A boy scout’s motto is “be prepared”. So, heading to Canada in January of this year and anticipating bone-chilling temperatures I decided to buy battery-operated boot warmers for the family. No cold feet on chairlifts! These were sourced from a US store, Utah Ski Gear (www.utahskigear.com) who had an extensive range of these items, more so than the more recognisable Level 9. I purchased two sets of Hotronic S4 boot warmers for myself and his Lordship (about US$180 per set). These have rechargeable batteries with a US configuration (so an adapter may be required, depending upon which country you ski in). The children (including my then-14 year old) made do with the Thermic Kids Basic boot warmers (which were significantly cheaper at around US$70 per set). The Therm-ic sets require 4xAAA batteries per boot, and reviews suggested they tend to chew through these quickly. I decided to purchase re-chargeable AAA batteries as a result for the sake of the environment and my wallet. They require a bit of fiddling to insert them, cutting the soles down to size for the children and creating an incision in the back of the ski boot inners so the connecting wire can thread through from the insole to the battery unit. Various YouTube videos show you how to do this. So how did they perform? Well, they kept our feet warm and the batteries lasted all day at a medium setting. However, we didn’t quite get the -20 temperatures I was expecting, with the coldest day probably around -13. Given I have Reynaud’s syndrome and suffer from cold extremities, however, I was grateful for the ambient warmth offered by these devices. The idea is to keep your feet at ‘normal’ temperature rather than heating them up, per se. I was particularly impressed with the Therm-ic ones as they clipped firmly to the power straps of our children’s boots and only rarely did the cord become unclipped from the battery unit. The Hotronic units, while effective, were more fiddly. The clips could have been stronger; one of mine came off shortly after I loaded onto a chairlift at Sun Peaks (Crystal, from memory), necessitating an interesting search and retrieve operation afterwards. In addition, the top of one of my battery units became loose and had to be secured with tape. Utah ski gear replaced this when I drew this to their attention upon our return to Australia. So would I recommend them? A definite thumbs up for the kids Therm-ic sets, particularly if you are travelling to very cold climates. The Hotronics: 50:50. Worked for me, but again fiddly. Toe-warmers may do the trick for some people; these boot warmers are certainly not cheap, particularly once you factor in postage from the US (otherwise buy from a store over there, although I couldn’t find many in Canada that would guarantee stock availability coinciding with our dates over there).