Handwarmers are great, but they could be a lot better

Those little hand warmer packets are wonderful inventions. But I think they’re missing a big piece of the market that could be a huge help to anyone who spends any amount of time out in the cold.

When I was up in North Dakota working as a wildlife photographer, I often had to spend a lot of time in extremely cold conditions. I’ve been in similar situations here in Wyoming. Cold is cold, no matter where you are.

I don’t know if cold affects you the way it does me, but it tends to hit my fingers first. It starts out just being uncomfortable, then my fingers just plain quit working. That was the case with a photo shoot I was trying to do a while back.

The temperature was one degree, and the wind was blowing 30 miles an hour. I had all the goodies to keep most of me as comfortable as possible – I had a balaclava to keep my ears and face warm; I had snow pants to stay dry below the waist; and I had my super heavy Filson coat with the extreme wool liner to keep my core nice and toasty.

But to shoot pictures, I was going to need to have some dexterity in my fingers, so all I had for my hands was a pair of glove liners. Before I left the truck, I poked a couple of hand warmer packets inside the gloves, and that helped, but by the time I got my photos and got back to the rig, my thumbs were bone white. It got me thinking, why don’t they make the whole darn gloves out of the stuff they make those hand warmer packets out of? You’d just open the packet, shake the gloves for a minute, then pull them on, and the entire gloves would keep your hands warm and toasty all day long.

Come on, hand warmer maker people, help us out a little. Your packets are lovely things, but you need to kick it up a notch. Especially for those of us who live in places where the temperature and wind chill regularly combine to make it feel like we’re wandering around on the back side of the moon.

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