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Glove or Mitten Suggestions for Cold Hands

post #1 of 59
Thread Starter 

I have a birthday coming up and one of the things I want to put on the list is a pair of super warm and waterproof ski gloves.


About a decade ago I managed to get frostnip on all my finger tips while digging out a friends car--without any gloves with me. Dumb thing to do, and the end result was blistered finger tips and now fingers that get cold fast.


I prefer gloves just because of the dexterity, but I realize mittens are usually warmer.


What are the warmest gloves you have used that you would endorse someone else buying?


(right now I have been wearing $20 ski gloves from Costco and either silk or thermax glove liners)

post #2 of 59

Hestra have been the warmest gloves I've used.  Their Heli glove is exceptionally warm.  It comes in glove, mitten, and three finger varieties.  It's a gauntlet style glove, but Hestra does make some lower profile gloves and mittens, they just aren't quite as warm.


I personally have always struggled with cold hands and feet.  The Hestra Heli 3-Finger has worked best for me on really cold days.  I like the dexterity of having your pointer finger free, and it still keeps me almost as warm as the mitten.  


Lots of really nice, warm gloves out there, but Hestra has always impressed:



post #3 of 59

If you want to go to extremes, try mittens from Outdoor Research.  For $200, the Alti Mitts look warm.  They even have a heated mitten for $350.  At a more reasonable $140, the Mt. Baker Modular Mitts have a mitten shell over an insulated glove liner.  I'm not sure why they'd do that, as a mitten liner would be warmer.  I think OR has an equivalent glove for each of those mittens.


I wear mittens.  I find them warmer and safer.  I like the removable shell for drying and layering options.  I also like that the shell keeps moisture outside the insulation.  Often gloves are constructed with insulation outside of a pre-formed Gore-Tex glove liner, due to the more complex stitching involved.

post #4 of 59

These aren't probably the warmest but they look like a good deal at REI for 20 bucks


post #5 of 59
My son gets cold hands and I found some Black Diamond Guide gloves on sale for about half price so I bought him a pair. He says they're the warmest gloves he's ever used and prefers them to his Hestra Vertical Cut 3-finger gloves(mitts?). I'll be able to give you a first hand review of Therm-ic's heated gloves once the season gets under way. ptex1 has used them and he says they are really warm, even on the lowest setting.
post #6 of 59
I bought a pair of Black Diamond Guide Gloves that are crazy warm. And I can always put a heat pack between the liner and glove.
post #7 of 59
+1 for the Black Diamond Guide Glove, super warm. BD's Mercury Mitt is way toasty if you decide to go the mitten route.

Another route to explore might be electrically heated. I can highly recommend Chaval gloves in that category. I reviewed them some time back for gearinstitute.com:

post #8 of 59

If you are looking to save a buck so  you can ask for a tuning kit.  I have and like these for their warmth.



Bought a variation of these on sale at STP for the wife and she loves them


post #9 of 59
If you have sweaty hands like I do, a design where you can remove, wash(, and thus re-loft) the insulating layer is good. My Hestras have wool liners that make this possible, for example.
post #10 of 59

I really like the Hestra Heli gloves.  They're comfy, dry and warm, and the wrist straps come in handy.  The only time I've had issues are when it gets down to below -10 with windchill.  My pinkies get cold on the lift, so if that happens I pull my 4th and 5th fingers into the palms of the glove.  I'm going to be looking for a warm liner this year to wear under them on really cold days.

post #11 of 59

Tested her in Quebec the last 2 winters: the Black Diamond Mercury Mitts ... Never had cold fingers once! I really like the fact that you can easily remove the insert for fast drying and the spli finger liner that had some dexterity...





