Thursday, November 15, 2007

Cold Weather Paddling

The other day a mentioned the difficulty I was having with paddling gloves. All my neoprene gloves, even brand new ones and even some mitts, leak. I like dry hands when paddling in the cold. I don't subscribe to the 'wet-suit' theory when it comes to gloves.

Richard Hayes of Newfoundland offered a solution so I went looking for the gloves he mentioned. I found them at the local farm coop. They're rubber coated, part-way-to-the-elbow cotton (yes, cotton!) gloves. Mine cost me $8.00 and came with a warm fuzzy lining. I added some poly gloves and went paddling. I returned a couple of hours later with warm dry hands! It was a good test day as the waves were running about 0.5 meters and slightly more, with lots of them breaking. That means my hand and wrists often go into the water with my Greenland style paddle, yet I came home dry. I carry back-up neoprene mitts on days like these in case these new gloves get soaked, but I didn't need them yesterday.

Back at the dock, I relaxed with a mug of hot Ovaltine, another cold weather paddling friend I take out with me these days instead of the water bottle or bladder.

Update: Here's a picture of my arm sporting the glove in question...

If these things work out, I think I'll add some velcro tabs on the arms to keep seepage to a minimum. So far, they seem to work well, although I've taken to drying the perspiration moisture out of them by suspending them over a heater once I'm home. I suspect when I get some fleece liners, this moisture build-up will be reduced to nil. Ever the optimist!



Simon Willis said...

Nothing like that to my knowledge over here. Do I see a business opportunity!?

Michael said...

Simon - Perhaps! I don't see why a glove made out of a synthetic inner, coated with this waterproofing material and a velco wrist (or mid-forearm) closure wouldn't sell well in the paddling market. Not very sexy looking, but they do the job like none other.

Richard Hayes said...

Glad the farm gloves seem to have done the trick. You can thank VOLKSKAYAK designer Gerry Gladwin for that idea when you send along the royalty for the VK you're going to build for yourself :->))

Chris and I closed up Eastport last weekend - drained the water system, RV-antifreezed the toilet and sinks and turned on the heat tape for the water inlet pipe. There's a takeoff tap on it we can use when we get a chance to go up in the winter - just run a hose up to the bathtub, fill it, and voila - you've got the first element of true civilization (flush toilet!).

Also got out for a short but lovely paddle - alongshore, just about 1/3 the way out Eastport Bay towards Carmen Cove and back - very light winds, a bit of swell, and some light snow flurries. Spent about 1.5 hours afloat - and didn't want to come in then, but had doggies to walk. Adie is at the cabin now for a few days, and we'll get up again before and hopefully during Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Ingenious! Can we see a picture of the glove setup?

clairesgarden said...

ha. this just reminded me of those trip pictures you show to friends(non-paddling) and they are horrified at 'what are you wearing?!?'.personally I think full waterproofs are very attractive! and the hats. .

Anonymous said...

Good old low-tech. Cotton, coated with rubber. Who'd a thought.

DaveO said...

I second Alex's motion. Just did a post on cold hands a couple days ago and pogies seemed to be the winners although you are far from toasty dry. Reed makes an over the elbow 'gauntlet' like the gloves used for field dressing deer. May need to check the local fleet farm store.

Richard Hayes said...

Great stuff, Michael - nothing like field testing to find answers.
Re liners - I've used thin poly liners (cold) and those dollar store one-size-fits-all stretch mittens (not much better) in the few situation where I've used such gloves. Fleece should work, wool is another possibility. To my mind, thicker is better.
Re seepage - rolling the top inch back over itself, forming a drip-ring collar, helps.
Your idea of a Velcro cuff closure sounds excellent - let us know how it goes. Maybe place the strap 2-3 inches below the sleeve top, so it would act as a natural fold line for the drip-ring cuff?