They are sold in little packages for around $1.00 each. Later in the season they can usually be bought for around 1/2 price because they do have a shelf life. I have used 5 year old warmers and they still have about 10-20% of life in them, but those aren’t going to help except in a pinch.
I can say the first time I bought some of these I was impressed. They were really cool (er…warm). You just ripped open the package, shook them up, and put them in your gloves, or pockets…and they just got warm.
It is in excellent idea if you aren’t going to be in a heated ice fishing shelter.
Out in the wind…and snow and…well…you are standing on ICE for goodness sake!
And that’s the thing…the ice below your feet is the biggest issue, in my experience. Inevitably, my feet get cold, and I don’t care how much rubber there is between you and the ice.
If you are standing or sitting and your feet are on the ice, then sooner or later those laws of thermodynamics catch up to you. I spend a lot of time inside a heated shelter and still, as the day goes on, my feet get cold.
Nothing, and I mean nothing ruins an ice fishing trip faster than someone who is cold, and cold feet is where it starts.
So, here is my suggestion: Buy the ‘hand warmers’ for your feet! They work fantastic, except for one episode i had….
Well, this is what happened:
I discovered the whole ‘feet get cold…use hand warmers!’ thing about 10 years ago.
It was -40 F, and that is -40 C for those of you in Canada. I’m out hassling Northern Pike with tip-ups. and I’m drilling holes with an 8 inch auger (that’s 20.3 centimeters for those of you in Europe) and I needed to drill about 10 holes around the perimeter.
It was REALLY cold.
I had put a couple of hand warmers in my boots, under my toes, thinking it would help. It did. For the first 2 holes, I was just thrilled. After the first holes and walking around and getting a bit winded from drilling the holes, I noticed my feet were really warming up.
Next hole? Hmmm…OUCH!
It seems these things get warmer and warmer with moving and shaking…and since my boots were pretty big…they got a lot of oxygen…and those things nearly fried my toes off! I had to stop and take them out. My feet were just on fire (figuratively, of course.)
So, what is my suggestion?
Well, buy a few of them…use them in your pockets if your hands get cold, put them in your boots if you are just going to sit there on the ice. If you are cold, you will be impatient with everyone around you and that isn’t fun when ice fishing.
Again, these hand/foot warmers should be used when you are starting to get cold and not to prevent the cold. I suggest grabbing several packages and then if anyone else in your ice fishing party gets cold, you are the hero! (Plus, they will stop complaining about how cold it is…)