The winter months are tough for anyone who doesn’t enjoy the cold. Short days and bitter temperatures don’t exactly make for paradise. But if you’re going to be stuck inside—or worse, outside shoveling—you should have the right supplies on hand to make these days bearable—maybe even enjoyable. From conquering the snow and ice to staying warm and cozy, here’s what you need to survive winter.
On a cold and blustery day, an extra layer can make all the difference in your level of comfort. And if that extra layer is made with Uniqlo's HEATTECH technology, you're bound to feel a whole lot warmer. These specialized undershirts, long underwear, and tights made for men or women are made to trap heat and keep you from shivering in low temperatures. Available at Uniqlo; prices vary.
Throat Coat Tea
What's worse than having a scratchy throat? Having a scratchy throat when it's below freezing outside. While you can't control the weather, you can take control of your own health. Practice proper hand-washing and stay hydrated. If you want a break from regular H20, try an herbal infusion like this one, filled with natural ingredients designed to soothe a sore throat. Available on Amazon; $24.25 for a pack of 6 boxes.
Waterproof Ice Scraper Glove
If ice and snow is in the local forecast, pull your car into the garage or carport to keep your windows, windshield, and roof clean. If you can't do that, get ready to drive to work in the morning by cranking up the defrost setting on your car heater and pulling out the trusty ice scraper. This one comes with a built-in waterproof glove, so you don't have to worry about getting your driving gloves cold and wet. Available on Amazon; $13.98 for two.
Emergency Tire Traction
Every driver should know how to get their car unstuck from the snow. The first thing to do is dig as much slush and snow out from under your tires, then get back in the car, turn your wheel slightly and slowly accelerate. If there's nothing for your tires to gain traction against, though, you're fighting a losing battle. To give yourself the traction you need to get moving, you can try sand, an interior car mat, or a ready-made solution designed for the purpose. Available on Amazon; $19.99.
Related: 8 Easy Ways to Winter-Proof Your Car
Whether it's freezing rain or snow, when inclement whether turns icy, it's important to clear walkways, exterior steps, and porches as soon as possible to prevent slips and falls by you, your mail carrier, or guests. If shoveling hurts your back, and ice melt is damaging your walkway, there's an alternative solution: A snow-melt mat. Lay the material over tricky steps or walkways and power up to keep your path safe and clear. Available on Amazon; $59.95.
Pet-Friendly Ice Melt
It's no surprise that traditional ice melt is an imperfect solution. Sure, it melts snow and ice on your driveway and walkways, but its caustic formula also damages shoes, boots, landscaping—even your pets' paws. This natural alternative ice melt uses different ingredients that are effective against snow and ice while protecting your toes, and Fido's. Available on Amazon; $10.98 for a 25 lb. bag.
For the person who's always cold, there are slippers. For the person who's still cold,there's this electric foot warmer. Slide your feet into the warming pocket, as you would an oversized slipper, then select your heat and massage preference. When you're done, power down, unzip the fleece lining and throw the fabric in the wash. Available on Amazon; $39.95.
Car Seat Heater
These days, many cars come with the option for built-in seat heaters. If you choose not to spring for the upgrade, you can still warm your backside on a cold winter morning. This seat heater straps on to a standard seat and can be powered by your car's cigarette lighter socket. When the weather turns warm again, simply unfasten it from the seat and pack it away in the closet until the seasons change. Available on Amazon; $42.99.
Heated Travel Blanket
A long road trip feels even longer if your car's heater is on the fritz. If you keep an emergency kit in your car (everyone should), you may have a blanket that can help keep you cozy in these situations. Even better, a heated blanket will keep you warmer as long as the car has power. And if it doesn't? Well, then it works as well as any polyester fleece blanket does. Available on Amazon; $34.95.
