View Full Version : Ultralight Gloves

09-08-2003, 12:34
I was wondering what other people use as gloves. I have mountain hardware glove liners, and my hands freeze all the time.

I'm looking for something that will keep my hands warm in the wet snow with a good wind. You know, the kind of day that you really wish you weren't hiking in.

Thanks for any suggestions. One thing that I tried was wearing latex gloves under the liners. This worked well for wet snow, but the wind still stole all my warmth.


Gravity Man

Blue Jay
09-08-2003, 12:52
The best winter hiking or skiing gloves are those the lobster men/women use in Maine, boiled wool. You get a quality pair, slightly large. Boil them for a few minutes then put them on and let them dry on your hands. If it works, and it does, for pulling up lobster traps in the North Atlantic, it will work for hiking.

09-08-2003, 13:09
For gloves, I use Fox River poly pro liner gloves most often. When it gets cold out, I bring out a pair of 300 weight fleece mitts from MEC. A pair of Goretex overmitts come with if it will be cold and rainy. When it is really cold out or I think I may be dealing with a lot of snow, I have a pair of Black Diamond guide gloves. Heavily insulated, very tough, and snow and ice proof. Definitely not lightweight. But, when gets below 20, lightweight goes out the window.

09-08-2003, 13:20
While working a ski-season in mt. bachelor i used a combination of fleece glove with a water/windproof Outdoor research overmit. That combo always kept my hands dry and warm, even in wet snow. Basically, the following combo:




09-08-2003, 14:11
When temps drop and snow and ice are on the weather/conditions menu, weight must take a sideline to safety. Frostbite SUCKS. A good case of frostbite in the hands prevents you from doing a lot of stuff that can keep you from a bad case of hypothermia and eventual death, especially if travelling alone. Keeping hands and feet warm and dry is critical. Stop screwing around with half-measures and protect your hands properly. Mittens outperform gloves by a wide margin in keeping hands warm. A pair of lightweight fleece mittens backed up by a pair of waterproof overmitts is a good system. That said, on my thru-hike I used wool gloves through september and into October. They were sufficient.

09-09-2003, 11:11
Yeah, thanks for the less than useful advice iceman. Gesh...

There are tons of options. I know what i need to keep my fingers from getting frostbite. I've done plenty of winter mountaineering (5 Mt. Washington ascents in winter, plus several mountains out here in colorado) and know what I need for that. I don't need that for the shoulder seasons when it is wet and snowy.

I wasn't looking for something that was sufficient. I was looking for someone that would say "These are the BEST solution ever!"

Ultralight backpacking would never had been "invented" with your attitude.

Gravity Man

Blue Jay
09-09-2003, 13:19
Boiled wool is the BEST SOLUTION EVER.

09-09-2003, 13:37
Blue Jay,
For us southun boys, who R skert o'the cold. Where would one get boiled wool gloves? Never heard of 'em til you mentioned them. I'd at least like to check'em out.

09-09-2003, 13:48
Thanks Blue Jay. Even a stronger statement than what I was looking for. I only was looking for BEST to be capitalized :)

Gravity Man

09-09-2003, 14:08
For us southun boys, who R skert o'the cold. Where would one get boiled wool gloves?

Dachstein mittens are boiled wool. Wonderfully warm and almost windproof. You can get them at Campmor.com for $25. Or you can try boiling your own. Boiling makes them very dense so wind can't get through.

09-09-2003, 14:30
So the boiling makes the wool dense and windproof? Hmm. never heard that. So if you were going to do your own you should buy big wool (Rag?) mittens/gloves. Then boil them and dry them on your hands per BlueJays previous instruction. Do I have the right idea?

I checked out the mittens at Campmor. They sound substantial. Would they be itchy (and thus require a liner)?

09-09-2003, 14:49
I wear mine without a liner and they are not itchy. To get the density of a Dachstein out of a normal mitten I would think you would buy them quite large and let them shring alot, but I haven't tried this.

Blue Jay
09-09-2003, 14:56
Deb is exactly correct, it figures from a Boston Girl. I like Moreno Wool because it does not itch. Smartwool (the great sock people)makes very good mits. Again boil em a minute or two, put them on your hands as soon as they cool enough so you don't scauld. They shrink to fit and you've got a light weight, wind proof, breathable, warm when wet, mitton or glove. A century of Lobstering in the North Atlantic can't be wrong.

