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#148125 - 03/22/11 01:21 AM Cold hand dilemma
Al Paca Offline
member

Registered: 10/11/10
Posts: 17
Loc: Oakland, CA
After spending several years in and out of the backcountry I'm still plagued w/ the seemingly impossible task of striking the ideal balance of warmth, dexterity and weather resistance in a glove. I have cold hands and apparently the only option for cold hands are big, bulky, cumbersome gloves. They may keep your hands warm and dry but lots of luck if you have to use your hands at all.

I was wondering what other people w/ inherently cold hands are doing about keeping their hands warm, dry and usable.

*Feel free to re-route this thread if posted incorrectly.*

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#148127 - 03/22/11 02:14 AM Re: Cold hand dilemma [Re: Al Paca]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
One solution is to use chemical warmers that slip into pockets in your gloves. I have a pair of mitts made by Heat Factory that use those. But, the mitts are bulky. My favorite gloves are a pair of OR PS150s which are not made any more (there is a military version, but not the same glove) and mine have worn out. I just got a pair of REI gloves to replace them-slightly bulkier, but same idea-a fleece glove that you can wear all the time if you want, then when it's really cold, pull a big glove or mitt over them.
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#148129 - 03/22/11 03:50 AM Re: Cold hand dilemma [Re: Al Paca]
verber Offline
member

Registered: 01/26/04
Posts: 269
Loc: SF Bay Area, CA
my hands runs fairly warm... for me powerstretch gloves + a shelled mitts covers me well to below freezing. My wife, and several friends have cold running hands. They have typically gone with liner gloves with good dexterity, and highly insulated mittens (either RBH Design vapor barrier type, or high loft insulated) for warmth. Hands are normally in mitts, but they pop out wearing the liners for the short periods when they need a lot of dexterity. A few people I know have found mitts that "pop their top" to expose the finger for delicate work, but none of these have really impressed me.

Andy Kirkpatrick (aka pyschovertical) wrote a nice article from a climbers perspective about the truth about gloves (they all suck).

The other thing you can do if you are sufficiently motivated is to train your body to keep a good supply of blood flowing to your hands, even when it's could such as the murray method for raynauds

--mark



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#148130 - 03/22/11 07:12 AM Re: Cold hand dilemma [Re: Al Paca]
midnightsun03 Offline
member

Registered: 08/06/03
Posts: 2936
Loc: Alaska
You can also keep your hands warmer if you make sure that your wrists are warmer. The blood supply to your hands can be warmed using chemical heat packs placed on the inside of the wrists when you know you'll be using your hands alot, and otherwise kept warm using wristlets to bridge the gap between your sleeve and hand (they go up the forearm a bit, similar to legwarmers). If you keep your neck and head warm too, it will help.

Like sleeping bags, gloves won't warm hands, they will only help retain the heat that is naturally present. If you don't have heat to begin with you're not going to have warm hands in any glove. Keeping the peripheral blood flow open and warm is key to keeping hands warm. Reynaud's and other peripheral vascular disorders complicate the issue.

MNS
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#148132 - 03/22/11 08:54 AM Re: Cold hand dilemma [Re: Al Paca]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Have extra fuel for your stove and keep it going in the winter, makes a nice hand warmer. In the morning, I pack up a piece at a time, warm hands up, repeat.

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#148134 - 03/22/11 11:01 AM Re: Cold hand dilemma [Re: Al Paca]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Liner gloves when my hands feel cold. That's usually below 40F. If I need to do things, they don't interfere too much with dexterity.

If it's colder than freezing, out come the fleece gloves. In winter, the insulated waterproof gloves go out with me. In 3 season I have some large nonlatex medical gloves along to layer over some low profile fleece gloves.
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#148136 - 03/22/11 11:39 AM Re: Cold hand dilemma [Re: Al Paca]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1146
Loc: Washington State, King County
Definitely mittens, not gloves, except for a quick drying liner glove inside a mitten.

