Spending a day on a shooting ground can be a chilly affair, especially on your hands. No matter how many layers of clothing you wear, you can only really get one glove on each hand! So, even if you do feel comfortable shooting in gloves you can start to get cold hands and numb fingers on a cold day.
Over recent years, I have tried a variety of solutions. From disposable through to fuel burning hand warmers, and whilst they have had some good results the whole fuss of topping up with fuel is something I can do without concentrating on during the day.
The HotRox is a different kind of affair, chargeable from the mains, or USB, it claims to provide 6 hours of heat in a tiny little package. With that in mind, I took the HotRox out to a day of shooting FITASC sporting at the notoriously chilly Southdown Gun Club to see how it performed.
Out of the box
The HotRox comes in a neat box, with a mains charger that uses a USB cable, a small carrying pouch, some instructions and the hand warmer itself. It’s a small palm sized pebble, in a nice tactile black finish and small switch on one side. When you unpack the device, it has a sticker on one side that needs to be removed prior to use, but then it’s ready to go!
I charged from the mains, and gave it a good overnight charge before leaving for the ground in the morning.
In the field testing
The Hot Rox has a small switch on the side of the device, with three positions; Off, Medium, High. I popped the hand warmer in its little protective pouch and stuck it in the pocket of my shooting vest and headed out to the layout.
We had a pretty chilly day for this event in the Winter Series, and after a while I decided to fire the Hot Rox up in my vest pocket to keep my trigger hand warm, without looking I flicked the switch and after about 30/45 seconds I could feel the warmth in my hand, after about 90 seconds the Hot Rox was nice and toasty and I switched it off so I could shoot my peg on the layout.
I continued this for most of the day, getting the benefit of the Hot Rox whenever I needed it, it was great to be able to switch it on. After a while I had to check the hand warmer to see if I could find out how to get the medium setting, as it was really quite warm – turns out I needn’t have worried! I was on medium and it would go even warmer on the high setting!
Overall, I got a good 6 or 7 hours intermittent usage for the day – in 10 or 15 minute bursts, and at the end of the day the Hot Rox was just as warm.
Since the first usage, I’ve taken the Hot Rox out with me on a number of cold day shooting and it has performed solidly, delivering warmth whenever needed. I’ve also charged it in the car on the way to a shoot, due to evening forgetfulness and the charge has been excellent through the day.
The Hot Rox is now an essential part of my kit, and I’m going to buy another one for Mrs ShootClay, who suffers from Reynaud syndrome, which renders the fingers and toes painfully numb in cold weather, as I am sure it provides good relief there. (The Hot Rox is approved by the Reynauds Association).
For me, it will stay close to my shooting bag, and I’ll keep it charged in the winter when it is an excellent tool for staying warm during cold shoot days. I can imagine how useful this will be in the field on a driven pheasant day or in a pigeon hide when temperatures drop. I don’t have to worry about disposable hand warmers, extra gloves or refilling a fuel device with this in my kitbag!