Homemade Pocket Heaters?

I would like to make my own pocket heaters, the kind you expose to air and they heat up (they are disposable). I know the ingredients are simply carbon and iron oxide. But where do I get large amounts of rust? And what kind of carbon? Regular coal? Charcoal? Activated carbon for fish tank filters?


And how do I treat the ingredients? Do I do something special? Obviously the finished product must go into an airtight container when mixed.

Chuck R. from Kentwood, MI

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By aardvark (Guest Post)
December 30, 20050 found this helpful

This belongs in the "DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME" category.

If you succeeded in getting a heat-producing chemical reaction, it could well cause burns or a fire! Don't do it!! These products have very specific amounts of carefully made chemicals geared to producing an exact amount of safe heat. Buy 'em at the store.

By Charlotte (Guest Post)
December 30, 20050 found this helpful

I also think buying these is safest. To be economical check the sporting goods departments of discount stores in January. I purchased LOTS of these on sale for as little as a quarter for a three pak that sold for $2.97 earlier.


My sailor son used them to heat the foot area of his sleeping bag while on winter field exercises. Those same packets were transfered to the pockets of his cammies for warmth until they quit producing heat.

I use them as mini-heating pads for myself. My discount find was great.

December 30, 20050 found this helpful

I agree that it would be better to buy these than make them. I just did a search at and found they are selling for as little as 99 cents for a pack of ten. Even if they were safe to make at home, I don't think you could make them as cheaply as they're sold online.


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