Touring with Toasty Digits

| January 5, 2014

It’s been so cold in the Wasatch lately I thought I was in Montana.  We’re not use to temperatures in the teens, let alone the single digits, and it makes my tanning butter congeal, which I just hate.  But at least my hands are warm due to two basic touring tricks.

1) Mittens.  A thin, lightweight mitten is often times far warmer than a big, beefy glove as they allow your fingers to move around and trap a lot of warm air.  I use a pair of Mountain Hardwear Spearhead Mitts, which have a fleece liner, basic shell and leather palms.  They have unfortunately been discontinued, but there are others out there like them.

2) Keep your hands low.  I adjust my poles so my hands are well below my heart.  This isn’t super efficient as far as a touring stride goes, but it makes you move your hands more, which in turn keeps them warm.


It takes a while to get use to skiing with mittens, but one you do, they are incredibly warm and comfortable.  If you get mitts with removable lines, you can slip a Warmer Grabber heat pack in between the shell and liner, which will send your fingers into a heavenly orbit of warmth.


On the skiing side of things, there are a few good little patches out there.

Help support and keep your digits toasty with a DAKINE Scout Mitten from Click on the photo below…


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Category: 03 Clothing

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber and Mountain Unicycle rider. He and Polly Samuels McLean are the parents of two very loud little girls.

Comments (1)

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  1. Josh says:

    Mittens FTW!!! I have a lot of trouble with cold digits and found some interesting tidbits in this book which is an awesome condensed version of up to date knowledge on cold injuries (ie rapid rewarming…):

    Now, for the toes… as boots get lighter, that chunk of metal in the toe of the boot for dynafit compatibility gets closer and closer to your toes (it is partly exposed inside my aliens) and is a huge heat sink. Hopefully they can figure out how to make those out of a less conductive material, with steel “wear cups” on the end or something, because I think that’s where most of the heat from my toes goes…

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