Neoprene gloves VS mitts

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  • #20243
    Vincent Law

    Hi members,

    I’m wondering if i should be wearing neoprene gloves or mitts for paddling in the winter? Mitts would be warmer and probably more comfortable but I won’t be able to use my fingers independently.

    And is 2mm or 3mm neoprene appropriate for the winter.

    Thx in advance!

Viewing 10 replies - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)
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  • #20472
    Vincent Law

    THX for your comments George and John.

    George Prevost

    I recently read an article about an interesting piece of research that might be pertinent to this topic.  The researchers measured skin temperature for a number of subjects, both at normal room temperature and after various lengths of time exposed to cold water.  The subjects turned out to sort fairly well into two distinct groups.  One group had relatively cold hands at room temperature.  Their hands got significantly colder when exposed to the cold water than was the case for the other group, whose hands were warmer both at room temperature and in cold conditions.  The authors speculated, but didn’t prove, that the cause for the colder hands of some participants might have been subtle damage from previous exposure to cold.

    I think this is relevant to the current discussion for two reasons.  First, a solution that may keep one person’s hands warm enough might not be effective for another person.  On the other hand, the amount of protection required to keep some people’s hands warm might be overkill for others.  The second thing to keep in mind is that allowing your hands to repeatedly get seriously cold, even well short of frostbite, may make you more susceptible to getting cold hands in the future.

    John Drent

    Skegs vs rudders anyone?

    You won’t know till you experiment for yourself. But can’t stand the disconnected feel of neoprene gloves or mitts on the paddle shaft. Reminds me of driving with snowmobile mitts on. On chilly days I use fingerless sailors gloves with a synthetic leather type palm that grips well and gives me full use of fingers. If it is a bit colder I’ll wear  pogies. The cuffs should be loose enough that you can easily slide in and out. They never keep me totally dry but they cut the wind. Colder than that and I’ll wear the sailors gloves inside the pogies. But in cold weather I always carry a pair of MEC ” waterproof enough” gloves. They are very thin , are only water resistant and mostly used for cycling. If my hands are still cold after a few hours paddling, or after a lunch break, I’ll put them on under the sailing fingerless gloves with pogies over top. That still gives me a good feel for the paddle and lets me paddle all winter.


    Vincent Law

    Thanks for your detailed comments John, Quirine, Nick, George, Theresa, Bob and others via email.

    I’ll try paddling w/ Mitts. I have pogies and will use them when it gets colder.

    Bob Maher


    I have a pair of Gore-Tex Mitt shells and Fleece Liners, both from Taiga Works. I paddle every week of the year and these are great for paddling in cold/wet winter weather, where gloves just don’t help.

    I find Pogies are restrictive if you have to move your hands quickly for a Brace etc..

    Bob Maher

    Theresa Davies

    I agree with Nick that neoprene gloves are good for preventing chafing and for some protection and poggies over gloves when the weather is cold, wet, and windy as they ensure warm functioning hands.  Keep in mind, that once the hands get numb and cold, they not only are impossible to warm up on the water but also may not be much use in an emergency.

    George Prevost

    I think a good combination is a pair of neoprene gloves, which will probably keep you warm enough in all but very cold conditions, backed up by pogies which you can wear over the gloves when it’s really cold.  I find that pogies on their own don’t completely protect my hands when it’s windy and wet.

    NRS makes a couple of different kinds of neoprene gloves which would probably keep you pretty warm except in very cold conditions.  Another good option, which I just got and am really liking, is Glacier Gloves Perfect Curve gloves (  I ordered them from and shipping was free.  They are 2 mm but apparently made of a fancy kind of neoprene that is warmer than the standard stuff for a given thickness.  Being thinner makes them more flexible and easier to do things in.  The NRS ones I tried are 3 mm and definitely a bit more awkward when you need some fine motor control.

    If you’ve got a dry suit, you can put the sleeves (the outer material, not the gaskets) over top of the wrists of your neoprene gloves which makes them pretty much water tight unless your hands are actually in the water for awhile.  (One of the types of gloves that NRS makes have a very close-fitting wrist that is supposed to make them watertight, but I suspect that it also makes them pretty hard to get on and off.)

    If you’re ordering gloves and don’t have a chance to try them on, pay close attention to the sizing information on the website.  If they’re too small, they’re hard to get on and off and they may restrict the circulation in your fingers a bit, making them more likely to get cold.  I think it’s better to err a bit on the large side.  That might even allow you to wear some very thin gloves underneath for additional insulation.

    Nick Heath

    Most of the year I wear thin leather palm mitts to reduce chafing on my thumb joints, but when it is cold and windy I would add pogies. To me, the thick neoprene of heavy gloves or mitts means you lose good feel of the paddle loom. This is not a problem with thick pogies.

    Quirine Schuyff

    My mitts are a total game changer for ME. I love the NSR neoprene mitts. They are loose so super easy to take off when you need to do something. BUT I get cold hands VERY easily. I have also worn GoreTex mitts with fleece mitts inside.
    Pogies do not work for me. But, they do for many.

    John Leung

    Other options are pogies

    And for thinkness, you probably want 5mm for winter paddling.

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