For winter visitors to Alaska, proper outdoor gear and accessories could mean the difference between watching the northern lights comfortably in -20 degrees Fahrenheit and sitting in your hotel room watching TV. Since 2015, Salmon Berry has outfitted our intrepid winter curated travel package guests with high quality, highly rated outdoor winter gear and base layers through our Gear Rental Program. In addition, we also provided all of our day tour guests visiting in the winter with hand and toe warmers. As winter travel to Alaska increases in popularity, we became aware of the volume of used disposable warmers and their individual plastic wrapping that were ending up in our trash (and subsequently our landfills) to be alarming. That’s why Salmon Berry Travel & Tours has made Rechargeable Hand Warmers our 2020 Green Initiative!
Are you thinking, “YES, I support minimizing waste, but what is a hand warmer?” Don’t worry, you’re not alone! For our friends in warmer climates, disposable hand and toe warmers are one-time-use pouches that contain non-toxic, environmentally friendly, odorless, and non-combustible ingredients (iron powder, water, salt, activated charcoal, and vermiculite) that are shaken to mix the ingredients together and expose them to oxygen in order to generate heat. The chemicals react and create iron oxide, a process known as exothermic oxidation, or more commonly referred to as “rusting.” While these convenient warmers do work well and warm up in less than 20 minutes, we simply could no longer justify the continued contribution of waste, so we committed ourselves to finding a more sustainable option to keep our guests warm while being exposed to freezing temperatures for periods of time.
After thoroughly testing several brands of rechargeable hand warmers (and the occasional foil-wrapped baked potato) we finally found the perfect rechargeable hand warmer! We would like to warmly announce that as of the 2019/2020 winter season our guests joining us on our Glacier Walk, Mush Your Own Dog Sled, Mountains & Musk Ox, Chena Hot Springs Aurora, and Evening Aurora Tour will be given a rechargeable hand warmer that doubles as a portable charger to use while outside the comfort of our heated sprinter vans or warm aurora viewing facilities. These hand warmers not only warm up within a few minutes, but they also last for approximately 3 hours and fit perfectly inside just about any size mitten. Our local guides and guests are happy and toasty-warm with the results!
Our latest commitment to the environment, rechargeable hand warmers, in conjunction with our Water Bottle Initiative, is getting Salmon Berry recognized! A sustainable, locally owned and operated tour business in Alaska, Salmon Berry Travel & Tours has officially met the economic, environmental, and social sustainability standards set by the Alaska Travel Industry Association and is now Adventure Green Alaska certified! Looking forward, we promise to continue to further expand our vision of being adventure green in efforts to advance the travel industry and keep Alaska pristine!