Let’s be real, getting to work in the wintertime kinda sucks.
The bitter wind that somehow cuts right through your clothes while you’re waiting for the bus; the icy slush that soaks through the seam of your boot and drenches your socks; the sweaty subway ride spent pressed up against equally sweaty strangers—it’s enough to make every day of the week feel like a Monday.
And not only is winter commuting unpleasant; it’s long. Moovit reports that commuters in Toronto spend an average of 96 minutes a day on public transit—that’s approximately 8 hours of your life every week that you spend cursing the weather and wishing you were still home in bed.
While we can’t gift you with the ability to instantly teleport from home to the office (yet…), we can recommend some nifty products that will help make your winter commute not only bearable but pleasant! Perhaps even productive! (What can we say, we’re a “glass half full” kinda crowd.)
Check ‘em out below.
A top-notch travel mug
Let’s start our list the way we start every weekday morning: downing caffeine like our lives depend on it.
Long-time commuters know that a good travel mug (i.e. one that doesn’t leak, minimizes spills, and keeps your drink hot) is worth its weight in gold. Our pick? Zojirushi’s Stainless Steel Mug. This sleek travel mug is vacuum insulated to keep your brew of choice piping hot for hours on end—even in sub-zero temperatures—and its cleverly-designed lid lock is both completely leakproof and easy enough to operate with one hand.
The Zojirushi comes in a variety of fun colours as well as 12-ounce, 16-ounce, and 20-ounce sizes, meaning you can pick the mug that best suits your personality and your coffee addiction. At over $50 CAD, it’s definitely on the pricier end… but still cheaper than replacing your bag (and all its contents) after your $10 travel mug douses everything in coffee.
A chic water bottle
Not a coffee drinker? No problem! Pack a memobottle™ instead.
This premium water bottle is as unique as it is stylish, with an innovative flat body that’s designed to sit snugly in your bag against your laptop, books, and documents. Made from high-quality BPA- and BPS-free plastic, the memobottle™ comes in multiple sizes and allows you to add your own personal touch with accessories like colourful lids and leather sleeves. It’s 100% leakproof and backed by a 2-year warranty, so you’ll never have to worry about spills or cracks.
What’s more, the memobottle™ isn’t just a pretty face—it’s a social and environmental initiative dedicated to reducing single-use bottle consumption and guaranteeing safe drinking water to those in need. Every memobottle™ sold provides two months worth of clean drinking water to a person in a developing nation via the not-for-profit organization water.org.
So you can stay hydrated and enjoy a little burst of socially-responsible warm fuzzies at the same time, all on your daily commute. Sounds like a win-win to us!
A smart heated base layer
What’s the worst thing about your winter commute? Most people would agree it’s the wild temperature swings as you go from the frigid outdoors to the overheated bus or subway and back again.
You might think piling on the layers will protect you from the chill in the air, but that’s not entirely true. Those heavy, heat-trapping fabrics are not only sealing in warmth but also moisture—specifically, the sweat that you produce when you hurry to catch the train and then sit sandwiched between two other people in heavy coats while the heater slowly turns the place into a sauna.
And when you get off at your stop and step outside once more? All that sweat transforms into a cold, clammy layer of ick against your skin and you feel chillier than ever.
Our wireless, auto-adjusting heated base layer was designed specifically to combat this problem. By pairing a moisture-wicking synthetic inner layer with a heat-trapping wool outer layer and knitting conductive fibres right into the fabric, we’ve created an innovative smart garment that will keep you warm, dry, and looking flawless no matter what the weather’s doing outside. (The fact that it’s machine-washable and easy to charge is just icing on the cake.)
On top of the cold and the lack of personal space, commuters also have to deal with a constant barrage of noise on their way to work. And when you’re running low on sleep and high on stress, all those clangs, coughs, car horns, and chatterboxes can reaaaaaally start to grate on you.
The solution? A good pair of noise-cancelling headphones, like Bose’s wireless QuietComfort 35. These babies will cost you a pretty penny, but if you can afford it, they’re well worth the money. Bose’s proprietary tech monitors surrounding noise and cancels it with the opposite signal, offering 3 different levels of noise-cancelling intensity so you can control exactly how much outside sound you want leaking in. They’re comfy, too, with big padded ear cushions and a soft headband wrapped in plush Alcantara® (which is apparently the same covering material used in yachts and high-end automobiles—swanky!).
If the QC35’s price tag has put you off, you’ve got other options. Check out Sennheiser’s HD 4.50 BTNC headphones for a wireless, noise-cancelling experience at less than half the cost.
Secretly comfy dress pants
Obvious statement alert! The clothes we have to wear to work aren’t always the comfiest.
But why shouldn’t they be? After all, these are the clothes we’re wearing most of the week, rain or shine, sitting or standing. Luckily, the folks at Betabrand agree and have created a whole line of comfortable-yet-classy pants to address that very problem—Dress Pant Sweatpants for the fellas and Dress Pant Yoga Pants for the ladies. These pants merge everything you love about your favourite chilling-at-home bottoms (an elastic waistband, soft, stretchy fabric) with everything you need from a pair of work pants (tailored lines, pockets, buttons and belt loops).
The weather outside may be crappy and you might be dreading a full day of meetings, but at least you’ll be comfy on your commute.
A pair of touchscreen gloves
Even with your heated base layer keeping you warm, your fingers can still get chilly if they’re not protected from the freezing air. But big mittens pose another problem—how will you use your phone (necessary for avoiding interaction with strangers and pretending you have an active social life) with an inch of fluff between your fingertips and the screen?
Social media mavens and online news junkies rejoice, because (of course) there’s a product for that. There are plenty of touchscreen gloves on the market, but we like the Moshi Digits for both their warmth and their effectiveness. The Digits’ dual layers do a decent job of keeping your hands toasty while the conductive fibres at each fingertip enable responsive and accurate gesturing on your device. The unique, rubbery pattern lining each palm offers a solid grip, meaning you’ll feel secure even when using your phone one-handed.
A cool bag
Last but not least: a really cool bag to hold all your really cool stuff.
Timbuk2 has been making slick, smartly-designed bags out of San Francisco for years, and the Authority Pack is no exception. This is the backpack you buy when you’re equal parts organization nerd and style buff, with a plethora of inner pockets for everything you could ever want to carry all wrapped up in a minimalist package that looks a lot more expensive than it actually is.
At 28 litres and just 2.4 pounds, the Authority Pack is a lightweight workhorse of a bag that will carry you from the office to the gym and back home again without breaking a sweat.