Hi all --
Been busy so I haven't posted in a while, but I wanted to share an experience I had the other day.
I was outside painting winter landscapes during a balmy, 28F afternoon with some friends (it's sort of a polar bear club for creative people -- one can only stay cooped up in the studio for so long!) and after a couple of hours of standing at our easels, one painter complained of cold feet.
Thinking to be helpful, I got out a couple of chemical handwarmers from my personal kit to put in their snow boots...only to find that the warmers didn't work, despite the expiration date being 2014. At first I thought they were just slow to warm up, but no. They were absolutely dead. Kaput.
Fortunately, we were not far from the car and they were able to warm up...but I kept thinking to myself, how many times have I thought I could rely on those handwarmers in an emergency situation?
Moral of the story: Chemical handwarmers are NOT a failsafe item for your winter kit. If you do choose to have them, buy new ones every season, have back-ups, and check them regularly! If they are soft, they are likely still good. If stiff and gritty, forget it. They can go "off" despite their expiration date.
Off to get a hot cup of coffee,