Just because Old Man Winter has settled in for a bit in most of the U.S., that doesn’t mean that you should put off any plans to get out and explore. In fact, winter can be one of the more opportune times to use up some vacation days. Crowds are generally smaller, lodging rates are lower, and the stresses of travel can take a backseat to genuine discovery. Of course, things tend to go a lot smoother when you’re outfitted properly, hence this guide to some of the winter’s top gadgetry and wearable electronics.
For those planning to brave the bitter cold for a day of snowshoeing, snowmobiling, or, heck, even heli-skiing, take a hard look at Columbia’s Omni-Heat line. While a heated jacket was apparently put on ice a few years ago, the company is shipping an entire line of “Reflective” clothing that almost feels like magic when you put it on. I’d recommend an Omni-Heat base layer, stacked with a shirt and a coat. The silver material in the base layer soaks up your body heat and pushes it right back at your core, keeping you exceptionally warm without any fancy wires or washing restrictions.
Moving north a bit (on your body, not necessarily a map), Oakley’s Airwave may be the most sophisticated pair of goggles to ever be allowed on civilian faces. Aside from providing eye protection while braving blizzard conditions, it also incorporates a heads-up display, GPS, and even an accompanying iPhone app. If you pair your iPhone over Bluetooth, you can use the included wrist remote to cycle through music while seeing what song is queued up on the internal display. Moreover, the GPS module allows you to track your own runs while keeping tabs on nearby riders, and the programmable options means that more functionality is surely around the bend. Unfortunately, they’re $600, but considering that they could have very well been a prop engineered exclusively for use in the next James Bond movie, perhaps that’s not such a high premium to pay.
Having so much technology in one’s pocket does you little good if you can’t interact with it. These days, most smartphones utilize capacitive touch panels, which means that nothing short of your finger can activate the screen. Except, of course, a pair of gloves designed specifically to mimic that sensation. Agloves are amongst the highest performing of the bunch, keeping your digits warm while also giving you the ability to swipe through apps on your smartphone. And for less than $25, it’s most certainly worth it to maintain sensation in those phalanges.
So, get out there and enjoy winter more than ever. There’s no need to shy away from it if you’re properly prepared!