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Thread: Gloves or Mittens

  1. #16
    Senior Member hikingfish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onestep
    Your OR Shells come with a removable liner. Are your OR Shells sized so that you can wear your Polypro liners & Double fleece mittens in place of the OR Shell liner or INSIDE of the OR Shell & its liner?
    I didn't like any of the liners I saw when I was shopping around for mitts, so I specifically chose a shell that didn't come with a liner. So I wear polypro liner glove, fleece mitts and shell (no inner shell liner).

    One down side of this setup that I've seen after the purchase, was that some shell-provided liners have velcro or abrasive parts which will greatly increase the your ability to manipulate anything with your mitts. I just practice and practice and I do a lot of stuff wearing my mitts now.

    Fish

  2. #17
    Senior Member the starchild's Avatar
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    neither is better all the time.

    neither is better all the time. there is a time and place for both. get both!

    with gloves get a two piece set with a waterproof shell and inner liner. now you have four things to wear (liner only, shell only, liner and shell, mittens)and can always buy thinner liners to wear with the shells.

    if your hands get really cold messing with your pack/camera/whatever, putting gloves back on won't help much. mittens will be much more helpful.

    as other also said, experiment, everyone's tolerances and bodies are different.
    the starchild chill will

  3. #18
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    One item to note:
    If you have gloves/mittens that have both a shell and a non-removable liner, you will have difficulty drying them. Separate shells and liners are much easier to dry. It is also practical (and desirable) to carry several sets of liners for a shell--as one set of liners gets damp, you can swap them for a dry set.

    Your hand insulation will get wet, either from sweat or from melted snow.

    You dry liners on the trail by carrying them in your shirt or at night by putting them in your sleeping bag with you. In both cases, they are dried by body heat. (On a day hike, you may be able to get by without drying the spare liners on the trail.)

    Doug

  4. #19
    Banned Kevin Rooney's Avatar
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    An additional thought on shells: you can spend a small fortune on a pair, particularly if you get waterproof ones. In my experience, waterproof shells are a waste of money, and they're heavy to boot, so get basic shells, with possibly non-slip grips. When it's so cold and windy that shells are a necessity, about the only thing that resembles a liquid will be (pardon my candor) your runny nose...

  5. #20
    Senior Member Toe Cozy's Avatar
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    Wool!!!

    I haven't been winter hiking very long, so take that into consideration. My system of choice has turned out to be some $14 Fox River wool gloves that have little rubber nubbies (hey "little rubber nubbies" is fun to say! go on, say it...out loud) on the palms. They are a little thicker than liners but not thick like serious gloves. Most of the time I wear just these and take them off as soon as my hands get warm and start to sweat. It took me a while to figure this out and to get used to the on/off on/off procedure. But dry gloves. Dry gloves make a huge difference. I can keep them dry for almost a whole hike by taking them off and hiking bare handed when I'm hot and putting them back on when I'm cold.

    When the wool gloves are not enough I'll put my OR shell mitts over top for some wind and wetness from the outside protection. If that is still not enough I'll stop, take off the wool gloves, put on my double thickness $11 Fox River wool mittens and then the Shell Mitts over those.

    I carry backup synthetic liners and really cozy down mittens for emergencies. I also am not embarrassed to use a little chemical help, but usually find that I don't need it for long and end up putting them into my pockets. It's good to pass them around your hiking group in my opinion. I'm a chemical hand warmer pusher!

    Anyway, that's a long way of saying. Wool is great (and a renewable resource unlike all the synthetic stuff we use!) My usually cold hands were warm this winter almost all of the time and it was a cheap system.

  6. #21
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toe Cozy
    I haven't been winter hiking very long, so take that into consideration. My system of choice has turned out to be some $14 Fox River wool gloves that have little rubber nubbies (hey "little rubber nubbies" is fun to say! go on, say it...out loud) on the palms.
    Wool resists moisture better than fleece, but also takes longer to dry. Wool also sticks to velcro, fleece does not (a constant nuisance on some of my shells). Either will keep your hands warm if you keep them dry and block the wind. (It is very difficult to impossible to keep your hands dry when in motion--they sweat and the moisture tends to accumulate in your hand insulation. Shells, and particularly waterproof shells make it even harder to dissipate the moisture.)

