Gloves for cold wet weather

11:42 a.m. on September 3, 2012 (EDT)
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I'm considering a hike that will involve multiple days of being out in potentially cool/cold, wet weather.  However I have issues where my fingers get very cold and stiff in these conditions. For example, when holding my trekking poles while hiking in the unusually rainy conditions on the JMT, my fingers got very cold - so cold that it was difficult to perform basic operations with my hands (like opening the bear canister, zipping a jacket, etc).

So my Gear Selection question:  do you have any suggestions for light-weight gloves that would keep my fingers warm when hiking (or in camp) in cold rain?

My first thought was something completely waterproof, eg. a plastic type material.  But that won't work because my hands might be wet already when putting them on, so that would just hold in the moisture.  It really needs to be some kind of material that will actually keep my fingers warm when it and/or my hands are already wet.

I tried a pair of fleece gloves, with a neoprene palm, thinking they'd be good for gripping the trekking poles... but they just absorbed the water and didn't keep my hands warm.

11:49 a.m. on September 3, 2012 (EDT)
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bheiser1 said:

I'm considering a hike that will involve multiple days of being out in potentially cool/cold, wet weather.  

When you say cold what kind of temps are we talking?

I tried a pair of fleece gloves, with a neoprene palm, thinking they'd be good for gripping the trekking poles... but they just absorbed the water and didn't keep my hands warm.

This is dependent upon the question above but Rab has the Guide in eVent:

http://us.rab.uk.com/products/mens-clothing/gloves/guide-glove.html

11:56 a.m. on September 3, 2012 (EDT)
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Hmmm, that's a good question.  I guess the temps could range from the 30's (probably above freezing) to the 40's or maybe even 50.  On my recent trip I doubt the temp was below 50 during the day, but my hands/fingers still got very cold holding the trekking poles while hiking in the rain (or even just sitting in camp).

So I guess I should say 'cool' not 'cold'...

Ideally the gloves would be as thin and light as possible to enable me to have reasonable dexterity with my fingers while wearing them

 

12:01 p.m. on September 3, 2012 (EDT)
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How about the Rab Latok?

http://us.rab.uk.com/products/mens-clothing/gloves/latok-glove.html 

Still waterproof(eVent) but not quite as bulky as the Guides, better dexterity. 

12:05 p.m. on September 3, 2012 (EDT)
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They still look kind of bulky, but if that's what it takes to keep warm then...

Have you used these with success Rick?  I see they haven't been reviewed yet so I'm curious about real-world performance.

12:19 p.m. on September 3, 2012 (EDT)
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I have seen them(I have a buddy who swears by them for his winter kit/he loves anything eVent.) I am personally happy with my OR Stormtrackers(I use a rain mitt in combo with these for the wet stuff.)

The Rab looks like a nice/solid product from what I have seen of them and from his feedback he loves his. 

I kinda think this is one of those things that is somewhat subjective(like how warm one will be in say a 20 deg bag as opposed to another.)

Our internal heaters vary from person to person so what one deems as being comfortable, another may say is uncomfortable.

You know that whole personal preference thing. 

I know many folks that say the Stormtrackers are good to around 25-30 and I have used them well under this rating and have had no problems. 

I personally may do an upgrade and snag these up:

http://www.mountainlaureldesigns.com/shop/product_info.php?products_id=51 

Gonna be kinda hard to pick my nose though. :p

2:45 p.m. on September 3, 2012 (EDT)
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Thanks for the suggestions Rick.  I actually have a pair of these that I got during a sale late last winter (so I haven't used them yet).  They're purported to be waterproof.  I didn't consider them for the cool weather I'm talking about, as they seem more like a winter glove.  But maybe that's what I'll need given my propensity for having cold fingers...

3:41 p.m. on September 3, 2012 (EDT)
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I've used a couple of pair of the Seirus gloves, and while the fabric may be waterproof, the gloves assembled are not. Wear them in the rain and they get wet.

Rick's got the right idea with the MLD eVent over-mitts, I think. I've got the Rab Ice Gauntlet eVent gloves--which are great gloves!...warm and waterproof--but once they get wet from sweat they take a looooong time to dry out. I think that a couple pair of Powerstretch/Powerdry/wool liner gloves combined with a UL eVent over-mitt is the way to go. You can then swap out the liners when a pair gets wet and dry them quickly in an interior pocket.

