Kayaking is a trillionaire type sport. The gear ain’t cheap and if you really get into paddling year round, there is a lot of gear that is needed for both comfort and safety. Or for some of the “Look at ME” crowd, kewl stuff to impress people with.
Since this author has what Bart Simpson described Monty Burns having “bony girlie arms”, I need to cover the skin and bones with layers to keep the body warm.
Also since money makes the world go round and this write ain’t a trillionaire, watching pennies can be important. So finding alternative economical equipment to use for paddling is a necessity.
Since my door skeleton body gets cold and the MBS wimps out and melts down finding and using just the right layers at a non arm and leg cost is a big deal.
That being said, I was in K-mart looking for an iron or hair dryer so I could use it to repair dry suit neck gasket. Repairing the drysuit is another story and the drysuit is one trillionaire item this bony person requires so as not to freeze to death. More on that in another ramble. Instead of finding a tool to heat the rubber drysuit gasket I stumble upon some gloves.
I don’t like to shop and even if I was an Internet billionaire, I still would not like to shop. Most stuff doesn’t work and breaks down or is more trouble to hook up and use then I have the patience for.
I checked out the gloves and pondered. Should or should I not buy them and see if maybe they might help keep my paws warm when out on the water paddling. I was checking out two different sets of gloves.
One was a package of knit type gloves with three for $4.95. I am extremely cheap and the price said maybe or maybe not. Would these end up in the Goodwill box if they did not perform in a manner I could stand? Would I be out of the price plus tax?
There were others to check out. The next pair was a mitten fingerless glove type combo for $9.99. The composition was thinsulate and … The mitten part folds back and secures with velcro to the top of the hand and the fingerless part can be exposed.
Both of the gloves I bought were by Basic Editions.
So, I decided to purchase these two sets and try ‘em out paddling on Puget Sounds 50 degree water in 50 degree windy conditions.
I did several tests.
First I wore the knitted version around before and during paddling. I found my hands remained nice and warm on the way to the paddle site and fairly warm while paddling. Besides keeping the paws a decent temperature with no discomfort, I found I could do all sorts of things, in other words there was much more dexterity then with the more expensive Stearns Neoprene paddling gloves I had used over a long period of time. Paddling as AOK with the knitted gloves on plus like I said my fingers weren’t aching from any cold. Of course it was only about 50 degrees outside with a good wind blowing.
The next test
The knitted gloves fit into the combo mitten fingerless gloves. With both gloves on both paws it was still sort of comfortable to paddle using the cheap West Marine Pro paddle. More on the paddle story someday. Gripping and stroking the paddle was no big deal. In fact it wasn’t too much different from the thickness of the Stearns gloves. Maybe a little but the thickness did not bother me much at all. Still got a good grip and best of all my paws were warm, dry and another super kewl deal.
I like to use a waterproof camera and video cam to play at taking pictures. With the Stearns gloves my paws got cold and I had to take ‘em off when I tweaked with the camera controls. This was extremely irritating. Constantly stripping the Stearns gloves off and exposing my bony fingers to the elements. In the process losing many cool pics because of the time “f”ing around disrobing to get a shot.
Turns out the knitted Basic Editions allow me to push little buttons on the camera and do all sorts of things the Stearns get in the way doing. Plus, the knitted gloves are so cheap in a three pack.
Then with the mittens and the knitted gloves on I can flip the mitten part back and do what I need to do with my bony fingers. The finger tips are still covered with the knitted gloves and I can take pictures and feed my face with treats. What a deal.
So what about getting wet and …
I kept the left paw encased in the mitten and knitted glove. Near the end of the paddling day tour trip, I dipped the right hand in the water with the knitted glove. Remember, Puget Sound is cold and life expectancy is not long if you fall in unprepared, due to hypothermia. If you have not had that experience I wish you luck. It is badddddd news. So be prepared or pay serious consequences.
After dipping and continuing to paddle, the right hand did not get all that cold. For this heat wimp this was kewl. The paw could be shaken and most of the water flew off.
Next the mitten was slipped on. Still warm.
Next the big plunge. Shoved the the mitten and knitted gloved right paw in the water. Soaked those puppies good. Continued paddling. Shook the water off like a dog. Kept paddling into the wind.
The left dry hand was of course still warm. The right damp not soaking because the water was shook off, was cool but not freezing. No pain from the cold.
OK, so the water was not freezing and the air temperature was not that horrible. But, this heat wimp is a happy paddler because even in these conditions getting cold used to more of a problem. Used to wear a plastic food handlers glove under the Stearns paddling glove.
I paddle all winter in snow storms and with ice in the water on lakes and other places. It is extremely important to keep this bony body warm.
I will continue to test the gloves and see if at lower temperatures and harsher conditions I don’t whine about the pain from the cold.
So, this is only part one on the saga of keeping not cool but keeping warm if not toasty while paddling and not draining the bank account doing it.
Check out Paddle Heaven a web site, yes there is still life outside of face book or twitter, featuring some information about kayak/canoe put-in locations in Washington State.
Gloves update November 9, 2010
Have been wearing the knitted gloves outdoors at work as a gardener in pouring rain for two days now. The temperatures have been around 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Gloves have been from damp to wet and the paws have remained not exactly warm but NOT freezing.
Plus the water wrings out and these puppies dry fast.
All this adds up to warmer work outdoors and paddling in the winter here in the Pacific Northwest, when the best paddling occurs. Eeeek you say? Winter? Yup, you all are at home huddled around things like the turkey, Xmas tree or … Quiet times on the waters.