They now have the Absolute mitts that are supposed to be even warmer... but never tried them...



post #12 of 59

I have the Hestra Heli mitt, and I love it, but the warmest mittens I own are Astis mittens with long cuffs. They are just about the most expensive mittens on the market - but they are also waterproof, windproof, and I don't need chemical warmers in them - in temps where I rely on warmers for my heli mitts. Dexterity? Not so much. But I haven't found that I need finger dexterity when skiing. I used gloves for years because of that concern, but now that I'm used to mittens, I'll never go back.


Astis also makes gloves. But I'm sure one of the reasons the mittens are so warm is because of the volume of air shared among fingers.

post #13 of 59

I believe the relative warmth of mittens comes from the ratio of heat production to surface area exposed to cold.  This is why certain thin gloves can actually make hands colder.  In reality, however, things are more complicated, as heat production declines when hands are cold.

post #14 of 59
Mittens with liners and a Hot Hands in the zipper. No, they don't have to be expensive; Dakine makes a Gortex mitten for $30 ish.
post #15 of 59

One word: layers.


Your torso is probably swathed in multiple layers, from the base layer to  a sweater of fleece middle layer to the waterproof, breathable outer shell.  Same with your lower body.


Take the same approach with your hands.  Get a waterproof breathable outer mitten,  then buy gloves or mittens in various thicknesses (you likely already have some already), and finally a thin glove liner.  Mix and match to adapt to conditions.  If you need dexterity, take the shell off.  If your hands sweat, you can take the middle layer out and let it dry at lunch, or simply switch to another middle layer.  Overnight, separate all the layers and they'll be dry for tomorrow.


I don't understand why so many skiers suffer with the all-in-one hand covering that never really dries out.  Once I switched to the layer system I've never looked back.

post #16 of 59

I have BD Guide gloves and BD Mercury Mittens.  As much as I like them, they don't come close to Hestras for warmth.


I have used the Hestra Army Leather Extreme Mitten - Awesome and the Hestra Army Leather Expedition Mitten - Awesomer!


The Expedition almost make it feel like you have on boxing gloves but you will be hard pressed to find a warmer mitt.  Or a more expensive one (currently lists for $230).  I wear glove liners with them so I can take my hands out now and again.  Sometimes to do something and sometimes to regulate heat.


Something else to consider is getting a less expensive Mitten and putting the Hestra Expedition liner in it.  A definite upgrade for any mitten as long as it fits.  I did that for my Extreme Mitts and it made them way warmer.


I strongly agree with the comments about layering too.

post #17 of 59

First of all let me qualify this by saying I have a couple of fingers on both hands that get cold when skiing to the point of discomfort. I started off by buying the top $100-$150 leather gloves I could find only to return them. I would ask about warmer gloves and I would hear "If these are not warm we will take them back. So most of them were returned. Then I bought a a high quality pair that had the zipper on the back and inserted the heat packs. Still did not work for me here in the east. Then I tried 3 finger and claw mittens, no luck. Next I bought a pair of Zippo metal hand warmers and inserted them into the mittens. What a mess. Would not stay warm with no oxygen in the mitten to burn. No luck there. Next was a pair of heated gloves which might of worked but the workmanship was so poor I returned them. This was in November with no snow so to test them I would hold my hand out of the window at 65mph on the freeway for 20 minutes.My fingers were fine but I was worried about the quality and I did not like the feel of the material at all. Going through a ski shop in NY, I ran across deerskin gloves with duck down, paid $115 and finally my fingers stayed warm. I am mostly skiing GS at high speed which contributes to the problem. I also want to point I believe most top gloves are great for most skiers. Being 67 my fingers just could not take the cold. 

Be careful when looking at these gloves because I see the same named model without the deerskin! Good Luck.



post #18 of 59

Free the Powder gloves or mittens. Warm as toast, at a fraction of what other companies are charging. $39 for factory 2nds (mine had no discernible flaws) $59 for firsts. Short cuffs for under the jacket, long for over.


post #19 of 59

As a perpetually-cold-hands diabetic, I have the Black Diamond Mercury Mitts.  Sometimes even then I use a chemical heat pack. They are getting worn and I will probably replace them with the Free The Powder mitts, as I bought their gloves and find them to be a great glove at a very reasonable price. That said, my hands still get cold with gloves.  


