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Heat Treat Hand Warmers at REI.jpg

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When the temperature drops, blood vessels in our extremities constrict to redirect blood flow to vital organs like the brain and heart — that leaves hands and feet vulnerable to heat loss.  Working out in the cold becomes uncomfortable, difficult, and less productive — that is, unless you slide heating pads into your gloves.  Heat Treat Hand Warmers keep a temperature of 135-156 degrees F for up to seven hours. (You can wrap ‘em in cloth if they feel too warm, so you don’t end up like the villain in the opening scenes of Raiders of the Lost Ark.)

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The warmers’ active ingredients — iron, water, cellulose, vermiculite, activated carbon, and salt — create an exothermic oxidation reaction when exposed to air. Therefore the packs last longer when kept in enclosed spaces such as gloves or pockets. Grabber Performance also makes a Heat Treat Mega Hand Warmer that lasts up to 12 hours, toe warmers for boots, and body adhesives — all safe and nontoxic. Pricing starts at about $1 a pair.

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Heat Treat Hand Warmers [REI]
Via Amazon [What’s This?] [What's This?]
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11 Responses to Heat Treat Hand Warmers

  1. kdp says:

    Definitely HOT!

    oh, wait…

  2. Frank Townend says:

    I get it now: “… the temperature drops, blood vessels … constrict to redirect blood flow to … the brain…”

    So, if we warm up our hands, less blood flows to the brain, which will keep us from being smart enough to come in from the cold.

  3. Randy says:

    These things rule and last 6+ hours as advertised. The toe warmers don’t seem to last more than a couple of hours. I’ve never used the body warmers (just a larger version of the hand warmer), but my dad loves them during winter hunting and fishing trips. There are generic brands for less, but I’ve never tried them. Probably exactly the same.

  4. PutnamEco says:

    Should I trade in my Jon-E hand warmer?

  5. There are two other common kinds of warmer gadget – sodium acetate phase change packs, and catalytic combustors usually fueled by naphtha lighter fluid. The first is clean and reusable (you boil them to re-liquefy the supersaturated acetate solution) but gives less energy than the iron-combustion type; the second is long-lasting and reusable but can give you “Zippo rash”.

    I wrote about all of them in this letters column.

  6. I’m a big fan of the reusable (sodium acetate phase-change) heat packs, for everyday use. They don’t pack nearly the same heat per unit weight or volume, but you can recharge ‘em hundreds of times, by just dropping them in hot water until the crystals melt again.

    The oxidation heat packs shown here are good for hiking or hunting where weight is a concern, or to toss in the emergency kit since they keep well. But for shoveling snow or just taking the chill off the fingers while the car warms up, the reusable phase-change packs are definitely more cost effective and environmentally sensible.

    One more tip: These oxidation type packs can be “paused” by depriving them of fresh air. Just seal inside a zippered plastic bag, with as much air as possible squeezed out. To restart the reaction, just open the bag again! Actually the “oxygen absorber” packs you find in bags of beef jerky work on the same principle, though they’re much slower and won’t heat up appreciably.

  7. Oh, hi Dan. :) I was going to write a second comment about the naptha burners! I got my dad one last Christmas to replace the one he lost years ago. It takes some work to get started, and smells like a Zippo convention, but it produces plenty of heat on a single filling. What drives me nuts is that if you grab it tightly to absorb as much of its heat as possible, you smother the reaction and it cools right off.

    As for pocket-sized catalytic burners, I find the butane-fueled soldering iron a lot more fun. ;)

  8. Jack Danials says:

    i have thought about buying stock in these. i drive a POS 90 F150 and the damn heater doesn’t work. well it gets cold up here in reno and i feel like a fool dressed for antartica in my truck, but these handwarmers make all the difference. so this guy and and Mr. Jack Daniels deserve a nobel prize, or at least and “attaboy”

  9. PutnamEco says:

    No mention of solid fuel handwarmers? Coghlans is probably the easiestly accessable version. http://store.everestgear.com/eqcg8530.html
    I’ve been using Jon-e type hand warmers for over thirty years.
    What benefit is gained by going to a disposable? when I go out for a week or two of winter camping, I can fit the fuel for my Jon-e in a shirt pocket, Would I be able to carry a weeks supply of oxidation heaters easily? would I be able to “recharge” phase changers efficiently and would they be potent enough to ward off frostbite? What about the trash that they generate?
    ====================================================
    Re:
    What drives me nuts is that if you grab it tightly to absorb as much of its heat as possible, you smother the reaction and it cools right off.
    ————————————————————
    II find I’m more often treating mine like a hot potato than smothering it. If it is that cold, take it out of the bag and let it breath, in a couple of minutes it will be to hot to hold with a bare hand.
    =======================================================
    Zippo also makes a nice handwarmer
    http://www.zippo.com/Products/handWarmer.aspx

  10. Ken says:

    Personally I prefer electric socks.

  11. Kyle says:

    My best friend Jimmy and I know first hand how hand warmers can save your life. On top of a mountain in 16 degree weather with snow bowing vertical, hand warmers were our one source of inspiration. Trust me when the temperature drops, you definitely want a few of these bad boys close by. Happy Birthday Jimmy!

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