If, like me, bad health or other problems have kept you grounded this winter, deprived of your annual pilgrimage north, then chances are you’ve been willing those winter blues away. We’re still a few months away from those warm rays of sunshine, so here are a few strategies to help keep you cosy in the meantime.
TAKING A PET WITH YOU
Good company always manages to stave off the chill. Whether it’s stimulating conversation or sharing a cuppa, it all works to distract your mind from the weather. There are also romantic connections, holding hands and hugs. Sharing body warmth is a great way to harvest some heat. If human hugs are a little thin on the ground, why not hug a pet? Those lap-sized furry critters are like portable hot water bottles in the cooler months and can really earn their keep. Not so much those horse-sized pooches with the advanced slobber gland. We’ve got to draw the line somewhere!
MERINO THERMAL WEAR
A recent find is a product called ioMerino. Made from superfine Australian merino wool called MicroMerino, it’s slim fitting, soft and not itchy. Like other thermal garments, the idea is to wear the base layers next to your skin. The long sleeve tops feature thumb loops to keep your hands warm and stop the chill from sneaking up your sleeves. Benefits include natural temperature regulation, breathability, and pong-resistance. Apart from the warmth, I like them because they don’t ball up like my other synthetic thermals. To date, they’d have to be my best winter find. ioMerino have a range of outdoor layered gear including tops, bottoms, socks, undies, and head and neck wear.
PORTABLE CAMP FIRE
The OzPig is my other winter wonder, providing the warmth of an open fire with minimum wood. It’s roughly the size of a gas bottle with legs, keeping the heat off the ground. Like a pot belly stove it has a chimney, access door to feed in more wood, and a cooking plate. With the door closed, cooking plate in place and spark arrester on the top of the chimney, hot ash can’t fall out of it. This makes it great to use in a caravan annexe (with an angled chimney piece to direct the smoke out of the annexe) or on the deck at home. The sealed unit also limits the draught which controls the rate of burn. There are a range of accessories available to extend its use. I like the extra legs to save my back when cooking, the chargrill, head bead basket and vented door. A portable fire pit such as the OzPig is a good social centre piece, as people are always drawn to it for heat, especially at Happy Hour. The trick is not to attract too many people so you can keep sufficiently warm yourself.
We’d love to hear your strategies for keeping the winter blues away. You can share them with us on the Caravan World Facebook page.
See you on the trails.
The full feature appears in Caravan World #565. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!