Have you ever found yourself out in the field, in temperatures too frigid to keep your hands exposed? Have your bones chilled to the point where moving your hands is painful?
It’s a real dilemma when hunting in the cold months. If you don’t have full use of your hands, using a bow or gun will be harder.
Equip yourself properly and you’ll be able to hunt, however cold the weather gets.
Hand warmers are a great solution to the problem. They’re portable and work quickly. They can keep your hands ready for action without slowing them down with bulky layers of gloves.
Whether you’re looking for reusable or single-use warmers, traditional muffs or new technologies, this list of our top picks will have you, and your hands, covered in the cold weather.
Our Top Hand Warmer Picks
- Grabbers– “Cost effective, disposable and easy to use.”
- Hot Hands– “A single-use hand warmer with an incredible shelf life.”
- Zippo– “A fluid-powered hand warmer that gets—and stays—hot, but isn’t odorless.”
- Hot Snapz– “Re-usable, hot, boil in the bag, but short lived.”
- Fourheart Rechargeable– “A multi-purpose electronic hand warmer that will also keep your phone topped up”
- Ultimuff– “A classic hand warmer that will never run out of style—or warmth.”
- Cabela’s Windstopper– “High quality hand warmer muff with booster pocket.”
A Hunter’s Needs
The gear you hunt with is essential. You know from trial and error what works, and what doesn’t. Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re looking for the perfect pair of hand warmers.
Your hand warmers should be lightweight, take up little space, and be easy to pack. If the hand warmers aren’t convenient to bring with you, you may be tempted to skip them altogether.
You’ll also want your hand warmers to be long-lasting. Remember, they’lll continue to use up precious space in your pack after they’re used up. Short-lived hand warmers will also require you to take along additional pairs.
It’s smart to go with an more efficient and long-lasting hand warmer.
Chances are you’ll spend less on them in the long run, even if the cost is higher up front. Cost-effectiveness is always a consideration, but be sure to consider the long-term investment as well. Account for how long an individual pair will last and whether or not they are reusable.
You already know hunting isn’t for the faint of heart. Your hand warmers shouldn’t be weak either.
Whatever you go with, make sure they are durable and able to perform, even under extreme conditions.
Common Types and How They Work
Muffs and Gloves
Muffs and gloves are both traditional hand-warming approaches. A muff is an insulated cylinder you can slide your hands in and out of. Traditionally made of animal skin and fur, you can now find muffs in synthetic materials as well.
Muffs are a great option for keeping hands warm when they are at rest for long periods, like waiting in a tree-stand or blind. However, if you need to use your hands for prolonged periods of time out in the open, the muff is less useful. When you’re on the move, you’ll want your hands free as well, in case you should slip or fall.
Gloves come in many different styles, including fingerless and convertible. With each finger individually sheathed and protected, gloves can be a good option for keeping busy hands warm.
You’ll find gloves in a full range of materials, from leather to synthetics, lined and unlined. Some materials will be more restrictive than others.
These are a reusable type of hand warmer. You simply recharge the hand warmer by submerging it into very hot water. The contents will become uniform and, after it has cooled, it will be ready to use again.
Inside the hand warmer is a metal disk. Flexing this disk activates the heat through the creation of crystallization. Recharging this type of warmer isn’t easy when you’re out and about.
Air-activated hand warmers contain iron, water, salt, activated carbon, and cellulose. The oxidation of the included iron is what causes the heat in the hand warmer. These warmers are single use and heat for up to 10 hours, though their heating capabilities dwindle after the first two hours.
Battery-operated hand warmers are straightforward. The heat is generated through the use of batteries (rechargeable or single use). These hand warmers generally produce heat for approximately six hours.
Rechargeable hand warmers can charge from an electrical outlet or through a USB cord. You can typically expect around 500 recharging sessions. A battery-powered hand warmer can be a great choice for a reliable, reusable product.
Fuelled (Lighter Fluid)
A lighter fluid-powered hand warmer is another reusable hand warmer option. When the lighter fluid runs out, you simply refill the reservoir and the hand warmers work as usual.
Fuelled hand warmers can last up to a full day, making them a great option for longer stints in the cold.
Our Top Picks In Detail
Touted as “the original” hand warmer, Grabbers are single-use hand warmers that can provide up to seven hours of heat. These are simple to use, air-activated warmers. All you need to do is open them and slip them into your gloves to activate.
After activation, you can expect the hand warmers to reach their peak temperature in 15–30 minutes. These are an affordable option for a full season’s worth of hand warmers. While they aren’t reusable, they do last for long periods of time and you can get them in boxes containing 40 pairs.
The Grabbers do come with an expiration date. Expired hand warmers will not work as well, so it is something you should double check when you purchase your box.
- Cost effective when bought in bulk
- Straightforward to use
- Great for packing
- 7 hours of heat
- Not reusable
- Limited shelf-life
Hot Hands are also single-use, air-activated hand warmers. Made in the United States, these hand warmers need no kneading or shaking to be activated. They are compact and lightweight, and don’t take up too much valuable space in your kit.
After activating the warmers, they’ll need 15–30 minutes to warm up. After reaching their heated state, they’ll continue to provide warmth for up to 10 hours. If the warmers stop heating before then, you can expose them to air and give them a gentle shake to get them going again.
