Hand warmer - when is it worth having one with you and which one should you choose?

Hand warmer - when is it worth having one with you and which one should you choose? – main image

Ice Fishing in Winter? Hunting in a snow-covered forest during severe frosts? Winter camping? Or maybe a critical situation in hostile, frosty terrain? Prepare yourself for these circumstances properly, and one of the very small things of extraordinary power that will come in handy over and over again is the hand warmer. How to choose to effectively warm frozen hands?

Hand warmer : the origins of the invention and its types

For centuries, mankind has struggled with nature, and one of its dangerous manifestations was cold, cold, frost. To protect themselves from it, people built houses, warm clothes, and warmed themselves by a fire. The hand warmer was created in response to the needs of North American trappers. In 1891, New Jersey patented the first hand warmer that operated using properly prepared fuel in the form of coal.

Mass production of this type of accessory did not begin until twenty-one years later - in 1912, hand warmers with platinum catalysts began to be produced in Japan. Hand warmers can therefore be different and the two previously mentioned are not the only ones. What else can you find on the market today?

Today's mass-produced handwarmers are divided into five main types:

  • coal heaters;
  • catalytic gasoline heaters;
  • electric heaters;
  • gel chemical heaters;
  • iron-air chemical heaters.

Which type is best for warming your hands in difficult weather conditions, when the wind is blowing strongly and the temperature is starting to drop below freezing?

Coal and gasoline heaters

Hand warmer - when is it worth having one with you and which one should you choose? – image 1

Hand warmers of this type use fuel for heating in the form of a specially prepared briquette with appropriate additives that will extend its burning time, as well as gasoline burned in a heater resembling a lighter.

A carbon hand warmer can generate heat for about six hours after setting fire to one or both ends of the briquette. The gasoline hand warmer uses lighter gas, and its operating time can range from twelve hours to even a full day.

Both types of heaters should be refilled from time to time, and in the case of gasoline heaters, also the filaments-catalysts.

A very important issue is the correct use of these heaters. Both of them produce exhaust fumes, so it is forbidden to use them inside tents or sleeping bags. Due to the risk of smoking, such accessories are worn around the neck or in a pocket, but only in the open air.

Chemical heaters

This subgroup includes iron-air and gel chemical heaters . The former is a special mixture of substances that undergoes an exothermic reaction caused by contact with atmospheric air. The sachet of cellulose or fleece contains iron filings, vermiculite and table salt. These heaters run for up to six hours, but the temperature starts dropping after sixty minutes. This type of pocket hand warmer is unfortunately also disposable and cannot be reused.

The reusable hand warmer is undoubtedly a gel chemical warmer. It only works thirty minutes, but can be used multiple times. The reusable hand warmer is useful during winter camping, ice fishing, as well as at a winter campfire or for a trip outside the city. You do not have to worry about fuel for this accessory, because the gel hand heaters do not need it.

The last type of hand warmer is the electric one, but it is not practical and relatively dangerous, so it is worth choosing other, handy and safe types for outdoor activities. Good luck!


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