BTW...other cottage companies make SUL cuben-fiber waterproof/breathable overmitts, too, like Joe over at Zpacks.com, and Evan at Blackrockgear.com (both very good guys from whom I have bought stuff many times). Yeah, WP/B cuben...never thought I'd see the day...

4:22 p.m. on September 3, 2012 (EDT)
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Strangely, you have to seam seal the MLD Overmitts.  Mine were made out of 2 ply eVent and although breathable, they were not suited to tasks that would test their ability to withstand minimal abuse.  Including holding onto trekking poles.  They are also not suited to cold weather in my experience.

FWIW, I don't find the Latok gloves bulky at all.

4:48 p.m. on September 3, 2012 (EDT)
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sounds like yours is more of a circulation problem, not enough warm blood getting to the hands. warm gloves may not help you, imo.

8:42 p.m. on September 3, 2012 (EDT)
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Okay I hesitate to offer this, because it's the exact opposite of a high-tech pro-gear solution. However. Latex gloves over wool gloves. This works when dexterity is the most important thing (bonus: good grip). Hands that are stiff from cold water cannot easily tie knots in fishing line (for example), and you can't do it with bulky gloves on either. No, it won't be breathable, and eventually you may sweat out the liner and want to switch it up. But if the liner's wool, your hands will still be warm, and the wind can't chill them. You might want a couple of spare pairs of the latex, they can be punctured, but they have no weight or bulk to speak of. Make sure they're a snug but not too tight fit over your liners. There are other kinds of rubber/plastic gloves, of course, but they won't fit as well, aren't much more durable, don't give the same dexterity, and it's more of a pain to carry extras. So for what it's worth, there it is! Cheap and effective.

9:22 p.m. on September 3, 2012 (EDT)
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cold hands can mean you aren't keeping your core warm enough, but it's impossible to draw that conclusion without more info.  if that's the case, a thicker hat or an extra fleece vest could help.

some people have poor circulation in cold weather - eg those who have Reynaud's disease or syndrome.  a forum can't diagnose you; a doctor could.  

setting aside those two possibilities:

i have used a pair of marmot randonee gloves in conditions like you describe, and colder.  gore tex lined, palm is somewhat grippy, insulated with primaloft.  the insulation is not removable; it's hard to dry them in the field as a result, so i'm sometimes reluctant to bring them on overnights.  they are not particularly bulky.

i have also used fleece or capilene glove liners under outdoor research gripper gloves - made from windstopper fleece.  they have a very good grippy material in the palm and on the thumb and first two fingers.  thin and not bulky, and they do stop wind.  downside is that they are not waterproof and eventually get wet in steady rain.  if i want my fingers free, i'll wear the liner/windstopper combination under a 'lobster' shell that has a separate thumb and first finger, with the 3 smaller fingers together.  outdoor research, hestra, and black diamond (and maybe others) sell lobster overmitts, which give you a little extra dexterity.  they also leave your first finger more prone to getting cold, though.  (i happen to use a hestra overmitt, which is waterproof/breathable entrant; i had to seal the seams my self, they arrived unsealed).

9:38 a.m. on September 4, 2012 (EDT)
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I go duck hunting during the winter and some winters it will dip into the teens from time to time. When that happens there might be a need to break ice for the decoys which means hands will be immersed in the water. I also wear the same gloves to retrieve the decoys as well. I've tried several different wpb gloves from various manufacturers but I have consistently returned to one specific brand. Goretex. My gloves will get wet especially the fingertips and as long as there was about 100 grams of insulation, my hands stayed warm. Same goes for skiing. I never had issues with goretex lined gloves.

11:02 a.m. on September 4, 2012 (EDT)
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I agree with jester and lead.  Heiser probably goes a little underdressed.  Add a hat, or add a light jacket.  I used to work in WA and AK in wet conditions in the 30s which can be very challenging.  I don't like gloves much especially for things like fishing or running water quality instruments that require dexterity.  I use fiingerless fleece or wool glove in those conditions.

When it gets really bad, like sleet and wet snow and wind,  I go to neoprene gloves from a rafting catalogue.  For wading during snow storms, trappers gloves that go all the way up to the shoulder.

