NRS Reactor vs Seal Skin gloves

Any experience with these?

I bought a pair of the NRS utility gloves and I think I complained so much about them if I don’t get some better ones no one will paddle with me this year.

Reactors make me go numb
And I couldn’t do much with then - so thick.

If it’s winter wear gloves you want, go to a dive shop for scuba dry gloves. Still are a bit of an effort to get on and off, but I can do things like tuck in a sprayskirt with them and don’t lose feeling.

My experience with the Seal Skinz products is that they are fine until the lining fails, which happens by the end of or sooner than one season. The Deep Sea diving dry gloves I have are still fine after a few seasons of winter use.

Seal skins

– Last Updated: Aug-29-09 10:11 AM EST –

I have paddled in 35 degree weather with seal skins and they just are not adequate. They are very thin and flexible and have a waterproof membrane sandwiched between synthetic fabric. When the outside layer is saturated, they are very cold. I use them as liner under neoprene gloves...a bit cumbersome.

The consensus among winter paddlers seems to be either pogies or Nordic Blue Dry gloves. I am going to get some Nordic Blues soon.

Try a single blade
I keep my hands dry all winter with a single blade. I was good enough for the Aleutian kayakers so I guess it will work for me.

Thet did use the double blade when it was rough.

Have both

– Last Updated: Aug-29-09 12:02 PM EST –

Seal Skinz are worthless, don't waste your money. Leak quickly, fall apart, good for fall and early spring poling or maybe light rec. paddling in not real cold conditions. Their socks stink as well, leak around the 3rd usage.
Reactors I love, get several seasons out of a pair, good in sub freezing conditions (thermos of hot water to soak them occasionally when it's low 20's).Lower 30's they're okay without the thermos. I've used these about 7 years now, probably worn them 200 times or more.Have 3 pairs, first pair split a seam last season, others still good.

Hang on, just saw you're a lake paddler in Alabama. I'm basing my judgement on whitewater winters in New England. Reactors are probably overkill for you, and not worth the clumsinness Celia speaks of.

If in the south…
Nordic Blues may not be worth the bother - we have them but have never figured out how to get the last glove on, when all other hands are gloved. That’s why we went to the scuba dry gloves, they can be managed solo.

There re varying thicknesses of these, though I’ve had my Deep Sea gloves out in as cold as I’d want to paddle.

You may also want to check out the Aleutian gloves, see if they are warm enough for you. Good gloves, not as thick as the Deep Sea but still better than the thin stuf like Seal Skinz.

A third and better option:
Chotas. I have the Seals gloves and what someone above said about being cold is true. They’re good and waterproof and I’ve used them two seasons without fail, but the outer knitting holds water and cools as if your hand is wet and bare. They’re just a bad design.

The Chotas, however, are thick and warm and with pre-curved fingers, are very comfortable. They’re very warm, and I’ve used them down to 23F with no problem. Chota seems to make excellent quality of whatever category you’re looking at. You can’t go wrong with them.


check out ‘Glacier Gloves’ line
The light fleece lined pre-curved finger version are the best thing I’ve found. I think they chinced-out on their pre-curve version last year, but they informed me at the Outdoor Retailer show this summer that they are going back to the original premium Japanese made neoprene they use to use. Gave away my Reactor Gloves after only a couple uses, hated the curve and overall fit. Even being much thicker than the Glacier Glove, they were not as warm.

Sounds like neither one is a good choice for me. Thanks, guess I keep looking.

How cold the water?
I used to have a pair of SealSkinz gloves. They give great feel on the paddle shaft (thin, flexible, not slippery) and are waterproof for a while, but they aren’t very warm. I say “for a while” because one glove became leaky early on. Worse yet, they take forever to dry even when turned inside out, and they STINK worse than anything else.

I can’t stand regular neoprene gloves because of the spongy feel, even the thin ones. Finally found the right glove in a Glacier Glove model that has precurved fingers, comes in many sizes, and has a comfortable lining. This is probably the “premium Japanese neoprene” model that someone else mentioned. Completely waterproof as long as you cinch the cuffs well. And they dry faster than regular neoprene or SealSkinz; don’t need to turn them inside out, either, because the fingers don’t collapse when unoccupied. Cost me $40 in 2007.

Crewsaver Open Palm Mitts
I’ve tried NRS hydroskin gloves (not for really cold weather), Gul Neoprene Mits (warm but only lasted two outings), Poogies (Really warm, but restrictive and not very protective when swimming)

The best so far are my Crewsaver Open Palm Mitts. They provide a god grip of my paddle and let me use my fingers if needed. They are warm enough during the non-skating season (nordic skating).

My next combination to try will probably be a short (racing style) poogie combined with a thin Neoprene Langer glove. I figure this combination would allow a large temperature range.

I use the Level 6 mitts and they work quite well, in really cold weather helps to wear a liner inside, but they are completely dry.

Bill H.

Still looking
Water temps are typical down to about 40 degrees by end of winter. If we hit one of the streams it can be in the 30’s. I really don’t want mittens so I can still use my camera. Other than that I would probably have a set.

I just realized the Reactor gloves were 3.5mm Neoprene. That’s mighty thick.

My problem with the gloves I have now is that there is darn river flowing through them. They leak like a sieve and that makes them cold. Once they finally warm up they are OK. But it takes nearly an hour to get them warm and if you ever take them off for any time you start over.

So I am still looking…

…sounds like you don’t need Reactors
To ditto Daggermatt…being where you paddle…I think 2mm would be the maximum you really NEED, unlike the colder temps we have to put up with up here in northern NewEngland. I really like NRS’s gloves…nice work, but a few gloves may need a little wear(ie stretching) for their ultimate comfort. With a touch of life-long arthritis, once I’ve stretched the 3mm+ Reactors a little…they’re great…but after April, up here, 2mm is more comfortable for me…



try the thermos trick
if the neo is staying wet, try pouring hot water into the gloves, generally twice. This will warm the glove up and hopefully body heat will take over from there. If your leak is changing the water in the neo, such as what happens to me when I pole (water sliding down the pole onto some of the glove, displacing water that’s there)this won’t work as well, but still helps.