Hand warmers are the ideal addition to your winter survival kit. It’s a comfort option for almost all cool/cold weather outdoors. Fishing, camping, skiing, hiking, hunting, snowshoeing, etc.

By the time I type this, it will be winter. It’s cold outside. No more fresh snow on the ground. It’s time to check out the mini winter survival gear that’s in the storage box of my snowmobile.

Do I still have arm warmers and leg warmers? I’ll check it out. Four each. Cute and flat in pockets that don’t take up much room. That’s very good.

I’ll tell you what… If I were ever outside anywhere in the winter, I would definitely want to put hand warmers in my gloves and foot warmers in my boots.

Yes, I would wear well-insulated winter gloves. I would also bring a pair of spare gloves (or mittens). But a few durable hand warmers will make life more comfortable (assuming it’s really cold).

[ Reading: [ Thin insulating gloves – thermal balance ]

How do hand warmers work?

It’s actually quite simple. You will be surprised to know that these chafing dishes are made of completely natural ingredients. According to the famous manufacturer of HotHands, based in Dalton, Georgia, the ingredients include iron, carbon and salt. When iron comes into contact with oxygen, it oxidizes and gives off heat. This is a small chemical reaction that occurs in nature.

A thin bag containing a combination of ingredients is vacuum packed in a plastic wrap. They do not heat up before you remove them (by exposing them to air/oxygen and shaking them to initiate the reaction.

I just read the table of contents of one of my hand warmers (I didn’t know they had one until I looked at it)…. Iron powder, water, salt, activated carbon and vermiculite.

This is what the HotHands package looks like when you remove it from the vacuum packaging. This one measures about 3.5 x 2.

Here’s what the thing looks like on the inside:

How to get a warm hand warmer?

These heaters have an average temperature of 135 degrees F. It takes 15 to 30 minutes to really get going. They warn that the maximum temperature can reach 158° F (although I’ve never felt that kind of heat – so probably just a CYA thing).

How long do they stay warm?

Well, they have different formulas. The HotHands package I have with me gives up to 10 hours. Actually, the heat will dissipate after many hours. However, I wore them with gloves on for 6 hours – and they stayed warm!

Have the manual heating elements expired?

An expiry date is stated on the packaging. I think it’s 5 years away from production (for this one). I bought a box of 40 pairs in 2016 (I still have a few left). They are marked EXP01/20. From this date they are valid for exactly 1 year. So I open one up, shake it and see what happens ….

Well, it’s been about 20 minutes and I think the temperature has stabilized. I took my digital grill thermometer and measured the package. Are you ready for this? >> 126 F

Not bad for passing the EXP of the year. So, as you can see, they still work, but not as well. If they are newer/fresher, they will be much warmer at first. So I expect outdated hand warmers won’t stay warm as long. 126 is good (pretty hot) for me though.

Heated pins

Made in the United States…
(View from Amzn)

Hand warmer (10 pair)

Hand warmer (40 pair)

Leggings (5 pair)

Leggings (40 pairs)

Anyway, I figured if you live in a cold area, I’d put it in my bag as a meal to warm up (or just at home). If you ever get in a car accident or have to walk in the cold, you’ll be glad you have them ….

I have several articles on my blog that have suggestions on what you should have in your survival kit, just in case:

>> Survival Kit Topics

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