Cold weather can make hands into popsicles. Once you get cold fingers, toes, and noses, the outside fun is over.
Keeping your fingers, nose, and toes warm is hard since the circulation of blood is mainly by small capillaries, not larger and warmer blood vessels. AS the body core gets cold, it restricts warm blood flow even more to protect the vital organs at the expense of outer extremities.
Freezing fingers is especially challenging when fishing. You must touch the fish and maybe dip your hands into an ice hole or chilly water. Once wet, hands get cold, grow numb, and fail to work. Too much cold leads to frostbite or other damage.
There are many choices of hand warmers. All vary in price, efficiency, and temperature.
HOT HANDS This shake and bake product is simple, cheap, and works well. They may be the most popular brand on the market. They make a version for toes and kidney wraps. The problem is that they do not get very “hot”. They get warm. Simply expose them to the air and shake them. Within 15-30 minutes, they will be warm. If they get wet, they will not work. The toe version does a good job when tapped inside the sock of your foot. Placing the bags under a liner keeps them from getting wet.
WAX WARMERS These reusable warmers turn on when you press a metal disc inside the warmer bag. Within a few minutes, you have decent heat that will mold around your fingers. To reload, you simply boil them in water. The downside is that they work for just a few hours. Perfect for fingers that are freezing and need heat fast. They usually come in a 4 pack. No odor and easy to use.
CHARCOAL FEUL STIX These warmers are covered in felt and a metal container. You light a charcoal stick and set it inside the container. In about 15 minutes, they can reach temps of 140 degrees. Maybe a bit too hot. You need to open and encourage the spark occasionally, but they last 8-10 hours. If they get wet, it’s over. Not too expensive, minimal smell, but require attention when using so they won’t go out.
ZIPPO Back in the day, every hunter and fisherman carried a stinky, lighter fluid warmer. They did get hot, but every deer within miles could smell you. At times they could get too hot. If over filled, they could burn a hole in your pockets. They came in a little red sack.
RECHARGEABLE HAND GEAR Gloves, Coats, Muffs, and hand warmers can be electrically recharged. They can be regulated from 90-140 degrees. Perfect in the short term but after 4 hours, you need an electric outlet. The Muff idea is not new. You can add most warmers into these heat tubes and take off the chill. They secure around your waist and are always a perfect nest to take off the chill. These products are expensive.
Most decent gloves also help stave off a chill. The trick is to get larger gloves that allow you to add a liner. Place a Hot Hands packet between your skin and liner to protect them. Consider a gauntlet over glove. Prevent your fingers from getting cold initially.
If your fingers get super chilled, place them under your armpits, crotch, or against the core of your body. Putting them into hot water or near a fire can be dangerous. Your sensitivity is nearly gone which will allow you to get burned before you can feel it.
If you keep your fingers warm, you can fish, hunt, and play in the cold outdoors longer and more comfortably.