09-09-2003, 15:59
I've had my Dachsteins for 25 years and they show no wear. Wonderful mittens. Usually too warm for hiking unless it is below 0F or windy. Great for camp wear, ice climbing, above treeline travel, or those extra cold days.

09-09-2003, 16:44
Campmor link for Dachstein wool mitts: http://www.campmor.com/webapp/commerce/command/ProductDisplay?prmenbr=226&prrfnbr=17851

steve hiker
09-09-2003, 17:54
REI got anything like that?

09-09-2003, 20:22
Originally posted by WillK
REI got anything like that?


09-10-2003, 07:28
I just use my spare pair of socks as mittens if itmgets that cold, but I try not to do winter hiking:D

09-10-2003, 13:43
Although REI doesn't have these boiled wool gloves, they do have solutions which work just fine in cold temps. The solution i mentioned above with thick windproof fleece gloves and waterproof overmitt shells will keep your hands warm and dry in cold temps and can be purchased as REI.

09-10-2003, 14:08
What is the estimated weight of your gloves/overmitten combo?


09-10-2003, 15:03
not sure. they're at home right now. but the overmitts weigh 6 oz. The fleece gloves, oh i dunno, probably 4-5 oz. i'd guess. So, 10-12 oz. In cold temps i dunno about the boiled wool thing. If they work for the crabber guys i'm sure they will work on the trail. But if you think about it, you're talking about 2 different problems. A crabber out on the high seas - he's gonna get soaked for sure, there's absolutely no way around that. Waves crashing over side of the boat and gallons of water at a time coming at you from all angles - forget the overmitts cause whatever's under your overmitts is gonna get soaked. Makes sense for crabbers.

However, hiking in cold weather is a different problem, one in which you can actually ensure that your hands stay dry in wet conditions. I would much prefer saying the following to myself while hiking in winter: "i'm glad my hands are dry and warm" rather than "it sucks my hands are all wet, but it's boiled wool so the fact that they're soaking wet won't matter cause they will still stay warm".

09-10-2003, 15:20
Yeah, I see your point about wet hands. I'm trying to find the best solution at the lightest weight. The boiled wool is actually lighter than your setup, since it is 6 oz total. As to how they will actually perform, I guess i won't know until I try them. The smartwool gloves look like an interesting option as well...

Just like everything else, it looks like i will own at least three pairs of gloves before I find the best solution ever for ME :)

I really need to start selling my extra gear...

Gravity Man

09-10-2003, 15:31
If you use fleece mittens, you will definitely need overmitts because wind goes through them (even windproof fleece to some extent) and water on the outside wicks through to the inside. Boiled wool is windproof and water on the outside of the wool will stay on the outside and not wick to the inside. Wool is amazing stuff. That said, either combo will keep your hands warm with the appropriate thickness of mitten. On a typical New England winter hike, I will carry 2 pairs of midweight rag wool or fleece mittens, one pair of overmitts, and boiled wool mittens. That gives me different thicknesses of mittens to choose from depending on conditions and my activity, and spares if I get a pair or 2 wet. But that's hiking in 6 feet of snow with temperatures possibly approaching -20F. For a winter AT hike down south, you could pick the lightest combo that works for you. Another note is that boiled wool is fairly stiff, so you have limited finger dexterity in boiled wool mittens. You could hold a hiking pole or ice tool, but setting up camp would be a little awkward. Also, overmitts (like the OR basic mitten shell) are really good for sealing the gap between your mitten and parka, so your wrists don't get cold when you put your hands in the snow by accident.

09-10-2003, 16:20
don't get me wrong - the boiled wool mitts sound very interesting. I'd never heard of them before. Actually, i plan to order them from the Campmor link given. If i like them i'll carry some thin super lightweight fleece gloves + boiled wool mitts + OR overmitts.

Blue Jay
09-11-2003, 07:52
Yet once again DebW is exactly correct.

09-11-2003, 10:31
How about the ones with removable mitten, exposing the fingers? Are they worth it, or do they not perform as well? Seems like it solves the dexterity question.

Gravity Man

09-11-2003, 11:09
Originally posted by gravityman
How about the ones with removable mitten, exposing the fingers? Are they worth it, or do they not perform as well? Seems like it solves the dexterity question.

Gravity Man

I haven't actually tried these, but my feeling is that you really don't get the benefit of a mitten - you can't ball up your hand with your fingers and thumb against your palm for warmth.