The 8 Best Hand Warmers For Skiing

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by Rachel Cavanaugh and BDG Commerce
Originally Published: 
best hand warmers for skiing

There’s nothing like a great day on the slopes, but it can also mean frigid hands and fingers. For more comfort with each run, the best hand warmers for skiing are available as one-use packets or as reusable devices that can be recharged or powered by fuel. They’re small enough to fit in your jacket pocket and some are even compact enough to fit inside your gloves. Here’s a rundown on what you need to know:

Packet-Style Hand Warmers

The most common hand warmers are disposable one-use packets filled with a blend of ingredients like iron, salt water, and carbon, and — when exposed to air — they produce an exothermic chemical reaction that provides heat for hours. On top of these genius biodegradable packets, there are reusable gel packs that are triggered by snapping a metal disk. The gel packs last for a shorter period of time (under an hour), but they’re reusable and can be reactivated by placing them in boiling water. One big pro of both types of packet-style warmers is that they’re lightweight and flexible, and in many cases, small enough to place right inside your gloves or mittens.

Device-Style Warmers

Usually made of materials like aluminum, the best reusable hand warmers for skiing are designed to fit neatly in the palm of your hand and are best suited to quick warming sessions on the lift or between runs, since you can’t put them inside your gloves. (And keep in mind these are definitely bulkier than packets.) Rechargeable warming devices can be powered up via USB, and they typically have multiple heat settings for customization, and they also double as convenient power banks for your phone. Fuel-based catalytic warmers, on the other hand, rely on lighter fluid and a lighter to activate — these are budget-friendly, and while they’re a little more hassle, they’re better for multi-day backcountry ski trips, as you won’t need access to a wall outlet to reactivate.

With all that in mind, check out the best hand warmers for skiing below.


The Overall Best One-Use Hand Warmers

A classic pick that boasts a 4.8-star overall rating, this 20-pair pack of HotHands comes with 40 individual air-activated packets, which heat up in 15 to 30 minutes to an average temperature of 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Each hand-warming pouch provides heat for up to 10 hours — just open up the outer packaging and shake to activate. The packets are filled with a blend of iron, charcoal, salt, and wood fiber, and since they’re flexible and small (2 by 3.5 inches), they fit easily in your coat pocket or inside your gloves. The one-use packets can be thrown in the garbage when you’re done.

According to a reviewer: “These hand warmers work much better than expected. If you place them in an airtight ziplock bag after use you can get a 2nd days use out of them them. I ski several times a week in the colorado rockies and often in below zero weather. Hothands are a lifesaver inside my leather ski mittens.”


The Best Reusable Gel Warmers

As an alternative to the disposable packets, these reusable hand warmers work via a chemical reaction in the gel that generates heat up to 130 degrees Fahrenheit after snapping the little metal discs inside. The warmth will last about 30 to 40 minutes — significantly shorter than the top pick, so you may want to take a few packets along if you plan on skiing for more than a half-day. At 4 inches in diameter, they’re slightly bigger than HotHands, but the flexible texture means they fit comfortably in your pocket. To recharge the packets, boil them in water for 10 to 15 minutes and let them cool. Although they have some drawbacks, these are a worthy consideration if you’re looking for something reusable you can stick in your gloves.

According to a reviewer:“Love love love these! I take a couple sets to stick in my pockets when going skiing. I would recommend these to anyone!”


The Best For Both Your Hands & Your Feet

With a near-perfect 4.8-star overall rating after more than 4,000 reviews, these are the best hand and foot warmers for skiing. Like the other HotHands pick, the flexible and lightweight packets are filled with a combination of iron, charcoal, salt, and wood fiber, which heats up within 15 to 30 minutes of being exposed to air. They offer warmth for up to 10 hours, and while the average temperature isn’t listed, the other HotHands option reaches approximately 135 degrees Fahrenheit. The multipack includes 24 pairs of hand warmers (measuring 2 by 3.5 inches each) and eight pairs of foot warmers (measuring 2.75 by 3.25 inches each) that are designed to fit neatly under the balls of your feet.

According to a reviewer: “I love these! We get them every year before our ski trips and everyone in the family uses them. The toe warmers are great, you’ll never have cold feet or frozen toes with these. Totally worth the expense, especially if you have kids that ski or snowboard! No more whining about cold feet! So worth it!”


The Best Rechargeable Hand Warmer To Use Between Runs

Although you can't fit this rechargeable hand warmer inside your gloves, it's great for warming up your hands while you're on the ski lift between runs. (It's also ideal for anyone who wants a warmer on their person, but not necessarily inside their gloves all day.) Boasting a 4.6-star overall rating after 14,000 reviews, it’s one of the most popular USB hand warmers on Amazon, and it has three temperature settings ranging from 95 degrees Fahrenheit to 131 degrees Fahrenheit. Made from aircraft-grade aluminum, it distributes heat from both sides and lasts for four to eight hours before needing to be recharged. Speaking of which — a big plus — this also doubles as a portable power bank to charge your phone. Weighing 4.7 ounces and measuring 4 by 2.5 inches (according to a reviewer), it takes up a fair bit of pocket space and isn’t flexible. That being said, it’s cost-effective in the long run since you won’t have to replace any time soon.

