What To Look For
Buying reusable hand warmers may introduce you to the often missed aisles of the outdoors-gear store devoted to creature comforts and survival. The cost of these items is usually quite negligible, and the basic setup does not change much among different manufacturers. Nevertheless, there are some differences. Choose reusable hand warmers depending on whether you want to keep your hands warm during a fall hike or a winter backpacking trip. The average reusable hand warmer heats up to a toasty 130 degrees F. Basic reusable hand warmers warm up in as little as 15 seconds. It is also interesting to note that some hand warmers are not anatomically molded for the hands and fingers, and therefore may also be used as foot warmers or heating pads for an aching back or neck.
The small sizes of these reusable hand warmers, along with the limited time the heat remains active, frequently necessitates using three or more pairs of them during one outing. This is especially true if the hand warmers are used during extreme weather conditions or by hikers with large hands.
Moreover, since recharging usually requires boiling in water for at least 10 minutes, the time this takes does not easily allow for preparing hand warmers for reuse during an average day hike.
Another problem is the requirement of a glove that will contain them as you are warming your hands. Although it is possible to warm hands without the use of gloves, the cold air will undo the warmth virtually immediately. Since the warming action lasts only for about 30 minutes, the use of gloves is highly recommended to prolong the experience of warm hands.
Where To Buy
Buying reusable hand warmers does not require a lot of comparison shopping or custom fitting. It is perfectly acceptable to purchase them either from a store specializing in outdoors gear and survival goods, a sporting goods department of a major department store or a website dedicated to the sale of quality outdoors paraphernalia.
Reusable hand warmers vary little in cost. Prices in 2009 ranged from $4 to about $8 per individual unit. This makes them a lot less expensive than the lighter-fluid-powered hand-warming devices that require a flame and fuel to work, and only slightly more costly than the disposable hand warmers that only operate one time.
Opt for a high-quality glove that stretches sufficiently to contain your hand and also the reusable hand warmer. For example, the Burton women's Gore mitt is made of Gore Tex, a breathable and waterproof material. It contains a special pocket specifically manufactured for the insertion of a hand warmer. This makes it perfect for use during cold-weather hikes and winter sports.