Quick-Lock Pivoting Snowbroom
Window Insulator Kit
There are plenty of easy and affordable methods of managing window drafts, but 3M's Indoor Window Insulator Kit may be the cheapest and most convenient of all. Is it a long-term solution? No. Is it appropriate for every room? Probably not. But if you need a quick fix in a part of your home where looks don't really matter, buy this. Included in the kit are five window-insulating film sheets (sized to fit standard 3'x5' windows) and the double-sided Scotch tape you'll need to secure each sheet in place. When installed over a single-pane glass, the product boosts R-value by a whopping 90%! Available on Amazon; $14.75.
It's never a good time to lose electricity. But in the summer, living without power for a few hours (or a few days) usually isn't considered dangerous. It's a different story in the winter, at least in those parts of the country where temperatures drop below freezing. If you want to be prepared for anything and everything, picking up an emergency radio like this one. Not only does the rugged, portable radio tune into three bands—AM, FM, and NOAA VHF—but its built-in flashlight and cellphone charger make it a multipurpose, there-when-you-need it lifesaver. Available on Amazon; $32.99.
There's nothing wrong with electric hand warmers. After all, you can't top the convenience of a rechargeable unit that turns on and off at the flip of the switch. But if you're someone who doesn't strictly need a hand warmer—if you'd like to have one only as an occasional creature comfort—we recommend, and will always recommend, the classic Zippo. It's true that operating the Zippo requires an extra level of care. But once you learn how to use it, doing so becomes a fond and familiar wintertime ritual. Now, try saying that about one those newfangled plug-and-play gizmos! Available on Amazon; $13.95.
It's a truth universally acknowledged that on cold, snowy nights, life offers no sweeter pleasure than the warm glow of a wood-burning fireplace. To live the dream this winter, you'll obviously need firewood, and plenty of it. But you'll also need kindling. Some people refuse to pay for kindling, knowing there are woods full of sticks out there. For everyone else, there's Fatwood. By the way it burns, you'd think it was soaked in kerosene, but no—all-natural Fatwood contains no additives. The secret to its success? It's made from the highly resinous, highly flammable stumps of common pine trees. Available on Amazon; $29.99.
What's better than a thermostat you can program? Why, a thermostat that programs itself, of course! Although many new smart home technologies only seem to offer whiz-bang gimmickry, the ecobee Thermostat delivers bona fide value. That is, by measuring conditions in the home, and by combining those readings with thousands of additional data streams, the ecobee automatically self-adjusts throughout the day, every day, at all times ensuring the perfect balance between home comfort and energy savings. Available on Amazon; $228.99.
Related: 50 Great Gadgets for a Smarter Home
From STABILicers, the Walk Traction Ice Cleat fits onto any shoe, enabling the wearer to stride confidently through the worst of winter, without fear of slips and falls. For day-to-day journeys over snowy or icy pavement or gravel, ice cleats like these give you much-needed traction, well beyond that provided by regular rubber treads. Best of all: When you get where you need to go, the flexible, lightweight Walk cleat removes with ease and folds up for hassle-free storage. Available on Amazon; from $21.90.
Fleece Throw Blanket
Don't buy it for beauty. Buy it for affordable, practical comfort. Costing only a fraction of what you'd pay for a similar throw made of natural fabric, the Bedsure Flannel Fleece Luxury Blanket gives you all the soft, supple warmth you could possibly want and requires almost nothing in return. Shedding, wrinkles, color fading—the microfiber polyester Bedsure blanket resists them all, all but guaranteeing ultra easy care, not least because it's safe to put right in the washer. Available on Amazon; $14.99.
Related: The Best Blankets You Can Buy Online
A bona fide classic of winter survival, the Fantastic Ice Scraper from CJ Industries comes with zero bells and whistles. Truly, it's no more complicated than it needs to be and consists of only two simple parts—a plastic handle and a durable brass blade. There are many more elaborate, more expensive scrapers on the market today, but this little cheapie has stood the test of time. Why? Because it doesn't just scrape ice—it chips and chisels ice too, enabling you to clear even the thickest layers, without ever doing damage to your windshield in the process. Available on Amazon; $16.87 per pack of three.
