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Cure for Cold Feet and Cold Hands

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Cure for Cold Feet and Cold Hands

Old 10-27-20, 12:50 PM
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Cure for Cold Feet and Cold Hands

I'm considering signing up for Adventure Cycling Association's North Star tour that goes from Missoula MT to Anchorage, Alaska in summer of 2021. I reviewed journals from some hearty souls that did that ride in 2014 and 2018 (I don't think ACA offers the North Star tour every year) and came away with these impressions: 1) Fantastic Scenery; 2) Great Friendships; 3) Rain....and more rain; and 4) Cold...temps reported in 30s and 40s for large share of trip. I did a ride in the NW and Yukon territories several years ago and experienced the same things reported in the journals above. I also remember my feet being blocks of ice and unable to feel my fingers on many days of that tour despite wearing gloves and shoe coverings. So.....
1. I am considering purchasing winter cycling boots such as Lake's MXZ304 or 45NRTH's Wolvehammer or the Shimano XM9. All of these are pricey and the reviews of these boots on the web seem all over the place (love, hate, ambivalent). Anyone have any experience with these and your opinion of them?
2. I'm also considering buying bar mitts - used traditionally by Mountain Bicyclists in winter to keep my hands warm. Any opinions about these?
3. Any other tips/advice regarding keeping hands and feet warm greatly appreciated!
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Old 10-27-20, 02:31 PM
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You are assuming the tour will not be cancelled due to the covid hysteria.
IMO never get anything waterproof, since it is guaranteed to keep that body part wet.
Bar mitts, pogies, would be overkill. Some insulated gloves, big enough to accept polypro liners, would go great.
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Old 10-27-20, 02:35 PM
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wool liners
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Old 10-27-20, 04:06 PM
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Bar mitts are great!
Once you keep the wind off, keeping warm becomes ever so much easier.
Failing that, surgical gloves on first keeps the insulated gloves from soaking up any perspiration, this retaining their insulating properties better.
I’ve used both the Lakes and the Wölvhammers.
while warm - for a cycling shoe - the lakes are no game changers. Wasn’t entirely happy with the lacing system. Quick and easy, but I prefer tighter over the foot, looser up the ankle.
The Wölvhammers are great as boots. I considered buying a pair for general winter use. They do look quite clumsy, but once on the bike, actual influence on ride is minimal.
Still, my true friend in need are the heated insoles. The last winters I’ve been using industrial elements and a DIY battery solution.
But both Therm-ic and hotronic have good stuff.
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Old 10-27-20, 07:07 PM
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Good hat. Helps keep core temp up so extremities stay warmer longer.
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Old 10-27-20, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Troul View Post
wool liners

more wool in various locations
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Old 10-28-20, 04:41 AM
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My fingers and toes get cold, go numb and hurt easily. I use Bontrager OMW boots, 45Nrth Sturmfist gloves with neoprene Army issue glove liners, Bar Mitts, Wool socks of varying thickness. Any combination of the aforementioned items allows me to ride in the low twenties/upper teens somewhat comfortably.
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Old 10-28-20, 04:54 AM
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Might not Embrocation Cream help?


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Old 10-28-20, 05:16 AM
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My friends and I, training in cold weather in the 1960s, used oil of wintergreen to fool our legs into thinking that they were warm.
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Old 10-28-20, 07:24 AM
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I'd consider bar mits a must. I have the Cobra Fist on my winter Fat Bike and really like those.

Those chemical hand and foot warmers (I use them for hunting) are great for 4-6 hours typically but are disposable and you can only carry so many with you. That said, I'd still recommend them over battery operated ones.

As someone else mentioned a base and mid-layers of wool, merino wool. it will still insulate when wet and be funk resistant. Another lesson I learned from hunting. You will still want a shell of synthetics to break the wind and rain.

Cool sounding trip!
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Old 10-28-20, 07:28 AM
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A couple of bar mitt threads in the Winter Cycling section.
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Old 10-28-20, 07:32 AM
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For feet, I love chemical toe warmers. I also saw some full foot warmers recently too.

For hands, I find having liners are key. You need that double layer to keep hands warm. IME, the chemical hand warmers don't really work because you have to move them regularly to get them to emit heat.

