Some riders use chemical hand warmers during cold weather riding. I am among them. I have tried all sorts of gloves, mittens and combinations of various ones trying to find something that works for me. It always comes down to my thumbs for me. I struggle the most trying to keep my thumbs warm. I wish I could tell you that the chemical hand warmers do a superb job for me but it just isn’t so. They do help though.
I have a pair of gloves with mitten flip covers which are made by HotHands. They are fairly warm gloves/mittens as they are a soft warm material with Thinsalate in them. They are designed to hold a chemical hand warmer over the backside of the fingers. This is about worthless for me. I need the chemical hand warmers on the inside of my fingers to keep my fingers warm. Even then it has minimal effect. This picture below shows a special area on the front side of the flip over mitten cover but there is no such thing on mine. That is where I am talking about having a pocket to hold a chemical packet. Hmmm, I wonder if they added one after I bought mne. I emailed the manufacturer about this and heard back from them. They haven’t changed their product. Why this picture shows this square area on the front side I don’t know. It does not exist in reality.
I have tried placing the packets elsewhere inside of the mittens but it doesn’t work very well. I have even lost one while riding along as they tend to try to fall out. A pocket is needed to place them in so they are held in place.
I find the best thing for me is to wear just a pair of Hotfingers mittens and use 4 packets of chemical hand warmers inside of them … two in each mitten … one down inside for my fingers and one inside the thumbs of the mittens. These mittens are not all that warm in and of themselves but they do a pretty good job of keeping the wind from passing thru them which helps immensely. The thumbs are large enough to place a chemical packet down inside and still get my thumbs in. I can just sort of hold the chemical hand warmer packet with my fingers and my thumbs are snug against the chemical handwarmer packet inside the thumb of the mitten.
Here are my 4 used packets I am experimenting with to see if I can get a 3rd day of use out of them
One thing I have observed and learned about these chemical hand warmers is that they don’t work without exposure to air (oxygen). It takes oxygen to get them started and if you remove the oxygen while they are creating heat they will stop the chemical process and no longer produce heat. Then if you reintroduce them to oxygen they will start back up again. Since they are suppose to last for about 10 hours I can place them inside an airtight container such as a plastic bag to deny them oxygen and then get a second day’s use out of them by reintroducing them to air again. That is nice as it saves money. They do get expensive if you use them daily. Today I used them for a second time and upon arriving back home I placed them back into a plastic bag to see if I can get a third day out of them. That would be nice but I am not going to hold my breath as they say. There is rain in the forecast tomorrow so I probably won’t be able to ride anyway. However, I can take the packets out of the plastic bag and see if they take off again producing heat. I will let you know.
Well, I am letting you know … Yes, all 4 packets have started producing heat and so it appears as though they would work for a 3rd day. The manufacturer wants customers to believe and accept that they are only good for one day. They don’t want people to know that they can be reused like this. Of course, they make more money that way. I can’t test them today though as it is too warm outside to use them. Tomorrow will be much cooler. I will see if they fire back up for a 4th day.
Hey, they are warmed back up on the 4th day and ready to go. The question is … how long will they last? Will I make it thru my entire ride today? Stay tuned.
Still there? I am back from my ride and I got a third day of riding in using the same chemical hand warmer packets. That is good to know. I have been doing two days but I never tried for three before.
Update: I discovered today that this reuse of the chemical packets does not always work. Sometimes they don’t start back up. Sometimes they are slow to start back up. And sometimes even if they do start back up they don’t last very long.
BTW, the best price I have found for chemical hand warmers is at Walmart unless one comes across a special deal like a surplus store or some other place. I just looked and Harbor Freight Tools looks to have the best price at this time.
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