I bought some Dachstein mittens recently; these aren't light, but they're dense wool and very warm. Too warm for most situations; I tend to use OR PL 400 mitts in most situations instead, but when it's really cold (or you're really cold) Dachsteins are perhaps the best you can get for warmth. Though if you could get some made from your Alpaca post namesake, those would likely be very good too, maybe look for mittens from Peru ... :-).

Add a mitten shell for the weather resistance factor you mentioned and give up on the idea of dexterity while wearing the mittens. That's what the liner gloves are for. Remove the mittens temporarily to do "fiddling with hands" tasks, and do those as little as possible. Keep mittens on your hands most of the time and that should help a lot.
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#148138 - 03/22/11 12:05 PM Re: Cold hand dilemma [Re: BrianLe]
balzaccom Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 1730
Loc: Napa, CA
I have a pair of combination mittens and gloves that work great. They're fleece, under $20, and they have 1/2 fingers---over which a whole mitten fits.

I use them for cycling in the cold, and they keep my hands warm...and also allowing me to pop my fingers free when I need to do something that requires a little dexterity.
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#148139 - 03/22/11 12:19 PM Re: Cold hand dilemma [Re: Al Paca]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2802
Loc: NorCal
Hi Mr. Paca (love the name). I presume you're not talking about home, Oakland having as close to ideal weather as can be imagined. In what situations and conditions are you experiencing this? Summertime backpacking? Snowshoeing? XC skiing? On the trail? In camp? Fishing?

Hard to know what to "prescribe" without knowing more about the situation.

I hike with trekking poles and with hands exposed all the time they can get chilled. Bicycling gloves give me perhaps 20 degrees more range while minimizing the annoyance factor. Next step is "regular" gloves (fleece or windstopper fleece) and after that, mittens. Mittens themselves range from very lightweight to Top-of-Everest mondo. Then there are specialty items like neoprene gloves and mittens for wet environments.

Lots of choices.

Cheers,
_________________________
--Rick

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#148142 - 03/22/11 01:08 PM Re: Cold hand dilemma [Re: midnightsun03]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3889
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Quote:
You can also keep your hands warmer if you make sure that your wrists are warmer.


Thanks for the tip! I use "Hot Hands" inside my gloves, but they don't do much for fingertips, so I'll give that a try.
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#148144 - 03/22/11 02:24 PM Re: Cold hand dilemma [Re: midnightsun03]
Al Paca Offline
member

Registered: 10/11/10
Posts: 17
Loc: Oakland, CA

Originally Posted By Rick_D
Hi Mr. Paca (love the name). I presume you're not talking about home, Oakland having as close to ideal weather as can be imagined. In what situations and conditions are you experiencing this? Summertime backpacking? Snowshoeing? XC skiing? On the trail? In camp? Fishing?

Hard to know what to "prescribe" without knowing more about the situation.

Al Paca, yeah "Al" is my name and "Al Paca" just kind of stuck as a nick name one day. Possibly do to having lots of hair on my head.

Anyway, Oakland weather is fine it's just when I'm using my hands around camp, on the trail, on my bike and as soon as the weather dips below 50. Considering my usual destination is the Sierra, this can't be avoided even in the height of summer. But yeah, it's usually on my mid-late Spring through mid-Fall backpacking trips.
My focus in a glove would be dexterity and weather resistance because I figured my hands would only really get cold when I used them and if I could keep them dry, I could keep them warm. This led me to a lightly insulated soft-shell but my logic didn't work out so well. I tried several REI models only to be disappointed. I then moved onto a heavier glove and figured I could find a shell similar to the OR Lobster Claw for when the weather went South. I've been using North Face Wind Stopper fleece gloves and figured I'd avoid moisture at all costs but a couple of 30 degree mornings in New Zealand cooking breakfast proved to much for the gloves. With my hands bright red, throbbing and contracting at a snails pace, I said ENOUGH!
So the hunt continues...

There is however very promising suggestions in this thread! The shell mitt and liner combo seem the obvious next route seeing as it's suggested by several of you. Also:
Originally Posted By midnightsun03
You can also keep your hands warmer if you make sure that your wrists are warmer.


