Commuting - Best gloves for bitter cold -- lobster??
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I need to upgrade to a glove that will keep my hands warm in bitter cold. My commute is short, 3.5 miles each way, but things have gotten iffy at night sometimes when temps drop near zero and wind is howling.
I tend to layer my gloves, and with a base layer of Patagonia capilene liner, followed by black leather glove for middle layer, followed by Gore text waterproof/windproof glove on top of it all, my fingers have frozen in the extreme cold described above.
My sense is that I need a solution that will bunch my fingers together, something like the Pearl Izumi amphib lobster glove. I tried the gloves on, they are very comfortable, but I don't get the feeling they would perform under conditions of extreme cold.
I'd like to move away from triple-layering my gloves, I'd prefer a base layer that is a liner, followed by the final shell that is water/wind proof. I don't mind spending the money. This is the only issue I have in the extreme cold, no problems with feet, ears, etc, just the hands.
Any insight/recommendations you can provide is much appreciated.
How tight are your gloves? I'm discovering that a looser fit that lets me wiggle my fingers is warmer than more insulation but a tight fit (ditto for feet). I've been trying 2 layers - glove liners (cheap Performance poly - whatever was on sale) and either LG lobster mitts or heavy ski gloves. So far it is a toss up which workes better for me - the ski gloves have more insulation and better windproofing, but the lobster mitts let me wiggle my fingers better. I'm using a fixed gear for commuting, so I only need enough dexterity for braking, not for shifting.
This is under cold but dry conditions - I haven't ridden in cold and wet (probably won't - yes I am a wimp). I live in NoVA, so I am probably experiencing similar conditions to your riding.
See if you can keep your head warmer. When I started wearing a balaclava AND an insulated head band (keeping my head warmer), I found I needed less insulation everywhere else.
I'd keep the Patagonia liners and try the PI lobster mitts. See if you can try them, at least for a short ride, and still be able to return them if they are too cold.
12-28-04, 07:33 AM
I get cold fingers easily, so I use mittens. I have a polertec 300 insert under a goretex liner. It worked very well until the temp went to about 17 with windchill. Then after about 40 minutes my digits were cold.
go to a mountaineering store. Get a Goretex mitt like Diggy has, and a liner, and some thin gloves to wear under the liner. They will have it all. If you have ever skiied, dig out your old ski gloves and try them. You can find them cheap at discount places. Buy a size large, and wear a liner glove under them.
I'm in DC and I have Lobster AmFib gloves and they are fine for my 12 mile one-way commute. Last week when it was 9F, I probably would have benefitted from silk liners. DC is not exactly an "extreme cold" kind of place.
I used to have some Kombi ski gloves that were really toasty (too warm for most days), but I lost one. I got them at some Sports Authority-type store for $10--much better than the $50 that the AmFibs cost.
Take a look at the Winter Cycling forum for people who ride in true extreme cold--they're nuts!
Downhill ski gloves. I use Grandoe, and they have been fine while skiing in -20 F. If you ski, you need these anyway. http://www.grandoe.com/ski.aspx. Except when it is really cold, I don't use the liners for commuting.
As noted, DC is not an "exterme cold" place. Although I wore my gloves (without liners) for the first part of today's trip, when I dropped my daughter off a holiday camp. I left my gloves in my pockets for the leg from school to my office.
12-28-04, 08:29 AM
Hey I'm from the same area. I use Amfibs. They are good BUT not the best. I think the bulkier ski gloves are the best but are bulkier. I think, with liners, AmFIbs are good enough for most of our cold temps. This AM it was in the teens and my hands got cold wearing them ; however I could not get into a good flow biking. I never really warmed up. Bike's rear hub had an attitude. Charlie
I have regular 5-finger winter gloves from Pearl Izumi. They might be amfibs, but I'm not sure. I layer with a set of thin knit gloves and have been fine for an hour with temps from 0-5 degrees F, and wind of 10 mph or so. Someone (on this forum I think) suggested oven mits over the top of all that if it gets much colder, but I don't know how you would shift gears.
hey thanks a ton for all the input. I'd go for the Grandoe gloves but for one problem: I have a $100 gift certificate for use at Hudson Trail and I don't think they sell Grandoe there.
Based on what I'm reading here, one would expect that using a hi-quality liner as the base layer, with my gore text ski glove shell on top should do the trick. It appears that the liner should be wearable on its own as a good cold weather glove. Then once the really cold temps set in, I can add the gore tex ski glove on top.
Any advice on brands to look for at Hudson Trail. I own an Arc Teryx Gamma SV jacket that is very nice and I notice the same company makes slimline gloves that might work as the first layer. Hudson Trail carries ArcTeryx.
thanks again for all the input.
12-28-04, 10:16 AM
I think you've got to spend money on cycling-specific stuff when you need it-- tops with a longer tail, shoes or shoe covers, knee warmers, warm weather padded gloves, outer tights, and so on.
When it comes to a lot of cold weather gear, though, I don't think it's necessary to spend much money on cycling-specific stuff.
Gloves are probably the clearest example of this point, or so it seems to me at any rate.
I've always gotten by fine with gloves from the sporting good store, or Walmart.
A case in point. I got a pair of five-fingered gloves with some fairly thick Thinsulate insulation in them for Christmas. They're waterproof, or so they say on the label. They're just sporting good store gloves-- Dick's, Sports Authority, Gander Mountain-type gloves. I'd bet they weren't $30 on sale.
I rode with only these gloves on Christmas morning. -10F real temperature. My hands were fine. Never cold. They do seem to resist water, or at least snow, very well.