I tried an experiment late in the season last year and bought a pair of heated glove liners from iHeat.  You can buy directly from their website or order them from The Warming Store.  They work really well, however it's a good idea to have a spare set of batteries.  Also, the batteries are in the back of the wrists and tend to get bulky worn under a close-fitting glove.  It gets hard to get the gloves on or off,  and when removing the liners I stretched a seam and the stitching came out, so I had to sew that up (have Bernina sewing machine, will mend).   Twice I have had connectors come out in the wiring, so I had to rip out an inside-the battery-pouch seam and re-attach. I probably should have used electricians tape to keep things from pulling out again, but I have a better sense of how to pull them of my hand without messing anything up.


That all said, it's kind of a pain to do all that.  I intend to acquire a pair of Outdoor Research Lucent heated gloves  (the Stormtracker model is lighter weight and not as insulated and intended more for cross-country-type activity).  I have read some very positive reviews and I'll post a review after I've acquired them and use them a while.  

post #20 of 59

I'll hazard the opinion that there are no magic mittens. Several are solid; I prefer Black Diamond or Marmot Guides. Have not found Hestras to be particularly good in real cold, but realize other's MMV. 


The real issue is what's inside and outside. An over mitten, typically a waterproof shell, is major. Climbers wear 'em, and so so skiers who go into the backcountry in cold places. And get a mitten size big enough that you can wear liners. IME, silk are best, then thin fleece, with fake silk/poly bringing up the rear. Again, other's MMV. 

post #21 of 59
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

Have not found Hestras to be particularly good in real cold, but realize other's MMV. 

I agree.  I have two pair of Hestra Helis and will never own another pair.  I've had much better luck with Outdoor Research.  I bought a pair of Reusch gloves at Snowbird once many years ago and they were very good, fell apart after about 4 years so I think I got my money's worth.

post #22 of 59

Oh, I forgot: Those little 8 hour hand warmers help. Not tons, but they make a difference. Especially if you put them inside, on the back of your hand (where all the veins are). The outside pocket, less noticeable. 

post #23 of 59
Thread Starter 

Lots of great advice coming in on this thread! Thank you!


Couple follow up questions to what is being posted:


Regarding Free the Powder mitts--The price is great, especially on the seconds, but do people have experience with these to say they are perhaps warmer or colder compared to something else they have worn?


The other I am thinking about is the Hestra Heli. The removable liner, possibility of using a the shell on its own, and general reputation here and online, plus a somewhat reasonable price point.


The BD Guide lobster kit caught my eye, but at $170 it is steep, and the Hestra seems to lend itself to a little more of the layering approach.


I do not get in more than 20 days in a year at this point, so I am less concerned about how things hold up in the rain--I will be held up at home working.

post #24 of 59
Free The Powder gloves are as warm as any I've tried. They have a pretty good FAQ section and this page has a lot of information.

post #25 of 59

I used a pair of Free the Powder Short Cuff Gloves, and they were very toasty. My hands get really cold and stiff in winter, and I've gone through lots of gloves trying to find a pair that keep my hands warm. Free the Powder have worked great for me. I plan on getting another pair this year to use when I go camping. I've never tried the Hestras, but I hear they're a fine product.

post #26 of 59
For comparison, I also have a pair of relatively new Hestra XCR 3-fingers, and to me anyway, the Free the Powder gloves are noticeably warmer.