According to a reviewer:: “This warmed my hands right up while skiing. I could feel the heat through my gloves... kept it in my pocket to use while on the lifts.”

  • Available colors and styles: 10


The Best Compact Rechargeable Warmer

If you like the idea of a rechargeable device, but want something slightly less bulky than the previous option, the Celestron hand warmer is a good buy that measures 1.8 by 3.7 inches (although it weighs 5 ounces — similar to the other rechargeable pick). The USB-chargeable warmer heats up to a temperature of about 113 degrees Fahrenheit within a few minutes, but there are no adjustable settings. Made from rugged aluminum with protective silicone caps, it offers up to six hours of warmth and doubles as a power bank for your phone.

According to a reviewer:“This thing is pretty consistent with the temperature [...] BTW, I live in Buffalo, NY so it is cold, and I ski and am outdoors a lot and it does work, But I do use both still. . But this thing is great. It heats up really nice.”


The Best Catalytic Hand Warmer Powered By Fuel

Another pick that’s best between runs, the Zippo catalytic hand warmer uses fuel and a flame as catalysts to create flameless heat that lasts for approximately six to 12 hours (temperature of heater warmth not listed). Measuring 2 by 3 inches, it’s smaller than the rechargeable pick, and doesn’t have upgraded features like temperature adjustment or phone-charging capabilities. You’ll also have to buy fuel and a lighter in order to fill up the lighter and activate the warming properties, but since it doesn’t require access to an outlet, it’s a good choice if you’re on a cross-country hut trip or backcountry skiing journey.

According to a reviewer:“After I purchased my first zippo handwarmer and used it, I immediately purchased a second one so I could have one in each pocket. These things are small and do not take up much room in a ski coat, and they tend to last longer than 12 hours. I will fill these warmers up in the morning before my shift at a ski resort, they will keep my hands and my pockets warm all day long, and I can even bring them into bed with me at the end of the day on a cold night and they're still producing heat!”

  • Available colors and styles: 8


The Longest-Lasting Hand Warmers

If you’re on a hut trip and have a long ways to go before your destination — or simply want something that lasts you from the first run all the way through après-ski — the HotHands Super Warmers are it. They offer an impressive 18 hours of heat, with an average temperature of 135 degrees Fahrenheit. The packets are filled with iron, charcoal, and salt, and are activated within 15 to 30 minutes when shaken and exposed to air. Measuring 2.5 by 3.5 inches, they’re lightweight, flexible, and easy to stick in your coat pocket or mittens.

According to a reviewer: “Kept us warm skiing!!! They were often quite warm 24 hours later. Couldn't be happier! Perfect for use in Mittens.”


The Rechargeable Hand Warmer With The Most Heat Options

If you want lots of control over the amount of heat in your hands, this Zippo rechargeable hand heater provides an impressive six temperature settings when combined with the single-or dual-sided heat options. The temperature goes all the way up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit (the lowest heat setting is not listed) and provides up to nine hours of warmth. Made from aluminum, the Zippo is curved to fit comfortably in your hand and also doubles as a power bank for your phone. It measures 4.8 by 2.4 inches and weighs 5.5 ounces, making it the longest and heaviest on the list — which may be a drawback for some people. One nice thing to make up for it: It comes with a lanyard, so you can hang it around your neck for easy access on the lift.

According to a reviewer: “It charges up in just a few hours and lasts all day at the low setting which I find plenty warm enough. I only use the high setting if it’s through fabric, it’s almost too hot to hold. The shape is streamlined and comfortable to hold for a long time and easy to wrap both hands around either out in the open or in the pocket of a hoodie.”

  • Available colors and style: 4


Alternatively: The Best Self-Heating Gloves

Although they’re the priciest option on the list, these USB hand warmer gloves can streamline your ski routine since you don’t have to deal with an extra item. The rechargeable gloves feature lightweight hidden batteries, and they operate on three temperature settings, ranging from 100 degrees Fahrenheit to 150 degrees Fahrenheit — the hottest by far. They’ll last from two to seven hours, depending on how high you turn the heat up, and you can control everything from simple buttons on the back of the hands. The waterproof and windproof gloves are made from a combination of lambskin and polyester, with a soft and breathable cotton lining. Buckles at the wrists and drawstring closures at the cuffs offer a snug fit that further blocks the chill.

According to a reviewer: “Used during downhill skiing and they work great. I turned on the heat for the chairlift ride and completely turned off the heat while skiing. I won’t ski without these gloves!”

  • Available sizes: X-Small — 3X-Large

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