10.02.2019

warm hands in winter title

 

At first the dry truth: it depends on yourself how susceptible you are for cold. In my case I’m very susceptible for cold limbs, but this could be a condition where I'm not cold yet. This due to a low blood pressure. I do sport regularly and eat a balanced and conscious diet. The only caffeine I drink is tea (black, green, white). But this alone is not enough to raise blood pressure, either exercise or a large meal can only help. Anyway, if your hand and fingers are already cold, it will be very difficult to warm them at minus degrees, apart from a car heater.

So make sure your hands are warm before you spend hours in the cold. One of my favorite items to keep warm or to get warm is a pocket oven. These oven stays warm for at least 8 hours with a maximum load of lighter fuel. It only takes two minutes to fill the oven and set it running.

I use mine, a Peacock hand warmer of the company HAKKIN which are made in Japan, since two years now in every winter and it is a very reliable warmth dispenser for the hands.

peacock pocket warmerPocket Warmer from Peacock.

How does it work?

You remove the burner and fill the cotton with lighter fuel, put the burner back on and then you start the catalytic process by lighting the burner head with a lighter. After that you put the warmer in the bag and it start’s to get warm. Without the bag it’s just to hot and I made the observation that you can suffocate the burner very easily, that the oven just goes out. That's why I always use the pocket warmer with the bag.

peacock fill upFilling up the pocket oven.

To make that clear: there is no open fire in your pocket with this thing. The burner simply glows and consumes the filled fuel and this catalytic process generates heat. It is very safe, you can “turn off” at any time if you deprive it of oxygen by put it in a plastic bag.

When the oven is activated I put it in my trouser pocket or in the pocket of my jacket to have fast access to it to warm the hands. A complete load holds for over 8 hours. Officially it should hold 24 hours but it never reached this time. I don't need the 24 hours because I've never been out for such a long time.

I can only recommend this pocket warmer, it spends warmth with little weight and fits perfect in one hand in the standard size. There are also a baby and a giant size. I’m only using the standard size and if you are unsatisfied with the performance you can buy a new burner head and change the old one. I haven't done that yet but maybe in the future.

peacock pocket warmer burnerThe burner part which can be replaced.

peacock pocket warmer in pocketThe pocket warmer in its pocket.

Gloves

The principle of attracting different layers applies not only to the body but also to the hands. The Austrian company The Heat Company offers such solutions.

They have become known for their heat pads and also offer high-quality gloves where the heat pads can be inserted. As base layer I have decided for gloves made of leather or the inside of the hand is made of leather. Leather because this is much more durable or a fabric glove will eventually break through the many open and twist the tripod legs.

heat company durable linerThe leather base liner.

The Durable Liner are of course a bit more stiff and have thicker stitches, but the fit is excellent. I wear size medium and have prints after wearing the gloves, but without any pressure or pain. The leather is not too thick and offer a very tactile feeling and you have still a useful mobility with the whole hand. I can still drive a car and keep them the whole time on. Even when I change the lens, use a small button on the camera or if I wanna screw a filter on the lens, with the appropriate caution. And it is still possible to use a touch screen, with these gloves because of the silver fabric on each forefinger.

heat company touch functionVery useful: you don't have to take the glove off to use a touchscreen.

The thermal performance of the gloves is fine, you will certainly not warm up cold hands again, but they provide a more pleasant feeling.

The second layer is definitely very warming. The so-called shell gloves are mittens which are simply pulled onto the base layer. Mittens provide a smaller attack surface for cold, so there are always a better thermal solution then gloves with single fingers. Also here I decided for the Full Leather variant. As with the Durable Liner they are made of soft sheepskin leather which is very comfortable to wear. The real highlight of the gloves are the zippers which provide access for the fingers without to take the off. You can simply fold down the finger part of the glove to continue using the camera. And it is also possible to give access to the thumb. This is brilliant.

heat company shell mittensThe shell mittens are also made of leather.

heat company gloves in actionThe combination in action.

The thermal performance is guaranteed through artificial downs. That doesn't sound so impressive at first, but as soon as you put your frozen fingers into such gloves you immediately notice a stop of the cold. With these mittens it is definitely easier to warm up your hands again. And with every kind of glove it is possible to add a heat pad. These small pockets are placed on the back hand and warming the circulating blood.

There are comfortable features like sewn-in magnets so the folded part doesn't just flutter back and forth and a drawstring to fix the gloves even better to the wrist.

And if it’s not enough there is also a third layer. A so called Polar Hood. This layer should protect better against wind and water. I don’t have them, because I never had such extreme conditions.

heat company durable liner pocketPouch for the handwarmer.

heat company handwarmerThe handwarmers which react with oxygen.

Final Words

The experience that I have made is that all this nicest stuff is quite useless when you are already cold. Than only a warm room or car can help. So make sure that you are warm when you go out. What I’m also a fan of is to take warm tea with you in a thermos flask. This little helper ensures a balanced water balance and good blood circulation. Then of course movement, but this depends on what you want to photograph. If you are standing in the cold and wait on a spot for a clear sky for the stars and the moonset then you really need several layers of cloth and maybe these helpers which I have mentioned above.

This is not an advertisement for the products mentioned, this text serves only as a source of information on how to keep my hands warm in the cold season.

What about your tips for winter and warm hands? Write it in the comments!

 

 

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