Space heaters have never known been known for their efficiency. Quite the opposite. However in recent years, with electricity costs on the rise, and with consumers increasingly sensitive to energy and environmental issues, top manufacturers have stepped up to the plate, finally. The small and mighty Honeywell UberHeat leverages ceramic heating technology to deliver rapid, room-filling warmth that doesn't spike your bills. Side note: It's pretty cool-looking too. Available on Amazon; $39.99.
Household heating systems take moisture from the air, leaving many people with dry skin, chapped lips, or aggravated respiratory problems. For those seeking a dose of relief, there's the Fancii Cool Mist Personal Mini Humidifier, which turns a water bottle into a miniature humidifier. The portable device is perfect for small offices, bedrooms, cars, and other small spaces that need an extra boost of moisture. Available on Amazon; $24.99.
Space heaters bring instant warmth to any room, but many models look bulky and unstylish. Enter this mini heater by Crane, which resembles a cozy fireplace hearth with glowing embers. What’s more, the compact heater emits little very noise, has three settings, and stays cool to the touch during operation. Available at The Home Depot; $84.99.
Cold winter nights and flannel sheets go hand in hand, since they trap warmth without overheating your body. This flannel sheet set keeps you warm and cozy at night, and is a modern take on traditional flannel patterns. Available at Target; $29 for queen-sized set and $33 for king-sized set.
Related: 10 Ways to Buy Better Sleep
Suede and Nubuck Protector
Slushy sidewalks can stain suede or leather items. If you want to protect your footwear, the safest thing to do is to banish your suede and jacket to the back of the closet. But if you want to bring them out in the light, there's a way to do it without incurring damage to your items. With the Scotchgard Suede and Nubuck Protector, you can waterproof your favorite clothing to block out wetness, resist salt stains, and extend the wearable lifespan. Available on Amazon; $12.65.
Memory Foam Slippers
Chilly toes are an inevitable side effect of winter. You might not be able to fully shake the chills when you venture outdoors but you can warm your toes at home with the highly-rated RockDove two-tone slippers. Cushioned with memory foam and lined with plush cotton, they provide much-needed heat and comfort both indoors and out (thanks to an anti-skid rubber sole and machine washability). Available on Amazon; starting at $19.99.
Snow Roof Rake
During a winter storm, homeowners must worry about the possibility of ice dams and roof collapse. This 16-foot aluminum roof rake allows you to safely and effectively fend of any snow accumulations, decreasing the chance of catastrophe. With a six-pound weight and large shovel head, it’s easy to operate and won’t damage your shingles in the process. Available on Amazon; $53.12.
Do you have a drafty door? Keep cold air out by placing the Twin Draft Guard door stopper underneath the gap. The insulating device creates an airtight seal, making your home more comfortable and energy efficient throughout the winter. Available on Amazon; $16.99.
Boot, Shoe, and Glove Dryer
Who likes walking around in wet boots? Whether you work outside, play outside, or simply hate wet winter gear, this noiseless dryer eliminates moisture on your shoes, boots, gloves, and hats within a few hours to keep your clothing comfortably dry and free of mold, bacteria, and odors! Available on Amazon; $29.99.
Shoveling snow is a tiring and labor-intensive job, but many homeowners aren’t willing to splurge on a snow blower or service. For a budget-friendly solution, consider buying the Worx Snow Plow, which attached to the Worx Aerocart wheelbarrow and transforms it into a snow plow. Available at The Home Depot; $34.91.
Not only are icy grounds a nuisance, they’re also a safety hazard. To melt ice quickly, you can always apply salt or specially designed ice melt your sidewalk and driveway. Though both materials have their benefits, they often come in bulky buckets that make spreading the caustic a challenge. With this handheld spreader, you can stop struggling with a cup and bucket or a wheeled spreader to give you results only where you need it. Simply twist off the lid, fill the container with up to 2.3 L of salt, then shake it onto ice-covered surfaces. Available on Amazon; $7.77.
