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Winter Hand Protection: 5 Hacks to Keep You Warm When the Snow Flies

by Joe Geng on November 11, 2016

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Choosing the best winter hand protection can be tricky, but we’re here to help.


1. Metabolism is the Body’s Furnace:

At temperatures higher than our body heat (98.6°F on average), excess heat needs to be released — this can be done by sweating, removing clothing or reducing activity level. In cold environments, where the temperature is lower than our body heat, heat needs to be retained through additional clothing, increasing activity level or increasing insulation.


2. The Risks of Choosing Inadequate Protection:


  • Normal body temperature drops to 95°F or less.
  • Mild symptoms: Alert but shivering.
  • Moderate to severe: Shivering stops but confusion, slurred speech, heart rate decrease, loss of consciousness, death.


  • Body tissue freeze, eg. hands and feet. Can occur at temperatures above freezing.
  • Symptoms: Numbness, reddend skin, which develops discoloration patches, may feel hard and blister.


  • Non-freezing injury to the foot, caused by lengthy exposure to wet and cold environment.
  • Symptoms: Redness, swelling, numbness and blisters.



3. Material Choices Help Achieve Warmth in a Winter Glove:

For optimal warmth, winter hand protection should have three layers:

  1. The Outer Layer: This layer should be a material with high abrasion resistance, water and wind repellence, cut resistance, etc. based on the tasks you are performing and the protection that you need.
  2. The Middle Layer: This is the insulating layer, which should be made of a material that can trap a lot of air to provide warmth.
  3. The Inner Layer: This layer will be closest to the skin and has moisture-wicking properties to remove sweat from the skin.


4. The Battle of Dexterity Vs. Warmth:

Unfortunately, there is no perfect glove that will allow you to stay warm in -50°F and easily be able to pick up nuts and bolts. There will have to be a trade off.

  • Thicker, more layers = less dexterity
  • More dexterity = less insulation

The individual needs to decide what is more important to complete the job in a timely and safe manner.


5. What to Look for in Winter Hand Protection:

  • Insulation like 3M™ Thinsulate™ lining.
  • Palm coating for grip.
  • Full palm coating if immersed in water.
  • Good fit — tight gloves reduce circulation and make your hands colder.
  • Appropriate cuffs — be sure the cuff fits over your jacket or parka sleeves.

Learn How to Stay Warm in Winter From the Canadians!

definitive guide to insulated work gloves

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