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#167918 - 07/19/12 02:02 AM Your Hands and Keeping Warm
Slim Jim Offline
newbie

Registered: 07/19/12
Posts: 1
So I came across an article (on a British site called "Peak Performance") that showed how keeping athletes' hands cool kept their core temperatures lower, which could lead to increased performance.

I began to wonder if the opposite were true--if I were sleeping in my summer bag, and the temperature dipped down to a point where I would be uncomfortable, would I warm up if I somehow warmed up my hands?

Well, last weekend I got the chance to test this idea. My better half and I did an over-nighter on the PCT (Hood River, OR to Wahtum Lake, returning the next day). It's been a bit warm over the last few weeks, so I was just sleeping in some light cotton PJ bottoms and a t-shirt. I was perfectly comfortable and fell asleep without issue.

Overnight, a small storm cell moved in and the temps dropped overnight.

I woke up shivering, and that article was the first thing that came to mind. Put my hands between my legs and fell back asleep, my hands nice and toasty.

Woke up again a few hours later, hands not between my legs, and once again, shivering. I put a pair of wool socks over my hands, and slept just fine the rest of the night.

I've been kicking this idea around my head for a while now, and have been itching for a second opinion... So here goes:

With regards to sleeping warm, would taking a pair of insulated and/or wool gloves or mittens instead of thermals, longjohns, a wool cap and sleep socks be something you would consider?

This would be a pretty significant way to save both weight and space, especially if you bring a dedicated, heavyweight sleeping outfit.

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#167920 - 07/19/12 07:31 AM Re: Your Hands and Keeping Warm [Re: Slim Jim]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3571
Loc: Texas
Many of us on this site sleep in mittens/gloves. I sometimes put socks over my hands which are basically lightweight mittens. I don't like wearing "sleepwear" if I can help it, unless it's really cold. Mittens and a hat will definitely keep the chill off. Hats especially. Those are essentials for me.
About core temperature...I play disc golf often and when it's chilly, I wear an insulated vest. Down to about 45 deg. and light wind, my hands and arms don't get cold and are much freer to move. Very counter intuitive. I use to think vests were the most useless piece of fabric there was and now I wear one constantly in winter.

Your head, hands, and feet are big radiators, so it stands to reason your core temp can be kept higher if you cover them.
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#167922 - 07/19/12 11:24 AM Re: Your Hands and Keeping Warm [Re: Dryer]
balzaccom Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 1731
Loc: Napa, CA
Originally Posted By Dryer


Your head, hands, and feet are big radiators, so it stands to reason your core temp can be kept higher if you cover them.


Thus the old adage: If your feet are cold, put on a hat!
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#167924 - 07/19/12 12:36 PM Re: Your Hands and Keeping Warm [Re: Slim Jim]
Heather-ak Offline
member

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 597
Loc: Fairbanks, AK
I'll dig around and see if I can find the study about wrist warm and body temp - The outcome was if your wrists (where all that blood is near your skin) was kept warm, your body and hands were warmer - which makes sense. If I find the data or the write up I'll post it here.

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#168237 - 08/04/12 11:25 PM Re: Your Hands and Keeping Warm [Re: Slim Jim]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By Slim Jim

With regards to sleeping warm, would taking a pair of insulated and/or wool gloves or mittens instead of thermals, longjohns, a wool cap and sleep socks be something you would consider?

This would be a pretty significant way to save both weight and space, especially if you bring a dedicated, heavyweight sleeping outfit.


I don't know about "instead of" - but I regularly have ragg wool mitts that I will sleep in if I get cool.

My "normal" sleeping system is an aggressively defended dry (meaning I only wear it sleeping) set of medium weight merino long johns and dry merino socks. I will then add to that a fleece toque, wool gloves, and potentially up to another merino shirt and a fleece if it is really cold. The toque and fleece and stuff are also part of my layering for sitting around.

But you are correct - warming up hands helps!

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#171261 - 11/01/12 04:31 PM Re: Your Hands and Keeping Warm [Re: Slim Jim]
MGtraildog Offline
newbie

Registered: 07/14/12
Posts: 7
Keeping hands warm while sleeping is not a problem with me since i sleep in a warmer bag if its really cold. To me hiking with cold hands is miserable. I have a pair of Marmot lobster gloves that I bought used for 50 bucks used on Ebay. They are super warm in any temp. I overcompensate for warmth as an adult since when I was a child playing in the snow I was always cold - cheap coat and shoes. Now i'm Mr. Toasty in layers.

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#171284 - 11/02/12 03:10 AM Re: Your Hands and Keeping Warm [Re: MGtraildog]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
I sleep in my Capilene base layer and add a beanie, gloves and socks if cold. I tried wearing a balaclava, but it was too uncomfortable. One thing to remember, if you wake up cold, eat something like a Powerbar or Clif Bar. I keep one where I can find it and my headlamp in the dark and will eat half if cold. Half works for me, but someone bigger might need a whole one.

I'm with MG-cold hands are not fun. I bought a pair of heavy duty mitts at the end of last winter (on sale from STP) to try out this winter. If you do buy mitts, make sure they are big enough to fit over a fleece liner glove or something similar. I exchanged mine for a bigger pair for that reason.
_________________________
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#171289 - 11/02/12 04:15 AM Re: Your Hands and Keeping Warm [Re: Slim Jim]
Brotherbob12 Offline
member

Registered: 04/05/04
Posts: 71
Loc: Sweden
In my opinion hands, feet and neck are very important to insulate to keep warm. I believe that is because that's where big arterys are close to the skin surface. If the blood there cools the core temp cools down fast. In cold weather I always use heavy wool socks, mittens and if necessary a balaclava.

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