Friday, October 26, 2012

The annual glove rant

Today was another C&W event. It was colder (about 35), but not as wet as the last time I whinged about the weather... which, technically would be my last post.

When will the world see a friggin glove for this scenario?

Here's the gold: just make a Gortex or Gortex-like mitten shell. That's it. That's the million dollar idea. No gauntlets. No Everest-climbing features. Just a GD shell that I can put over some fleecy gloves/mittens that will keep the rain and wind out. That's it!

Someone left a comment on my last post about using neoprene. I've tried it and it doesn't work. It seems like it should work. But when you get out there in the miserable range (mid-30's and wet), it totally makes sense on why it doesn't work.

Here are my unsubstantiated claims:

-- circulation: as in, water. The ideal scenario for neoprene (AKA: "wetsuit material") is when it's submerged. There's something going on when you're underwater and the idea of wetsuitness works: there's a layer of relatively static water sitting on your skin, which in turn, is warming the water, which in turn is keeping you warm. That doesn't work outside of the submerged scenario. When you wear porous material, like neoprene on your hands, the water (and the cold wind) flows through. You know, 'cause of gravity (it's similar to magnets in the mysterious ways it works). When cold water flows over warm skin it makes the warm skin cold. Pretty much always.

-- Dry suits. Those are for cold (like near freezing) scenarios. If wet suits (AKA: neoprene) were so awesome, they wouldn't need dry suits.

And Travis: if you are reading this, and you suggest some Mt. Everest Climbing Monster Huge Glove for my "ride 20 miles in the cold rain/snow" scenario... I know where you live.

Just give me the outer layer. I have the base layer. I want the water/wind layer in a simple, light, not huge implementation.

In other news, the Elephant has become the daily driver.

I yanked the front rack off it, and I'll be damned if I don't love it even more. I'm not sure how that works, but it does. I'm a backpack guy now.

This bike, with its fenders and lights that just work (I added a wired rear light this week -- rad), and fat supple fast white Hetres is just the bomb. Wow. If I was still a moneyed bastard and I didn't already have studded 559s and 622s... actually, wouldn't matter.... If I was a moneyed bastard, I'd splurge for the studded 584s.

Creepy mountain bike van exursion may happen this Sunday. If that sounds interesting, send me a mail.

For context, here's a bunch of glove posts.


Pat S said...

That was en epic technical presentation on neoprene, which I will need time to process.

I also love glove "shells", or the layered approach to keeping your hands warm, although I don't especially love mittens, and I was looking at the racks of gloves/mittens at REI tonight, hoping someone had come through for you in this winter's offerings, but I'm afraid you've again been skunked. There is a new five-fingered shell, called "Spring", right next to the five-fingered "Minimalist" shell. Only diff is the Spring has a gauntlet cuff. It costs $50. Ugh. I think I'll try to get through with my minimalists and pick up some springs on sale, in the spring.

Travis Nichols said...

It sounds like this year's request is for an older Outdoor Research Mit they used to make using Gore Paclite. I've got pair if you want to test them out a bit to see if your theory is right. A shell only is not market viable so you will always have to throw down some coin for the liner, whether you use it or not. The good news about an OR mit is they are designed to be modular. Let me know. Travis

Anonymous said...

A dry suit solution would be optimal if it included a warm air input and circulating fan. It may be worth hauling a small gas generator, perhaps in a trailer, to power a heater and circulation system.

Otherwise, the word is still "plastics." Cheap, waterproof, all-natural plastic bags.

Alistair said...

Good post John. I've had the same thoughts myself over the years about the availability of a cycling specific shell glove made out of a modern breathable fabric.
Maybe it's time to put down the torch, step away from the milling machine, and familiarize myself with a sewing machine...

Anonymous said...

These are "split mittens" aka lobster claws, but I've been using them for two years of Portland winters over thick wool gloves and they are nearly perfect.

You can cut off part of the gauntlet if it gets in the way, there is an additional velcro closure around the wrist so it won't fall off.

For people with glasses like myself the visor squegee on the left thumb is handy to clear off water droplets!


Not said...

Bar Mitts.
- Ventura

Michael said...

I rock the Deluge gloves from Endura. Deluge's are thin- no overheating and you still have some dexterity, they keep you warm enough down the high 30's, you and they stay nice and dry, and they're long enough that I don't get the dreaded wrist gap between the bottom of my coat's sleeve and the top of my glove.

Marmot makes a shell glove. I'm not sure if anyone's making a shell mitten, but it shouldn't be that hard to find someone who's handy with a sewing machine that could stitch a couple up.

Anonymous said...

I had the same problem. I live in Canada where we sometimes have REI envy. Now and then, though, our northerly version, MEC, steps up:

This might well not be helpful, but I can tell you they work great on their own when its wet and not too cold and even better when it's wet and cold.

John Speare said...


In the immortal words of Mr. Sprute, "Holy Hell!"

That's it. That's the glove I want.

I have MEC envy. How the hey do we get these down here in the nether regions of Canada?

Vik said...

I use a wetsuit for cold weather kiteboarding and most of the time I am out of the water and warm.

OTOH - I have tried neoprene gloves and frozen my ass off.

I can't explain it, but I don't wear them anymore for biking.



Michael said...

John, here's MEC's shipping to the US info:

Scott Loveless said...

Go to a motorcycle shop and get some glove covers. The one's I've used were cheap, thin, waterproof and windproof. Something like this:|Waterproof%20Glove%20Covers&WT.MC_ID=10010

Hook said...

I use cheap MEC drencher lobster claw shells over plain wool gloves. Sounds like we have been thinking along the same lines regarding gloves; works like a charm.

Michelle Swanson said...

Word up on the neoprene rant. I once wore a $40 pair of neoprene gloves on a November commute in Seattle and hated life after five minutes.

For C&W rides, I use Thinsulite wool gloves with the little black sticky dots on 'em (extra grippiness), designed for working outside. For sub-30 rides, I prefer some cheapass black Thinsulites I bought at Costco a few years ago and work great all the way down to fifteen.

Still, though, a magic Gortex shell would be awesome.

Stine said...

I once had a pair of Salsa N'Agua gloves -- wore them in Seattle all the time. Then Salsa stopped making them. Then mine got really worn out and started smelling like Fritos. I still wear them every now and then, but then I want a beer.

Cori said...

Couldn't you rig something up from the goretex handlebar covers that they have for snowmobiles? Might look funny, but. . .

Ma & Pa Tibboel said...

One year on - time to pick this up again?!? I use OR mitten shells for most other cold outdoor activities - warm, dry, and bomb-proof; but still looking for the lobster-claw equivalent. Think I'll order the MECs - thanks to Hook for the recommendation. And to C.S. for last season's neoprene run-down.