The older I get, the colder my hands get. I miss the days of ice climbing in Alaska at twenty below and having toasty hands. Now it seems just standing around photographing bison in the snow and my hands get cold really fast. I’ve been on a mission to find the best way to keep my hands warm, especially when photographing at -30 in the arctic winter. And I may have found a great solution. The Heat Glove System.
This glove system consists of three layers. First, you choose a liner glove. There are a lot of options, including many with touchscreen fingers to swipe the LCD. Then the main part of the system…the mittens. The mittens are unique in that you can unzip the front to expose your fingers, and pull the thumb back to exposure this if you want. On the backside of the mitten is a zipper opening that takes a hand warmer (nice!). Lastly, in very extreme conditions you can add a wind layer for even more protection.
I bought the durable liners along with the full leather pro mittens. This is the warmest option. The liner gloves have a pocket on them as well for a hand warmer. The full leather pro mittens have synthetic and leather and are quite warm. They also have wrist leases so you don’t lose your mittens when you take them off. So far I have been able to use this system at 20 degrees and it works great. I really like being able to quickly fold back the mittens (which attach using a magnetic system) when shooting, and then quickly put my finger back in while I wait. I’ve found I don’t need to fold back the thumb, I have enough dexterity in the mitten holding my camera. These mittens aren’t cheap, costing over $200. But honestly if they keep my hands warm, they are worth ever cent.
My other extreme cold system is described here. This system keeps my hands plenty toasty at 20 below. But the disadvantage here is I have to take my hand out of my mitten to operate the camera. When I photograph northern lights, I just use a cable release and never take my hands out of my mittens. Right now I am in Hokkaido photographing Red-crowned Cranes, and the temps are near zero. I’ll let you know how the Heat Gloves work on this shoot.