Originally Posted by raytseng
Regarding the zippo and similar catalytic heaters. I actually bought this unit, which is deluxe korean take of same concept except with electric starter.
It has some problems for skiing. The main reason is oxygen. The fuel just evaporates out from a wick, but the catalytic processes still needs sufficient O2 to create heat as the fumes go past the element. They start getting starved of O2 around 6000 feet. I've experienced the same with certain packs of grabbers too, didn't do anything on the slopes (even at the high camp lodge where you're out of the elements. Only when you get down to the base lodge then the sucker finally starts kicking in and heating up.
Then there's the issue of where you're going to keep it so it gets some air flow, but not exposed where the heat just leaks away. This typically means inner jacket pocket but it's not getting much air in there..
Which brings up last issue is in the oxygen poor environment, it cannot always fully combust the fuel, so there are fumes even when using the recommended zippo premium fuel. So if you've got it in an inner jacket pocket, those fumes chimney up directly into your face which can affect you a bit-even when using the premium fuel.
Unfortunately, i think to account for the high altitudes the electic usb might be the best solution; or the grabbers/hothands if you don't get a bum pack (unfotunately somewhat wasteful in resources)
Thanks for the details. I wouldn't have thought of the altitude problems, but that makes sense. Guess maybe it's a better gift for low-altitude skiers.
I'll add that I've never used that or any hand warmer - my hands don't run cold. I do have a new rechargeable lithium-powered hand warmer set that I'm going to test out. Sounds like that might be a better option (though not as stylish an accessory as a Zippo : ). I agree with your list, too, especially the DryGuy - love mine.
"Ski gifts" always sound a lot cooler than they are in reality. The things that make for a cool article are all overly expensive, of questionable utility, or probably both. The things that are really useful aren't that exciting to give or get and don't make for much of a "best gifts of 2015/16" list. Had a pair of the latest Recon ski goggles last year, and while they look awesome on paper, I rarely had any desire to use them - heavy, the lens selection is poor and limited to bright-day tints, and I'd rather just ride than fiddle around with electronics all day.
Does anyone have a nice ski multi-tool? Those make a cool gift and are actually useful, but I don't know any models to suggest. I use a Brooks-Range one from a couple years back, which I like, but they stopped making it.