I am looking for recommendations for hand warmers.
I usually use the “boil in the bag” type of reusable warmers, but they seem to have gone missing over the summer period. The new offerings all seem to be based on USB rechargeable tech.
Any user feedback, good or bad, on this type of hand warmer?
Another vote against the USB charged lithium battery powered glove warmers, which I tried about 3 years ago. The batteries went flat too quickly, even when I added some larger capacity LIPO batteries they weren’t that effective.
The ones Ben is talking about sound like the same chemical warm pads method that has been around for years so they will most likely be better - however I have never tried those as glove warmers, so as always YMMV.
I’ve used it a few times, but now it is mainly used as a means to charge my phone battery should I need to out on the hill. For me, having Raynaud’s Syndrome, it was about as effective as chemical hand warmers which I now tend to use. As with many things in SOTA, my hand warmers usually go up the hill and come back down unused only for me to wonder why I didn’t think of using them. Such is life!
First note I do not suffer with any specific circulation problems.
My honest recommendation is just to use a pair of good mitts, instead of gloves. Put some thin liner gloves on inside if needed. This combination is much warmer than normal gloves with fingers. They are also much easier to get on and off.
You can keep the liner gloves on for when you need dexterity.
I’ve done a lot of winter mountaineering in Scotland and climbed in the bigger mountains abroad and I’ve always been able to keep my hands at an acceptable temperature using this combination.
Finally, in winter it is imperative to carry at least 1 spare pair. Losing a glove/mitt in winter could be very serious.
Although I have used all types of hand warmers, until recently I have had little use for any of them. However after a pretty severe case of frostbite on my toes a few years ago caused me to change my tune. I narrowly avoided losing a couple toes but the tissue and nerve damaged on both feet has left me with toes that are problematic in cold weather. I have found the single use chemical hand warmers and their cousins, the adhesive toe warmers to offer that little bit of extra heat that can keep the blood circulating when it would be impossible without. Once they are used up, they are completely organic and safe to dispose anywhere. As activators, our stopping on a cold summit after a vigorous ascent to just sit still is a recipe for becoming extremely cold. I have found that dropping a couple hand warmers in my mittens to help my fingers warm up after setting up and taking down a station to be very useful. Having the adhesive units on my toes has made some very unpleasant activations tolerable and having them on my feet in a cold sleeping bag has also been just what the doctor ordered many times. To be honest, I would avoid the USB types and stick with the chemical type that have been tried, and proven.
Good idea Gerald - I have tried this before but the problem is that the ones I used would come off with the outer gloves and so I’d get cold hands in any case. After your advice, I’ve searched and found the specifically designed inner-gloves which have a strap to hold them on the hands, from Decathlon and have ordered these for my next trip out: Unterziehhandschuhe Erwachsene Seide Bergwandern - MT500 schwarz FORCLAZ - DECATHLON?
They look ideal. Just note carefully the comment on the page that they are silk and not very durable. I’ve used similar ones which were absolutely fine as liners and lasted fine, but if used to handle rough items (like an ice axe) they snagged. So I was careful how I used them after that.
I have tried a lot of hand warmers and two stand out in my mind for ease of use in extreme cold and good heating
The Human Creations G3 is great because it has a physical on off switch and heats well. The downside as compared to the Zippo is that the Human Creations switch can take damage if dropped on a hard surface hard enough—although they usually remain usable.
The Zippo I like (the 6 hour kidney bean shaped one) appears to no longer be made but it was tougher—although its multi press soft switch was too much of a pain. In the real cold I like everything to be simple.
I would stay away from any electric handwarmer with built in light or anything else that could accidentally trigger in a bag emptying the batteries.
All that being said, nowadays on summits in the cold I use Ororo heated glove liners/gloves (twin cities model, liners can be bought separately)—-they are far superior to hand warmers in my opinion as you need not hold onto a warmer. When I don’t need fine touch I put my main glove over the heated liner, when I need fine touch I just use the liner temporarily and my fingers are never totally exposed. With the liners on alone I can handle 5 or 10 min even in extreme cold without losing touch. With the glove plus liner you are ready for serious cold. I use these with an aftermarket larger battery.
If you wanted to go really crazy you could take the next step and get 12v motorcycle heated gloves—but I haven’t tried that. Those gloves should keep your touch good in a 65mph wind at sub freezing temps……
I have tried both the Nitrile and the cloth medical gloves (which I think are the same as the make-up gloves you refer to). In both cases, they tended to either not allow me to use any touch screen (such as on my smartphone) or they would come off when I took my outer gloves off.
The Decathlon, silk ones arrived this morning and don’t have either of these problems. These cost €10 but there are also cheaper versions down to €3 but how well those (man made fibre I expect) ones work with the touch screens is questionable.
Yes, I can also recommend these. I bought some in Millets (Scarborough) yesterday. They were ‘on offer’ at 50p per pair which immediately caused concern. Old stock?? The man said ‘No.’
I bought 5 pairs and wish I’d got more. A test result was 8 hours hot in a pocket and a further 3 hours warm.
Having in the past seen hand warmers as a last resort, carried only occasionally. I resorted to them just once. 4 hours on Ben Nevis at -15C and breezy. My mistake was a photo session at the trig without gloves. I needed my hands back ASAP!
Though I’d never heard of this make before they do seem like a good product to me. The older I get the more I see them as an important part of winter kit. They’re in the fleece pocket for tomorrow just in case!
Indeed John Like yourself I’ve only deployed mine once which was on Shalloch on Minnoch GM/SS-042 in February 2018, but it was -4C with a 40mph wind blowing… well, that’s my excuse.
I see them coming more into play when out on the hills as medication is now making my Raynauds worse. This autumn I started work on a project in the garden and even in temperatures of around 10C my fingers and toes have been cold and painful. Maybe I should become a fair weather activator.