Like any bird enthusiast, I look forward to the change of seasons to enjoy migrating birds. But contending with the harsh winter weather where I live in the northeast makes a hand warmer a must-have item when grabbing a pair of binoculars or camera to see parades of amazing high-flying travelers.
I don’t let the below zero temps derail my mission to see birds. Instead, I prepare.
Cold Hands and Missed Opportunities
Recently, when intoBirds was leading a bird walk in New Canaan, Connecticut in 20-degree temperatures my hand hands became so cold that I didn’t have feeling in my fingers to move the focusing ring on my binoculars to get a clear view of birds. Nor was I able to operate my camera’s shutter when we came across two Red-tailed Hawks.
My Freehands shooting gloves didn’t provide my hands with the warmth they needed to stay nimble to operate my camera or binoculars because the gloves lacked Thinsulate. Big oversight on my part.
My blueish fingers made for an uncomfortable day bird watching.
I wasn’t going to let the bad weather derail bird watching and decided to get a USB hand warmer that I could use on my next walk in addition to a new pair of Thinsulate shooting gloves.
I wanted a hand warmer small enough to keep in my pocket to stay accessible, but since I wear woman’s extra-small gloves the device needed to fit my hands.
Hand Warmer Keeps Your Hands Toasty
After doing a great deal of research I went to Amazon and chose the Human Creations EnergyFlux Ellipse 5200mAh Rechargeable Wrap-around Hand Warmer/USB External Battery Pack.
The EnergyFlux Ellipse measures 3.46 x 2.5 x 0.98 inches and weighs just under 7 ounces.
The device looks like an oversized lighter. It comfortably fits in my jacket pocket without being bulky, and its size is easy to grip in my small hands to warm all my fingers. The Ellipse can comfortably accommodate a man’s larger hands too.
The EnergyFlux Ellipse warms on both sides of the unit to keep my hands toasty, and it has two heat settings 107 F (~6.5 hrs) and 118F (~5 hrs) in room temperature. The device offers a tad less in colder temps but does it job on those cold days when you are out of the field bird watching.
With two temperature modes set to 107°F and 118°F, wrap-around heat and quick warm-up time, EnergyFlux Ellipse is a snap to use.
I’ve used the device this winter in bitter cold temps, and my hands felt warm and comfy in no time. I was able to handle the focusing ring on my binoculars and operate my camera’s shutter button with ease.
Human Creations claims it’s a rechargeable 5200mAh lithium-ion battery with up to 500 recharges. I haven’t had the need yet to come close to that many recharges, but I’ve fully recharged the unit at least ten times, and it keeps its charge and does the job.
Easy to Use
I like that one button controls the device. I just press and hold the button until the LEDs light up and with one quick press of the button I can switch between high and low heat. The red LED will flash to indicate the Ellipse is warming—slow for low heat, and fast for high heat. Blue LEDs will let you know how much power is left.
I like that the Ellipse also charges other digital products, including mobile phones, MP3 players, and digital cameras, etc. and is good to have in a pinch. LEDs on the Ellipse will indicate that it’s charging and how much power is left.
It’s also easy to check the battery level anytime: just give the button a quick press, and the LEDs will light up to show battery status.
No Excuses When Pursuing a Snowy Owl
I recently used the Ellipse on a brutally cold day in Connecticut in my quest to see a Snowy Owl. Not only was it 15 degrees that day on Long Beach in Stratford, Connecticut, but there was a wind alert.
Not taking the wind alert seriously in my quest, I set out to see the Snowy and as soon as I got out of my car looking for the owl, the wind ripped through my layers, and I was chilled to the bone.
But yet I persisted. I spotted the Snowy Owl in the marsh, tried to balance my camera in the strong gusts of wind, maintained my grip and ket my balance as the wind blew me from side to side.
My fingers felt frozen even with two pairs of gloves on, but the Ellipse warmed my hands quickly so I could get the feeling back in my fingers and get the photos I wanted before the Snowy decided to fly off.
I give the Ellipse 4 out of 5 stars based on how it has performed for me in this brutally cold weather thus far.
The device has become a must-have item, and I carry it in my backpack each time I go out bird watching. It’s ready to perform when needed, and I’ll never miss another shot because of frozen fingers.
EnergyFlux Ellipse 5200mAh Rechargeable Wrap-around Hand Warmer
What’s in the box?
- EnergyFlux Ellipse (3.46 x 2.5 x 0.98 inches, 6.94 oz)
- Micro USB cable (USB power adapters NOT included)
- User’s manual
- Input power: 5v @ 0.8 A (Micro USB)
- Output power: 5v @ 1.0 A (USB)
- Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 2.4 cm
- Weight: 135g
- Battery capacity: 5200 mAh
Buy the EnergyFlux Ellipse
Grab your EnergyFlux Ellipse Rechargeable Hand Warmer 5200mAh / USB Portable Charger Power Bank Battery Pack (Silver) $34.95 at Amazon.