Arm warmers

9:30 p.m. on October 24, 2013 (EDT)
45 reviewer rep
28 forum posts

We're in that shoulder season now where it's cool in the morning and warms up pretty good in the afternoon.  Combine that with the heat produced by hiking and temperature regulation is a challenge.  One thing I've recently seen and wondering if anyone uses are arm warmers.   I'd like to know if anyone has good or bad things to say about them.


9:06 a.m. on October 25, 2013 (EDT)
2,590 reviewer rep
1,630 forum posts

Not sure exactly what you mean by arm warmers. I assume they are basically sleeves you wear independantly?

One item i have found to be very worthwhile is marmot wrist gaiters. They are a slightly stretchy fleece material and  cover your hand(not fingers) to a few inches past your wrist. I find that by keeping your wrists covered you are much more warm/comfortable. They alone with just a thing long sleeve hiking shirt is more than adequate for me when something warmer isnt required. Even when its actual winter temps I typically only hike in a capaline 3 baselayer, l/s hiking shirt, and the wrist gaiters, as long i am actively moving this is good down to 10F or so easily.

In conditions like you mention i usually have a thin fleece pullover with me as well, so i can just easily pull it off if needed instead of stopping to pull off a baselayer.

2:13 p.m. on October 25, 2013 (EDT)
25 reviewer rep
3,197 forum posts

I love arm warmers, especially long sleeved t shirts, long sleeve shirts, and fleece jackets. If it is really  cold I use down jacket arm warmers.

10:42 p.m. on October 25, 2013 (EDT)
1,679 reviewer rep
707 forum posts

I'm with ppine on this one...I like to have my sleeves attached to my top (also my hood if possible...keeps things from getting misplaced and lost in the backcountry).

11:14 p.m. on October 25, 2013 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
67 forum posts


Check this thread from Backpacking Light for a discussion about arm warmers.

8:55 a.m. on October 26, 2013 (EDT)
625 reviewer rep
1,178 forum posts

I'll use them for cycling and trail running, but I haven't yet used them for backpacking.

12:58 p.m. on October 26, 2013 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
2 forum posts

I had some wool arm warmers from '82 that I used this year on a long PCT section hike. I used them in lieu of a long sleeve base layer .I carried 2 t-shirts and used these when needed . They  were made in Italy,can't find the name  tag anywhere. I will definitely use them again for the  same purpose.

1:50 p.m. on October 26, 2013 (EDT)
45 reviewer rep
28 forum posts

The Rambler asked what I meant by arm warmers, and yes, basically they are sleeves you wear independently.   "" has a pretty good selection.  (Not affiliated with them BTW in the interest of full disclosure.)  I see that Smartwool makes them too.  Looks like they run in the $10-30 dollar range.

I was out the other day on a beautiful late October Hike in Idaho and was wearing a T-shirt which was fine while we were in the sun.  However as we moved from sunlight to shadow (the trail was in the forest just north of Boise) there was an obvious temperature difference.  I had a lightweight REI thermal top that I put on when I got chilled.  I did this as I walked but those of you that have put on and taken off tops while continuing to walk it's a bit of a trick!  Having arm warmers would have been much easier.

11:48 a.m. on October 28, 2013 (EDT)
6,158 reviewer rep
1,625 forum posts

I wear arm warmers I got for Mtn Biking. Very useful. As the OP said they are great for cool mornings and warm days.  Much easier than changing an undershirt.

I saw some online that looked like sleeve tattoos, I might have to try these for the next time I go see mom.


12:04 p.m. on October 28, 2013 (EDT)
25 reviewer rep
3,197 forum posts

Given the fact that controlling the core body temperature is the goal in the outdoors, I don't see the utility in buying special equipment for arm warmers, leg warmers or any other kind of warmers. How can putting on a jacket be too much trouble ?

12:30 p.m. on October 28, 2013 (EDT)
4,404 reviewer rep
6,007 forum posts

Two places to get arm and leg warmers are dancing supply stores (ballet dancers make regular use of them) and bike shops (the ones that cater to serious bike racers). I use them for bicycling in the shoulder seasons, when it is too cold to start out on a long ride in shorts and light short sleeve jersey, but I will be getting thoroughly heated on the hill climbs. For the down hill sections I carry a wind shirt or jacket (see my reviews of the Pataginia Houdini, Wild Things wind shirt, and Montane wind shirt). I do not usually use arm or leg warmers for hiking. The warmers are pretty much for warming up the arm ang leg muscles. Once you get warmed up, the heat generated in using them for operating the bike is usually enough on the flats and heading uphill. But the loss of heat when descending long hills especially calls for a windshell.

May 28, 2018
Quick Reply

Please sign in to reply

More Topics
This forum: Older: Prescription Glasses wearers, what do you do? Newer: How well do you know your gear?
All forums: Older: Alpine Trekkers Newer: Congratulations, Johnny!