Cold & Wet Hands


Experience From -
Will Brown , Dan Baglione , Claude Sinclair , Kristine Hinrichs , Phil Mislinski , Pat Wellington , Herb Hedgecock , Rod Dalitz , Mike Erickson , Rich Schick , Damon Lease , Jay Hodde , Rorik Peterson , Nanci LeVake , Mark Swanson , Joe Lugiano , Melody Varner , Norm Yarger ,

Will Brown

Does anybody have a recommendation for industrial strength, waterproof, warm gloves and/or mittens? I ran 4 hours in the rain yesterday at Umstead State Park with temps just above freezing. My lined gloves had served well in light rain, but they were soaked all the way through yesterday.

I have Reynaud's (Raynaud's?) and cold hands reduce me to whimpering. I do have a pair of thermolite lined mittens from REI that are warm and somewhat water resistant, but they need to be replaced as well.

Dan Baglione

In cold, wet or windy conditions, I use warm mittens under GoreTex shells. These worked well at 20,000 ft. in high winds and have also served well in cold rain. If this isn't enough, get some chemical hand warmers and put them inside your mittens.

Claude Sinclair

Years ago I purchased some GoreTex mittens designed to cover gloves or just to wear along. When it gets chilly at Laurel Valley, the ranger (you know the one I am talking about) wears them. I also have some GoreTex gloves with a polypro liner which I got out of Cabela's and another pair I ordered out of some running shoe catalog. Either way, your hands will get wet because of your hands sweating.

Kristine Hinrichs

My vote for heavy-duty water protection is the "Dry Road" mittens from Roadrunner Sports and use a coolmax or other breathable mitten for a liner - the mittens don't breathe - or leak - but the liner seems to soak up your hand moisture. I have friends with Reynauds anf they report that mittens are a must - if things get really bad, they use the commercial toe warmers (as they have an adhesive strip to keep them in place) in the mittens for extra warmth.

Phil Mislinski

I have a pair of light weight, fleece lined, GoreTex mittens made by Hind that are great. For all of the running I did during the winter in Boulder, CO they were more than enough. Even during the mixed snow and freezing rain runs. I also used them during Christmas trips to South Dakota and Minnesota where the daytime high was -8F for over a week. They were usually enough then too.

Outdoor Research (OR) also makes several variations of GoreTex mittens that are great. Anything from small, light weight versions to full on mountaineering mittens designed for use in extreme cold. I have two different pair that I love for skiing.

Pat Wellington

I have severe Reynaud's and overall inability to generate heat in the cold. I have some Manzella Waterproof Gloves "Z-Tech Performance Series" that I ordered from Road Runners Sports and they worked great in recent rain storms here in California. If it's really storming, I even pull my GoreTex jacket sleeves over the gloves and my hands stay toasty warm.

Herb Hedgecock

When the weather gets cool, or even if my body isn't producing enough heat, then the blood will stop flowing in parts of my hands/fingers, and it is a "pain" to get the blood flowing again. But I have "THE ANSWER" if you will become a believer. My loving wife, SUE (the other Hedgecock), knits and made me a pair of double knit wool mittens. The inner fiber is Angora rabbit wool from one of our bunnies, and the outer is virgin wool from one of our sheep. I can run in the coldest weather with those little woolies on and not have to worry about my hands getting cold. "I'M A BELIEVER!" I'm converted to the religion of WOOL. Honest.

Now I should also tell you that we lovingly plucked the Angora wool, and we sheared the wool from the sheep, and we carded and cleaned the wool, and Sue spun the fiber and knitted the mittens. Plus she made up the pattern herself, since there wasn't one available. Actually Sue did almost all of the work; I happily wear the end product.

IN CASE YOU DIDN'T HEAR ME. GET SOME WOOL MITTENS KNITTED BY SUE, AND YOU WILL NEVER AGAIN WORRY ABOUT COLD HANDS. In case you can't get her to make you a pair, then I would suggest what I use as my second choice. Ragg wool mittens can be had from Campmore and Sierra Trading and such places. Just be sure to get mittens, not gloves. And make sure they are WOOL.

Rod Dalitz

Herb, At say $40 per hour, those must be expensive mittens...

It is old mountaineering wisdom that wool keeps warm even when it is wet. New technology may be good in some ways, but a lot of old technology has been tried and tested for centuries. Sheepskin goes back thousands of years!

Dachstein mittens over thermal liners are good. Actually, Buffalo mittens, which are pertex outer over fleece inner, are a good lightweight emergency spare.

