Monday, January 25, 2016

What to look for when purchasing handwear

Keeping your hands warm and dry is just as important as doing so with your feet. In addition to being a source of great discomfort, cold, wet hands can lead to hypothermia and in winter even to frostbite.

As an extremity, your hands can quickly get cold. And as we need use hands to access items in our backpacks, open a trail mix package, or to adjust clothing, we are quick to take off any gloves, meaning the exposed fingers and palms easily can get wet and chilled.

Given this, knowing what to look for when purchasing handwear is vital. Buying the wrong gloves and mittens can be almost as bad as not wearing any at all.

Gloves are an excellent choice for teens and adults, as they make manipulation of items with the fingers easy, but always opt for mittens with children, especially preschoolers. Kids’ fingers stay warmer in mittens, and with more slender digits, they are at a greater risk for cold hands than are adults.

Make sure the gloves and mittens, whether for adults or children, come with the following components:
Cuffs – This is an area that can be cinched at the wrist, usually via a Velcro strap or a drawstring. A tightened cuff helps to keep snow and rain from getting inside the handwear.
Waterproof shell – This layering allows you to touch snow without getting your hands wet and hence cold. A grippy palm adds an extra layer of waterproofing at the spots (palm and fingers) where you are most likely to touch snow or a wet object.
Insulation – You’ll need to determine what is best for you as an individual. If you have sweaty hands, you often can get by with lighter insulation. In addition, the colder the weather, generally the thicker the insulation should be.

Finally, the glove and mitten needs to fit well on your hand. Don’t go for a size too large or air pockets that can turn cold will form. Too small of a size will cut off blood circulation, making them uncomfortable and thus increasing the chances of your hands getting cold. With a well-fitting glove or mitten, you should be able to curl your fingers inside of them to form a fist.

Learn about trail guidebooks available in the Hittin’ the Trail series.