We hoarded flour for baking. We bought guitars. We tried everything to get through the cold, early days of the pandemic. But how are we going to make it through winter, trapped at home and cut off from so much of the world? If you’re fortunate enough to have extra bucks lying around this lean economy, here are some gadgets that will keep you warm and vaguely chipper.
If we need to confine our socializing to the outdoors, perhaps it’s time to make peace with that ever-hyped clothing category: wearable tech. The apparel company Ororo, for example, offers battery-operated heated vests ($169.99), hoodies ($189.99), gloves ($179.99) and socks ($99.99) that will keep you toasty for those frigid nights when no amount of layering is enough.
Blessed with outdoor space? Buy an Energ+ patio heater ($178.99) or, for added rusticity, a smokeless Solo Stove Bonfire firepit ($259.99). (Note: fire pits are illegal in New York City, but that hasn’t stopped some Brooklynites). Throw in a few REI camp chairs ($59.95 each), and a Mpowerd inflatable solar lantern ($24.95), too.
To boost mood and combat depression, you’ll want to soak up as much sun as possible during these short winter days. This wearable Qsun UV Exposure Tracker ($149) can monitor your vitamin D levels, and tell you when you need to reapply sunscreen.
No stranger to those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder, a light therapy lamp that mimics sunshine can alleviate the winter blues. There’s the Carex Day-Light Classic Plus Therapy Lamp ($149.99), or a geometric wooden one ($159.99) by Sunrise Sensations, which can also brighten your décor.
Feeling trapped? Combat winter claustrophobia with a laser Galaxy projector ($89.99) that turns any darkened room into a planetarium-like light show. Consider it a chemical-free psychedelic trip that seems to transform your walls and ceilings into outer space. Great for the little ones!
Craving sunny open spaces during lockdown? Turns out that a trip to Joshua Tree is at least metaphorically possible with a Cactus and Succulent Grow Kit ($34.99) from Homegrown. Gardening can help combat anxiety and depression, too.
The quarantine pods that kept us sane this summer may not be sustainable in the cold months ahead. If you’re looking for dependable companionship and are willing to pay for it, social robots like Buddy from Blue Frog robotics (from $2,400) can serve as a personal assistant, nanny, watchdog and even a friend around the house.