Mike Erickson

Dachsteins "are" the real deal. No better mitten has ever been made that combines warmth and durability. The climber's pal.

Rich Schick

I think I have come up with quite a deal. A waterproof over mitt for $9.96 from Campmor and an Outdoor Research wool felt liner for $1.86 from REI. This combo should handle anything down to a bit below zero. The neat part is doing it on the cheap!

Damon Lease

Karl hit my basic glove solution dead-on here:

Polypro glove liner to get the moisture away from the skin Fleece glove Pearl Izumi GoreTex lined mitten - very light.
I have some variations on this now, and I find that I sometimes have to deal with a bit of moisture accumulation to get the best warmth combo.

I sometimes use Pearl Izumi's "lobster gloves", a mitten/glove cross that provides good warmth but not great moisture transfer.

For skiing, I use a single Mountain Hardwear Polypro glove liner, and I then cover that with a GoreTex lined leather glove.

For the very coldest days, I have an oversized OR mitten. This is the one system that doesn't breathe nearly as well as I'd like, but it is super warm - very comfortable down to the -20F to -30F range. I again use a Polypro liner in this system, then a second fleece glove and then the mitten set, which includes its own liner beneath the shell.

When I crewed Jay Hodde at Coldfoot, he had a terrible time staying warm as night arrived and the miles accumulated. At one point, he was wearing every piece of gear we had with us except what I needed to keep myself from freezing to death, and his hands were still cold. At one point, a runner who had dropped out (a musher attempting his first ultra) lent Jay a pair of mushing mitts that finally got his hands warm, but I don't know what brand or model they were. I doubt that Jay remembers either.

I've picked up two other pieces of cold weather gear recently that I love, but they have nothing to do with hand protection.

Patagonia's Cool Weather tights (about $70) are easily the nicest tights I've ever worn, and I've used them down to 15F so far. I'm guessing that below 5-10F, or in very windy conditions that they wouldn't be warm enough.

The Cloudveil Serendipity jacket is a more recent addition to my gear and it hasn't been used much yet, but from what I have done, it's a great cold weather running shell. However, it's much more than just a running shell and the price ($250) is out there. You'll really think that when you pick it up and see how little there is to it. I got it as much for cool weather climbing and peak bagging as running.

Jay Hodde

I don't recall the mushing mitt brand or model either -- I know it worked well. What people need to realize, though is that the OR GoreTex mitten with an additional Polypro liner kept me warm for about 14 hours in temperatures that hovered near zero degrees F.

And those who know me are well aware that my hands are "always" cold, so this is really saying something about the OR system that I used.

Rorik Peterson

I use down mittens over poly pro liners for temps -20F to -40F. When it is colder than that, I just think about running and have another beer.

Nanci LeVake

I have a pair of Steger polar fleece mushing mitts- I just used them (here in FL :-) ) on a bike ride. They go up almost to my elbows. "Great" for dry cold weather.

I also have moosehide mukluks, which are the best thing ever for keeping feet warm when it's below zero, but are also comfortable to wear indoors because they breathe so well. I only get to wear them a few times a year, though, now that I defected to FL.

Mark Swanson

Growing up in the midwest I used to have problems with cold hands every winter. Nothing worked, not even hot coals in my gloves inside of mittens wrapped in duct tape and sealed in plastic and inserted in various orifices. I finally found the perfect (and permanent) solution. You can too!

Joe Lugiano

Jay, I've used that combination (although not OR brand GoreTex mittens, with poly pro gloves) for hours at temperatures down to -40 below while X-C skiing in Vermont, as well as during warmer temps. I am using the glittens here in NJ at temps around 20. Not quite as comfortable as a plain old pair of white garden gloves. Or, my Manzanella gloves.

Melody Varner

Wanted to make this post funny and had full intentions of doing so, however, I have the flu and am not into it. Bottom line, when my fingers are desperately cold, I stick them in my armpits or my ears. See, where this one could go if I was a lead comedian??? Anyway, after all where does the nurse check for a temp for children and adults. I checked it all out. Actually ears are hotter than the armpits and both aren't as warm as the mouth, but I wouldn't want to stick my hands there as I would be worse off than just cold!

Norm Yarger

Melody, I can get all of my fingers from one hand into my armpit on the opposite side. This allows me to warm up all of my fingers using both arm pits. But how many fingers can you get into your ears? Unless you are built like one of the seven dwarfs, it would seem like one ear would accommodate one finger tip only.