Winter Photography Gloves
I often see that many hide and workshop clients suffer from cold fingers/hands during the winter months. I myself, suffer from an extreme form of this called Raynaud’s Phenomenon. This condition deprives the fingers of their blood supply in cold weather leading to numbness and sometimes subsequent pain and blisters.
I have searched for the ideal pair of gloves to manage the condition, yet still be able to use a camera, for quite some time now and I think I’m finally there. Having reached this point, I thought it would be a good idea to recommend a few products that could help other photographers over the winter months.
Sealskinz Ultragrip Gauntlets
The big problem with gloves for photography is that they need to be supple and of a thin enough construction to be able to feel small camera buttons. I have tried a range of gloves that do allow for good dexterity and are warm enough for Spring/Autumn morning use. However, on a wet and/or cold day my fingers generally turn pale and without feeling in no time at all. The lack of waterproofing in most ‘thin’ gloves mean that your hands will get wet fairly quickly and once wet/cold, it’s difficult to warm them up again.
These Sealskinz gloves are close fitting and pretty warm without being too thick. There is enough movement and feel in them to operate most of the functions on the camera. The sticky pads on the palms and fingers provide plenty of grip for camera and lens.
Most importantly, they are waterproof and can even be immersed for a short time. Dry hands are more likely to be warm hands and these gloves have the best waterproofing of any I’ve tried so far.
Another feature of the gloves is the extended cuff which covers the all-important wrist area. This is where much of the heat to your hands is lost (with veins being close to the surface of the skin). It certainly helps to keep your hands warmer longer.
Montane Extreme Mitts
In very cold conditions I always carry a spare set of mitts as the Sealskinz gloves can only go so far in keeping you warm if stood still and holding a cold lens barrel/camera body for long periods.
I deliberately bought the extra-large size in these mitts which gives me two options. Either I can slip them over the Sealskinz gloves to give my hands extra protection or I can wear them on their own. The synthetic fill soon allows hands to heat up quickly and the bit of extra air space in the XL mitts works well for me in encouraging a fast warm up.
I try to take these mitts everywhere as an emergency piece of kit. They pack away very small into their own little bag and I can easily slot this in alongside my lenses.
Whitby Hand Warmer
The final part of my hands warm strategy involves a hand warmer. You can buy disposable warmers which work really well but for a long term solution I’m finding this Whitby Warmer very reliable.
In the past I always found that the charcoal stick warmers would go out when you most required heat. This has not proved to be a problem with the Whitby. It runs on liquid lighter fuel (obtainable from many newsagents and tobacconists) and a fill can last up to twelve hours.
What’s more, I’ve found that once lit and placed within its drawstring bag it stay’s lit until the fuel runs out. The bag is necessary as the metal body can get too hot to touch without it.
In extremely cold situations I’ve often slipped the hand warmer into my mitts with toasty hands and fingers resulting very quickly.