I'm not sure why I never thought of this before. Keeping blood warm as it travels from my core to my hands seems like a no brainer! Thanks for the tip. I'll definitely have some research to do w/ all the mitt and glove options put forth.

Thanks guys!!

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#148145 - 03/22/11 02:45 PM Re: Cold hand dilemma [Re: Al Paca]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6399
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
For me, it really helps to have a nice warm liner glove, thin enough to allow me to do camp chores without taking off the gloves but that will keep my hands from getting chilled. For Christmas I was given a pair of Smartwool liner gloves which are wonderful for this purpose (they also don't melt when I grab a hot pot). If I don't need dexterity at the moment, I immediately put mittens on over them. If it's really cold (well below freezing), it's liner gloves plus fleece mittens plus waterproof shells. I find this triple combo too warm for active hiking (my hands sweat), but I certainly use it in camp or at rest stops.

MNS's idea of using the chemical warmers on your wrists also sounds good. I certainly hope you can work something out!
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#148153 - 03/22/11 08:38 PM Re: Cold hand dilemma [Re: OregonMouse]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Take my comments with a grain of salt, because my hands do tend to run warm. but I do a few things that may be of interest to you. Firstly, I use the shell mitts and glove combo a lot, usually with ragg wool gloves

In heavier terrain and cooler weather, I often hike in a pair of fancy mechanics gloves, they are leather with sythetic backing, tough enough to protect hands and be warm, but generally dexterous enough to be useful still - I like them because I can put hands down on rocks and pick up hot things and yet the leather provides some warmth, and yet they are more dexterous than my wool gloves. (and by dexterous enough, I use my standard male measurement of dexterity - while wearing pants and long underwear I can unzip and take a leak without removing the gloves grin ) I don't remember what brand mine are but I found them at the tool store and they fit well. I do find I have a lot warmer hands with these, well, because they have enough dexterity that I wear them all the time so my hands don't get cold while moving.


Edited by phat (03/22/11 08:39 PM)
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#148158 - 03/22/11 09:18 PM Re: Cold hand dilemma [Re: phat]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By phat

In heavier terrain and cooler weather, I often hike in a pair of fancy mechanics gloves, they are leather with sythetic backing, tough enough to protect hands and be warm, but generally dexterous enough to be useful still - I like them because I can put hands down on rocks and pick up hot things and yet the leather provides some warmth, and yet they are more dexterous than my wool gloves.


Forgot to mention that. For search and rescue I am required to have work gloves. The leather palm/synthetic backed gloves I picked up at the hardware store actually do a great job at keeping my hands warm - we were out in cold ongoing rain over the weekend and though the backs of the gloves were soaked, my hands were pretty darn warm.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

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#148161 - 03/22/11 10:44 PM Re: Cold hand dilemma [Re: Al Paca]
Howie Offline
member

Registered: 06/02/03
Posts: 481
Loc: Canora, SK, Canada
This may sound silly but I find it helps a lot to always wear a hat, especially a woolen one such as what we Canadians call a touque. I used to get cold hands but now I keep my head covered the problem is greatly diminished.

Howie

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#148164 - 03/23/11 12:15 AM Re: Cold hand dilemma [Re: Howie]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Hmm. yes, +1 on the toque - wear a hat, if you don't already.
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Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
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#148165 - 03/23/11 12:59 AM Re: Cold hand dilemma [Re: phat]
Al Paca Offline
member

Registered: 10/11/10
Posts: 17
Loc: Oakland, CA
Originally Posted By phat

In heavier terrain and cooler weather, I often hike in a pair of fancy mechanics gloves, they are leather with sythetic backing, tough enough to protect hands and be warm, but generally dexterous enough to be useful still


Are these the "Mechanix" brand gloves that come in bright colors and have silly branding all over them? Usually found in auto parts stores? These to have leather palms w/ some sort of nylon back as Lori said. I know you can't remember the brand but thought the description may ring a bell.

