Are Warmers / warmees safe for you and the environment?

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Are Warmers / warmees safe for you and the environment?

Category News

By Aarya Halbe

2023-12-15

Dec 15, 6:00 p.m.: We are noticing that more and more trekkers are bringing warmers/warmees on treks, so much so that we have had to ban them on our treks. Here's why.

Warmers, also known as hand warmers or pocket warmers, are small packets that are activated by shaking or pressing and generate heat to keep the hands or other body parts warm. Warmees are similar, but they are larger and intended to be worn on the body, such as in a jacket or pants. These are often used by outdoor enthusiasts to stay warm in cold environments. However, there are several reasons why it is important to avoid using warmers or warmees on a trek.

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First, warmers and warmees rely on chemical reactions to generate heat, which can have negative environmental impacts. These chemicals can leach into the soil and water, causing long-term damage to ecosystems. In addition, the packaging for these products is often not environmentally friendly and can contribute to waste and litter in the mountains.

Second, they are unreliable and can potentially cause harm. The heat generated by these products is not always consistent, and can sometimes stop working or become too hot to use. This can be a problem in cold environments where reliable warmth is essential for survival. In addition, some warmers and warmees can cause burns or other injuries if they are not used properly.

Third, warmers and warmees are not a long-term solution for staying warm in the outdoors. They only provide temporary heat. Instead of relying on these, it is important to use proper clothing, insulation, and other gear to stay warm and comfortable in cold environments.

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Here are some of the alternatives to warmers:

  • Pack enough layers
  • You can use a simple plastic or steel water bottle and fill it up with hot water. (Do not use a flask.)
  • Use hot water bags. Either bring your own or rent it from our rentals page. They are available on the campsite for emergencies only.
  • In all the common spaces (the dining tent and the kitchen tent) in our campsites, we have introduced the traditional heat-generating system called ‘Angithi’.  Here, heat is generated by burning coal. 

“These things work in the same way, as would a warmer. I feel when we already have an alternative, there is really no need to buy other items,” said Senior Trek Leader Diptarka Gupta.

Many trekkers questioned this practice of banning warmers on treks. A few trekkers even mentioned that we should allow them. But they don’t realise the massive difference they make using alternative sources for warmth.

By not getting warmers and warmees, trekkers not only help us leave the mountains better but also the flora, fauna and people of the region. Through our experience, we have observed that proper layering has always worked better than anything else. 

Sustainability has always been at the heart of everything we do. We want everyone to trek in a way where we not only leave no trace, but leave the mountains better than we found them. This extends to everyone working at Indiahikes and our trekkers too. And we strive to do this sustainably.

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