Winter doesn’t have to be boring and you can give into various winter adventures. You can go snowboarding wherever you like and even drive around in your winter-ready RV and seek better slopes every other day. And while you’re enjoying the adrenaline rush that snowboarding provides, it goes without saying that you should think of staying warm as well.
Besides the suitable clothes, hats and eye protection, you should also get warm and comfortable snow gloves or mittens. Your hands will easily lose warmth if you don’t wear any protection. A quality pair of snowboard mitten gloves can help you endure even the lowest of temperatures without losing your dexterity. You should be able to feel comfortable and warm, while holding the ski sticks, trying to zip zippers, hold a cup of tea or coffee or handle your phone. Here are some important things to consider when purchasing your snow gloves.
The Difference Between Snow Gloves and Mittens
There are several differences between gloves and mittens. The most obvious one is that gloves have individual fingers and offer better dexterity than mittens. They’re ideal for activities where you need to use your fingers such as zipping zippers, handling gear. Also, lightweight gloves are great for aerobic activities like cross-country skiing where your body loses a lot of heat.
Mittens, on the other hand, are warmer than gloves because the fingers get more heat when they are in one place and not separated from each other by fabric. Mittens aren’t as dexterous as gloves but can still help you a lot when you’re holding ski poles or snowboard at a very low temperature.
You can even find a lobster model which is a blend between a glove and mitten. These usually have a separate place for the thumb and index fingers, allowing the rest of the fingers to stay together and warm. The lobster model is great when you need to keep your hands warm but still be able to use two fingers.
Find the Right Size & Fit
The proper fit will determine if you’ll have warm hands and feel comfortable or not. Your snow gloves shouldn’t be too big; this way you may lose them and be unable to hold ski poles or do tasks. If the gloves are too small, then they will restrict your movement and will probably expose some skin to the cold (mainly at the wrist) which will make you feel colder.
Your gloves should fit comfortably on your hands; they should leave about half a centimetre of material at the end of each finger. Make a fist to see if the gloves feel tight. Check the manufacturer’s size for hand measurements if you are going to shop your snow gloves online.
Consider the Different Types of Insulation in Gloves
There are two basic insulation types in snowboard mitten gloves – down and synthetic. Down is an excellent insulator and is prized for its lightness. It’s easy to compress, it’s long-lasting and breathable. Down is a bit pricier than synthetic, but it keeps its loft longer than synthetic, which makes it of good value.
Unfortunately, down loses its ability to insulate when it gets wet. This is is why it’s not used in gloves and mittens as frequently as synthetic insulation. If you find such gloves, then the down will be protected by a waterproof shell that helps it stay dry. Down gloves and mittens are a great choice for skiing and snowboarding in extremely cold and dry climates.
Synthetic insulation is quite affordable since it insulates when wet and dries much faster. It is a good option for skiing, snowboarding and playing in the snow in damp climates. It may feel less warm than down, it’s a bit bulkier and when compressed, its insulation power is reduced.
This is an important feature, especially for skiers and snowboarders. The outside material of the gloves or mittens should be waterproof; they should have a breathable barrier that will prevent moisture from snow or rain to get inside. This barrier should be in the form of a membrane that is laminated to the fabric.
Gore-tex technology is the best waterproof technology used in snow gloves and mittens. Keep in mind that even the most waterproof pair can get wet (it usually happens from inside out). This is why you should keep snow from getting inside the gloves. If you can, try to limit sweating with them on. When your hands are dry, it’s far more likely that they will stay warm.
Wearing ski gloves and mittens can be a real challenge when you want to use your smartphone. Of course, you can always remove the gloves, but that’s not the point. The last thing you want is to lose warmth just to check the phone with your fingers.
Luckily, many manufacturers today are thinking of this and they create touch-screen compatible gloves. Not only the fingers but the palms of the glove are now compatible with a touch screen phone. You won’t have to remove the gloves in the cold so you can easily handle your phone.
The touch-screen compatibility is mainly found in lightweight to mid-weight gloves that allow enough dexterity for you to control your phone. In case you plan to use your phone frequently while outside in the snow, seek gloves that have full finger and palm compatibility.