Op, buy a more expensive glove/mitten if you think you'll be happier, but IMO, you don't have to.
post #27 of 59

The best glove that I've ever had, bar none, is the Hestra Falt Guide glove. They are built like iron, and have a removable wool liner. I keep one pair in Maine, and one in CO, and I have spare liners for both. I treat them with leather conditioner a couple of times a season. I've skied them in brutal cold, and sometimes slip on a thin silk liner. I've been caught in a bit of rain, and the water's beaded right up on them. I bought two more pairs two summers ago on a closeout at a shop that was closing….and am just holding on to them. I probably have over 150 days on each of the two pairs in service, and they seriously feel just nicely broken in at this point. Incredibly comfortable and warm glove, and really well built…which is NOT the case with every Hestra. They aren't cheap, but if you look around long enough, you can buy Hestra at a big discount. I think I paid 45-50% off MSRP. One pair was form Steep and Cheap, and I doubt if they were ever worn….probably wrong size returns to Backcountry. 


BTW, I have a pair of BD guide lobster mitts, which are the warmest thing going when it's super cold. I think they're pretty bulky. I bought them when I was watching a lot of ski races, and standing around more. I often wear "work gloves" like Kinco's and Flylow's to ski when it's warm. I bought a couple of pairs of Free the Powder gloves last season, Xmas gifts for our son and daughter. He's a coach. She skis about 80 days in a long season. They both really like the gloves. They have the short cuff model. I would rate them as probably the best value out there. Great bang for the buck. Kids say they are very warm….actually only ski them on colder days…..but they're 25 and 28, and have hotter thermostats, and more sun. 


My wife swears by Hestra Ski Cross Mittens. Loves them in any kind of weather. Adds silk liners when it's hovering around zero. Thinks they are much warmer than her previous Fall Line by Hestra. Same deal on their price. MSRP is stupid expensive, but they can be bought for less, with some searching.


I've had a bunch of Reusch mitts and gloves, and I think the quality and durability was better a few years ago. WE had a number of the original all leather NorAm mitts {all black}, and they lasted for hundreds of ski days. Maybe just my opinion. I've also have had the Hestra Heli mitts and gloves, and wouldn't buy a pair. I was given them, and just never was wowed by them. I gave them away. The best thing about them were the cuffs. I know many people who swear by them. 


Could start another thread on rain gloves. Bought a pair of Mtn Hardwear  with Outdry, at a summer tent sale, and the technology works well. Or as well as I need it to. Been skiing for almost 60 years, and it takes great snow to get me out in much rain these days! 

post #28 of 59
Originally Posted by CentralVT08 View Post



Regarding Free the Powder mitts--The price is great, especially on the seconds, but do people have experience with these to say they are perhaps warmer or colder compared to something else they have worn?


see http://www.epicski.com/t/129721/free-the-powder-gloves/30#post_1917865

post #29 of 59

I've never met anyone else with hands that stay as cold as mine.  I have found a way to keep my hands warm while skiing.

Gloves, no matter how well made, no matter what the reviews say, no matter what the price, won't keep my hands warm.  Same for battery-warmed gloves.  

I wear well-insulated mittens lined with Goretex.  They are curved to match the hand's natural shape. 

To keep my hands warm, I stuff three little chemical packs into each mitten.  Those chemical packs do the trick.

I slip two chemical packs in so they sit over the tops of my fingers, making contact with my skin.  They stay in place without any help.

I've found that the mittens with pockets made for the chemical packs don't help me at all; I can't feel the warmth.  I need those heaters to touch my fingers. Most people don't.

I fold the third chemical warmer down the middle and snug it into the thumb of the mitten.  There's just enough room for my thumb in there; with the chemical pack it doesn't get cold on long chairlifts.

This solution is not normal; what I do would make most people's hands too hot.

post #30 of 59
Originally Posted by CentralVT08 View Post

Lots of great advice coming in on this thread! Thank you!

Couple follow up questions to what is being posted:

Regarding Free the Powder mitts--The price is great, especially on the seconds, but do people have experience with these to say they are perhaps warmer or colder compared to something else they have worn?

I have BD Guides and FTP gloves - the BD Guides are warmer.
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