Electrically heated gloves

  • Creator
  • #60929
    Anna Hern

    Does anyone have any info on how heated gloves work/don’t work in mountaineering? I’m getting desperate- I’ve spent hundreds on gloves that don’t keep my hands warm. Today I skied in only 15F temps and I had to stop and try to get circulation back at least once ever 30-40 minutes . It was incredibly painful and frustrating. Oh and yes I have Raynaud’s syndrome so I know that’s a problem in mountaineering. Does anyone know if the electrically heated gloves work? Especially in this type of event?
    Thanks in advance.

  • Participant
    Edgar Carby on #60931

    I have a pair of mid-tier and I didn’t think they were worth the money. I think the chemical handwarmers are better.

    However, my wife has a pair from a company called Ravean that she really likes. Of course, the coldest weather she would ever intentionally experience is spring skiing so I can’t say they’d work on top of a real mountain.

    This is not a mountaineering recommendation but the warmest gloves I have (warmer than the arc’teryx SV mittens) are from a company called Atlas that makes industrial safety products. I’ve used them in single digit 100% humidity howling wind weather for getting duck decoys out of the water and been toasty warm. Cost about $25/pair. Made from bright orange vinyl and are completely 100% waterproof. They are like wearing boxing gloves though so I doubt they’d work on a mountain.

    Anna Hern on #60937

    Thanks for the input. Sadly the chemical warmers don’t do anything to keep my finger tips warm. I’ll look into your glove suggestions though.
    Thanks again.

    MarkPostle on #60970

    Anna- I have worked with several different types of heated gloves as well as socks and insoles. IMO the Socks and insoles have a place in some mountaineering but the gloves arent worth the fiddle factor for their benefit. Mittens and hand warmers are a way better option. Having guided dozens of folks with hand circulation issues in arctic environs I have generally found once you isolate your fingers in gloves if you have reynauds you’re fighting a losing battle. When its really cold I use the Hot Hands Super Warmers. These have kept my hands quite warm even at -40.


    These inside even the fairly mediocre mitten will keep your fingers warmer than the most expensive gloves. I generally try not to use a super thick modular Mittens system with many layers if I don’t have to, but something a bit trimmer so I still have some dexterity. If your finger are warm and toasty you can always pull a mitten off for a couple of seconds if you need to do something barehanded then shoe them back in the mitts. Practicing helps a lot, its surprising what you can do with good mitts on if you are accustomed. Regardless nothing has less dexterity than frozen fingers.

    Something like the glissade mitts for general cold weather use.

    Or the super light mitts for very cold conditions.

    Anna Hern on #61088

    Sorry for the delay but thank you so much for the information Mark! I have a couple ski trips before my Ecuador trip in February so I’ll give them a try. Thank you again!

    Nate Emerson on #61459

    Hi Anna, In addition to the clothing choices, I think it’s also important to consider the following points. I apologize if some are obvious, but many of my clients have found some of these points to be game-changers.
    1. Consider your core temperature and clothing systems. Being fed, hydrated, and warm enough will help with circulation at extremities. Consider all possible contributing factors. While some athletes prefer *feeling* cooler during exercise, staying a little warmer with your layers may help quite a bit with temperature at your extremities/digits. It takes practice refining clothing systems so that you can be warm enough without sweating. Consider your average temperature for the day, not the extremes. Some people avoid getting too hot at all costs, but then they never get warm enough to have warm fingers. Be aware of the effect of strong wind on your clothing systems. Some climbers swear by liner gloves for tasks requiring more dexterity, but this is a personal preference – one solution that I won’t recommend for everyone. Resort skiing is really challenging with all the downtime on the lift getting cold, and all the temptation to hold metal or remove gloves. Many resort skiers don’t practice adjusting clothing or boots with gloves or mittens, but it’s surprising how many tasks skiers can do without removing them. Cell phones and other electronics provide a temptation to remove gloves. If you need to check your phone often or consult your phone/gps, you could use the touchscreen friendly glove liners. Try not to check phones or tech in a place where the wind is strong.
    2. Consider your behaviors. Holding a bare ice axe, grabbing carabiners/screws or the shaft of aluminum ski poles or chairlift bars, or overgripping your axe/poles/handholds could quickly increase heat transfer and make your hands colder. It’s easier to keep your hands warm by putting ski poles under your thigh on the lift, not grabbing any metal on the chairlift, reducing a tight grip (sometimes a tight grip feels necessary with bulky mitts or gloves) on your axe/poles/holds, or avoiding removing gloves or mittens (especially when handling metal like crampons, axes, poles, carabiners, etc.). Long breaks in the backcountry, less vigorous exercise, and not protecting yourself from strong wind/weather will also make you colder. Being aware and vigilant can go a long ways to manage your temperature. It’s easier to be ahead of potential problems (e.g. adding layers immediately when you take a break before you feel cold, or adding a shell mitt on top of a glove while skinning on a windy ridge).
    3. Your activity. Your pace and your activity level can affect your temperature at your extremities. Increasing your exercise intensity will increase metabolic heat which can increase core temperature, and increase the temperature at your extremities. Skiing longer pitches, going 5% faster on your uphills, or skiing steeper or more physical terrain can make you warmer. Going a little harder/faster can really change the temps in your fingers. Doing some of the dynamic warm up and movement prep from the Cham Mtn Fit will really warm you up if you are out skiing, especially after a long chairlift ride or a break.

    There is some liability in relying on heated gloves, socks, or handwarmers/toewarmers. There is additional planning and then there is the reliance on the batteries or activated carbon. Ice climbers, mountaineers, and backcountry skiers often use vigorous arm circles, flapping motions, or arm whips to quickly increase circulation in their digits. Some of this can even be done while walking on simple glaciers. While it might look a little ridiculous in front of your ski friends, doing 30 seconds of really vigorous arm movements will have a much more pronounced effect than the 15 minutes waiting for activated carbon to get warm enough to start warming your fingers. I vouch for the ridiculous arm circles for immediate help with cold digits. You can use this on your high peaks and alpine climbs anytime you are on simple terrain or at a belay.

    I have poor circulation but because I’m considering the methods above, I’m often wearing much lighter gloves or mitts than most of my clients and my peers.

    I hope that this helps!

    Anna Hern on #61688

    Again apologies for the long delayed response… I ended up experimenting a bit with your info. I had another warm (30F start to 50F at the afternoon) ski day and a 30F hike/run with a weighted pack (about 20% of body wt.) I wasn’t super cold at all on the hike/run and I was using much thinner lines leather gloves. That was with my HR near/at the AeT. However skiing, although much, much warmer I used mittens (which did help a lot as Mark predicted) and was slightly cold in the morning. And of course my HR never got near the top of Z1. I think with the combo of mittens/warmers and movement I may survive in the mountains after all. Even last July on rainier I wasn’t as miserably cold and I think that was in large part to movement when I think back on it. I really appreciate your input and apologize again for not getting back to you sooner.


Viewing 6 replies - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.