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Winter Mountain Walking Tips 2 - Gloves....

Updated: Feb 20

Winter mountain gloves

"Carry lots of gloves when you go walking in winter and make sure they’re waterproof..."

Great advice that is commonly offered and one that I’ve spent years trying to find the right combination, it’s a tricky one though as a waterproof glove doesn’t truly exist and if I’m carrying 5 pairs of gloves, then it could get expensive very quickly!

There’s a big hole in a glove that lets water in and in addition with the large amount of seams in them and the continuous movement, it must be an ongoing challenge for manufacturers. Even by tucking the cuff of your glove into the sleeve of your jacket, it will find it’s way in - water is cunning and loves a challenge! A pair of marigolds is possibly the closest thing, go extra large and you’ll get your liner gloves on underneath - rule number one though, of looking good on the mountain, might become null and void! I’ve tried plenty of types, ski, mountaineering, driving! (bizzarely I used a lined pair of driving gloves once - cheap and warm) and many more. SealSkinz type gloves work pretty well, I personally find the liner gets caught frequently when your hand enters and exits and they’re not warm enough for me in Scotland for example. Dachstein mitts are always a winner, such good quality and value for money, but you’re restricted with what you can do in a pair of mitts!

On that note of cost, I saw a pair of branded gloves a few years back for £375….holy smoke I remember thinking, seriously are they that good? You’d be a little upset spending that if you got wet hands….maybe they were good?

I carry liner gloves, slightly warmer pairs and then an all out “emergency “ big pair of mitts. Gloves work better for me for obvious reasons, whilst mitts remind me of school……maybe that’s why these one have elastic cord to go round my wrists - proper cool 80’s style! It’s actually not that daft to have some method of attaching your glove to you in winter, losing it by dropping it or it being blown away is definitely not cool!

They need to allow me to get my hands in them when they are cold, too many manufacturers make the cuff tight without any adjustment, so when you try them on in the shop and get the perfect fit, they are really tight / awkward to get on in cold conditions. Some type of reinforcement / hard wearing patch on the palm / fingers and a good fit for my fingers are essential - my small hands get lost in most sizes and the “spare material” then gets caught / in the way when I try to do things. That leads onto the idea of being able to function in any pair of gloves I’m wearing, doing up zips, closing buckles, putting on crampons, taking bearings and so on.

I might carry up to five / six pairs during a normal day out in winter, I like building snowmen and as soon as you start doing anything with frozen water, gloves can become wet, this actually is a significant hazard to your pinkies if you’re not careful, so your second dry and warm pair comes out of your bag. Then when I get involved in a snowball fight somewhere another pair of gloves gets used and so on. I’ve always got my big mitts as my last resort.

This can clearly become very expensive very quickly, I was in my local shop today and there must have been over sixty different pairs of gloves from about £20 to £150. I like the spring / summer sales, gloves are always available at significant reductions.

We’ve all got our personal thoughts on gloves, what they need to do and undoubtably different to me, take the time to try lots types and suss out what works for you……be bothered!

I’ve been using a pair of “Chamonix bin gloves” the last few years, for £20-£30 you get a pair of leather, fleeced lined gloves - the warmest, most durable, value for money that I’ve probably had - are they waterproof….no, but they tick the box for rule number one, always look good……

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