Keeping your hands, feet, body and even your sleeping bag warm while winter camping and hiking is a lot easier than just a few years ago.
Sure there are new gloves and mittens coming out every year but what I am talking about are those wonderful little “all natural” hand warmer packets. They have been around for a while, but now they come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes.
Best of all for us here in Michigan, we can keep warm and support a Michigan business, Grabber Inc., based in Grand Rapids. The firm makes hand warmers, electric mittens and gloves, survival gear and a host of other products and has been operating in Michigan from day one, which was 30-years-ago.
I spoke with Matt Pickel, marking director for the firm last week and I was amazed not only by the products and how they work, but by the generosity of the firm, but first to the warmers.
“Our standard hand warmer packet will give you about 7-hours of nice gentle heat,” Pickel said. “All they contain is iron, water, cellulose, vermiculite, activated charcoal and salt. When the air hits them the iron (by way of the salt, charcoal and water) begins to oxidize and this reaction produces heat. The cellulose and vermiculite are used as insulation in the pack.”
And heat up they do. If you have never used one of these little wonders you will be amazed by just how long they produce warmth.
“On average the hand warmers produce about 130 or so degrees and the foot warmers and toe warmers heat up to 90-degrees,” Pickel said.
Yes, you read right, they have foot and toe warmers. The foot warmers are super thin insoles that you slip into your boots or shoes and they heat your entire foot. The toe warmers on the other hand are thin, small pads that have an adhesive backing to attach to your sock over your toes.
Matt sent me a couple to try out and as promised they provided heat for around 7-hours and it was a gentle heat that felt warm in my gloves. They took a bit of time to begin getting warm, but once they were I had heat all day.
The hand warmers weight 1-ounce each as do the toe warmers and cost about $1 a pair at stores all around Detroit. Grabber also makes larger body warmer packs which would be great put in your sleeping bag on a winter trip, and they last 12-hours.
I hate to sound so “gung ho” on these products but they really do work well for the price. They are now in my 10 Essentials survival kit and I when I head out I can take a 3-day trip and carry three packages of two each, adding 12-ounces to my pack or sled.
Now to the generosity on the part of the company. Each year Grabber works with the organization Operation Gratitude which sends Care Packages to our troops over seas. Last year, according to figures provided by Grabber, they donated thousands of the various warmer packets to the group which included them in the Care Packages.
By the way, the firm is also a member of The Conservation Alliance which is made up of businesses that work to protect the outdoors and the environment.
So let me see, I can keep my hands and feet warm, help support a Michigan business and at the same time support a firm who supports our troops. Sounds like an all around good deal to me.
For more information, go to the Grabber website, which is aptly called Warmers.com. You will find videos and a full listing of the products they offer.