 

12:39 p.m. on September 4, 2012 (EDT)
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I have a multi component approach to gloves in winter conditions. I go backpacking alot in the winter, as it is by far my favorite season. Temps can get down to about -40F at elevation on occassion, however more common temps are 0F- -15F. 

I use a 3 layer system primarily. This is compossed of a pair of wool glove liners, OR flurry gloves, and OR Endeavor goretex mitts. Additionally I also carry a pair of fingerless ragg wool gloves, and a pair of neoprene gloves(thinner ones that still allow decent dexterity.

The 3 layer system if what I use when it is bitterly cold out, and can shed layers depending on conditions and activities. The rag wool gloves are primarily for camp chores where I need ample dexterity to perform tasks like cooking etc. The neoprene gloves I use currently are from Serius i think, but before that I used a relatively cheap pair from a local dive shop. The neoprene gloves are great for tasks in wet conditions where dexterity is a higher need compared to warmth. The neoprene gloves are very warm themselves but can get cold if your not active. I found the neoprene the best for hiking in wet snow, rain, or tasks that require me to handle snow such as clearing an area for camp, gathering fire wood, digging out tarp stakes etc.

Could I get by with less? Yes, quite easily. However, having dry gloves in harsh winter conditions is critical for me. This way I always have a dry, and warm combo of items I can use. The 3 layer system alone is normally all I REALLY need under most circumstanves, but I bring the rest for a backup if nothing else.

For your specific needs that you describe I would say that a thin pair of neoprene gloves may be the ticket, like 3mm or less. If your not expecting super cold temps, they will more than likely be warm even if your not active.

7:49 p.m. on September 4, 2012 (EDT)
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Thanks for all the feedback.  I'll look into the layered system, e.g. wool inners + some kind of shell outer.  I actually have something like that now (MH Fleece inners + a shell outer) though it's much too bulky for non-winter use.  Maybe there's something more suitable for the other seasons.

There could be something to the "need to keep the core warm", though I am pretty sure there's more to it than that.  Based on the fact that even when I'm perfectly comfortable otherwise - my hands often still feel cold - I think there's another issue.  It's probably along the line of Trailjester's suggestion that it is a circulatory issue.  I don't see the symptoms of Reynaud's disease though (it's been described in detail here in the past by The OGBO).

But I'm  not ready to give up and just say "poor circulation, nothing I can do about it".  There's too much fun to be had "out there" to just avoid it without trying to deal with this first :).

8:04 p.m. on September 4, 2012 (EDT)
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Cold, wet weather and cold hands have little to do with a cold core.  Sheesh.  Have none of you trekked in horizontal freezing rain before?

8:49 p.m. on September 4, 2012 (EDT)
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Ha ha ha cold, freezing rain, the most miserable condition there is. Not sure how many have read Andrew Skurkas book but in it he quotes a friend that says something along the lines of "its easier to deal with -50f than 35f and raining". Its so true. He also says its the one system he hasn't figured out yet.

I have cold hands, and feet, as well Bill. I also go with the layered system. Its really a pick your poison kind of situation. I usually hike with a thin goretex glove on. While I am actually on the move this generates enough heat in my hands. If I stop for lunch or make camp I pull on the wool liners. If my hands are cold with just the shell on I first try swinging my arms in big circles, clapping my hands or wiggling my fingers to get the blood back circulating.

As for the whole core to hand temp comparison. There is obviously a correlation. As the body gets too cold it will shut down blood flow to the extremities, hence why people end up with frostbite on fingers, toes, ears, tips of the nose. As the old adage goes....Toes are cold? Put on a hat! For some people though it just comes down to poor circulation. As I said, my hands and toes are almost always cold to the touch, often even in the middle of summer. Yet I rarely 'feel' cold, and like many here winter is my favourite time to go out. So there is a interconnection but that can vary to different degrees between people.

10:44 p.m. on September 4, 2012 (EDT)
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At rest, perhaps. But little to no correlation when moving.

