Friday, January 15, 2010

Gadgets, Hand Warmers, Disposable, Lazy ?

As a hopeless gadget nut, during winter, my mind often reminisces about joyful things of the past. Mention hand warmers these days, and most people think of the disposal chemical hot packs or whatever they are called. You know the drill: use them once and chuck'em in the landfill. Then whine because the government is not doing enough to recycle. When I was in school, they taught us reduce, reuse, and recycle, in that order. Nowadays we rarely hear of the first two. It seems you can waste as you wish as long as you "recycle". But again I digress. Back to hand warmers. Other than the disposable ones, traditionally, I remember two others. One you burn a charcoal stick in and the other one was a young boy's dream, largely because it gave you an excuse to have a can of lighter fluid. Yee-Haw and bring on the Pyromania ! Let's concentrate on that type. Of course in my gadget and gear lust I am not without said devices. Zippo, the lighter folk import a nice one. They don't make it in Pennsylvania, but it does come from Japan.The only downer for long-term use is that the platinum-catalyzed glass fiber burner gives up the ghost in a year or so.

Mountain Equipment Co-op sells these, but it seems that nobody carries the replacement burners. The burners are only about an inch long:
 
As usual, it's Ebay + China to the rescue. I found some replacement burners and some knock-off Hand Warmers too. Amazingly, the package arrived (from Hong Kong) in 3 days. I couldn't believe it. The Zippo is a better unit, but the Chinglish ones can be landed here for about 30% of the price. I fired up both today, and the Zippo is a little less "hot" or more regulated. Overall, these things are brilliant. A little bit of work to fill, light etc but well worth it. Let me know if you want to try one. Want to know more? See links below:

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