage now?

That’s a fair question, especially if you’ve already stowed your ice cleats, battery heated apparel, electric blankets, ski boots, gloves, and other expensive winter equipment in an appropriate manner.

But over the years we’ve learned that, for a variety of reasons (forgetfulness, lack of time, sheer procrastination, etc.), a large number of our customers don’t actually get around to this task until sometime in the summer—like right about now.

So if your winter gear has been securely packed away for the past few months, you can take this opportunity to check up on the items to make sure they’re completely dry and pest-free. And if you’re still fighting your way through wool sweaters and down jackets as you try to find your favorite t-shirt or windbreaker, use our tips for storing those garments for the rest of the summer:

  • Machine wash or dry clean the garment according to the manufacturer’s instructions on the label before storing. Then neatly fold or roll each item to avoid developing unwanted creases in the material, and place in a vacuum-sealed storage bag or airtight plastic container.
  • Heavier garments such as parkas and down jackets should be hung on sturdy plastic or wood hangers (never wire ones) that are able to support the extra weight.
  • Keep apparel and blankets smelling fresh by tossing a sachet of cedar chips or dried lavender in the storage container before sealing.
  • Store apparel and blankets in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. This will help prevent musty odors and mildew, as well as keep moths, mites, and other pests at bay.
  • Use wall pegs, hooks, or racks in the garage to hang ice cleats, ski boots, and other winter footwear off the ground and out of your way.
  • Check in on your items every 4 to 6 weeks so you can spot any irregularities or problems in time to take corrective action.

Whether your winter gear has been safely stored away since the last of the snow melted or you’re just getting around to the job now, you can use the advice listed here to help preserve your clothing, blankets, and equipment in great condition until you need it again.

 

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.

Help Pets Stay Safe and Calm During Fireworks

It’s no secret that dogs and cats of all sizes can be spooked by loud noises. Thunderstorms, jackhammers, drums, motorcycles, and backfiring cars are just a few of the sounds that might cause these house pets to whimper, hide, or engage in destructively anxious behavior.

nervous dogIn the summer months—particularly July when Independence Day rolls around—you can add fireworks to this list of scary noises. Many local humane societies cite the Fourth of July as one of the busiest days of the year for reports of lost or runaway pets, presumably due to the animals’ desire to escape from noisy displays of patriotism.

Obviously, you don’t want anything like this to happen to your precious pet, so here are some expert tips on how to help dogs and cats stay safe and calm during fireworks:

  • Identify the dates and times of scheduled fireworks shows near your home so you can make all necessary preparations well in advance.
  • Create a safe, cozy space for your pets to stay in for the duration of the show. Place a favorite bed or cooling mat in a small, enclosed room or under a table to help them feel secure during all the chaos.
  • Try to acclimatize pets to loud noises prior to the event. Do this gradually and in a controlled manner by using a sound CD or similar recording to introduce pets to the kinds of disturbing sounds they might encounter.
  • Feed, water, and walk your pets before the fireworks begin, as the noise might make them too anxious to eat or too jumpy while in the backyard or on a leash.
  • Block out the fireworks by closing the windows, pulling the curtains, and turning on the television, radio, or white noise machine.
  • Try to physically comfort your pet (by hugging, cuddling, putting on a “thundershirt” type product, etc.) if the animal seems receptive, but don’t force the issue.
  • Dogs and cats are notoriously adept at taking behavioral cues from humans, so make sure you remain levelheaded and calm regardless of how your pet is reacting to the fireworks.

Loud noises like those associated with fireworks displays can scare pets and cause potentially harmful responses. If you think your dog or cat might get spooked, try the above techniques to help keep them safe during the Fourth of July and other summertime festivities.

Cooling Bedding and Apparel 101: Phase Changing, Evaporative, and Temperature Regulating

Outlast Temperature Regulating Sheet SetWhen you browse for bedding and cooling apparel at the CozyWinters website, you’ll notice that we carry three types of products: phase changing, evaporative, and temperature regulating. While all three perform the same cooling function, the process by which they do this is different. Let’s take a look at how each type works.

Evaporative cooling

Evaporative cooling products are made of highly absorbent, multilayered fabric composed of special cooling crystals or polymers. When soaked in water for a few minutes and then gently wrung out, the cooling crystals are activated. This begins a natural process whereby the liquid water evaporates and produces a cooling effect. Some examples of evaporative cooling apparel include bandanas, vests, and caps.

Temperature regulating bedding

Temperature regulating bedding, such as the Outlast line of mattress pads, blankets and comforters we carry at CozyWinters, uses phase change materials to absorb and redistribute body heat while you sleep. As your body warms, the PCMs soak up and store the heat. When your body begins to cool again, the PCMs release some of the stored heat to return your body temperature to equilibrium. Originally developed for NASA, this technology allows for year round comfort tailored to your individual heating or cooling requirements.

Phase changing

Phase changing garments derive their cooling power from vacuum-sealed inserts containing nontoxic oils and fats. When cooled or frozen for an hour prior to use, these phase change materials (PCMs) help absorb and dissipate body heat, which allows the wearer to keep a more constant temperature and thus feel cooler in summer. Many forms of cooling apparel, including sports vests and neck bands, utilize this phase change function.

Whether you prefer evaporative, temperature regulating or phase changing bedding and apparel for your cooling needs, you can find it at CozyWinters. Visit our site today to check out all of the hats, jackets, vests, neck bands, mattress pads, blankets, comforters, and pillows you can use to stay cool all summer long.

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!

End of Ice Cleat Season

flowers in snowIt 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.

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.