Simple hand warmers are an indispensable tool in the wintertime. These little pouches trap a slow chemical process inside that gives off heat, meaning they can create warmth for as long as 8 to 10 hours. But beyond just sticking them in your gloves on a cold day, there are a pile of different ways to take advantage of the heat they offer when it’s cold outside.

Courtesy: Yaktrax

1. Relieve pain in your aching muscles.

Cold helps to stop swelling in injuries. But heat helps to open blood vessels, which can contribute to muscle pain relief by moving lactic acid more efficiently. If you’re struggling with muscle pain in the backcountry, try using a hand warmer as a heating pad to support pain relief. Doing so might help you to recover faster from the day’s physical activities.

2. Stick them in your chalk bag.

Most climbers know how challenging it can be to get to the top of a route with cold or numb hands. Not being able to feel the rock puts a serious kink in your efforts. Because of this, some climbers keep a hand warmer in their chalk bag in order to provide a little bit of relief on the coldest days. Between particularly difficult moves, you can warm up your tips while you chalk up.

3. Preheat your gloves.

In the same way that you might keep a hand warmer in your chalk bag to keep your fingers from going numb, you can slide one into each of your gloves for a bit of added warmth. Doing so is easy and effective against freezing temperatures. Experts will throw a couple into their summit gloves while they’re in their pack, warming them up so they’re already toasty when it’s time to put them on near the summit.

4. Use them as nighttime foot warmers.

One of the areas that tends to get cold quickly in sleeping bags is in the toe box. If you’re camping in chilly temperatures or you’re pushing the limit with your gear, it may be helpful to stick a few hand warmers in your toe box to keep your tootsies warm.

5. Keep your electronics warm.

Electronics lose their charge at a faster rate when their temperature drops. This can be problematic for outdoor photographers, or for those who like to share their journeys on social media as they travel. As a way to mitigate dying electronics, some people sleep with their electronics to keep them from losing their charge. Another helpful tip is to keep a hand warmer nestled up to your electronics in your pocket or backpack, especially near the device’s battery. Doing this may help them to maintain a charge for longer.

6. Stop your filter from freezing.

Some water filters are permanently damaged if frozen and re-thawed. The delicate, tiny internal components crack, which can allow harmful bacteria to seep into your water. If you’re worried about damaging your water filter on a particularly chilly night, insulate it with a hand warmer. Doing so may keep it from freezing even if the temps dip below 32 degrees.

7. Keep your drink warm.

If you’ve ever been in the backcountry when the temperatures start to drop, you know how quickly warm drinks become cold drinks. Using an insulated cup will help. But another strategy is to keep a hand warmer between the insulation layer and the cup. The hand warmer will keep the liquid warmer for longer.

8. Place them in your boots.

Most manufacturers also make foot warmers which are designed to fit a little more easily in your boots. If you ever struggle with cold toes or foot circulation, you might find it helpful to leave one in your boots while you’re outside. Doing so may help your toes to stay warm even if you struggle with circulation. Throw a couple in there when you wake up in the morning on a backpacking trip, as well, to preheat your frozen boots before sliding your feet in.