My grandmother, like many older people, is cold.. All the time. She's one to sit in the house by the fire with more layers than I care to count, shivering with cold..in summer..! And when she came to our house, this Christmas, I decided something had to be done about it, so with her cardigan, vests, and two blankets, we sat her down as close to the fire as safely possible, and I produced two of these hot hands sachets and asked if she'd like to try them out. (I might add that our house is perpetually cold, which is nice in the summer, but Christmastime is another story).
I'd seen these a few weeks previously at a market stall for roughly £4 for a pack of ten, which seemed good value provided they worked. As my grandmother was only going to be sat still, we decided to give her one at a time rather than two.. The general idea being you have one small sachet in each hand or pocket, so when out and about you don't have to suffer with freezing hands.. But she only wanted one to hold in both hands,. I personally didn't open the first sachet, I left it to my grandmother, to see how simple it really is.. She soon asked my brother's help.. The problem being this: each sachet is material (slightly larger than a ketchup sachet, perfect size to fit in the hand to be fair) and comes in a clear plastic packet, to keep it away from the air. Then, when it is opened, the elements inside react with the air and produce a constant heat which is the whole idea of the product. Sounds simple enough... I reckon this is the fault of my grandmother becoming somewhat senile and my brother having been on the Christmas booze, but when the instructions said open the packet, they opened both plastic and material sachet,( revealing the powdered iron and activated carbon etc. inside) because they didn't know if it was working .. And neither were patient enough to check if it was becoming warmer!? Just for the records, you only need to open the plasticy foil part so the air can get to the powder, although this seems rather obvious.
Anyway, being the worrying sort, my grandmother tried to sellotape the end closed _(not wanting to waste it,despite me offering her another, bless) .. She had read not to get the contents in the eyes or to ingest it, and began to panic when the sellotape wouldn't stick (this isn't really Hot Hands's fault, I just felt I should explain what happened.. If you give these to children, or the elderly, I suggest you take care to open them yourself and supervise them somewhat.). To resolve this I taped it as best I could then put it inside a sandwich bag and tied a knot,.
After all the palava, they did actually work great.. They seemed to heat up pretty quickly and stay warm, without ever becoming painfully hot to hold. They promise 10 hours of heat, and as you can imagine, this didn't happen with the first one! Ooops! But once everyone had got the hang of it, they did seem to last all day... Though towards the nine- ten hour mark, we had to start squeezing and moving the sachet about to keep the heat constant, as the reaction taking place began to slow.
My grandmother loves them. She says her fingers and hands tend to feel numb most of the time as they're so cold, but with these she was still able to feel her fingers and even hold a pen properly to complete her word searches! Great.
Before she left for home, I did take a pair of them for myself. I used them when I went shopping in the January sales. Whilst it's a little awkward to hold them when pushing the pram, I was willing to put up with it for warm hands, and when my partner offered to push, I discovered that I could slot the sachets into the palms of my gloves and I needn't even hold them! _(I'm not lazy.. I prefer the term 'efficient'! Haha!). I then went and bought two more packs. They've been amazing this winter, from stopping my grandmother moaning in the corner about the cold to keeping my own hands warm when outside in this atrocious weather we've been having. We've not had it as bad as some here and I'll be forever grateful that I don't live on the coast. And I sincerely hope that none of you have suffered too badly in this.. Let's just be glad we're through the worst of it.
Anyway, it's a great little product, and for 80p for a pair and a days heat, extremely good value for money. I'd recommend them to anyone, but especially those with circulation problems that suffer with severely cold hands (or feet as my partner discovered!) . Despite our little hiccup with the instructions at the beginning, they're a perfect stocking filler as I'm sure everyone had a use for them, and I can't see any real problem with them.
If I see them again, I'll be sure to stock up, ... Though.. Does anyone know about the expiration of these? Would they keep until next winter if I had any left? Just an afterthought.. I couldn't find anything on the packet...
Thanks for reading. X
I work as a trainee gardener for one of my jobs, and I also have an allotment so I spend quite a bit of time outside in all weathers. I suffer from perennially cold hands, even in the summer, and so in winter gloves are a must for me. [I have had that checked by a doctor and I don't have a medical problem to account for it!] I tend to wear 2 pairs at least. My mum always worries that I will get too cold, bless her, so when she saw a packet of Hot Hands instant hand warmers in Poundword, she bought me a few packs to try. I have used the sort that are re-usable before, but not a disposable one, so I was keen to see if they would live up to their promise of providing up to 10 hours of heat..
