I used to beg my mom for a Zippo lighter every time we went to the mall. There was a store right next to the food court that had a rotating display case full of gleaming examples. I wanted the solid brass one. “What are you going to do with a lighter??” my mother would ask. Rightfully so, I suppose. I never had a good answer for her. Because what good reason could a thirteen year old boy have for wanting a lighter? But I was no aspiring arsonist. I just wanted one because they looked so…cool! There was something solid and classic, something authentic about the renowned Zippo. It was a manly artifact of technology. Of design. Of modernity. It made me think of Indiana Jones and Dick Tracy. Whether either of those guys had actually ever used a one was irrelevant to me.
In time, I purchased three different Zippos that I cherished. I learned a couple of tricks to snap open the lid and light it in one slick sleight-of-hand motion. I still have them somewhere, hidden from the world in a remote drawer or box, because I never use them. Because I still don’t really have a need to light much on fire. Not enough to warrant the lost pocket space on a daily basis anyhow.
Naturally then, I was pretty psyched to learn about this hand warmer from Zippo! The design is unmistakable. Sleek, shiny and solid — the joy of pure metal in your hand. The warmer cuts a silhouette similar to the classic lighter, albeit a bit larger, with those same signature bored vent holes around the ignition element. It’s very slender, with rounded edges, making it a low-profile pocket companion. In fact I described it to a curious friend as a “pocket furnace.” And that’s essentially what it is! Finally, a Zippo with a practical reason for being in my jeans.
This nifty little unit has a unique heating element fully concealed in the middle of the body, rather than an open wick underneath a lid like the lighters. The heating element is genius — it uses a platinum-catalyzed fiberglass burning unit that draws fumes up from the cotton-filled fuel tank beneath to smoulder continuously like a coal, instead of producing a flame. As a result it produces no smoke and very little scent. Once you ignite the burner, it smoulders all day, up to twelve continuous hours. The entire unit comes up to heat and stays warm, protected and somewhat regulated by the super-soft microfiber bag that comes with it. I put it in my coat pocket before exploring the beach after a snowstorm a few days ago. It was pretty windy and I kept taking my glove off to snap pictures of the surf. It was great to have the warmer in my pocket to hold in between shots, and so cold out I wished I had fifty of them sewn into the lining of my coat!
Fifty is probably a bit much, but I do recommend getting two of these little guys, one for each pocket. Their utility isn’t relegated to your pocket, either, it turns out. You can pop them in your gloves or boots for twenty minutes before heading outside. Or slip them under your pillow before you hit the hay. I even put one under my neck when I was reading in bed last night — awesome treat for sore muscles. And of course, needless to say, snowboarding…
For outdoorsmen and urbanites alike, these make a great gift — something novel, certainly unexpected, and of high quality, without breaking the bank. Easy to tote safely in a pocket, handbag, backpack or glove box. What’s better than the gift of heat? Thanks Zippo. I knew eventually we would find a way to be in each other’s lives 😉
View on Craft & Caro: bit.ly/WarmDigits