solution for cold hands

-- Last Updated: Dec-09-07 7:02 AM EST --

Aaron and I were out poling our local Punch Brook section of the Farmington river yesterday. Temperature close to 40, ice along the banks. We're both wearing drysuits, I've got shorts and a t-shirt underneath, and we both have our "NRS Reactor" gloves on. Real comfortable, except both of us have frozen hands. I'm confused, I've always been real happy with these gloves. Switched from my aluminum pole to the wood pole, still frozen. I tried ascending a small "staircase", started to lose my ascent, burst out laughing as I'm thinking about normal people shopping at the mall while I'm bouncing off rocks backwards standing up, when I had my semi-weekly capsize. Now I'm bailing out my Dumoine, standing in waist deep water. First thought was how much water this canoe can hold with no airbags, second thought was how warm my hands are now. Aha!!! Soaking wet gloves!! Told Aaron of my "discovery", next thing I know he intentionally "steps out", soaks his gloves, gets warm hands... now we're good to go.:-)

Someone else told me the same thing
a couple weeks ago when we were paddling. He kept soaking his neoprene gloves, and said that made them warmer. I thought he was joking, but he said no. Guess it makes sense if the thin layer of water is kept warm from your body temp.

I put those “Hot Hands” chemical packs in my gloves to keep my fingers warm when winter paddling. My hands intermittently go numb-cold and turn sort of yellowy-white so those help. Maybe I should try your discovery.

that is how neoprene works :wink: NM

Hot water is even better.

– Last Updated: Dec-09-07 10:22 AM EST –

For winter paddling we always carried hot tea. A few times we would pour little down someone's gloves who's hands went - like mine.

So much of staying warm / hands etc. has to do with body type, weight, height and your chemistry that day. I've paddled with one big stocky guy who doesn't wear gloves in winter while other people are in neoprene mitts. If many paddlersÊget wet in the winter - even with a dry suit and hood, that's it, they're all through for the day. They will not be able to warm up enough to be comfortable.

That doesn’t make any sense
Wet neoprene conducts heat away from your skin faster than dry neoprene; it’s simple physics. It’s much more likely that your hands warmed up due to the adrenaline rush and exertion related to the capsize, not because your hands got wet.

Wha Ho, Daggermat
Had de same situation a couple of weeks ago on de Musconetcong River waar it snowed fer de entire trip an’ of course, dis polecat had ta jump in fer a swim (ya know me - love it - descendant of a polar baar). Found it “felt” warmer wit me Glacier Gloves wet on de inside than when they be dry - but only fer a little while! Maybe cuz de skin capillaries opened up fer a bit? Later dem paws got a bit chilly (damn BP meds). Ever try Nordic Blues? Dems work well. Plus… dem NB’s great fer handlin’ dem thaar MeanieBurger’s !

Fat Elmo

wait a minute here…

please correct me- but- is not a wetsuit(neo) made to be wet inside so that the water layer inside is heated by body?

is that not the only way a wetsuit functions???


– Last Updated: Dec-09-07 11:53 AM EST –

two things. One, it doesn't take me any effort at all to capsize; two, with the frequency I go over it is certainly not any adrenalin rush anymore ;-).In fact, I do recall laughing and pretending I was an alarm system just beforehand, entertaining Aaron by making alarm noises interspersed with "panic, panic" calls. We poled for about 2 hours after the swim, and my hands were fine the rest of the time. Very clean too, I may add. Didn't have to wash for dinner.
Wha ho' senor Elmo. Mebbe next pair I'll try out your recomendayshun. I used these reactors all last winter though, and was real happy with them. Jes' fergot 'bout the wet hand thingy, though. UMMMM, meaneyburgers :-))))
Well, time to go hiking.....

But the theory is that you are IN the H2o for this to work, the water trapped in your suit will eventually warm. Out of the H2o that wet inner neo will eventually chill you. Just the way I remember it from my windsurfing days.

My guess is that the gloves went from cool to very cold and this mad it seem like you hands warmed up when they very well could have gotten a little cooler.

Ever notive that early in the season a swimming pool will have very cool water. You get in the cold water and get back out pretty quick only to realize that now the air is even worse because you are and there is a mild breeze. If you get right back in the pool, it feels nice and warm compared to being out in the air.

So you have to believe that either the water actually warmed up 20 degrees in less than a minute, or the sense of warmth is relative.

That’s just my guess…


The “wet” is wetsuit does not mean that you HAVE to be wet for the suit to work.

It means that it will keep you warm even though you are wet.

Neoprene is insulation. Because it is a closed cell foam, it does not adsorb water, so it retains its conductive insulation properties even if the surfaces are wet. The heat transfer from skin to suit, and from suit to air will be higher when the surfaces of the suit are wet then when they are dry.

A proper fitting wet suit is snug. This is so that only a small amount of water can get in, and to ensure that water does not flush through. Once a bit of water is in, it will get warmed up, but this is not what makes a wetsuit work.


– Last Updated: Dec-09-07 4:13 PM EST –

what happened is, while poling,Aarons and my hands got wet from the water running down the pole when switching ends, but only partially wet. I think the air was evaporating/chilling the water and causing our hands great discomfort. When I got soaked(and Aaron likewise), the gloves became saturated, the body heat warmed up the water in the gloves, and the leather strips inside and outside the fingers and palm worked as intended, blocking the wind and preventing evaporation. Been 8 months since I was out in weather this cold, but I was out in colder conditions without any issues, I believe because last year I mostly paddled and my hands were either totally dry or totally wet. I poled with FatElmo on a real cold day, didn't fall in, and I think my hands were miserable, again partially wet.

Water temp?
Maybe the water temp was simply warmer than the air temp?

water has ice in it
and along the banks.

Ya know…
I was thinking back to the old diving days when I stated yes. Divers will tell you that that H2o will warm inside the suit, while in the H2o. Only time I ever wore neo above H2o was when windsurfing, and when I’d usually overheat I’d jump in to cool off, as the suit would get much cooler as I got back on the board and the H2o had drained out. The wet neo would cool for a while till body heat kicked in again

while in the water you stop ped
the air flow across your hands. I have done the same thing. Once I resumed paddling my hands stayed warm for a while but then slowly got cold.

It was rough paddling but it made the arrival at the take-out better than any previous arrival.

I have NRS Reactor gloves. Only problem
was they put a hole in one by putting the price tag through it. Not warm but okay.

Warming your gloves
You know the first thing divers do upon entering the water to warm their wet suits, right? You could try doing this in your gloves. Might have other cold extremities though.

energy output
seems to me that there’s a minimum energy output to keep the extremities warm. Once you put out more energy it pushed heat into your hands. I bet if you put your cold gloved hands into the water before you fell and scrambled they’d be even colder.

Yeah, and save some for your booties!