An environmentally-safe product, used Hot Hands can be disposed of with the regular trash. These may be single use, but you can buy in bulk without worrying about making another purchase for the following season.
Generally affordable, you can buy these hand warmers during the offseason for greater savings. These hand warmers have a shelf life of three to four years, so purchasing a few months in advance won’t be problematic.
- Simple to use
- Environmentally friendly
- Long 3-4 year shelf-life
- 10 hours of heat
- Not reusable
- Don’t heat up immediately
A hand warmer from the trusted Zippo brand, powered by lighter fluid, this is a great option if you’re looking for something reusable. Its slim design means it takes up little space and is convenient to pack.
The Zippo hand warmer is made with sturdy, quality materials. Designed for rugged use, this is a product you can use even in the harshest conditions.
Have you been hesitant to move on a lighter fluid hand warmer because you’re worried about the scent? It’s worth noting that this hand warmer is almost completely odorless.
It is simple to use and easy to fill. There’s no flame in the hand warmer itself, but you will need a flame to activate the unit. The applied flame initiates a chemical response that releases heat. This hand warmer heats up quickly and will continue to provide heat for up to 12 hours.
- Heats quickly
- Long-lasting, consistent
- Small and easy to pack
- Unit can be difficult to refill cleanly without some lighter fluid spillage
- Needs to be kept upright
- Not scent free
Hot Snapz is a reusable hand warmer that provides instant heat and reaches up to 130 degrees. Once it’s been used, you can recharge and use again.
There’s no electricity required, which is great for off-grid and multi-day use. All you need to do to recharge these hand warmers is to submerge them in boiling water for 10–15 minutes.
There’s not much you’ll be able to do for them in the field once they’re out of heat. However, you can recharge them back at camp in a matter of minutes. Then your hand warmers are ready for another use.
After activating, the stored heat from the boiling charge is released into the hand warmer. These units take up little space and are great to bring with you while hunting.
These hand warmers only work for a brief time, though—an hour or less for the pocket warmers and even less time for the hand warmers. Looking for ongoing heat or something that’s going to be good for a prolonged period of time? This isn’t for you.
While the option to recharge is great, you may find it’s impractical for when you’re out hunting. Unless you’re spending very little time in the cold on your hunt, you’ll probably want to consider a hand warmer that lasts longer.
- Give immediate heat
- Short warming time
- Need boiling water to recharge
The Fourheart rechargeable hand warmer is multi-functional. It not only serves as a hand warmer, heating up to 130 degrees, it can also be used as a charging station for other electronics. While you may not plan on using it as such, a dual-purpose item like this can be invaluable.
This unit is double sided and has three different heat settings. It’s slim, portable, and easily packed for a hunting trip. The Fourheart hand warmer heats up in seconds and is ready to warm your hands almost immediately.
This hand warmer is straightforward to operate. It turns on and off easily and will shut off automatically after an hour’s use, to help preserve battery power. It is equipped to charge iPhones, Androids, and Samsung Galaxy phones.
With a battery level indicator, you’ll never need to wonder how much energy you have left. This unit is made of high-tech, aircraft-grade aluminum.
The hand warmer is shock-proof, radiation-free, and explosion-proof. It also comes equipped with anti-scald technology, so you won’t be accidentally burned.
Offered at an affordable price, this hand warmer also comes with a 45-day money-back guarantee and a two-year warranty. If you’re on the fence about trying it out, there’s really no reason not to.
- Dual purpose
- Instant heat
- Heats for several hours
- Great warranty
- Charge level will degrade with continued use
The Ultimuff is a traditional muff, improved upon with current technologies and materials. This muff is lined with Thinsulate, creating a warm pocket for your hands, regardless of the outside temperatures.
This muff claims to have the largest hand pocket on the market. You don’t need to worry about the bulk of gloves and jackets in addition to the size of your hands and arms. You’ll be able to pull your hands in and out of this muff with ease.
With polyester fur lining and 100 percent fleece exterior, this muff is quiet to use. It’s offered in several colors to suit you and your hunting. Elastic cuffs, a quiet zipper, and adjustable straps make this a great unit that will work for anyone.
- Reusable, always ready, no charging needed!
- Adjustable straps to customize fit to your body
- Bulkier than other alternatives
- Doesn’t provide additional heat
This hand warmer provides the best of both worlds. You have the classic, guaranteed warmth of the muff itself, and it also comes with a hand-warmer pocket. You can add an additional heat source to boost warmth.
Thinsulate insulation and high-loft fleece lining make this muff undeniably warm. Fleece cuff extensions help prevent the cold outside air from seeping into the muff.
This muff is ideal for long stretches of sedentary outdoor use. Whether you’re staked out in a blind or tree stand, this ultrawarm muff will keep the frigid weather at bay. Equipped with a strap to fasten the hand warmer to your body, it’s always within reach without being a burden.
Made of 100 percent polyester, this hand warmer is low maintenance. It will last season after season with its heavy-duty construction and quality materials. This model comes in two different colorways to best suit your hunting type and location.
The video below is an informative video from Cabela about another of the company’s muff-style hand warmers and its purpose in the field. While it’s not a review of the Windstopper muff, it may be useful to you during your hand-warmer search.
- Quality materials and construction
- Reusable and easy to care for
- Ready to warm your hands whenever you need it
- Can be boosted with additional hand-warming devices
- Bulky pack item