In fact, I may start using these all of the time in preference to my older system of a fleece glove inside of a larger, Thinsulate glove. Not that there have been any warmth problems with the older system. It's just a little more convenient to put on one set of gloves without layering.
In fact, I've never used anything other than Walmart-type gloves with Thinsulate, along with a liner in bitter cold. My hands have never been cold. I've had the usual array of problems sometimes with cold weather clothing, especially at first-- too much, too little, not enough on the feet, and so on-- but never with my hands.
The lobster gloves for cycling are freakin' expensive, too. Like $80 at the LBS. You pay a sizeable premium for no performance benefit in this case.
If you look around, you can buy a pair of gloves, or two pair including a fleece liner or something similar, for a total of less than $30. For that money, you can buy gloves that will keep your hands warm in -20F real temperature, and that will last for years. Spend the extra money on a studded tire.
So, my recommendation: don't get bike-specific lobster gloves, or any bike-specific cold weather gloves. Too expensive.
When the temp drops below 25 F / -5 C I use the Pearl Izumi Lobster Gloves. They are less bulky than downhill ski gloves, and are are windproof. They are very will made; been using mine for years (also for XC Skiing). There is an absorbant terry cloth section on the back of the thumb for wiping off your upper lip when you get off the bike. Padding in palms is just the right amount for cycling. Below 0 F/ -20 C, I add thin glove liners.
I picked up a cheap $8 pair of ski gloves from TJ Max - they've been working good. They have a windshield that comes about 5 inches over the cuff of my jacket. We have about the same commute, and they've been warm down to about -8F with heavy wind with no liners. I agree with the comments that more head warmth and insulation elsewere helps with keeping the hands warm, and that too tight can keep the bloodflow down. Also, how damp with sweat are your liners by the end of the ride? That can be a huge factor as well.
hmm...based on what I'm reading here it sounds like the problem may be my main outer shell.
It's an LL Bean glove with the tags "gore tex" and "primaloft" sewn on the outside.
Inner tag states that the shell is 100% nylon, lining and insulation is 100% polyester (primaloft?? poor man's thinsulate??), insert is 100% gore text (this "insert" is not removable).
These gloves are very comfortable, have a great grippy palm and tacky fingers, but I wore them this afternoon in the metro D.C. cold (approx 20 degrees), light wind, in the park with my kids and my fingertips were getting cold after 15 minutes.
Perhaps I need an outer shell that is Thinsulate-enhanced since this seems to work well for many people.
12-28-04, 05:13 PM
I've got a pair of Chipolatas from Ground Effect that are too toasty for me except below freezing.
I must have hot hands, but I love the Wind Pro-20 made by Manzella http://www.manzella.com/ProductListing.aspx?Category_Code=Traditional&Product_Line_Code=Fleece&Group_Code=PW&sub_brand_code=zsystem . Iíve had 2 pair (lost the 1st), one with Gore Windstopper and the current ones with Ploartec Wind Pro Fleece. Iíve ridden to -1 f and not had cold hand problems once. My hands will be cold for the 1st 10-12 minutes, but warm after that. It is not uncommon for me to Ďput the top downí (these are convertible mittens) on days in the 20s for a minute or two just to cool my hands off. We arenít talking major bucks here $25-$30 U.S.
i always use my snowboarding gloves when i bike, i have a pair of burton ones that work out real nice, and when it's not too cold, i use my pipe gloves, the dexterity in those are great, and they are surprisingly warm for their thickness.
12-29-04, 05:36 AM
I got a pair of inexpensive puffy gloves last winter, but they couldn't take the wear and started falling apart mid-winter. I now have PI Amfibs with Mountain Hardwear liners. They have done very well down to the teens. I tried the same gloves with a cheaper liner on 0F thirty-minute ride, and my fingers were cold until just near the end. I've noticed that it takes about 20-25 minutes for my circulation to get pumping enough to warm up my fingers. I don't know if my fingers would have been toasty or frost-bitten after an hour.
This morning, it was in the 30's F. I put my summer fingerless gloves over the Mountain Hardwear glove liners. I was fine.
12-29-04, 06:07 AM
I have a pair of Pearl Izumi lobster claws from a long time ago. (read: not amfibs) They have sectioned off "fingers" that put your two fingers actually against each other in each section unlike the amfibs. The amfibs are more like 5 finger gloves inside of a lobster claw shell for some odd reason. I am thinking that this is why they are not as warm as they could be. My old lobsters are the warmest thing I have ever had on my hands and I wouldn' t trade them for anything.
12-29-04, 12:11 PM
Hotfingers (brands name) ski gloves.
Mittens work better than gloves as four digits share the warmth.
12-30-04, 09:50 AM
I have been using a pair of cheap ($5.00) full fingered ski gloves I bought at a ski shop bargain table 15 years ago. They have been fine for the 12 years I have been commuting and riding, even in below zero temps.
12-30-04, 05:21 PM
Someone PM'd me and asked me to say more about the gloves I mentioned in the post above.
As I said, the gloves were a gift. If there was ever a more informative tag on them, it was gone by the time I got the gloves.
They say "40g Thinsulate" on them, and that's all.
I'm pretty sure they're just the house brand for a store like Dick's. This year's McGlove. There are probably variants in all of the chains.
Good gloves, though.
I've been riding with decent - not great - ski gloves, the five finger variety, with no issues down to about 0F before windchill. They allow easy shifting, yet are bulky enough that I can add an additional layer if need be. Need hasn't been - in fact, they tend to get hot enough that I need to remove them for a short while to cool down when the temps get above 10F.
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