As for the suggestions of embrocation, I would not recommend using it on hands and feet. I've used it plenty of times. I find that it doesn't do much for keeping me warm when pedaling, but it does get quite hot after I stop riding and it doesn't wash off easily.
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Old 10-28-20, 07:39 AM
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I started using Shimano winter boots last year and my toes were still cold after an hour on the bike when the temp was in the 30s. I also use chemical warmers inside the boots and they help a lot. When the temp is in the 30s or bellow I use a thick XXL neoprene bootie over the winter boots with chemical warmers inside the boots.

It also depends on how long the ride is. If it is too cold I may still need to get inside after two hours of riding to warm up before going outside again. I also recommend using chemical warmers for gloves. Oversized good cycling winter gloves or ski gloves with silk or wool liners should be sufficient enough. Add chemical warmers to widen temperature range. Electrical gloves and socks/insoles are great, but make sure you have a way of charging the batteries on the tour
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Old 10-28-20, 08:38 AM
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I did their Northern Tier Tour in '99. One guy on the trip had done the North Star route. He said it was fabulous. In 2000 I crossed paths with the tour in Glacier National Park. They had gotten rained on heavily the first two days out of Missoula, and it rained on them (heavily) crossing Logan Pass the next day. (I rode up to the summit with them then headed back to camp.) This was only the first week of the trip.

You are definitely going to want quality, WATERPROOF rain gear to keep out the cold rain. Love my Showers Pass 2.1 Elite jacket. It has pit vents and a back vent to help with breathing. Don't really care if I sweat some inside. The key is keeping the cold rain (and wind) off your body. I have toured in enough bad weather in the mountainous to know this. In 2014 I got weight weenie flu a couple of days before heading out to MT for a two-week trip. Left the quality rain jacket behind along with my cold/wet weather gloves (see below). On the penultimate day I got caught in a cold rain storm just as I was starting to descend from 7,300'. I was quite hypothermic by the time I made it down. Not a fun experience. I will never make the same mistake again.

There are several types of cold weather gloves, such as PI AmFibs. (There are also AmFib shoe covers. See below.) Also look into Gore products, like the C5. Whether or not you go with bar mitts, you would likely do well with good, cold weather gloves that are least water resistant for when you are off the bike. For example, freezing cold (literally) tent poles are painful to handle without good gloves. Ask me how I know..

My ex really likes her Lake boots, but they could turn out to be overkill on many days (or not). Have you considered wool socks and a waterproof or water-resistant bootie/overshoe? Gore makes a model of the C5 overshoe that is both water resistant and insulated. That would give you some flexibility on days with moderate temperatures.

I don't see carrying chemical warmers for use on a daily basis to be practical, especially on a route that is more remote than many others.
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Old 10-28-20, 08:51 AM
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Old 10-28-20, 03:29 PM
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I just got a pair of 45nrth ragnarok shoes, So far so good for a shoulder season boot. When its cold I like the 45nrth wool hat with ear flaps. Most of the time I wear a simple glove cycling glove, when its really cold I will wear a pair of pearlizume lobster gloves. like wool but it can really hold the moisture. I have a smartwool shirts thats a synthetic wool blend so it dries quicker. Check out REIs house brand wool stuff a bit cheaper.
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Old 10-28-20, 04:26 PM
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wear shoes
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Old 10-28-20, 08:42 PM
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As someone who worked 33+ years outside in all weather as a mail carrier in Cleveland winters -- keeping the fingers DRY is primary. Even thin gloves with a wet-proof outer layer. When carrying mail, I wore thin leather full-finger 'driving gloves' with a pair of surgical gloves over that - OR I wore TWO pairs of surgical gloves without the driving gloves... Dry and toasty, even down to -10°F and I still had the dexterity to 'finger' through the mail... Yeah, I went through several pairs of surgical gloves per day - mostly due to wearing trough them, but it was worth it!!! Bike riding doesn't need the fine dexterity so a thicker waterproof glove would work for the outer layer.

Shoes/boots -- again, keep the feet DRY. I used brush-on silicone. I pre-treated my driving gloves, shoes and insulated leather boots with several applications of Pecard Silicone and I was good for the whole winter!!

Re-apply more before the next year. My insulated leather boots are going on their 14th year!!!