Boot Rescue Wipes
Where there's snow, there's often salt—and it's often hard to avoid stepping in the ice melt that store and homeowners alike toss generously over walkways. Inevitably, you'll return home to find stains. Save your favorite rubber, leather, and even suede footwear from damage with a swipe of a Boot Rescue wipe. The all-natural formula removes salt, mud, and other grime, and its packaging makes it easy to take on-the-go. Available on Amazon; $8.29 for a resealable pack of 15.
Crock-Pot 20 oz. Lunch Warmer
Sure, you could have salads for lunch in any season, but there's something extra satisfying about a warm meal on a cold day. It's never been easier than with a desk-sized Crock Pot. Carry soup or last night's leftovers to the office in the 20-ounce to-go appliance, plug into the nearest outlet, and heat your lunch up while you work. Available on Amazon; $21.22.
Lasko Ceramic Heater with Adjustable Thermostat
Named one of the best space heaters, this 9.2"-tall Lasko Ceramic Heater is a small but mighty helper to keep on hand. Its simple High/Low heat settings and quiet operation—not to mention a three-year limited warranty—set the tabletop appliance apart as one you can count on for comfort. And, for as affordable as it is, you can pick up one for every cold corner throughout the home! Available at Home Depot; $25.73.
Mr. Heater Portable Buddy Heater
Don't let the cold discourage you from completing DIY projects out in your workshop! This portable option from Mr. Heater (one of our three top picks for the garage) warms up to 225 square feet on one of two settings using those small propane tanks suited for camping and cookouts (or up to 40-lb. tanks with the right hose to connect them). A few hours with this radiant heater will keep feeling in your fingers enough to complete whatever task couldn't wait for a warm day. Available from The Home Depot; $69.97.
Sunbeam Velvet Plush Heated Blanket
Stay toasty even as temperatures dip overnight underneath the reinforced warmth of a heated blanket and save on your energy bill in the process. Sunbeam's Velvet Plush bedding (which gets our vote as one of the best electric blankets on the market today) can cut your heating bill by 10 percent if you use your blanket overnight and lower your thermostat by 10 to 15 percent for those eight hours. The electric blanket boasts 20 heat settings so that you're sure to find comfort, plus it comes sized to fit your bed so no one has to hog all of the covers. Available on Amazon; $102.95.
Pine Mountain ExtremeStart Firestarters
A roaring fire won't be a challenge when you start with a reliable fire starter. This Pine Mountain pick is versatile enough for indoors and out, fireplace or grill, wood or charcoal. And the "Extreme" in its name is no understatement—it burns for about 20 minutes to make sure you have a strong start with a flame that catches. Available on Amazon; $19.49 for 24 starters.
Ice-Off Windshield Spray De-Icer
Speed through a wintry morning scraping ice off of a windshield by spraying Ice-Off Windshield De-Icer first. It's formulated to help melt frost, snow, and ice on contact to aid your pre-commute routine. Rest assured that it won't harm your car finish if you overspray or take aim at your car door locks (it thaws those, too!). For even five to 10 less minutes out in frigid weather, we'd say that's $7 well spent. Available on Amazon; $8.18 for 12 ounces.
S'Well Stainless Steel Water Bottle
More than just trendy, S'Well bottles are loved equally for their graphic designs and their double-wall construction. Don't be fooled by the cool marble exterior on this one: Fill the 17-ounce bottle up with coffee at the start of the day, and S'Well will keep your java steamy and you warmed and caffeinated over the next 12 hours whenever you reach for a sip. That'll get you through a chilly walk. Available on Amazon; $34.95.
HeatIt Self-Regulating Pipe Heating Cable
Avoid having to deal with frozen (or, worse, burst) pipes this season—and lack of water at the house because of it. The HeatIt heating cable is designed to wrap easily or run along outdoor water lines, be they rigid plastic or metal, to help them survive freezing temperatures. And it won't use excessive energy to do so: The cable self-regulates so that pipes are warmed when temperatures dip below 37 degrees Fahrenheit and left alone on warmer days when the built-in thermostat registers 50 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Available on Amazon; $60.99 for 80 feet.