    I carry backup synthetic liners and really cozy down mittens for emergencies. I also am not embarrassed to use a little chemical help, but usually find that I don't need it for long and end up putting them into my pockets. It's good to pass them around your hiking group in my opinion. I'm a chemical hand warmer pusher!
    Down mittens are pretty much overkill for the NE (we are not talking about high-altitude mountaineering here) and if you get them wet, will be next to impossible to dry in the field. IMO, they are only useful (in the NE) for people with severe hand warmth problems. (Polyester-fill mittens might be more moisture tolerant.)

    There is a danger in relying on chemical hand warmers. They aren't very reliable and if you get yourself into a situation where you need one and it doesn't work or you run out, you may be setting yourself up for frostbite. An extra-warm pair of mittens is more reliable. (That said, I know many rely on chemical warmers. I've never even carried them, although I might consider adding one or two to my emergency gear.)

    The ultimate wool mitten is the boiled wool mitten--Dachstein is the classic brand. (Available at Campmoor, IIRC.) Very warm--I used to wear them ice climbing where liquid water could drip through them. My hands would be warm withing a few minutes. Dougal Haston wore two pairs in a storm on the top of Annapurna and returned with fully intact hands.

    Wool vs fleece has been discussed a number of times. See, for instance: http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthread.php?t=11412 http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthread.php?t=9712 http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthread.php?t=5811 and
    http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthread.php?t=14311

    Doug
    Last edited by DougPaul; 05-17-2007 at 08:59 AM.

  7. #22
    Banned Kevin Rooney's Avatar
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    Campmor carries Dachstein wool mittens, and they happen to be on sale now. . Unfortunately, the only sizes are S and M. Due to their nature, these mittens don't stretch much, and when your hands are cold and damp it's even harder to get them into a snug wool mitten.

    I'm also a big fan of Dachstein wool socks (sometimes sold as Himalyan (sp?) socks), and in a pinch they double as mittens. Have used this trick once or twice in summer when above treeline and I neglected to pack some gloves/mittens. Any sock will serve this purpose to some degree.

  8. #23
    Senior Member jmegillon149's Avatar
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    three layer method:
    1. light wicking liner gloves
    2. fleece mittens
    3. water/windproof mittens

    mittens are so much warmer. the liner gloves are so I can use my fingers occasionally, without having to expose them to the elements

    I have found that big heavy gloves are not good for much, they are not as warm as similiarly insulated mittens, and really don't offer that much dexterity. with a half onch of padding around each finger, you can't do all that much more than with mittens
    "In that cool mountain air on an Appalachian Trail, Life is better there"
    -Yonder Mountain String Band

    Adopted trail: Zeacliff

  9. #24
    Senior Member Toe Cozy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1ADAM12
    I am going to get into winter hiking next year and I am going to start getting my gear now. This way I am not sinking 500 bucks into new gear just before a trip.

    In your expierences which is better gloves or mittens?

    Thanks,
    Adam
    So Adam, with this much varying experience, advice, technique and information it looks like you'll just have to sink $500 into various layers of mittens and glove configurations and figure out what works for you. Hope you're not planning on asking any questions about winter boots!

    I am a person who gets extremely cold fingers and toes. I was scared of winter hiking for a long time. I was convinced my fingers and toes would freeze off. It took me a while to figure out what works for me. I don't like synthetic gloves or mittens despite the positives that DougPaul mentions and many people find to be true. They seem to make my fingers colder faster. I once used my down mitts for actual hiking and found how quickly they became soaked with sweat and rather useless. I never did that again! However, I still carry them in case I have to stop for a while or want to stop for a while. I know I can keep my fingers warm longer while I'm not moving with the big down mitts. So while they may be overkill for NE while in motion, I don't believe they are overkill if you want to keep fingers comfortable longer while not moving. Same reason I carry my down jacket. I hardly ever put it on, but if I wanted to be stationary for a bit, the down jacket is critical.

    You'll learn what works for you. Winter hiking is awesome.

  10. #25
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    1 - 4 layers

    What I have on my hands at any given time depends on MN, aka Mother Nature.

    However, I always have with me glove liners, fleece gloves, woolen mittens and Gortex shells. I bring two pair of glove liners with me since they get wet from snow, water or sweat.

    I guess my blood is as thin as water because my hands often get cold regardless of what I am wearing.

  11. #26
    Senior Member 1ADAM12's Avatar
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    Thanks all for the great advice! I really appreciate it.
    "undefined Wilderness areas are first of all a series of sanctuaries for the primitive arts of wilderness travel, especially canoeing and packing.
    -Aldo Leopold


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