It’s 2020, and I think it’s time we addressed one of life’s greatest injustices; cold hands not being allowed in warm pockets.
One of the hallmarks of special forces has always been the “hands in pockets culture”, and while this has trickled down into the field Army for the most part, specialised hand warming devices other than gloves are still very much a cool guy thing. This could not have been made more clear than when I asked a mate (who’s still in and very much into his kit) if he wanted to jump on the order, and he responded with:
“Fuck no. Imagine if [CSM] saw me rocking that! He’d be straight in with a “WHAT THE FUCK” *Brecon chop*”
– SH 2020
But, luckily for me I’m out, and the only person who tells me off for buying gear now has long hair and doesn’t have the power to AGAI me.
Handwarmers have always been something I’ve been interested in, and so I contacted C2R about a group order when a few of the guys said they were interested. We wanted some small modifications doing, and so were very happy when Paul came back and gave us the green light on our ideas. For the purposes of this review though, I’ll be discussing the original design that C2R made, and they were nice enough to send me one for photos along with our order. This item was only a loaner, and so the handwarmer that I actually had hands on with was 100% paid for (for those that care/think I’m a shill).
So, the design itself. Well to put it bluntly, it is at its core a fluffy tube to put your hands in that goes around your waist. If you have ever owned the Eagle/Ferro/Platatac version then you probably know the score with the C2R. Where the C2R stands out from the others is the inclusion of a Hot Rox heater, and a dedicated pouch for it inside the handwarmer. More on that later, but bugger me it makes the difference.
In using the C2R handwarmer, it becomes immediately clear that it is a high quality item. The synthetic sheepskin that lines the inside of the handwarmer is thick and very insulating. This leads to it being incredibly warm just by trapping your natural body heat coming off of your hands. Having never owned any other handwarmers, I can’t comment on whether or not the C2R is any better or worse at this than its rivals, but if you’re a first time buyer rest assured, this does the job, very well. This item also gives you a choice in how you mount it, coming with a detachable waist strap and velcro mounting points for plate carriers (hook towards body). For me personally, I’m a purely waist strap kind of guy, but I know that a couple of the lads that were in on the order are running it under their front plate bag and the system works very well.
The biggest benefit of a C2R warmboi has to be the hot rox integration. While the handwarmer itself is a fantastic insulator, having an active heating element inside takes it to the next level. I haven’t used this in arctic conditions, but there’s no hiding the fact that with the hot rox turned on it’s fucking warm inside. Hanging in its internal pouch the HR sits in the perfect position for your hands to cup it, and if you leave it on and sinch down the elastic hand holes you will be creating a sauna for your hands when you come to put them in.
Negatives? I always try and find some, but with the C2R handwarmer I really struggle. I’ve not had it long enough to say how well it stands up to the test of time, but I own a lot of C2R gear and none of it has let me down yet. The only potential issue that I could invent, is the use of small side release buckles on the waist strap. I predict these are where my handwarmer will break first, but that’s clutching at straws, and is true of all plastic hardware. I honestly couldn’t pin down a single major issue with this item, and I put that down to C2R’s high build quality, and the no-nonsense design inherent in all handwarmers.
Where did I land with the C2R handwarmer then? It’s bloody good, and even with C2R’s formidable lead times it still arrived in time for the cold snap. I do truly believe that those in positions of power in the Army should pull their heads out of their arses and allow items like this. Cold nights on stag, and the dreaded trench-in-brecon scenario would both be that little bit easier with an active heater for your hands, and maybe the number of NFCIs that plague exercising units would drop by the wayside. If you’re not in the military, and you just want to enjoy the right to comfort that you have as a civvie, then get one of these for winter. If you have football training in freezing winter, or fancy scaling some massive hill during a blizzard, then this handwarmer might just make it a more pleasurable experience.
If you want to get one of these for yourself, head over to AM Tactical, who are C2R’s official retailer. I’ll leave a link here. And special thanks to Paul for squaring us away with our personalised order!
If you would like to read the rest of my C2R Fast gear reviews, check them out here.