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Old 10-28-20, 09:03 PM
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Cure for Cold Feet and Cold Hands

Amputation. Don't leave the fireplace. (From a guy with hands and feet hung out on skinny poles a long ways from any heat source and who also runs cold blooded.)

L have lots of tricks. Mittens and good cycling boots go a long ways. A warm head makes a huge difference. Warm torso and legs also. Tights with wind blocking fronts (or newspaper over the thighs).

I have the 45North Fasterkatt boots and love 'em. I also wear cycling shoes one size up. I dress by slipping my bare feet into produce bags. Socks for warmth over the bag, Another bag over those. A pair of very thin old-man's knee socks over that. (The two bags per foot mean that the socks stay dry and thermal no matter how much I sweat or how wet the roads and weather are.) The bag trick is a lot more work and not nearly as warm as those super boots but they allow me to use my 3-bolt shoes, cleats and pedals.
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Old 10-28-20, 09:10 PM
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I have trouble keeping my hands warm on my e bike as I go so fast that 22mph when it is 30 degrees is really cold. I use this guys they work great and even when it is raining https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
I have their electric socks too but thick wool socks with some insulated waterproof shoes work great too but I have test that his year.
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Old 10-28-20, 09:20 PM
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Whatever you do, take advice based on personal experiences with a grain of salt. People are remarkably different when it comes to cold weather response. It's pretty evident even in a thread like this.

I've gone outside on a winter day and tossed snowballs with my brother. After 5 minutes I'm done, shoving my hands in my armpits to warm them up, while he can go another hour. It's ridiculous. A guy like him shouldn't listen to glove advice from a guy like me, and vice versa. People talk about core temperature being key. I can have a toasty core with hands and feet numb blocks of ice.

You'll have to determine for yourself what works.
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Old 10-28-20, 11:28 PM
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Waterproof stuff isn't always a bad thing. Stuff like OutDry is awesome as the actual waterproof material is on the outside of the glove or shoe or whatever so there isn't anything to soak through and keep you wet and cold. However yes a lot of layered waterproof stuff kinda sucks in some heavy rain or wetted conditions.

In terms of useful tips, layer with good moisture wicking fabrics and plenty of good layers all over from the head to the feet. Have some dry stuff on hand like gloves and socks in your kit (or with support crews) you will thank yourself and think it was well worth it. Have some emergency stuff like surgical gloves and space blankets they may not be a whole lot but surgical gloves do keep out water and wind. Same thing with newspaper bags for the feet. Of course keep in mind the plastic or latex or whatever material doesn't breathe so if you get sweat on the inside it can get cold. Also keep toes and fingers moving, so you have blood flow to them.

Q: What happens when your Bar Mitts get old enough
A: They have a Bar Mitts-vah
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Old 10-29-20, 06:25 AM
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I ride motorcycles to work all year. If your hands and feet are getting cold it is most likely because you are not insulating your core well enough. Your body restricts circulation to extremeties at the first sign of hyperthermia to sacrifice them while trying to keep you alive. Keep your head and torso warm. Waterproof gloves and boots are a good plan as long as you have wicking materials like wool or poly against your skin. Remember what the mountain hikers say, "cotton kills".
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Old 10-29-20, 06:51 AM
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The Shimano XM9s aren't super warm, but they are waterproof, with the exception of the large hole in the top where your foot goes in. For cold weather you'd want to go a size up with thick socks. They are excellent hiking boots as well, no problem doing a 10 hour hike up a volcano.
For water proofs the Ground Effects gear out of New Zealand is pretty good (it rains a lot there in places), and is durable for long tours.
Pogies would be a good idea if it is going to get cold, You could make some lighter weight versions, more of a wind break with a light fleece lining.
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Old 10-29-20, 07:04 AM
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Wolvhammers are too heavy. I have some and they are okay for fairly short rides in the snow. I have some fasterkats and they are about right for me down to 20F. They have been replaced by the ragnarok. For temperatures above freezing, it seems like neoprene shoe covers should be sufficient. And a lot cheaper.

Seems like there is plenty of time this winter to test out your shoes. Bar mitts seem like overkill for a tour like this but they do work well, and it's nice to be able to wear light gloves instead of heavy winter gloves. Again, you have time to test them.
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