I’ve been debating whether or not to get a couple of reusable hand warmers for a year or so now. When I’m out shooting in winter I really need to keep my fingers warm. Up until now I’ve been using the disposable type, the particular brand I’ve always used are Little Hotties. Up until last year they’ve been perfectly good, but the last two boxes that I purchased from Costco have barely got warm. I’ve ended up using two pairs just to get enough heat to keep my fingers from freezing. I’m not sure what they’ve done to the active ingredients but they’re definitely not as good as they used to be.
I’d been looking at the Zippo hand warmers and also the S-Boston version. I’m a big fan of zippo products and have used their lighters for twenty years. Zippo products are known for their quality and lifetime guarantee so I figured the hand warmers would be up to the same standard. The S-Boston hand warmers are a similar design but have an electronic ignition system and are designed to be turned off when you’ve finished using them. Having said that, they are significantly more expensive than the Zippo.
Coming up to Christmas last year, I was struggling for things to list as gifts I wanted, so I decided to throw one of the Zippo hand warmers on the list. I was given one as a gift by my mum and Kay was also given a pair of them.
I didn’t have to wait long to try them out. The first weekend of January we were out shooting in freezing temperatures, so we fired up the hand warmers set off out in to the woods.
The first thing I’ll say about the Zippo is that it lights easily while you’re at home. Lighting them outside with even the slightest breeze is a lot more difficult. I did eventually manage to get them all to light, so I dropped them in their little pouches and stuffed them in my pocket. Having used them for the whole day, I can say they do get warmer than the last batch of disposable warmers I’d been using, but not by a whole lot.
One of the group I was shooting with had one of the S-Boston hand warmers. Compared to the Zippo, that thing was nuclear. It was so hot that you could barely touch it when it was outside of the leather sleeve it comes with. As I only had one of the Zippo hand warmers at this point, I decided to order one and give it a go.
As I mentioned earlier, the S-Boston hand warmer is significantly more expensive than the Zippo. The best price I found on the Zippo was £12.99, the best price I could find on the S-Boston was £25.99. Those of you with quick mental arithmetic will have worked out that it’s double the price!
Again, I didn’t have long to wait before I could test it out. The first Sunday after it was delivered we were off out shooting again. When we set off, the temperature was -3c. It dropped as low as -4.5c on the way there but was back at -3c when we started shooting. It was the ideal day to test the hand warmers. The temperature never got above freezing all day and we did a lot of waiting around. A guarantee that you’re going to be cold.
The S-Boston has an electronic ignition system that makes it a breeze to light, inside or out, wind it no wind. Thirty seconds and the thing is lit and warming up.
I had a Zippo in one pocket and the S-Boston in the other, and ideal test situation. Having been outside all day with the two products, I can honestly say there is no comparison between the two. The zippo did keep my hand from freezing, but definitely not that warm. I spent most of the day swapping the S-Boston from one pocket to the other to keep both of my hands warm.
In my opinion, the S-Boston is definitely worth the extra cost. The only thing I can fault the S-Boston for is the battery cover that holds the batteries for the electronic ignition system. When sliding the warmer in and out of the leather sleeve it comes with, the cover has a habit of coming loose. I’m not sure if this is because the sleeve is new and quite right. I’m hoping it gives a little over time and this little annoyance goes away. I have since replaced the Zippo hand warmer with another S-Boston and relegated the Zippo to the role of backup.
If your in the market for a reusable hand warmer, save yourself the cost of the Zippo and order the S-Boston straight off the bat.