/ Gloves vs Mittens
for winter hillwalking?
I use these, best of both.
I've always found holding the head of a mountaineering axe a pain with standard mitts, however gloves can be quite cold when the fingers aren't been used, such as when using poles or a walking axe. I've always thought these would be a good compromise of the benefits of both. https://www.chainreactioncycles.com/northwave-husky-lobster-long-gloves/rp-prod160273?gs=1&sku=sku589708&istCompanyId=8d42cf00-fc35-44ce-8770-97ae3ffd4c16&istFeedId=c759ee22-6d7f-4501-bd00-f1af47c60490&istItemId=iwmiwqrpm&istBid=t&pgrid=60711843298&ptaid=pla-426771556951&utm_source=google&utm_term=&utm_campaign=PLA+All+Products&utm_medium=base&utm_content=mkwid|sHgj1TFSW_dc|pcrid|309840120620|pkw||pmt||prd|589708UK&gclid=CjwKCAjwo9rtBRAdEiwA_WXcFrPvzpU-83Muv45xb0QAcK_0yi1W-PdL_dxYOWVaya0n0qvA76ItiRoCAYcQAvD_BwE
fleece glove with water/windproof shell over mitt
Thin liner gloves, if I'm not using an axe (hands in pockets some of the time), and the same ME Super Alpine gloves that I use for climbing, if I am. A pair of fleece lined Gore-Tex mittens in reserve.
Both. However after many years using various makes of waterproof gloves and mittens I've given up. I reverted to old school dacstein gloves and mittens (I know the spelling's wrong!).
For just walking I've not found anything better than buffalo mitts. I can hold an axe with them on too.
For any climbing I wear insulated gloves with some over mitts in reserve.
Various combinations, all carried at once (winter gear is heavy anyway, cold hands aren't worth the weight saving):
As Andy Kirkpatrick has previously expressed, there is no perfect glove. All you can do is have options and find a system that works for you (and your use case).
For me the telling moment was stopping in the Cairngorms as the sun was setting near midwinter, took off the softshell gloves which had served me well all day to help my walking partner with a dextrous boot related task, she did likewise. By the time we came to put them back on the water-vapour in them had frozen solid. I gave her the Montanes, shoved my hands back in the softshells and plunged them inside my pile lined pockets - it was painful 15minutes until everything thawed. At that point I resolved to carry an additional spare, as it made me realise the importance of gloves and that a single redundancy was insufficient.
5 pairs of gloves in case any gets wet (usually they all do).
Have yet to find an inexpensive pair of over mittens that are effective in holding a walking axe. The prices above (£59 - $145) are just mad.
Buffalo mitts everytime
Have a look at some of the army surplus mitts and overmitts, British tend to be plain and roomy, German often pile lined and leather palmed. Usually ~£12 a pair or thereabouts.
Also, might be worth insulating your axe head? Bicycle inner tube cut into a strip makes a good self gripping spiral wrap, stretch and tuck the ends and no adhesive needed. I use one spiral wrap of this on my Apexes' shaft for climbing and it's surprisingly insulating. On a walking axe you could go as thick as you want round the head.
A question for those of you who winter climb & have used over-mitts, how do you get on taking them off (obviously have wrist loops) to put in / take out gear then put them back on? I have some but not tried them yet.
I don't tbh. I wear mitts for belaying or walk outs if it's proper Baltic. I'll wear gloves to climb in, swap them for the mitts at the belay and shove the gloves under my armpits inside me shell to keep warm.
Once I'm ready to climb again, I switch the gloves and mitts, sticking the mitts inside my shell clothing to keep warm.
Rinse and repeat to the top.
(If it's not a really cold day, I'll keep the mitts in the bottom of my pack and do the same drill with two pairs of gloves.)
Do they still make Dachsteins?
The montane version are slightly warmer with a grippy palm. They lose a couple of points for being slightly bulkier but come out slightly ahead for me.
