3 Surprisingly Helpful Products for Enduring Coronavirus Shelter-in-Place Orders

The coronavirus pandemic is affecting every aspect of our lives. During the last couple weeks, the author has discovered three surprisingly helpful products to make life just a little bit easier during shelter-in-place orders.

3 Surprisingly Helpful Products for Enduring Coronavirus Shelter-in-Place Orders

The author's 10-year-old British Lab, Togo, waits patiently for her afternoon walk.

Before I dive into the meat of this article, you should know I’ve worked from a home office for the last five years. Therefore, shelter-in-place orders from Minnesota’s governor (except for essential business workers) didn’t affect me when it comes to my job. That said, I am staying home outside of work as well, except for quick trips to the grocery store once per week. (Tip: Shop early; be waiting in your vehicle when the grocery store opens its doors. Not only will you avoid crowds, but others who set their alarm to shop early seem to be well-versed in keeping 6 feet distance, etc.)

You should also know I’m not a doctor, so don’t take any of my suggestions below as gospel for avoiding coronavirus, or even the common cold. These three products are simply items making my shelter-in-place life easier; maybe they’ll do the same for you.

Caterpy Laces

If you’re new to working from home, you’re taking your dog for more walks. And even if you don’t have a dog, you’re likely taking more hikes for fresh air and exercise. As I said earlier, I always work from home, so walking my Lab, Togo, happens at least three times per day: morning before work, noon before lunch, and 5:30 p.m. before supper. In addition, I take Togo out once more before I go to bed. And this doesn’t factor in a longer after-dinner walk now that I have more free time at home on my hands. In total, that means I’m grabbing the dog leash at least four times per day, sometimes five.

You know what is super handy? Not having to tie my shoes whenever it’s “Togo time.”

About a year ago I switched the standard shoe laces in my everyday walking shoes to a product called Caterpy Laces. I’d never tried such a product before, but they were inexpensive and received positive online reviews, so I gave them a shot.

Caterpy Laces are built with elastic bumps that hold tension throughout all the shoe eyelets. Believe it or not, they hold your foot in the shoe as well as regular laces. Also, I’ve found that during a long walk, say 5-7 miles with Togo, I sometimes have to loosen my regular shoe laces; I guess my feet swell a bit when exercising? Whatever the case, these elastic laces simply stretch with my feet. Also, the elastic stretches enough that it doesn’t matter if I’m wearing a thin sock in warm temperatures or a thicker hiking sock during colder days. My walking shoes basically became comfortable slip-ons, and I don’t have to readjust standard laces every day.

Patented elastic bump technology from Caterpy Laces secures tension in each row of the shoe. Shown here is the author’s LOWA Innox Evo Lo TF shoes with Caterpy Laces (30-inch) in color Gunmetal Gray.
Patented elastic bump technology from Caterpy Laces secures tension in each row of the shoe. Shown here is the author’s LOWA Innox Evo Lo TF shoes with Caterpy Laces (30-inch) in color Gunmetal Gray.

Fishmasks Tube

Lately you can’t watch a minute of a TV news broadcast without the discussion turning toward face masks. I don’t own a mask designed to keep out viruses such as COVID-19, but I am doing my best to keep my nose and mouth covered in public. Specifically I wear the same neck gaiters I use when fishing and hunting. I own several models from several brands, but my favorite going into spring (because I’m thinking about fishing) is the Fishmasks Tube from a company called Phunkshun Wear.

I first saw this product a couple years ago at a massive industry-only (trade) fishing show in Orlando, Florida, called ICAST. I was first impressed by the attractive color patterns (22 choices!), and after trying one I found it to be super comfortable. As I talked with the gentleman working the Fishmasks trade show booth, I learned the product is made in the USA, which is very rare for this type of garment.

Fishmasks offer sun protection (UPF 50+), wick moisture and control odor. Note: The face masks are breathable (they typically don’t fog my fishing glasses), so in terms of germ/virus protection they might not be the best, but the way I look at it during these challenging times, anything is better than nothing. 

FYI: Fishmasks neck gaiters are what the company calls “single tubes,” meaning they’re thin. If you want thicker material for colder conditions, Phunkshun makes Double Tubes and Thermal Tubes.

Fishmasks Tubes protect your head and neck from the sun and provide a bit of warmth on chilly days. When wearing his mask into the grocery store, the author pulls his mask up so it covers his nose, too.
Fishmasks Tubes protect your head and neck from the sun and provide a bit of warmth on chilly days. When wearing his mask into the grocery store, the author pulls his mask up so it covers his nose, too.

Kryptek Krytos Glove

Similar to what I mentioned about face masks, I’m not really sure what prevents the spread of germs/viruses, but anything has to be better than nothing. For that reason, I’m wearing gloves in public, and especially on trips to the grocery store. Are latex gloves best for my health? Probably, but I’ve decided instead to wear a pair of lightweight hunting gloves, specifically Krytos Gloves from Kryptek.

Available in three color patterns, the lightweight gloves are 4 percent polyester and 6 percent Spandex Duraface. In my opinion, the best feature is the touch screen compatible thumb and forefingers for texting (not while driving!). These gloves are super comfortable, so much so I almost forget I’m wearing them. I also like that I can reach into my wallet to retrieve my credit card to pay for groceries without removing the gloves.

During Minnesota’s shelter-in-place orders, the author is wearing a pair of Kryptek Krytos Gloves for trips to the grocery store.
During Minnesota’s shelter-in-place orders, the author is wearing a pair of Kryptek Krytos Gloves for trips to the grocery store.
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