Even though winter shows up every year, it always has a way of surprising us. At Murdoch’s, we know this is true because our customers tell us that gloves and ice scrapers have disappeared (much like socks in the dryer), boots have dry rotted, and coats no longer fit. Here is Murdoch’s list of the Top 13 Things You Need Before Winter hits, based on many, many years of helping customers when they need it most. Before the snow really flies, check off these 13 supplies from your list.
#1 Ice Melt
Be sure you have ice melt on hand before snow and ice forecasts come true. Venturing onto slick front steps and sidewalks is as much of a danger to you as it is others. Small businesses, homeowners associations, public agencies and individuals alike can help their customers, neighbors, and friends stay safe and healthy with this low-cost solution. There are also great options that are pet-friendly.
#2 Tire Chains
Have you ever tried to put tire chains on for the first time in nasty weather? If you buy them before the storm, you can practice putting them on.
#3 Tube Sand
For all of our pickup truck owners out there, you know what this is for. Weight down those beds before you leave the house with tube sand.
Preferably insulated gloves. Hunt them down (along with hats) early so that you don’t spend time looking for them the morning snow dumps. You’re already behind schedule if you have to shovel, warm up your car, and scrape ice from the windshield. You don’t need another thing to slow you down. Check our options for men or women.
#5 Winter Boots
Snow on the ground doesn’t mean you will stay on the beaten path, or that the path is clear. Boot makers have come out with some amazing technology lately; if you haven’t invested in boots with breathable waterproof liners and improved traction soles, it’s time. Adventures last longer when you have great boots. You won’t regret the investment. Have you seen our winter boot selection for men and women?
#6 Ice Scrapers
Good ones, that is, with extra long handles for trucks and SUVs, comfort grips, and snow brushes attached. You probably can’t find last year’s ice scraper because it broke and you threw it away.
#7 Portable Shovels
You never really realize that you don’t have an emergency shovel in your car, until you need an emergency shovel in your car. Deer really do come out of nowhere, and other drivers do lose control causing you to swerve to miss. It’s not worth living life afraid of Murphy’s Law, but it might be worth investing in precautions just in case Murphy was right.
#8 Functioning Snowblower
If you don’t have one, start shopping in October. Why so early? Immediately after it snows, many folks go to buy their snowblowers, and inventory can become limited. To get the model that best fits your needs, you want to shop before everyone else does. We built an online buying guide you can try: Access it here. But, in general, there are four things that affect the right model for you:
1) Amount and type of snow you typically get in your region
2) How large the area is that you’re wanting to clear
3) If there is a slope
4) If the surface is smooth or rough
If you already have a snowblower, it’s best to test start your machine before it snows. That way, if anything went wrong while it was stored, you have time to get it repaired. If you didn’t drain last year’s fuel before storage, you could run into problems. It also forces you to check your fuel reserves, and gives you a chance to stock up on premium fuels that won’t harm the engine.
#9 No-Slip Footwear Accessories
AKA Yaktrax, Ice Trekkers and Stabilicers. Obviously, you can’t spread ice melt on entire worksites and outdoor recreation areas, and they get slick, too. Stay safe on the job and while you’re exploring with these handy add-ons to your shoes and boots. They are an inexpensive way to avoid on-the-job injuries.
#10 Base Layers
We tend to think about winter coats, but base layers are just as important. They help us retain our body’s heat, whereas outerwear is designed to prevent external elements from making us cold. You’re best off when both of these strategies – retention and prevention – are working together.
#11 Hand & Foot Warmers
Your kids and grandkids will love you. Even the best-designed clothing and footwear won’t keep kids warm when they (for example) take their gloves off to make snowballs with their bare hands. And who wants poorly formed snowballs? Can you blame them?
Boot and glove dryers extend the life of your items. They prevent stinky bacteria, mold and mildew from forming and breaking down fibers; and, you get to start fresh every morning with dry gear. Just be sure you’re drying boot liners, not rubber boots, because you can dry out the rubber and actually cause cracking.
#13 Space Heaters
Because the office thermostat is a constant battle that sometimes just isn’t worth fighting. Because you still have to finish that project in your workshop even if it’s cold outside. Because your basement remodel is awesome, but the duct work isn’t. Because the entire house doesn’t have to be heated to optimal comfort when you can only occupy one room at a time. Electric heaters are great for indoors while propane and kerosene serve outdoor needs.