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#148170 - 03/23/11 09:33 AM Re: Cold hand dilemma [Re: Al Paca]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Yes, similar.. mine are not mechanix brand or bright red - there are many other brands. the trick is finding one that's a good fit.
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Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
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#148173 - 03/23/11 10:20 AM Re: Cold hand dilemma [Re: phat]
Kent W Offline
member

Registered: 10/15/09
Posts: 607
Loc: IL.
My hands and feet run warmer than most. I beleive if vitals are warm all else is to. I ice fish and coyote hunt seldom with more than light fleece or rag wool gloves. I keep my chest and head well insulated. Ice fishing teaches you to keep your gloves dry. I remove gloves often to rebate and remove wet fish. I never put them back on till my hands are dry! One of the best all round gloves for me is the thin rag wool liners. Wool is warm when wet. If extreme cold I cover liners with work gloves or overmit.

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#148259 - 03/24/11 02:25 PM Re: Cold hand dilemma [Re: Kent W]
thecook Offline


Registered: 10/03/08
Posts: 541
Loc: Minnesota
+1 on keeping your wrists warm. I picked up a ski jacket this year with the extensions that cover your wrists and have a thumb hole to keep them in place. I was really surprised by how much warmer my fingers were. Some of the wool longunderwear comes this way. You might want to try it out.
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#148286 - 03/24/11 08:55 PM Re: Cold hand dilemma [Re: thecook]
Doorknob Offline


Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 8
Loc: Hawaii
If your hands are cold when your are not in the mountains, it could be a thyroid issue.

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#148310 - 03/24/11 11:57 PM Re: Cold hand dilemma [Re: Doorknob]
Al Paca Offline
member

Registered: 10/11/10
Posts: 17
Loc: Oakland, CA
A thyroid issue? Like what kind of issue?
I have a pretty fast metabolism which doesn't leave a lot of fat on my body... Maybe that's it?

Anyway, I'm going w/ some rag wool mitts and wool liners like some suggested. I'm also waiting on the MLD Rain mitts. I'll keep this updated on how this combo works out. It's currently 48* here in Oakland and just as cold in our apartment seeing as it's in an old converted warehouse. So my hands are cold now, as I'm typing this, not in the mountains.

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#148395 - 03/26/11 12:05 AM Re: Cold hand dilemma [Re: Al Paca]
Howie Offline
member

Registered: 06/02/03
Posts: 481
Loc: Canora, SK, Canada
I don't know if anyone mentioned this, but you could have Reynaud's Syndrome. You might look it up. A retired doctor once told me that vitamin E helps combat it. I used to get cold hands and he thought perhaps that is what I had. For some reason my hands stay warm now, but they used to turn white and cold even in the summertime.

Howie

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#148507 - 03/28/11 01:12 AM Re: Cold hand dilemma [Re: Al Paca]
Paul Offline
member

Registered: 09/30/02
Posts: 778
Loc: California
Would you say your hands are often cold when you are otherwise quite warm? I ask because I think it is important to differentiate between a situation where your hands are cold to to poor circulation despite you r core temperature being fine, and a the situation where your core temperature is dropping and your body's natural response is to give priority to the head and core and reduce circulation to the extremities. Solutions for the two are quite different.
If your body is reducing blood flow to the extremities due to your core being cold, warmer handwear won't help much - you need to keep your core warmer -, but if your circulation is just somewhat less than normal all the time, then warmer handwear will help more.
As far as the actual handwear, a nice liner type glove (i'm using powerstretch lately)and then warm mittens - fleece or pile or wool - and then an uninsulated mitten shell, is the best combination I've found. Versatile, since you can wear any piece separately or in any combination; faster to dry if any part gets wet; and when you need all 3 pieces at once, you still have the ability to take off the mitten layers and keep the liner on for quick dexterity tasks.

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#148542 - 03/28/11 02:17 PM Re: Cold hand dilemma [Re: Howie]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3889
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Vitamin E Huh? I'll have to look into that.

My wife and I started taking l-lysine supplements a few months ago after reading about it's immune system boosting properties and found that it also helps with circulation as well. I think this may be helping me with the Reynaud's. I certainly haven't noticed it since we started on the l-lysine. I'll add some E to my regimen too. I'd love to not have to deal with "Zombie Hands" anymore wink
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