Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Gloves I've been wearing this winter (2011-12)

Please note, this has been updated- and there is a new blog on Gloves I'm wearing this winter - Published December 2013. 

No idea if I have a form of Raynards syndrome or not, but I do tend to have ridiculously cold hands, as discussed in a previous post.

I know of a number of people, generally runners and walkers who are loathe to spend more than £20 on a pair of gloves. To be honest, I've been in a lot of situations where I would quite gladly have spent a bit more on a pair of gloves just to be able to feel my fingers and be able to function somewhere close to normal.
Not all of these gloves are horrendously expensive, but in some cases, I wouldn't buy them again.

Rab Phantom Grip Gloves

Phantom Grip Gloves
Along with all the gloves that I mentioned in that post, we also managed to get a few more(!) gloves at the beginning of the winter. As a slightly heavier version of my thinnies, I got a pair of Rab Phantom grip gloves, which are made with a "hardface" powerstretch material. A bit thicker, a bit warmer and a bit more wind resistant than normal powerstretch fleece.
Yes, they are a bit thicker, yes, they are a bit warmer, and yes they are a bit more waterproof, but once it gets cold, flipping heck, they get cold. I originally used them as running gloves when it got too cold for my current thinnies. However, there were times when the weather got just too thick and wet and claggy, and my hands got cold. They do have a great little clip on them so that you can clip them together when running which stops you losing a glove, perhaps the most annoying thing that can possibly happen. You either don't lose them at all, or you lose both. A much better way of doing things!

Mountain Equipment Mountain Stretch Gloves

Mountain Equipment Stretch Gloves
I also spied out a pair of Mountain Equipment Mountain Stretch gloves, with a very fleecy pile inner and a schoeller made Dry-lite outer fabric. Originally these were bought so that my hands would stay warm when I was walking. Out on a cold walk, my hands got cold. Very cold. must be something wrong with me. I put on some other gloves to warm me up. So far, not so good. That's a shame.
Once more, I tried them on an evening walk, and still, my hands stayed pretty cold. Not so good.
They went into a drawer and didn't come out for a month- during that time, I saw them again in a shop, and realised just how warm they felt. If I was out on skis or on the hill climbing, I would be expending a lot of energy, creating heat. In comparison, when I'm walking, I'm not generating a whole lot of heat, not creating heat means that there is nothing to insulate.
Out they came again, but for a run. Boom. Perfect. It would seem that I have a pretty good very cold weather glove, which works like a soft shell- the more heat you create in the hands through movement, the more the glove dries from the inside, outwards. Brilliant. Happy with that. But it doesn't keep my hands warm while walking.
The only minor issue with these gloves is that they do not attach together when you aren't wearing them. There is no clip to keep them together and the amount of times I've lost one of them in my gear drawer is approaching hilarious numbers. (Doesn't help that everything in there is black). Otherwise they are pretty damn good, as long as I keep moving fast.
I have also noticed that they are advertised as a waterproof glove. I'm not totally convinced about that, but I can say that as long as you are putting effort in, they dry from the inside out.
I used them in the ice and snow last night for a decent run, and my hands stayed at a tolerable temperature. I'm beginning to like them.

Rab Baltoro Gloves

Rab Baltoro Gloves
The last pair were a big pair of Rab Baltoro gloves with long gauntlets which seemed very thick and warm. I have used them on a few occasions, and generally they have been ok. They are billed as a glove to keep your hands warm in cold, dry situations, which is nice, but we don't often get those kind of conditions here in the Peak. On the  walks that I have used them on, I have to say, they haven't been amazingly warm. However, they haven't led to frozen hands. I just can't say that they are warm enough for me for to use as a pair of walking gloves. Still, they are big, thick, and have a clip on them so they can easily be clipped together. I hope to be able to use these a little more over the next couple of months, its just that they are a tad big to be used as "running" gloves as the Mountain Stretch gloves are, and maybe good with an inner glove, or if I'm moving a bit faster than walking pace and actually generating a decent amount of heat.

Arm warmers

Rapha Arm Warmers
With gloves on their own not really working to warm my hands, I thought that maybe it might be the fact that my arms are cold, and the blood going down through them to my hands and fingers was cold. If I could keep the blood going to my hands warm, then maybe my hands might end up warm.
Next plan was to try a pair of merino arm warmers, as used by road cyclists- and, to a point, they worked. In fact, they almost worked wonders. My hands stayed relatively warm in quite horrible weather, and I didn't have too much of an issue getting them on or taking them off. Now these are pretty much a staple of my hill walking clothing, the only minor problem being that the ones I have are bright white. Not the most bog friendly colour. Not an issue. They keep me warm! Yes, the ones in the picture are Rapha, a present from a friend. I would imagine any decent fleece lined arm warmer will do the same thing. If you get cold hands on the hill, get some.

Sealskinz Lobster Gloves

Sealskinz Lobster Mitts
However, the most used glove this winter for running has been the Sealskinz Lobster glove that I've had since commuting in London. If you know me, you know that I rant on about these... but I do so for a reason. They are fantastic.
Its not a glove, and its pretty easy to put on with 2 fingers in each "finger", relatively dexterous, but, with the primaloft lining, they keep my hands WARM. I use them walking, running, slow navigating, scrambling, everything. This is a pair of gloves that I can say, without a doubt, is worth every penny I spent on them. Yes, they were about £40, however, the benefit of actually being able to feel my fingers when running and biking, and also being able to undo my shoes at the end of it all is incalculable. Without doubt, if these end up giving up the ghost, I shall certainly be buying some more.
Primaloft. Secret weapon

They have the little clippy bit on them to attache them together. I use this feature as and when I get too hot (a hitherto unknown problem), I generally keep the left glove on, and clip the right glove to it, ensuring it doesn't get dropped, and that it is to hand (haha) as and when I need it. They are waterproof for a good number of hours, and when the water eventually does begin to ingress, (down the arm), they stay warm.
Yes, I do sweat in them, but the fact they are not a glove means that taking your hands out, and putting them back in again you don't mess up the lining and end up with the fingers tangled up in themselves. (very annoying)

Modelling the sealskinz at the end of the Trigger
If I had to throw out all my gloves except one pair, these are the ones I would keep.

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