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Thursday, 8 March 2012

How to keep your hands warm

I suffer from cold hands in the winter. There's no need to feel sorry for me, clap (like a seal), or throw peanuts; it's life and that's all there is to it. The problem manifests itself when skiing; the action of clutching one's poles means that there is no movement of the fingers, thereby worsening the situation.
I have, however, been looking for a solution for a number of years. My criterion was (and indeed still is) passing my ERC (Effective, Reliable, Comfortable) test.
There are many solutions that pass some of the individual criterion but none (until now) have fulfilled all the criteria.
There are inner gloves, which used to be in pure silk (good luck finding any nowadays), and are now in various artificial fabrics. Apart from making the glove tighter, which is very much the opposite of the desired effect, they do offer a slight improvement. What they are really doing is compensating for inadequate gloves. The obvious suggestion of purchasing larger gloves is ineffective, as you end up with longer (glove) fingers that hinder your grip on your poles.
Chemical warmers do indeed warm the hands but, they can also be far too hot, are uncontrollable and (mainly) non-renewable. They also tend to be uncomfortable as they are in the glove or, all but useless if fitted in a pouch in the top of the glove. The sensation of cold tends to start in the extremities of the fingers, not on the back of the hand.
There are also gloves containing elements that are heated by a battery that is contained in the glove. I have tried these and found them to be very unreliable and backed by customer service that is so appalling that it should be nominated for the opposite of a WOW! Award.
Things have now changed, at last. There are heated gloves that meet my ERC test!
My recommendation is to leave your gloves on a warm radiator overnight (and don't forget to take them in the morning). The reason for doing this is that if you start with cold hands (putting on boots, helping the kids, paying for your lift pass…), then you face an uphill battle. This way, when you put your gloves on, they will already be warm and your batteries still fully charged.

The gloves have three heat settings, with a light which changes colour from green, through amber, to red. Don't spare the horses, set them straight for the highest setting (red). On this setting the heat will be constant for about three hours. To compensate for the higher setting, I suggest that you buy a spare set of batteries; the extra comfort is well worth the additional cost.
If (when) you stop for lunch, turn off the battery (in order to conserve charge), and place the gloves on a radiator (to get that toasted feeling when you put them back on).
I am happy to have experienced cold conditions (-10), wet (snowing, that is), and had warm hands all day.

A big 'thank you' to Sandy, who will be happy to supply you with details of how to obtain this excellent product.

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