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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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I was given one of these back in the 1970's (original hot brand) though I have 4+ of these at home for general use out & about.
These are potential lifesavers in my humble opinion., whether taken in the literal sense or merely to enjoy an otherwise cold & miserable outdoor event.
I use these here in the uk (the wife suffers from the cold via poor circulation), out in the country, or just in a cold workplace, I used to take mine to class in my cold secondary school (& keep it under wraps), watching sports on the touchline etc etc..
I've therefore had one of these since I was about 7 yrs old,..& the only times they go out are if you do not light them properly, or if you do not occasionally blow across the charcoal embers when lit a while, (afterall these seal pretty much airtight in your pocket for obvious reasons)
to light I recommend a candle stub & a lighter.
1. light candle
2. hold tip of charcoal stick over flame at an angle for around 15-20 seconds
3. remove from flame & blow GENTLY across embers to make sure the first cm or so is entirely red with no black inner, as viewed from the end)
4. place glowing stick in open pocket warmer.
5 blow gently across the lit stick from te glowing end as you close the warmer.
6 enjoy the warmth, remembering to open it periodically & give the embers a blow.

these don't need much coaxing they just require a watchful eye.
Placed over a chest pocket these really help the overall body warmth, I don't go out on the mountains without mine carrying a spare stick or two if overnighting & sleeping in the snow or unheated cabins..
I don't recommend giving one of these to a child, I was somewhat exceptin to the rule as a farm child & so learnt responsibility at an early age..
you can light the charcoal warmer sticks at both ends which will greatly reduce the burn time (to 3 or so hours, compared to a full stick heat of 6-8 hrs lit at one end)
Practice makes perfect with these, though not much is required..
Great stocking filler for anyone who braves the cold.
Caution these can get very hot, so make sure you can acess it to move it to another pocket from time to time!
..yes they are that good!
(buy a good stash of charcoal sticks when purchasing, you will use it alot)
Have fun with a genuinely useful bit of kit!
Please make sure you blow gently, & AWAY from clothing, just in case of sparks & out of the wind!
ABM
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on 19 October 2011
I have a variety of handwarmers. The petrol ones last longer on one fill, but for general useage, these cannot be beaten. Running costs are broadly similar.
I feel the negative comments that both the charcoal and petrol ones generate come from those who expect instant gratification and cannot plan to light and wait a minute or two. The warmth is pervasive and long lasting, not a quick heat hit like the disposable or gel type.
Each type has their place, each has advantages and disadvantages. The charcoal and petrol type demand more from their user than the click type sodium acetate, or the air activated disposables.
For an hours warmth, nothing wrong with the gel type, then boil them for 10-15 minutes (or microwave them ). Similar with the disposable ones, but they must be kept dry.
For six hours, charcoal. For anything up to 24 hours, petrol. If you want to perk up the heat, look carefully at the edges and you'll see an indentation on both shorter sides. Blow into this indentation, holding the burner like an ocarina, a few times and will perk up the stick without having to open the holder.
The fuel for the charcoal type is easy to carry, but keep it dry. If you are having issues with a batch of sticks, preheat your oven to 130C, turn it off and put the fuel sticks in on a baking sheet to dry them off.
I well remember using charcoal drawing sticks from the local art shop :-) The number of sticks and whether you lit one or both ends of them determined the heat and duration.
See, Scouting -does- prepare a fella for life.

EDIT:-

These handwarmers don't come with a pouch, at least mine haven't. Once you have lit the stick and got it in the handwarmer, if you don't put it in a pocket or pouch, it seems to go out. I wonder if some of those struggling are lighting it and leaving it on the work surface. Doesn't bother me as from habit, I put mine in an old thick sock.
I have been able to replicate the failure by not pocketing or socking the handwarmer soon after lighting.
Hope that helps.
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on 1 May 2011
I first used one of these in 1985 when I was in the RAF and our squadron went on regular arctic exercise in North Norway .... it worked brilliantly then and I ended up keeping one in my kit every since. Now I am out of the armed forces, I still use one today for cold winter pike fishing sessions and if anything the newer models are a bit better made. Some people seem to have problems with them, but goodness knows why cos its just like firing up a barbecue. Hold a flame under one end of the charcoal rod until it starts to glow red and then white ash appears (approx 20 secs). Lay the rod in the case, clip it shut, put the case in the velvet bag and place it in your pocket .... avoid the temptation to keep opening the case to check its still going as you will quickly lose the heat that builds up in the material of the case.

Designed to be kept in a pocket once lit, it is superb for holding in cold hands to keep the circulation going. You can get replacement charcoal rods from any good camping stores or places like Millets or John Lewis. It weighs next to nothing, costs a few pounds and is worth having in your pocket if you are going to be regularly out in the cold.
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on 11 February 2010
"can burn very hot, it depends how much of the fuel stick you light. It seems a bit smelly, but that is probably the charcoal, the old BCB charcoal seemed to be odourless.

I find it better than the chemical hand warmers because if one stick burns out you can light another, without need to go home and reboil."

One reviewer here says it "barely gets warm and goes out" - I suggest he/she lights more of the stick and blows on the lit end to make sure it is lit (it'll glow red), but be careful it can get very hot.
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on 6 January 2016
I read the reviews on here, so was aware of the need to let the charcoal stick burn for 1cm before locking in the case. In fact, it says it on the instructions as well. So nobody has an excuse for not doing it.

After around 20 minutes, the heat really starts to come through, and keeps coming for several hours. I had to keep checking that my coat wasn't burning it was so hot. But that's not a complaint- it was exactly what I wanted.

The only thing you do need to be aware of is that you do smell a bit like a lit barbecue after a while. It doesn't bother me as out in the field, the important thing is to keep warm.
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on 8 December 2013
Should have remembered from my youth how temperamental these were. One day they work fine then using the same brand of stick they go out for no reason. Get a Whitby or Zippo lighter fuel type, more expensive to buy but they WORK!
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on 27 December 2014
Bit of a struggle to keep the coal burning as there must be a knack to lighting it that I haven't figured out yet. When I've had it buring it's nice and warm, just figure it out before you are out in the cold/rain!
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on 13 January 2012
i had this hand warmer fo Xmas and i found that it is relly good quality i have not tried it yet but it looks relly good.i also got some spare fuel sticks because it only comes with one .the sticks are not very expensive so dont worry about having to by the fuel for them another good thing about them is that they are more rellyable than a gell hand warmer because they can be used more eisly and they are more cost effective.i plan to use mine for canoeing,boating,fishing,hiking and camping because it is built for that sort of thing.overall i think that this is a very good item and is well worth the money.
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on 16 November 2013
Took a while to get the knack of this. After several failed attempts to get it to stay alight, I used the following tips from google and have had warm hands for two days now.
a) try putting charcoal sticks in the oven for a while on a low heat to make sure they are quite dry
b) make sure the charcoal sticks are well alight, at least 1cm - I dipped the tips of mine in isopropyl alcohol to help get the 'burn' well established.
They are definitely a bit smelly, but I'm used to campfire smoke so it's not too bad, and worth it to be warm in our draughty old house.
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on 6 June 2015
I bought this handwarmer as a replacement for several "re-usable" ones, each of which lasted half an hour, and didn't get hot enough. I needed something that would generate enough heat to keep my hand warm in moderately cold to extremely cold weather, following massive nerve damage. The Highlander warmer certainly does the trick! I've used it on several occasions when I've noticed my fingers developing serious problems due to the temperature, and it has resolved the prooblem every time. Kept in my pocket, it generates sufficient warmth and for a lengthy period, allowing e to work outside on cold days. An excellent little tool!
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