It’s time for our fifth annual effort to beat back the winterization blues! This winter we are tapping into two European lifestyle trends that have real staying power. Our tips are based around suggestions for a winter life centered around “open air living” known as Friluftsliv in Norway. Think long walks with your pup, mountain biking in the snow, campfires with friends, and space heaters on the back deck. We also have tips based around the Danish concept of “coziness” or Hygge. This is a trend we broke here in the United States a few years back (#jokingnotjoking). Think warm blankets, RV-centric movie nights, hot mugs of tea, and snuggling with your camping sweetie. For obvious reasons, winter may be harder this year than in year’s past. All the more reason to take a listen to the accompanying podcast (in the media player above) or just keep on reading!
Part One: Tips for Outdoor Living (Friluftsliv)
Start a CCC (Covid Campfire Club)
Many of us are missing our friends at this point during the pandemic. So why not invite them over for a campfire, and ask them to do the same. In my general neighborhood, three of us have created a circuit for weekend campfires. Much credit goes to my neighbor Derek who has led the charge. Even if you just hang out for an hour once a week to socialize, it will make you feel human again. Bring a thermos of hot chocolate with you too–it will warm you up from the inside out! Forming a CCC is a powerful antidote to the winterization blues!
Make this Alfred Wainwright Quote Your New Motto
”There is no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.” We think old Alfred got this one right. If you dress appropriately you can get outside and ENJOY almost any kind of weather. Stephanie thinks this is harder to apply to kids because they grow out of their cold weather gear so quickly and it is more challenging to keep them properly geared up. But for us adults there should be no excuses. Get some quality winter clothing and get outside! Stephanie has been doing great getting outside every day, and so have Max and Theo. I’m doing fairly well myself too. The four of us are definitely beating the winterization blues. Our youngest, Wesley, has been struggling a bit more. But he was throwing snowballs with the best of them just yesterday.
Get A Portable Heater for Your Back Deck
We have recommended having an outdoor firepit like a Solo Stove before—but I don’t like to have a campfire every night. But I do like to sit outside and read in our screened in porch during the winter months. The Mr. Heater Buddy Flex Heater has been awesome for sitting outside at night. It is powered by the little green propane tanks–or you can get an adaptor to use a larger tank. THIS THING IS SO WARM and very easy to use. It is a powerful tool for beating the winterization blues. The heat comes out on three sides and is perfect for staying cozy outside, even on the coldest of nights. Plus, there is no messy cleanup like with a campfire and no smoke to contend with. The Buddy Flex Heater is my favorite new piece of outdoor gear this winter. If you buy one, please make sure you read the instructions carefully before use. The Buddy Flex Heater needs oxygen and I have only used it outside.
Pick Up a New Cold Weather Hobby
Picking up a new hobby is almost certainly a way to bring joy into your life and beat back the winterization blues. Our son Theo is 11 years old right now, and he started pushing us to go mountain biking this fall. So we all ended up with Trek mountain bikes, and we love them! The boys all have Trek Marlin 5’s and Stephanie has a Marlin 6. We have all been impressed with the quality at a moderate price point. Each time we head outside for a mountain bike ride, we are not just beating the winterization blues. We are crushing it.
Part Two: Tips for Staying Warm, Cozy, and Entertained Inside (Hygge)
Get a Cozy Travel Themed Blanket
Everyone needs a cozy blanket for reading books and magazines, and watching their favorite YouTube shows. So why not make it a travel themed blanket? That way you can think of your favorite places while you are cozied up at home. Here are three great options for travel themed blankets that are used on the reg in our house. Each of them will work well for beating back the winterization blues.
Camp Casual Blankets ($50 to $90) –Longtime listeners of The RV Atlas podcast know that we totally ADORE Camp Casual blankets. All three of our boys sleep with one every single night. With patterns like Road Trip, Travel Map, and Cozy Critters, there is definitely a cute option for everyone in your family.
Stormy Kromer Wool Blankets ($99)–Stormy Kromer is legendary for their warm and cozy caps that are made in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. But their plaid blankets are pretty awesome too! When they have extra material, they turn it into blankets, so the stock varies at any give time. If they don’t have a pattern you like, check back later.
Pendleton National Park Blankets If you are feeling a little bougie why not consider spending money on a blanket that will become a family heirloom? Pendleton’s National Park blankets are not cheap, but they are beautiful and well-made. Have you visited Glacier, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Crater Lake or any of the other iconic parks in Pendleton’s series? Then this might be the ultimate park souvenir. I got Stephanie one for Christmas last winter but kinda messed up. I got her a queen sized blanket but should have went with the less expensive full sized. It was just too big for her to use while reading or watching a movie. So guess who is using it now?
Watch the Airstream “Portable Parks” Series
This series has four “episodes” so far–Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Everglades, and Arches. Each episode is centered around a short 6 minute video tour of the park that is absolutely stunning. The sights and SOUNDS of the park will take your breath away. Airstream recommends that you watch the videos with earphone on and I totally agree. The natural soundscapes of these parks are ravishing. I recommend watching one before bed each night for four straight nights. You will find yourself deeply relaxed and inspired at the same time. Each episode also includes background on the parks and recommendations for planning your own RV trip.
My favorite was Arches National Park. I wonder what yours will be?
Have a The Long, Long Trailer Movie Night
Rent or buy the greatest RV centric movie in Hollywood history and have a travel themed movie night. This 1954 classic starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz could be fun for the whole family, or could work for a romantic movie night with your spouse. Just send the kids to their rooms for the night, okay?
The Long, Long Trailer is quirky and cute and fun, and its depiction of RV life in the 1950’s is fascinating. Check out all of the classic trailers and cars and laugh-out-loud as you follow Nicky and Tacy on a screwball journey out west.
Head Over to REI’s YouTube Channel and watch “Miranda in the Wild”
For those of us who still have tent camping in our blood and have an interest in van life–this show is super duper fun. Miranda is smart and funny and she knows her stuff. Her gear reviews are on point, and her hiking and tent camping tips are practical and easy to implement. WARNING! Watching “Miranda in the Wild” might inspire you to go to REI and build your own poop kit. Because that’s what I did! For our mountain biking adventures….
But I hope we never have to use it…
Good luck conquering the winterization blues everybody! Drop a comment below and tell me how you are getting outside and staying cozy inside!