Kayaking on the Hudson

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Paddling Gloves

Some people love them, other people hate them.  I’ve tried several of them.  The basic idea of paddling gloves is twofold.  First, there are gloves that are designed to cushion your hands and prevent blisters.  Then there are gloves that are designed to keep your hands warm.  My best advice is to try some for yourself, and then you decide.  Here is what I have learned…
Half-finger kayaking gloves

Half-finger gloves.  These are used to prevent blisters and help you hold on to your paddle.  They work pretty well, and some people swear by them.  I don’t use them much anymore because once they get wet, they stay wet.  Your hands get all pruned up.
Full-finger kayak gloves

Full gloves.  Same as half-finger gloves, but a little warmer.
Neoprene kayak gloves

Neoprene gloves.  These are all about keeping your hands warm.  They do a pretty good job at it too.  They are a bit awkward, and mine started leaking at the seams pretty quickly.  I also found that they did not keep my hands warm enough under 40 degrees.
Neoprene kayak mitts

Neoprene mitts.  My latest attempt at keeping my hands (which are always cold) warmer in cold weather.  I find these to be much warmer than the gloves.  The obvious downside is a total lack of dexterity.  You have to take them off to complete any tasks that require fingers.  Despite the inconvenience, these are the only thing I’ve found that is truly warm.

An alternative to gloves is to use Yak Grips, which is a neoprene sleeve that goes over your paddle.  I’ll post more on those later.

See you on the water, 
Don Urmston

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