Tuesday, 22 January 2013


Sunday proved my hands, or rather, the Raynaud’s Syndrome I suffer from and the effect it has on my extremities and the rest of me at times, can be a little problematic. I have suffered from the cold on both of my previous Challenges, but not suffered a Raynaud’s attack like that one. (Apart from when Laura and I arrived at St Drostan’s in Tarfside, happily I didn’t do the shock thing though) This is fortunate and I hope I never do however it would be silly not to take precautions. Obviously I always wear gloves. Even during the summer months I will have a pair of gloves about my person should they become necessary as it doesn’t even have to be particularly cold for my hands to react.

So, I’ve been doing some thinking and over the last few months, I’ve been making plans and finding solutions. Here they are.


A selection of handwear

Christmas 2011 David bought me a pair of Extremities Tuff Bag mitts. I wore them on last years Challenge and often over the year, usually with my merino flip flap mitts and they are absolutely brilliant. It’s not so much the waterproof qualities that impress me, but the windproofing is excellent.

At Cally Rally in October (a Scout/Guide camp weekend by the Loch Ness Canal when it is cold. Very, Very Cold) my pal Janet donned a rather nifty looking pair of gloves to protect her nails whilst pitching and striking camp. I tried them on and they were indeed a nifty bit of kit, a thin knitted glove with rubberised palm and fingers, leant to her by her husband who uses them whilst he is backpacking. Aha! They’d be neat if they fitted over my mitts.

In November I bought a couple of lucky bags from Terra Nova, one for David as a stocking filler and one for me because I’m greedy and I don’t like to miss out. One of the things I got was a pair of Polartec gloves. They are really comfy, cosy and fit inside my Tuff Bags. In summer, these would do a good job and as I’ve often been concerned that my mitts get damaged when I get them inadvertently velcroed to other bits of my kit, or wear holes in them whilst using my walking poles, these would be a good alternative. They also fit in side the gloves with the rubberised palms, so I can keep my hands warm and protected whilst pitching and striking camp.

Another problem I have on the Challenge is collecting water or washing my pots. Obviously I can’t wear cosy gloves when I’m doing these chores, or can I? A pair of Marigolds struck me as a mite heavy, but a tough pair of latex gloves would be just the job and blue ones are harder to lose.

All the protection I require for *161g, as opposed to the 130g two glove combination I carried previously, this arrangement will have everything covered, so to speak.


*Edited: Can’t count!


Alan R said...

I hadn’t realised just how serious Reynauds could be. Until your last post when i did the usual and googled it.
Silk gloves are usually very warm, very light and thin but quite expensive, could be an option though.

Washing up? I thought you left that until you got back home. I eat my porridge in a plastic bag and save the washing up.

Louise said...

I've tried silk and sadly it just doesn't do it for me, but it does feel nice! Merino wool mitts give the best results, mitts keep your fingers together so they share heat and you can pop in your handwarmers right where you need them.

Ha! Washing up. Don't do an awful lot to be honest, I don't do porridge in the field and I eat me meals out of the pouch they are in, it's really just my mug which could have had hot chocolate, horlicks or coffee in it. Horlicks can be a bit sticky if left overnight...
My prefered option is actually to take the Washing Up Fairy with me, but he tends to stay at home during the Challenge ;-D

Anonymous said...

Hi Louise

I've started to take a pair of cheap rubber gloves to save my hands getting cold when collecting water and mopping down the inside of the flysheet when there's a lot of condensation. I've found Dyas or Homebase ones are better than Marigold as they are cheaper and thinner. Best to get one size up, then they are easier to get off.

Possum wool is supposed to be good for Reynauds. Chocolate Fish do gloves and socks. The gloves are lovely and warm. The socks are too warm for me to walk in but lovely in the tent! They also do a beanie.

The other thing to consider is using snowboarding mitts. I bought some and they are great for really cold weather and they are very water resistant. You can also use thin fleece liner gloves with them.

Louise said...

Well, thank you for all of that information! I must confess, I've lived with this for so long now (since me teens) I'd learnt to live with it and make do. It's only since I've been backpacking that I've started to look for more alternatives. The Possum wool sounds interesting. I'll have a look at the Dyas and Homebase gloves too.

fell running guide said...

Buffalo mitts work well. Windproof and still work if wet plus reasonable price too.

Louise said...

Another bit of kit to investigate, excellent! Girl can never have too much, thank you :-)

Gayle said...

[Epic comment alert...]

I was only saying to Mick the other day that if anything stops me backpacking, then it's likely to be my hands, as they're just getting worse and worse. He was in despair at me on the weekend for allowing my hands to get so cold, but, as I explained to him, I got onto the (warm) bus with perfectly warm hands, wrapped in Powerstretch gloves, I left my gloves on the whole time, but got off with six of my fingers completely white and numb. Fortunately, it causes me no ill-effects, but it isn't nice to have useless blocks on the ends of my arms for as long as it takes for them to come back to me.

My current glove tactic is a pair of Powerstretch gloves, a pair of buffalo mitts (I love my buffalo mitts - I've got two pairs) and a pair of Tuff Bags. When needs be, I wear all three at once. Dexterity is lost with all three pairs on, but dexterity is lost even more if the blood flow stops.

My other problem is that when my hands do come back to me, they flick from no-blood-flow to super-heated in the blink of an eye. It was the constant changing of the glove layering that caused me to get the chest pouch. So I always have spare pairs to hand and can switch/add to what I'm wearing without having to stop.

Louise said...

It's frustrating isn't it, that you don't have to do anything to 'deserve' it, a slight change in the environment and that's it, you've lost your hands again. David is quite used to me asking him to peel the veg for dinner now as that's a regular trigger. The veg is kept in the garage and tends to be well chilled. Just one touch and oops! Gone again.
As to the backpacking it is just a matter of finding the right combination. I'll be looking at the Buffalo mitts tout suite!