It’s snowing in the North of England and the Scottish Borders. If you have a trip planned – from near or afar – take advantage of some of the best travel gadgets on the market to help make your journey safe and enjoyable. We’ve browsed websites and catalogues and come up with these essentials for winter driving and winter breaks.
The mini luge is made by Canadian company Zipfy™ and is now available in the UK. It is a small, lightweight, compact snow sledge that’s easy to pack into any size of vehicle. This luge gives an exhilarating downhill ride. But it’s safe, too. To stop, the rider drops their heels into the snow. The Zipfy can also be steered by leaning into the side and carving down the hill. The luge retails for £39 upwards from websites including Bushgear.co.uk, presentsformen.co.uk and eBay.
There’s no need to suffer from cold hands when texting or emailing. A number of companies, including Totes, are making gloves with specially treated tips which let the user operate a smartphone or pad while wearing the gloves.
They work by allowing tiny treads in the material to carry electrical impulses from the fingers to the screen. The Tote gloves have a fleece lining, are water repellent and come with a silicon palm for better grip.
Portable mobile chargers
Powermonkey is producing some amazing chargers these days, including a mobile version that can be pre-charged so when you reach your destination you can power your devices immediately.
Something like this is especially good for winter camping trips. These days, the Powermonkey is almost a travel essential.
The Explorer model fits almost all devices and can be charged from the mains, a computer, or the sun. It is available from outdoor suppliers and costs around £50.
Car snow socks
Car snow socks are a great alternative to snow chains, which can be difficult to put on and heavy to store.
The snow sock is an elasticated slip-on tyre cover which provides great traction. They are easy to remove and store. They cost about £40 -£50 for a good pair (you just need two for your drive wheels). The snow socks are available in different sizes so be sure to check our your tyre size before ordering.
Available from auto suppliers and Halfords.co.uk. If you spend a lot of time driving on snow and ice you may be better off getting a good pair or winter tyres – check with your garage for advice.
Footwear ice grabbers
Heavy-duty ice grabbers are similar to the popular studded ice grippers. But the grabbers are more sturdy and made of case-hardened steel alloy.
The patented diamond beads have hundreds of biting edges that grab hold of slippery surfaces. The beads are connected with steel aircraft cable, and held together by a tough rubber sling which maintains its elasticity, even in very cold weather.
These are perfect for winter hiking or simply walking in snow and ice.
If you’re a winter walker, skier or take long journeys, an emergency blanket (also called a survival bag) is essential. There are lots of different kinds of blankets available made of foil, mylar and other materials.
Look for an emergency blanket that retains and reflects back the body’s heat and protects against wind or moisture penetration. They can be bought for as little as £3, but the better products will cost £10 or more. You can buy an emergency blanket from outdoors suppliers or Amazon.co.uk.
Telescopic snow shovel
Like the emergency blanket, a shovel is an essential item for any driver, and the telescopic variety means it can be stored with ease in your vehicle.
The best designed models shrink to half their size and are made of durable plastic. While there are inexpensive variations available, look for one with an aluminium shaft and quality nut for extending and tightening.
If you intend to use this item a lot, a double-grip version (with a handle and hand holder in the middle) is an even better choice. From £6.99 at hardware shops and online suppliers.
Car snow grabber mats
Snow grabber mats are especially useful for drivers who feel they don’t need to install winter tyres but want to know they’ll be able to pull away when they do encounter snowy and icy roads.
Car grabber mats are made of tough polymer but are ultralight – weighing on average 1.5 kg. This makes them easy to store and use. You put the grabber mats under your drive wheels for added traction when you are stuck.
If you drive a truck or a van, you may need the heavy-duty fold out wheel grabber mats. Car and truck mats retail for £6 upwards from Amazon and online suppliers such as thehappymotorist.co.uk.
Walking stick ice grip
Do you use walking poles or a walking stick? Even if you have ice grippers or grabbers on your shoes it’s important to have confidence in your walking pole or walking stick.
The walking stick ice grip is a bit like a crampon. It attaches with a Philips screwdriver and can be left in place or flipped upwards with the two buttons on the side. The ice grip can be used in mud as well, or on any kind of uneven surface.