11:14 a.m. on September 5, 2012 (EDT)
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I've had similar problems BH.  I use cheap rain mitts I've sewn out of an old pair of Frogg Toggs.  They are essentially vapor barriers.  They help - a bit.  What helps me more is ditching the trekking poles and sticking my hands in my armpits.  It's terrible that I have to forsake poles in the conditions where the stability they provide is perhaps the most important, but I'll pay with a slip or fall to keep my hands warm (er). I've also found swilling hot water at breaks helps, but often I just can't be bothered to brew tea. Let us know what works for you!

11:26 a.m. on September 5, 2012 (EDT)
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Family guy,

I would venture to say that this group has more experience in the outdoors that most.  It is worthwhile to listen to their points of view.  There is no right answer, there is a list of what works for a long list of experienced people.  I can assure you that in SE Alaska and Washington State in the winter the weather is wet and in the 30s a lot of the time.

11:34 a.m. on September 5, 2012 (EDT)
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Family Guy said:

Cold, wet weather and cold hands have little to do with a cold core.  Sheesh.  Have none of you trekked in horizontal freezing rain before?

 yup.  on more than one trip, shell pants and jacket armored with freezing rain, tent fly sagging badly from the accumulation. 

i think that i was careful to offer up possibilities rather than draw one conclusion, because this is a forum & it's hard to know details without being there.

freezing rain is a prime cause of hypothermia, and cold extremities are one of the hallmark symptoms.  i wouldn't dismiss the possibility as quickly as you have.  that said, it could very well be the absence of a good shell overglove/mitt or lack of effective hand insulation.  cold/wet hands get cold, we all know that. 

 

1:18 p.m. on September 5, 2012 (EDT)
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ppine said:

Family guy,

I would venture to say that this group has more experience in the outdoors that most.  It is worthwhile to listen to their points of view.  There is no right answer, there is a list of what works for a long list of experienced people.  I can assure you that in SE Alaska and Washington State in the winter the weather is wet and in the 30s a lot of the time.

 Thanks for the perspective.  But realistically, it means little to me.

I trek almost soley in two places.  Vancouver Island and the Canadian Rockies.  It can be 30C one minute and -5C the next.  In July.

8:43 p.m. on September 7, 2012 (EDT)
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I merely suggested he may have a circulatory issue. since he didn't go into specifics about the conditions hell be in, I just put it out there. freezing rain is a bitch. but it seemed to me he gets cold in just regular rain/cold weather not necessarily freezing. without more specifics, it's hard to tell.

11:13 a.m. on October 31, 2012 (EDT)
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I love my neoprene paddling gloves for cold wet weather.  I spent a few weeks in the aleutians every fall and for cold wet weather neoprene is the way to go. I always carry a pair of fleece gloves for when the rain stops as the neoprene can get kind of hot and damp when the wind and rain stops.  The neoprene gloves are really only comfortable in cold wet and windy weather, but in those conditions I have yet to find any other glove including goretex or other waterproof breathable gloves that is comfortable when the inside gets wet.  The problem with most other waterproof gloves is that the inside will evenutally get wet on glove.  When neoprene gloves get wet, you barely notice, but fleece lined gloves will take a day or more to dry out. 

Just be sure to get several sizes bigger than you would normally wear as gloves are almost impossible to get back on when you're hands are cold and wet.  I normally wear medium gloves, but for wet weather gloves, I buy an XL. 

11:39 a.m. on October 31, 2012 (EDT)
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Always liked a waterproof breatheable mutant gauntlet glove with thick fleece removable liner


$(KGrHqZ,!q0E88giJL!BBPd7JS4O9w~~60_35.J

2:37 p.m. on October 31, 2012 (EDT)
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Here in the PNW, we have a lot of days when it is 40 degrees and raining. As some have mentioned it is easier to deal with extreme cold dry conditions. I use a multi layered approach to keeping my hands warm. And my system has a little  new technology and a little old technology. First off, I use wool for the liners, often a fingerless glove. Next I have the option of Dachstein mittens. My outer layer is unlined goretex mittens. The latter breathe well and are easily removed for doing delicate work. The system is not expensive and the wool works well when wet. For paddling in winter, I have a pair of neoprene gloves, but I find they are too stiff so unless its really cold, I go sans gloves.

