High-Tech Heat: Three Ways to Keep Your Hands Warm This Winter

best hand warmers

We’re well past Christmas here in North America, but spring is still more than a month away. That means: there’s plenty of time left for winter hikes, snowboarding, and wok racing. But, if you have fingers, you’re probably looking for a way to keep them warm outdoors. Pockets and dime store chemical warming packets were fine for your grandpa. But, why not ditch those Civil War-era solutions in favor of something more “high-tech?” Here are three great ways to keep your hands toasty warm in almost any conditions this winter.

Hand Warmer by Zippo

Zippo gets zero points for creativity on their very uncleverly named “Hand Warmer.” But, who cares when it means you’ll have up to 12 hours of flameless warmth inside your gloves? The easy-to-use hand warmer is just a basic, compact catalytic heating unit encased in rugged metal. The kit includes a plastic fill cup and soft carry sleeve that also protects your skin when placed inside your glove or mitten. They’re sold in 6-hour (for rookies) and 12-hour versions. In real-world conditions, many people find that both versions last much longer than Zippo claims. They’re sold individually, so be sure to buy a pair if you have two hands.

EnergyFlux Ellipse Rechargeable Wrap-around Hand Warmer by Human Creations

best hand warmers winter k408 3a swatch
Image courtesy Human Creations

If the idea of a flameless “lighter” in your pocket (a la a catalytic-style hand warmer) doesn’t sit well with you, opt for a battery-powered alternative. The EnergyFlux Ellipse is essentially a repurposed backup battery pack designed to throw off tons of heat. The 5200mAh capacity keeps both sides of the unit warm via two heat settings. At room temperature, low reaches 107°F (for approximately 6.5 hours), while high tops out at 118°F (for around five hours). Colder outdoor temperatures will, of course, hamper the unit’s effectiveness. While this electric alternative won’t outlast its catalytic competition, it can double as a backup battery to top off your smartphone or tablet. A deluxe, 7,800mAh option is also available, although it’s likely too large for the average person.

Heated Gear Gloves by Flambeau

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Image courtesy of Flambeau

If a cigarette-pack-sized warmer isn’t disco enough for you and you don’t mind spending a bit more, opt instead for a pair of electric, insulated gloves. Flambeau’s Heated Gear Gloves are relatively lightweight, but plenty thick for keeping your hands toasty while hiking, skiing, or clearing snow off your truck. They’re also waterproof, breathable, and feature an adjustable wrist cuff to trap heat. But, the real win is the unique heating element. A web of carbon fiber threads runs along the wearer’s palm and the undersides of the fingers. Because they’re electric, the run-time isn’t fantastic (3-4 hours), but Flambeau sells a backup battery to keep you going all day if need be.