NRS vs Chota gloves?

I’m looking for cold weather paddling gloves. I’m a solo canoeist, paddling year ‘round in SE Ohio using single blade traditional paddles. I’m a Freestyle type paddler & do lots of palm rolls, etc, so obviously “Pogies” are not on my list. I’m seeking gloves that offer warmth, dexterity and a good grip. I’ve used NRS Rapid gloves which are worthless for warmth, but do offer dexterity and grip. For winter wear I’m thinking gloves with pre-curved fingers might help. Has anybody had experience with either the NRS Reactor gloves and/or Chota Neo/Fleece Paddle gloves? Other recommendations?

Thanks - Randall

My experience has been that in order to get warmth you have to add thickness which makes you lose some dexterity. For cold weather I really like the NRS Toaster mits.

Glacier Gloves
I’ve used a heavier precurve neo glove by NRS and went right back to my faithfull ‘Glacier Gloves’ with the inner light fleece liner and precurved fingers, called the ‘Precurves’ if I remember right. They are warmer being thinner (?) and have FAR more dexterity. The curve of the NRS actually felt uncomfortable to me also. I can usually get a good 3 years of regular use out of the precurves. I’d give them a serious consideration! With ANY neo glove you better stick 'em in your pants or shirt while you stop if you take 'em off for a while. Otherwise you will freeze till they warm up again. Neo usually gets a bit of condensation in them, which is no problem if they are kept on or warm, but that little bit of moisture sure gets cold if you put them back on after they sat out in the cold air a while. Every week or so I turn 'em inside out and machine wash 'em, keeps the ‘funk’ down.

I have the Chota’s
The pre-curve is nice. They are completely waterproof and provide pretty good warmth. The fingers are completely isolated so they can cool of some. If needed a small chem pack stuffed in the wrist area can provide extra heat. wrap it in thin cotton first though–very hot!

I just got back from a day float w/ 20F weather. I had some cheap cheap liners with some Mountain Hardware Gore-Tex ski type gloves. the gloves have a small fleece liner. This work pretty well, had my liners been better, it would have been great. My fingers were moist most of the time from my gloves getting wet, but I was still warm. They are rather bulky, but never did that get in the way. I could pull the glove off quickly and still have the liner on to keep my hand warm while digging in my bad or tying some knots.

My Dad had some SealSkins (the ones w/o the fleece) and some nice fleece liners. His hands stayed dry and warm the whole trip. The SealSkins are not precurved at all, but they provide excellent grip.

I will have some NRS Rapid Gloves on Monday that I am going to try out. I know that they do not provide much warmth, and I fear that they will not keep my hands dry. But they are on sale now for $15, so I thought I would try them out before spending the money on SealSkins and some new liners.

Hopefully I will be able to wear my Rapid gloves with a liner, but I am doubtful.

Neither is worth the retail price
Unless you find them on sale for half price, don’t waste your money. They’re no warmer and don’t hold up any better than $15 Stearns neoprene gloves. I’ve owned all three of these gloves.

If it’s really cold, dry gloves are best.

I’ve only tried Chota and NRS gloves on in the shop. The Chotas were way more comfortable than the really stiff NRS. I would go with the Chotas.

I have the Reactor gloves
they are stiff, but warm. Pretty tough palms. You can’t turn them completely inside out for cleaning and drying.

One problem; I recieved mine with a hole in them. It looks like it came from the little white plastic strap they use to attach the price tag. I never followed-up so I can’t complain.

Dry gloves
Especially for canoeing, we found “dry” gloves in a dive shop that would be perfect. They are relatively new. They have a double gasket for mating with a drysuit but if you wear them w/o the mating and don’t spend a lot of time with your hand submerged above the wrist they’ll still keep you dry. They are decidedly warmer, more comfy and retain better paddle feeling than the Reactor gloves. We were kayaking yesterday in sub-freezing air temps, dipping hands in water measured at 35 degrees, and my hands were fine for the whole trip. They are made by “Deep Sea”, cost $40.

The most aggressive choice for dry is still probably Nordic Blues, which we just got and I am in the process of stretching to gauge whether they need to be cut a half ring. They require some real experimentation to get the second one on by yourself, but for the ultimate protection I know many who swear by them. (Cut out the lining and use something like a Possum skin inner glove instead.)

Personally, I think the combination of the Nordic Blues and the Deep Sea gloves is perfect. Since the latter are neoprene outer layers, you have a backup glove if relying on the Nordic Blues and find that they get a tear (though that’d be hard -they are rugged). The Blues are also available via scuba shops.

If you are doing real cold weather paddling, in general I suggest that you check out serious scuba shops. They have great stuff tailored to that need, often cheaper for the quality than paddling gear sources.

Diving Shops
I am seconding that if one is serious about paddling in colder weather/water that dive shops are the place to check out gear.

The gloves to which Celia refers above are “Deep See 4mm Comfort Dry Gloves.” They are far superior to Reactor Gloves. They are my first glove of choice for cold.

Mom was right
Wear your Mittens!

I do a fair amount of winter whitewater paddling. (In the paddlesport business that’s when I have time to play) and have found that the NRS Toaster Mitts give the best combination of dexterity (yes you can tie your shoes with these on) contact feel with the paddle shaft (requires a day or two of paddling to break in) and out and out warmth. Keeping your fingers together in the same atmosphere works like a pogi but if you need to shift your hands or grab a snowball to heave at your paddling companions to alert them to the upcoming horizon line they are great. Cost is $35.

Oh, just a side note; keep some fleece gloves or handy for tying your boat back on your car. Nothing worse than to expose your warm, moist hands to biting cold wind while trying to work straps on your roof rack.

See you on the water,


Don’t get arctic conditions here
in Eastern Virginia, but I have found the $9.00 neoprene fishing gloves form Wally World as good as any of the NRS gloves I have tried.



I have some Chota gloves for winter paddling and really don’t like them. It seems like my fingers get really cold. I’m from Ohio and I will a lot of times just use my x-c ski gloves and try to keep my hands from getting too wet or wear no gloves at all.

Marshall is so right!
I forgot to leave a dry pair of fleece gloves accessible on Saturday and ended up gloveless while tying down my boat. My hands froze! Really annoying after paddling for a few hours and keeping them nicely warm.

Thanks folks!
I appreciate everyone’s input.

You see Mrs. Claus was asking… …and there’s little doubt - I’ve been very, very good. ;^) Randall