Here at Techonomy’s home in New York City, we, like so many across the United States, are enduring one of the snowiest winters on record. Being snowbound at home, the office, and on mass transit has given us plenty of time to think about tools and technologies that could help us make this season a bit less unpleasant. Since the groundhogs agree that we’re facing six more weeks of cold, here’s a list of gadgets you’ll need to get by. We’ve grouped them by cold-weather personality type.
If you hunker down at home
We know your type. Another snow storm makes you want to cry uncle, but you’re not going to take a snow day. Instead, you’ll find ways to be productive while snowed in—probably getting even more done than you would have at the office.
An electric blanket will keep you toasty while diving into work projects—and if a blanket isn’t convenient, check out this heated body wrap. Don’t forget USB-powered heated fingerless gloves, which will keep you warm while you stay at your keyboard in the cold. Perhaps most importantly, invest in a mug warmer that connects to a USB port to keep your coffee or cocoa from cooling.
We also recommend a weather forecast station to alert you when it’s safe to return to the regular world. In the throes of your cocooned productivity, you might not notice on your own.
Stoic and steely-eyed
This winter is really testing the mettle of you stoic types. But even after all these storms, and in the face of worse forecasts to come, you never waver in your commitment to carry out your normal day. If 10 inches of the fluffy white stuff just makes you zip your coat a little higher before you set out in the morning, then these are the gadgets for you.
Since you might get stranded somewhere—just ask those people on the Atlanta highways—you’ll need a reliable power pack for your phone. Charge these external batteries ahead of time, and you can use them to fully charge your phone at least once, possibly several times. Upgrade to a heavier-duty version to charge your tablet as well.
You will also need a good weather app for your phone, and we don’t mean the kind that just gives you basic temperature predictions. Download the AccuTrack app (on iTunes or Android) or a similar one that gives you live Doppler radar views of your area, along with real-time weather advisories to help you plan your take-no-prisoners day.
Being the stoic type that you are, you no doubt already have a seriously warm winter coat. But gloves have improved lately, so check out battery-powered heated gloves or gloves with special fingertips to wear while using your smartphone.
Some people just hit a breaking point with winter and need to flee. (Believe us, in our dreams, we’re fleeing along right beside you.) Here’s what you’ll need as you make your break from the frozen tundra to the land of sunshine and warmth.
If you have some time before your big getaway, sign up for the TSA Precheck program—if it’s available at your local airport, you’ll be able to breeze through security while all the other people are still untying their shoes.
Before leaving for your flight, load up your favorite tablet with movies, TV shows, and books. With weather like this, you can expect to spend hours longer than usual waiting around at the airport on your way to paradise. Apps like Pandora can help pass the time.
Definitely invest in a travel pillow, but remember that there is a limit to how silly you want to look in front of everyone else on your flight. After all, some of those people might be spending a few months hiding from the snow with you.
In case you have to leave without any notice, be sure to download your bank’s app or Google Wallet on your smartphone—you know, in case there’s a shortage of ATMs in paradise.
This may be our favorite group of all. Some people just find it best to sleep through winter and pretend it never happened. Fortunately, there are great solutions for you too, if you’re awake long enough to learn about them.
If you’ve got $30,000 to spare—and if you can afford to take the winter off, it’s possible you do—then don’t miss the ultimate hibernator’s sanctuary: the tranquility pod from Hammacher Schlemmer. It’s a high-end waterbed enclosed in a pod with ambient lighting and speakers that play music from your smartphone. Of course, if you’re going to go this route, we also recommend buying one of those long-term food supplies that survivalists use to stock their bunker.
And if the pod is beyond your means, don’t worry. You can install room-darkening shades, turn on a white noise machine, and snuggle into bed with a heated mattress pad. Just don’t forget to set your alarm clock for March 21st!
However you respond to this optimism-challenging winter, good luck and stay warm!