Good paddling gloves?

-- Last Updated: Aug-03-12 1:48 PM EST --

Ive been paddling frequently all season but cant seem to get good enough calluses to prevent blisters =( This mostly happens during races and I would like to get some gloves to prevent this.

What has worked well for you guys? A quick google search turned up the following: has anyone used these? which do you like best?

Sea To Summit Paddle Glove
NRS Rapid Glove Paddling Gloves
NRS Rafter's Paddling Gloves
NRS HydroSkin Paddling Glove
Stohlquist MAW Paddlers Glove
...suggest a better one?

I want a full glove (not fingerless) and it will be used for a canoe paddle.


I use NRS gloves

– Last Updated: Aug-03-12 1:26 PM EST –

I have no idea what model they are, but they are very thin and light, and the gripping surface looks very much like super-thin leather (but it's a synthetic material). I wear them for hard rowing, but for canoeing I mostly rely on them for the way they let the edges of my hand slide on vinyl or aluminum gunwales without binding or "burning" (I don't think I'd need them for paddling a boat with wood gunwales). They look very delicate and I was sure they wouldn't last even one season, but only after several years are they starting to show signs that they won't last forever.

Standard bicycling gloves work for me.

I want dedicated paddling gloves. Ive tried my biking gloves and they’re ok, but I think I can find better. Ill see if I can find a store with the NRS line here in the twin cities and try some on.

Maybe no gloves
I wore gloves for years. I stopped wearing them very recently when I wrapped my paddle in neoprene and found it was just as comfortable as gloves but more convenient—you don’t have to take your gloves off to unzip things, eat lunch, etc. Neoprene is a bit slippery when dry but works fine when wet.

An advantage of gloves is sun protection. I now use sun block on my hands.

I noticed this new product in the last newsletter: You can try Yak Grips but I found them too thick. Neoprene is just the right thickness.

Gloves I’ve used and liked have included simple nitrile gloves (good grip), full-fingered biking gloves (spring and fall), regular biking gloves, mechanics gloves, etc. But I prefer neoprene on the paddle in warm weather.

Neoprene on the paddle is a neat
idea. I wear MEC 2 or 3mm thick gloves in Spring/Autumn but find I don’t need them in the summer, provided I’m not using a paddle with an aluminium shaft.

Probably not for canoeing

– Last Updated: Aug-03-12 4:24 PM EST –

Many canoe strokes require the paddle shaft to be able to rotate within the lower grip hand while under power. Neoprene gloves will "sort of" slip against the paddle shaft and allow this rotation, but I can't see how a neoprene coating on the shaft would slip easily against bare skin (neoprene against skin is a lot "stickier" than neoprene against a hard, smooth surface).

On second thought though, the O.P. is interested in racing, and racers seem to rely nearly 100-percent on sit-and-switch. For that kind of pure-power paddling, maybe a neoprene-coated shaft would work.

Only need it for racing

– Last Updated: Aug-03-12 6:20 PM EST –

I NEED gloves for racing. I dont want to wrap my paddle. I CANT go bare hand.

I only use sit and switch to steer during a race. I dont need them for for casual paddling. Ill try on any neoprene gloves I can find as that seems to gbe they way to go.

Those Callous Calluses
Those callous calluses upon my palm,

have had a hand in making qualms,

held long with paddles that dampen in,

my endo-frictive exfoliant skin,

as there arises blister in sun,

so Violent Femme this man becomes,

to sit’n bitch what sacks my trip,

is fluid force to lack of grip,

so bloody swell, uprise unfair,

to wrench hand from nice semi-pear,

gripped in a damp and lustered varnish…

HA! There’s hot-spot I must now tarnish!

Thus stripping down to get to wood,

some linseeds’ oil shall do it good,

diaphanous of fingered touches,

no more pop I where brute is clutches.

OK, OK, you’re right. This is no tropic for me to take a hand in cancerous scribblings, or, “Oh Henry! You miller of grist!” I’m throwing in the gauntlet to myself!

Or perhaps those lycra fly fisherman gloves. Though neoprene is keen, too!

Don’t limit yourself to neoprene

– Last Updated: Aug-03-12 7:01 PM EST –

The gloves I mentioned in my first post WILL do a good job of preventing blisters. I'll illustrate in my usual long-winded, but complete, way. When I am rowing hard, I plant my feet against the foot brace and pull back with a force on each oar handle that far exceeds anything that could ever be applied to the lower grip of a canoe paddle. This happens simply because the body position and direction of pull is so much more favorable for pulling with each hand when rowing than it could ever be when paddling a canoe. Basically, the legs are in compression (which is natural for them) and the arm force is applied almost completely by tension, so much less "cantilever" action of the arms (a much weaker method of applying force at the location of the hands) is needed than when paddling. This is all great and wonderful for the rower, except that greater pulling power applied to whatever tool it is that propels your boat translates to greater stress on the hands (because whether rowing or paddling, the gripping action of the hand is basically the same. It's applying tension). My hands take much more of a beating when rowing hard than when paddling hard.

The bottom line is that if the super-thin, super-light gloves that I use will prevent blisters when rowing, they'll sure do the trick when paddling, and you won't have to deal with the thickness, binding, and much less-comfortable grip that you get with neoprene gloves, nor will your hands get hot and sweaty in the thin gloves like they will in neoprene.

You'll STILL need to practice and build up SOME amount of toughness in your hands. If you don't do that, then you might be better off with a really thick, puffy glove material.

You’ll laugh but
I found that cheap work gloves (not leather!), the woven polyester kind they sell sometimes on sale for as little as 3 for $10 at Home Depot, work really well. Sure, they get wet, but so do any gloves. They work fine for me every time.

In winter when it’s really cold I switch to Seal Skinz.

I suspect you could do as well with biking gloves, but you’ll pay what you would for paddling gloves. Why do that if cheap work gloves work equally well?

Warm weather or cold weather?
For warm weather I use the NRS Boaters gloves, which are the fingerless version of the NRS Rafters gloves. Light, comfortable, do not bind and prevent blisters.

For colder weather (but not arctic cold), I go with NRS Hydroskins. Reasonably warm, they are not waterproof, but work well, my only gripe being that the grip gets a little more slippy on a carbon shaft than the Boaters/Rafters.

For coldest weather, I use the NRS Mavericks. Because the neoprene is fairly thick, the fingers are pre-bent to grip around the shaft more easily.

good old West Marine
I use the ones with no finger tips. Love them and have used them for 10 years.

Batting gloves that were on sale!!
NO joke. They fit great and work really well. Not waterproof of course but it doesn’t seem to bother me. Give them a try.

Watch the Seams
I have some NRS paddling gloves that I originally bought for windsurfing. I discovered that for paddling, they had several seams that came together at the base of the thumb, right where the shaft of the paddle presses. So don’t assume that because they’re called “paddling gloves”, that someone has truly thought out the design for paddling. I now use some Home Depot type lightweight work gloves too - they have the seams in the right spot for me.