Lyric Wi-Fi Water Leak & Freeze Detector
Indoor pipes that freeze and/or burst can be mitigated quickly—if not avoided altogether—with an altogether different technical solution. Place the Lyric Water Leak and Freeze detector near the most problematic of areas (say, the water heater or a sink located on an exterior wall), and this gadget warns you via a smartphone app of dangerously low temperatures that may cause those pipes to freeze. That tip might allow you to catch a disaster before it happens and adjust the heat accordingly; but, if you miss your window, the system's cable will also detect and alert you to the leak so that you can deal with it before too much damage has been done. Available on Amazon; $56.68.
Heated Smart Travel Mug
Long commute? Keep your beverage hot on the drive to work with the Tech Tools Heated Smart Travel Mug. The 16-ounce insulated cup with a 12V auto adapter plugs into your cigarette lighter socket to heat your drink to the temperature of your choice—from 85 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Available from Amazon; $29.95.
USB Heating Gloves
Don’t let a cold office or home prevent you from typing away on your computer. These USB fingerless gloves have warming pads sewn inside that heat up when plugged into a USB port. You have the flexibility to get work done without feeling like your fingers are turning into icicles. Available on Amazon; $1.89.
ChapStick Total Hydration
Cold, dry winter air can leave your lips feeling burnt and chapped. Protect them from the harsh elements with Chapstick Total Hydration. The upgraded formula, which includes botanical oils and shea butter, promises to soothe your irritated lips and leave them feeling smooth and moisturized. Available on Amazon; $2.84.
The winter blues are a real thing, so say scientific studies. Luckily, you don’t have to put on a brave face until spring arrives. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) lamps adds a bright, natural light that you’re missing out on. Exposure to the Verilux HappyLight may improve your attitude, energy, focus, and even how much sleep you get. Hey, it's worth a shot! Available on Amazon; $99.95
Flu season is still in full swing. Take extra precautions against germs, and stock up on Purell. At work, and various places around your house, keep a bottle of the hand sanitizer and give it a little pump whenever you think you may have encountered unwanted germs. Available on Amazon; Pack of four $8.57.
Related: 11 Ways to Flu-Proof Your Home
Nothing slows you down in the morning like having to stop and scrape ice and snow that's formed on your car the night before. Luckily, you can easily skip this hassle with the help of a windshield cover. Made with waterproof polyester fabric, the mat fits over almost any sized car window and stays secure around the side view mirrors without needing magnets and clips. Available on Amazon; $29.95.
Don’t be a hero and try to tough out a cold. The moment you cough, sneeze, or feel a tickle in the back of your throat reach for a box of Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Swabs. The medicine is proven to shorten your cold and provide soothing relief to your nasal passages. Continue using the swabs until you’re breathing clearly again! Available on Amazon; $9.97.
Smartwool Hiking Socks
Whether you’re hiking, tailgating, shoveling, or you just have cold feet you'll probably want a pair of extra-warm socks in the winter. The Smartwool Hike Socks will keep your feet warm and dry, but the fibers can still wick moisture and prevent odors. Available in men’s and women’s sizes, slip these on the next time rather than having to double-up with multiple pairs of socks. Available on Amazon; men's and women's from $19.95.
Aveeno Moisturizing Lotion
Winter weather strips your skin of moisture leaving it dry and itchy. Add a nourishing lotion to your routine, like the Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion, to protect your skin and make it feel soft and smooth. This fragrance-free lotion is gentle enough even for the most sensitive skin types, and it’s proven to make a noticeable difference in just one day. Available on Amazon; $8.68.
On a bitterly cold day, just a few minutes of your fingers being exposed will leave them red and numb. This wouldn’t be such an issue if most of our devices weren’t touchscreen nowadays. Rather than sacrifice warmth in order to use your phone, slip on a pair of LETHMIK Winter Touchscreen Knit Gloves and tap away. The wool-lined gloves will keep your hands toasty warm while still giving you the capability to use your device. Available on Amazon; starting at $9.95.
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