3:17 a.m. on November 2, 2012 (EDT)
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I love my old school felted wool mitts. They are almost waterproof but completely breathable. I have tried many newer technology gloves and mitts but I cant find anything more versatile. I have hotter hands than most and hated all gloves until I got these. I use a thin glove under sometimes and a wp mitt over other times, but the felted wool are my base almost always. Google them if you dont know what im talking about, they are amazing. Pm me and ill tell you how to make them.

1:28 p.m. on November 2, 2012 (EDT)
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are you referring to the dachstein boiled wool mitts? i use them as a backup sometimes. 

1:57 p.m. on November 2, 2012 (EDT)
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I am. My mother found a book from the 1920's that had patterns for making boiled or felted mittens and hats. I have found them to be perfect for a wide range of temps and conditions. I couldnt believe how water resistant they are. I can hold my hand undef the kitchen faucet for a slow five count and my hand will stay dry. They do eventually wet out and your hands get wet but they still maintain most of their warmth. You can make them by boiling or running them thru a washing machine with an agitator set on hot. Im having her try a sweater this winter, they are harder as the material shrinks oddly during the process. Ill post some directions in another thread if anybody wants to try to make them. I tried to make some for people at material cost last winter, I hadnt thought about it being considered a commercial venture. My post was pulled because technically it was a commercial venture even tho I wasnt trying to make money. I would love to see more people use more traditional fabrics and techniques. These were the gold standard for many,many years before modern fabrics.

12:22 a.m. on November 3, 2012 (EDT)
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Dachsteins are from an area in Austria. They make sweaters and hats as well. They are boiled wool a process that tightens the material but also has lots of lanolin. They are still being produced. Peter 1955 had the beginnings of a debate on old vs. new technology on another thread. Sometimes our modern materials are an attempt to best the traditional ones. Polar fleece certainly has many advantages, but it is important to remember that it was made to gain some attributes and sacrifice others. For instance, it is lighter than wool, dries faster, and is cheaper. It doesn't change shape as easily. It also is not as warm when wet and absorbs moisture more easily.

Every material is a compromise. Complete knowledge allows us to select based upon to criteria of our individual needs.

Here is a link to a company that supplies Dachstein wool.

http://www.bradleyalpinist.com/cart/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=42

8:29 a.m. on November 3, 2012 (EDT)
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Erich said:

Every material is a compromise. Complete knowledge allows us to select based upon to criteria of our individual needs.

100% with ya on this one Erich. I research every item I purchase extensively. 

My "methodical" dissection of an item(materials, construction, origins, etc) never fails me. 

(knocks on wood/my head.)

11:30 a.m. on November 3, 2012 (EDT)
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My mothers boyfriend owns a used book store and she found a book with patterns and directions to make gloves and hats. The lanolin you mentiones must be present in the minimally processed wool you need to make them. The hot water and agitation of boiling or a washing machine "full the wool". The link provided says their products are 100% wool so im not sure if they add lanolin or not. It describes 10x the breathability of modern fabrics. That explains why much lighter high tech gloves make my hands sweat but these dont. I live in nh and we get plenty of cold, damp weather. These mitts are amazing and its a really simple process to make the gloves and hats. The mitts that fit me perfectly now started off big enough to put both hands in and go almost to my elbows. They shrink and become extremely dense. The wool opens at a molecular level bonding to itself at the same time. There are a few videos around that show wool opening during this process. I know we are kinda off topic but I think the op would like the way these perform.

11:10 a.m. on November 4, 2012 (EST)
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Thanks for the tips.  I almost certainly won't be up to making my own gloves though.  I did check at REI a while back to see what they had.  Most of the wool gloves they carried were very light & intended to be used as liners.

I don't want to order something like this sight-unseen - I need to be able to touch them & try them on before buying.

3:35 p.m. on November 4, 2012 (EST)
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I can understand wanting to try them on and not wanting to make any. I have a dozen or so friends who felt the same way. Most of them use them as their go to mitts, the others carry them as backup. I hate wool against my skin, butthe process changes the wool, it doesnt bother me anymore. They can be purchased from the link provided above, I think if you had a way to try them you would love them. If you read that sight everything has to be ordered ahead and takes six weeks plus. With that kind of demand they must work like they claim they do.

3:39 p.m. on November 4, 2012 (EST)
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Bill, I bet the Storm Trackers I reviewed (here) in combination with an over-mitt would work very well for you. ;)

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