Anybody who ventures out into the cold winter weather for hobbies or work will know even standing around for a short time will cause the cold to start seeping into the body starting with the hands and feet. Mild cold in the extremities only causes discomfort but a prolonged temperature drop can lead to frostbite that will only get worse over time.
Outdoor pursuits that involve a lot of standing or sitting like fishing, bird watching or hunting usually means a fair bit of stamping feet or rubbing hands during the winter months. Then you have winter outdoor sports where even though the participants are moving around the extreme temperatures can still cause problems and discomfort.
Thanks to the interactions between common chemicals keeping warm in the cold weather is just a matter of using one of the many self generating heat pouches available. Coming in a variety of sizes from the tiny ones perfect for slipping inside a glove to big square sheets you can slot under your clothing.
Giving a long lasting heat source that will keep going for up to six hours once activated (longer for the bigger heat packs) and a shelf life of 3 years when left in its original packaging they can be kept with all you other camping kit until needed.
As Survival Gear
We like to keep a handful of these as part of our emergency kit along with some self heating instant meals but thankfully have never had to use them for anything but keeping warm around the camp site during the cold weather and walking in the snow. Another great use we have found for these air activated warmers is to throw one in our sleeping bags half and hour before turning in, there is nothing like climbing into a warm mummy bag while winter camping. As we regularly check everything in the emergency kit storing these pouches there allows us to keep a good eye on the expiry dates.
Because the necessary reaction to generate the heat only needs common chemicals like charcoal, iron powder, salt and water the pouches are completely non toxic and safe to use.
The pack on this page is put together with pouches to warm the hands, feet and central body but there are companies who sell bulk packs of just the heat packs for hands or the propose built warmers that slip over all your toes inside the boot.
The only problem we have found with this type of product over the few years we have been using them is that its so easy to get used to having that extra warmth the cold is so much more noticeable when they run out.