I take both
You shouldn't really need dexterity for non-climbing stuff, so mitts should be fine. For UK stuff I'd get some touch base layer gloves for photos/phone and then an over mitt or glove depending on what you're doing.
Dachstein mitts I find dextrous enough for all walking based adventures with goretex over mitts for when it is properly perishing. Wind gets through Dachsteins if its strong/cold enough.
For winter hill slogging I've found Dachstein gloves or mitts with a Goretex shell mitt, plus powerstetch gloves as back-ups, to be enough. The only ptoblem is that decent shell mitts at a reasonable price seem hard to find. I used a pair of ultra tough Gore mitts found in a discount bin for years, and when they died bought a pair if Extremities Tuff Bags. However, they're just too fragile, and expensive for what they are.
I see that Joe Brown (The Climbers Shop) are currently offering "(Legendary) Dachstein Mitts" at £30.00
Think that I might just splurge as my old (very) ones might be a bit past it.
Ooh, green ones!
But wait, they're 3 ply not 4, apparently
Totally with basemetal on insulating axes. I use the roll of sticky handlebar tape designed for pushbikes, its quite rubbery. really improves the grip on shiny surfaces as well.
What are the Dachstein gloves like? I have the mitts but thought gloves wuold be decent although I feel they may defeat the point of the Dachstein
Had a pair 30 years ago. Good winter walking gloves, but cooler than the mitts. The extra dexterity is compromised by having slippy woolly fingers. Otherwise very similar thermally to Sealskin stretch merino mix dot grip gloves, that have the advantage of grip and waterproof membrane.
Really? That would be pretty bad - the Sealskinz were the most disappointing gloves I ever had
Although that might be partly because of the fit (even though I have pretty slim and long fingers, the biggest size was still so tight it tended to cut off my circulation), and partly because a glove that tends to soak on the outside in snow (where most of the insulation is, with the membrane underneath) is bound to lose its insulating properties pretty quickly. YMMV of course
What's the sizing on the Dachsteins BTW? I was looking at them this autumn, but would have to order online, and the shops recommend "sizing up to two sizes smaller than your regular" ?
Re the Sealskins, I've had two pairs of them - bought 10 and 5 years ago, so don't know if the construction changed. The oldest wore through on the fingers eventually (too much scrambling) and showed the membrane was just under the outer layer. I'd found they lost heat retention with age too, possibly as the membrane failed? But first year or two I was very impressed.
Latterly I've been bothered by Raynaud's so I've given up on them and have been using a combination of pile lined army mitts ( with and without hand warmer tea bags behind my fingers) and those £6 Freezer worker's gloves for leading - easy to carry a couple of pairs of these. Wristovers make a huge difference with short cuffed gloves too.
For this coming season Im trying a pair of Alpkit Rhombic I bought in their sale. They seem a bit bulky new, but I expect they'll compact down a bit.
The sites do say to size down but, as a big fan of Dachsteins, I find that they shrink (because they are felted wool) and buying too small is a mistake. Personally, I would go to a real shop, try some on, and go a big.
I also recommend ARCO freezer gloves. They are fleece with rubber coating and take a while to dry but both they and the Dachsteins are cheap enough that you can have a dry pair in the car for your next day.
My ideal kit for a day trip would be 1 pair Dachsteins, 2 pairs of ARCO
Sealskinz - it was a pretty bad fit (found out too long after purchase once it got colder). The insulation on mine - woven something both above the membrane and below the membrane - meant that either they soaked very fast from the outside, losing half the insulation while still dry inside, or soaked form the inside, where the woven insulation kept water in, unlike pile. Might have been just me though
Just for cold winter hillwalking, especially if you have cold fingers like me, good down mitts are hard to beat for a "rewarming" glove, although not much dexterous...
Can't find Dachsteins locally, unfortunately, and I am not very keen on ordering gloves I can't try out on my hands...
Looking at the Arco website they do a wide range of low temperature work clothing. I'm tempted to try some of their base layers as they are dirt cheap.
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