Portable heater for outdoor winter bouldering

Hello all,

It is late october and the winter is rapidly approaching the northern hemisphere, and with this temps are coming down. With this in mind, I have been thinking about purchasing a portable heater to go bouldering outside when it’s cold (this in my particular case means when there’s snow on the ground, and temperatures range between 0C/32F and -10C/15F). Now, in an “ideal” situation, the heater would generate the most heat as evenly across space as possible and with the least amount of weight, but that is a hard balance to find. This is an example of what I have been considering as an option, that I would pair that with an outdoor blanket that I can carry in one of my pads, hand warmers and the appropiate layers of clothing of course.

However, I am not sure what solutions other people have found, and what are the pros and cons of those options. What kind of “features” have people considered when comparing options and how are you “measuring” those features? For example, one of the things I am pondering about is: maybe number of BTUs isn’t as important, but more so how spread out the heat is irradiated from the heat source (so if it’s a very high number, but very concentrated it probably won’t fit the bill, I mean it’s not like you will be too far from the source anyways). I don’t really know how to account for this other than buying one and trying it out.

Let me know what are your thoughts on this and what products you have used!

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We’ve used the larger version Found here and I think it works a LOT better, and if worth the weight. We normally get out with two or three people in the winter for fun and other safety reasons, so normally someone takes a lighter load and carries it up (not that’s it’s super heavy).

The small one you linked it good, but it’s just very localized, as you stated. This larger one heats a much larger area and is conducive to multiple hands/feet/shoes being warmed all at one time.

Of course, nothing will heat the whole outdoors or anything.

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I love bouldering in the winter and would frequently go out when it’s below 20 and have comfortable fun days. If you want to do it I think it’s totally feasible

I actually don’t own a heater, I’ve thought about it but it’s never felt like the most important part. I know everyone is built different and handles the cold different but I think having good tactics over all will get you more mileage than just a heater. Having a heater too would be nice though.

The things I do are:

Climb things that get ample sunshine. this is probably the most important

Put my climbing shoes inside my jacket for the approach and when I’m not climbing

Layer properly lots of thin layers is key and a good puffy

Down slippers these were really a game changer for me. I take my shoes off right away and immediately put on the slippers

Hand warmers in the chalk bag

Give myself ample time to get my hands warm first couple goes of the day are usually brutal

Hot beverages and ample calories

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Yep, tactics plus heater for the win. I have the larger box version as well.

All of the other tactics mentioned, plus:

Either hand warmers in your approach shoes when you’re climbing or sticky toe warmers on your socks. Game changer for me since my big toes go numb pretty fast.

If you live in a windy area, a buff is a MUST.

If your fingers get really cold easily, mittens over gloves. Unless it’s really cold out, mittens might make my fingers too hot.

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The portable buddy is great. If you’re putting in a night session and you don’t have the sun as an option to keep things warm, it’s great for making sure the rubber in your shoes doesn’t get too cold/stiff as well as warming your toes back up if they’ve gone cold (though wrapping my feet in my puffy has done the trick for me as well).

If it’s that cold, maybe even consider bringing a pair of shoes that are big enough for you to use with socks on.

One other thing that’s helped me a lot is to make sure that I have gloves for the hike in. Makes it much easier to get my fingers warm when I get to my destination.

Wow this is good beta for sure! Certainly some things I had not considered yet, Thanks!

What about cleaning the top when it’s covered in snow, what do you suggest using, you know given that it’ll be wet after you clear it? I was thinking about using the windshield scraper’s brush section to clear the snow and letting it sit there for a while under the sun. It could very well be a situation like: cleaning it on Wednesday and come back on over the weekend to climb it. Dunno, thoughts?

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That’s the standard beta. A normal broom or a car brush (like you mentioned) is what I use. Typically things needs to be cleaned two or three days before climbing on it, but that is all dependent on amount of snow, Sun, etc…. If you can get out to clean the top off on Wednesday, a lot of times the weekend will be good!

And just to echo: mittens.

I keep handwarmers in my chalk bag during the winter months haha. Climbing shoes get their own hand warmers prior to the approach as well.

I’m a fan of propane heaters when temps are below 35 degrees. Also hand heaters in the shoes helps with cold toes. When it’s really windy, I’ll make a shelter with the bouldering pads and put the heater inside to keep the warm air from being blown away.

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I use these as well, with the addition of a fleece-lined muffler (like football players wear) with a rechargeable electric hand warmer inside