WHAT THE WARMERS ARE SUPPOSED TO DO.
Hot Hands are a product made by HeatMax, an American company according to the packaging. A quick look online shows that they offer many similar heat providing products such as those for the feet, as well as emergency packs for skiers etc. Hot Hands have apparently been available for 20 years and they are, in the companies own words, "the leader in air-activated warmers". They say that their products are used by professional athletes, outdoor sports enthusiasts and spectators, and those such as myself who work outside.
The pack that I have contains 2 warmers, one for each hand. They are in the form of small bags that resemble flat pillows. Each one would fit comfortably in the palm of your hand. Once activated by contact with air, the materials inside react together producing heat as a result. This heat is continually generated over a period of time, so you can keep the warmer in your pocket or inside your gloves to use over the course of the day. They are supposed to stay warm for up to 10 hours and to reach a temperature of no more than 70 degrees celsius. Like all similar products, they packet bears a list of warnings detailing those who should exercise caution before using the units. It is advised that you should not use it if you have sensitive skin, "allergies", diabetes, frostbite, scars, arthritis, circulation problems, or bruising/swelling. You can't use them in oxygen enriched environments either. Thankfully none of those restrictions apply to me.
The warmers come in a foil sachet, which couldn't be dispensed with because the warmers are air activated. Each one is individually sealed within the larger sachet though, so if for any reason you just wanted to use a single one you could. The packet is easy to open, which is essential if you have already cold hands. It folds in half, and being thin and light, it is easy to slip it into a rucksack without really noticing it is there.
When you are ready to use the warmers, you remove them from the sachet and shake them vigorously. This activates the reaction that produces the heat, along with exposure to air. The packet didn't say how long you should shake them for, so I just do it for a few seconds and that seems to work well. The heating up isn't instant - the pack says that this will take 15-30 minutes but in my experience it rarely takes that long. I would say they are cosy warm in 10 minutes, if not before. You are then advised to place the warmers in your gloves or pocket to get the maximum benefit from them.
DO THEY WORK?
I was immediately impressed with the level of heat that came out. I don't think that it reaches 70 degrees celsius inside my gloves - but the heat is very pleasant and I think that should the warmers get any hotter they may be actually uncomfortable in the long run. It allows numb fingers to recover very quickly. I have kept the pads in my gloves most of the time where they sit against my palm, but they are not so bulky that they then make it impossible to pick something up. You can easily switch them round to sit on the back of your hand if you prefer. It is my finger tips that get coldest, and although the heat does reach up there, I think that if I wore mittens, I would find the tips stayed warmer still. I could then push the warmers up to the top of my fingers. Mittens aren't practical for the sort of fiddly jobs that I am doing at the moment though, such as making knots to secure fruit netting. When I need to take my gloves off, I slip the warmer into my pocket, and pop my hands in there for a short burst of warmth if they feel cold. They really do last all day too. The "up to" 10 hours of warmth claim is completely accurate. I only notice a slight diminuation in heat after 8 hours and there is still some warmth there after the 10 hours have passed in my experience.
Once you have finished with the warmers, they have to be thrown out with the rubbish. This for me is the major downside of the product. The other kind of hand warmer that I have is the sort that can be re-used by reactivating the sealed materials inside by boiling the pouch in water. I bought these second type for a pound for one warmer in Poundland a couple of years ago, and so they are obviously better value for money in the long term. I would say that the re-usable ones do not stay warm for anywhere near as long as the Hot Hands product though [2-3 hours at most], but as they are cheap, I have several and I can activate a fresh one when the last has got cold. These re-usable ones are bulkier and more suited to pockets, but I have seen slim line versions in camping shops.
WOULD I RECOMMEND THE WARMERS?
As a product in their own right, these are excellent. They heat up quickly, are easy to use and stay comfortably hot for hours and hours. If I only needed to use this sort of product occasionally, perhps on the odd winter walk, I would buy these happily. If you are going to be outside a lot, perhaps gardening or camping, I think that the re-usable instant hand warmers would work out better value in the longer term, as well as better for the environment as the are not intended to be thrown away after one use. Apart from that, I would recommend the Hot Hands warmers. You can buy them from camping type stores although you will pay more than a pound if you don't get them in one of the discount shops. They are also available in multi packs on Amazon, but this still works out more than buying them in Poundworld in twin packs at the time of looking.
[This review is also on Ciao under the same user name.]