Top 10 gadgets to keep you warm this winter
Whatever Indian summer there may or may not have been, it is now well and truly over. The heating's on, the overcoats are out, winter has its icy fingers firmly round the door. So, what can we do about it? We fight back, of course - with gadgets!
Listed below for your pleasure and warmth are a list of gadgets to help you stay toasty this frosty season, whether you're snuggling up indoors or venturing out and about, you brave sausage, you.
Zippo hand warmer
Zippos were all very cool when you were 14, but unfortunately, most people don't smoke any more and all the serious smokers would never risk using a lighter that runs out of fuel while sitting in your pocket. There is another way to be a tough guy again though, and that's by investing in a Zippo hand warmer instead. It still uses that same fuel and it actually requires lighting when you come to use it, but it doesn't run with a naked flame. Instead it uses catalytic conduction to keep the outer case hot and your hands toasty with it. You can pick them up for £19.99 and don't forget the fuel while you're at it.
There have been a few attempts at these over the last couple of years, but the Touchscreen Gloves are the first that look to have got it right. They're a set of normal acrylic knitwear covers with conductive material sewn into the tips of the index finger, middle finger and thumb so that you can pinch and zoom on your mobile screen while still keeping your hands protected from the elements. They're £12.99 and come with a promise that they won't scratch up your display either. However, if you still don't trust them, Etre Touchy are about to come out with its winter 2010 range of fingerless options.
Less techie and more on the silly geekery side of things is the Beardhead. Some will call it ridiculous, others brilliant, but what you can say is that you'll be getting quite a few looks walking down the street with one. They're one size fits all head and face warmers and, although one piece, you can get add-ons such as the Fu-Man-Chu moustache for them as well. They come in all sorts of colours and one or two different styles as well. The more you accessorise with them - think goggles, etc - the better they tend to look. 30 per cent wool, 70 per cent acrylic, 100 per cent amusing. £19.99.
Sometimes it seems almost impossible to stop from feeling the wintry cold no matter how many layers you pile on. The trouble, of course, is that your own internal heating system is only so powerful. What the Heated Vest does is lend a little support to your own metabolism with a set of three heating pads sewn into a garment which will up the temperature courtesy of a 7V Li-ion battery that lasts for 2 hours on full burn or 9 at a lower setting. All you do is remember to charge it up each time after you're done. It's not cheap at $169.95, but it's supposed to work very well.
Tooks headphones hat
Beanies with headphones in have been around for a while, but the advantage with Tooks is that the company has actually managed to bring a sense of style to the proceedings. The most important step is that there's a choice of different types ranging from chunky cable knit to something with a visor as well. What's more, the actual quality of the headphones is pretty reasonable as well. It's made of wool and acrylic and it comes with some neat little pockets in the lining to keep the speaker buds safe, still and not pushed up uncomfortably against delicate parts of your skull. There's a few to choose from on the US site starting at $19.99 or you can pick one up from Firebox for £24.99 as well.
Rather like those microwavable hot water bottles, Hot Slippers brings the same idea to your feet. It's a pretty simple affair, really - pop your clogs into the nuker, set it for 2 minutes on full blast and then whack 'em back on your tootsies, making sure they're not flaming hot when you do so. They have a non-slip bottom sole, to make sure there's no kitchen tile accidents, and they even come with a lavender smell so that no matter how sweaty you get in there, there's never a nasty niff. £9.95 with the slight issue that they come in lilac, pink and nothing else.
Cuisinart Soup Maker
Nothing quite guards against the winter chills like a hot bowl of soup, but there's a certain amount of effort and time that goes with creating one, unless you're happy to open a can and be done with it. Fortunately, the Cuisinart SSB1U Soup Maker is here to save the day offering delicious home made broths from scratch to full tummy in just 20 minutes. It's essentially a blender with a cooking plate at the bottom plus all sorts of settings of heat and time to make sure it stews the pot just right. It ain't cheap at £121, but it does come with a recipe book so that you're never short of ideas. Probably goes nicely with a bread maker.
It's been around since last winter season, but the Slanket is so unbelievably perfect for gaming and lounging in combination that it simply had to be in the 2010 list as well. We've seen the different sizes and the Double Slanket before but new for this end of year chill are the novelty print fabrics. The pirate's a good one, but our favourite for the lady of the house is the Leopard Print Slanket which adds a certain edge of seduction to stuffing your face with pizza while lying horizontally in front of the TV and not moving or washing for a good 40 hours. Classy stuff. £23.99.
The best thing is that you've already got one of these. In fact, you're probably next to it right now. If you really want to keep yourself warm this winter, and your central heating just isn't cutting it, then stick your 15-inch computer across your legs, plug it into the mains and leave it to charge and charge and charge so that all the extra power comes out as pure battery heat onto your thighs. Lovely, and entertaining if you also want to double it as a way of watching videos. Just no work, please.
Draper 49161 stainless steel diesel space heater
No self-respecting gadget guy would be seen dead mucking about with one of those poxy convectors or electric bars to add that extra home warmth. Instead, bag yourself a diesel powered space heater. At approximately 20 times the heating capacity of a standard large household radiator, these canons will blast Jack Frost full in the face until he's running down the street and off round the corner with his snowy tail between his legs. They run incredibly efficiently, very clean and will get the place nice and comfortable in record time. The only issue is that they cost £2200.