30 January 2014

FEATURE: Ways to keep warm this winter

Cold? No problem...

The end of January is usually when the worst of the winter weather sets in, with icy winds and downpours of snow. As we've already admitted to here The Test Pit, we're not overly adept at going outside all that often, so when its cold it can really be a bother. For us That is why we've scoured the net to find three handy (pun intended) gadgets that will keep us toasty until the spring. Here we go then...

Extremities Inferno Gloves

Whether you need to keep you mitts warm for skiing, snowboarding, or just because its bloody freezing waiting for the bus, the Inferno Gloves from Extremities are perfect. The gloves are waterproof while staying breathable, thanks in no small part to the Hipora insert and Primaloft insulation. This means that despite being thick enough to stop your fingers dropping off, they're thin enough so you can still use your hands – something not all heavy duty gloves allow you to do.

Obviously we weren't going skiing any time soon, but still found the perfect way to test the Inferno gloves. Mitted up, several of us stuck our hands into the freezer, rubbing them up against the the frozen (and in need of defrosting) interior walls. We felt not a trace of the chill, while still being able to 'feel' about.

We were pleased by how much sensation our hands retained while wearing the gloves, and thanks to the draw-string wrist closings, we knew we wouldn't be losing them any time soon.

£ 30

Available from www.terra-nova.co.uk

Zippo Hand Warmer

If you're not really one for gloves but still can't stand the chill of this time of year, how about keeping your hands warm in a different, more brand conscious, way? Zippo have a range of hand warmers that are far more effective (and longer lasting) than those chemical gel-pack warmers and look a hell of a lot cooler.

Appearing like an over-sized lighter, the Zippo Hand Warmer comes in a variety of metal finishes, but we definitely prefer the classic silver. It worked in rather an unusual way, and one that at first concerned us slightly. What you do is crack open the warmer, fill it with Zippo lighter fuel (we know!) then light it. The burner inside will slowly and steadily burn away for either six or twelve hours, radiating heat through the polished metal cover.

Fortunately the Hand Warmer comes with a carry pouch, and although we're sure that Zippo included it to make sure your Hand Warmer doesn't get scratched up in your pocket, it is also very handy for acting as a protective layer between your hands and the metal surface – it can get jolly hot!

Infinitely useful for people who spend a great deal of their time outdoors in winter, be it for camping, fishing or even collecting the bins.

This model around £20

Available from www.zippo.co.uk

The Radiator Booster

This is something that we hermits at The Test Pit would find extremely useful – no need to even attempt to brave the cold. The Radiator Booster does exactly as the name suggests: it boosts the power and warmth of your radiators.

Not that we want to insult the clever inventors, but the Radiator Booster is basically just a length of plastic tubing with an electric fan on one side. It really is as simple as that, but simple ideas usually work the best. By placing the Booster on top of a conventional radiator, the fan acts to draw heat from behind the appliance (that which usually warms nothing but your walls and is therefore wasted) up and into the room.

The Radiator Booster does however run off an electrical socket, so you might be now wondering if the energy it will be saving you is actually being sucked up by it. According to the manufacturers, not so. Based on Energy Saving Trust data from 2009 you could be saving £140 per year by using the Radiator Booster, as well as it costing less than 30p each year to operate. Which means, based in the current price, you'll make back you money in the first 8-10 weeks.

From our experience (of just a couple weeks of use) it really does help to improve the heat of a room. We found that smaller rooms benefited far quicker, and that if you left the radiator to heat up first, warm air will be blasted out by the Booster immediately.


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