Use These Two Sneaky Tips.

The air-activated hand warmers keep your fingers toasty while you ski. Even when your legs fall off, your hand warmers keep going.

Then what do you do with them? They have a lot of heat left.

I used to give them away in the locker room. People would snap them up for themselves or their kids.

Tip #1. Here’s how to save them.

Mummified hand warmers can be revived for another day.
Credit: Harriet Wallis

I discovered I can keep them until the next day and sometimes several days by wrapping them tightly in Saran wrap or other generic plastic wrap.

Mummy them up tightly in about 2 feet of plastic wrap until you can no longer feel the heat coming through.

The wrap cuts off the air, and they go dormant. Reactivate them by unwrapping them and shaking as usual. Roll the plastic wrap onto a tube and reuse it another day.

The up side is you can save and reuse hand warmers for several days. The down side is that sometimes it just doesn’t work.

Experiments 101

Plastic baggies don’t work. Even if you squish really well, there’s still too much air left inside. Aluminum foil doesn’t seem to work, but I don’t know why. Use plastic wrap.

Tip #2. Before you buy.

Check that expiration date. It should be several years out, not soon.
Credit: Harriet Wallis

Before you buy a stockpile of hand warmers, check the expiration date. It should be several years into the future—not next year. Hand warmers close to their expiration date often have less oomph.

On the other hand, you might discover hand warmers long past their expiration date that have been buried in your ski bag for years. And they might work very well. Just don’t count on it on a sub-zero day.

To read more from Harriet click here for her stories on SkiUtah.



  1. Great idea! What about a decent plastic bag with a zipper (Ziploc, Glad, Hefty)? It is expected to be kinda airtight.
    A few companies make small waterproof pouches, they will work for sure.
    Research paper on says an iron chemical pack will heat up to max temperature in 10-20 min, then will keep high temperature for 2-3 more hours and then cools down quickly. It will be colder than a body temperature after about 4 hours from the moment you open the package. If it was opened for 4+ hours, don’t bother to wrap, the juice is gone.

  2. Tamara Reynolds says:

    I do this, and also throw them in the freezer. The cold slows the chemical reaction.

  3. Can I use foil

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