Enjoy Winter! Hands

February 5, 2014

by Tim Burris, Mariton Preserve Manager

Like our feet, our hands and fingers are a distance from our heart.  So, cold hands are a common complaint of people during the winter.  Keeping hands warm has its own challenges.  We do so many things with our fingers, that many of us wear gloves during the winter.  Gloves are going to be colder than mittens because they separate our fingers, and provide more surface area for heat loss.  Adding to that challenge; I find myself often removing my gloves for tactile jobs.  In cases like this, it would be wiser to wear mittens and remove them when I need my finger tips to do tasks.  Even better would be wearing a thin glove with the finger tips cut off inside of a mitten.

Wool Gloves

(Military surplus glove liners.)

One of my favorites are military surplus wool glove liners.  I wear them as regular gloves most of the time.  They are ambidextrous, so they fit either hand comfortably.  They are inexpensive.  They are thin enough that many things can be done without removing them – and they can be worn under mittens or work gloves.  They have long cuffs that keep my wrists warm.  They are easy to wash.  When the finger tips wear out, you can make them into fingerless gloves and keep using them.  Most importantly, they are wool, so they are warm even when wet.  If you can’t wear wool, there are polypropylene and fleece liners that would make a good substitute.

Insulated gloves

Besides my wool liners, I have a pair of insulated gloves with a thin layer of Thinsulate.  They have a leather palm and finger grips, so they are more durable.  They are thin enough to be serviceable for tactile projects.  I wish they had a longer cuff, but they are becoming one of my favorites.  Like my wool liners, I can wear these gloves inside some mittens.  I have never liked the big insulated ski gloves.  They are warm, but too bulky for most of my needs, but I think they would be ideal for a lot of people’s outside winter needs.

Mittens and liners

(Mittens with wool liners.)

I have a pair of military surplus mittens that I just love.  They have a trigger finger, which is handy for power equipment.  They also have long cuffs for added warmth and snow protection.  They usually come with heavy wool liner mittens that are really warm.  For warm activities, like shoveling snow, I often just wear the over-mitten without any liner.

Some people really like the glo-mitts.  These are basically fingerless gloves, but have a mitten that folds over to cover the fingers when you don’t aren’t doing fine tasks.  If I hadn’t discovered the wool liners first, I would probably like glo-mitts.  My issue with them is all the fingers on  both hands are exposed.  I usually just need a couple finger tips on one hand for my jobs, so don’t care to expose all of my fingers to the cold.

My hands have two cold spots.  My thumbs and forefingers have suffered frost-nip a number of times during my life.  So, when these areas get cold they become absolutely numb and frozen, and it takes quite awhile to get them warm again.  That is why I like to customize my fingerless gloves.  The other cold spots are my wrists.  That is why long cuffs on mittens and gloves that serve and extra layer of insulation are important to me.

Finally, there are the gloves with pockets for chemical heat warmers.  These can be great because they heat the blood that is going to the hands.  I don’t have a pair of these gloves (yet), but carry the warmers in my pockets for my hands on cold days.

Keeping your hands warm goes a long way to helping you enjoy the winter.  Find the right glove or mitten combination for the activity you will be doing and you will be able to have fun in the cold for hours.