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Cold Weather + Work + Gloves


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I am on the hunt for warm work gloves. What I need is something that can keep my hands warm at 0°F and also allow me to easily pickup screws nails etc. I basically gotta be able to build a house in 0° weather. I am also not going to get heated gloves yet. I hope to eventually get some just not right now. 

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I buy Home Depot gloves that Velcro close on the top. They have leather and fingertip reinforcements and these fit well enough for me to be able to manipulate small screws and staples. I then buy a cheap pair of cloth gloves and I cut the index and thumb tip off the fingers and slide them on over my other gloves. Keeps your hand warm but u keep the dexterity u need that way. If it’s really really cold, i have a pair of cheap fleece lined cloth gloves that I’ll do the same with and wear over , and I carry extra toe warmers with me and I’ll stick one on the back of each hand.

i usually hate wearing any gloves at all but in extreme cold there’s no choice and this works great for me. I struggled for years with frozen fingers until an old timer showed me this trick.

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I used to live on the shore of Lake Superior. We’d get a week of -20 for a high. So this is how guys that work outside a lot do it there. I don’t live there now but I still practice cold management. The trick is to first get a good thin glove. Aka liner glove. Something knit. There are so many good industrial gloves just pick one that you like. Go for snug but not too tight and not too lose fit, even when your hands swell. Do not use nitriles or waterproof gloves as liners. Wet hands get cold 10 times faster. Air is an insulator. Water is a conductor. Warm and dry is the answer on the liner glove. The best insulation invented so far is aerogel because it’s 99.99% trapped air. Gloves are the same way. The ones with more solid material (leather) are not as insulative as good knit gloves. So there is a trade off between warmth and dexterity (thin). So it should be no surprise then that there is no material that insulates better than plain old air so don’t expect a $50 thinsulate glove to outperform a $5 knit industrial glove because all you are paying for is the stuff between the air molecules which should be as little as possible, and the more you pay for the thicker and more useless the glove becomes.

If you want get the cut resistant ones but some of the higher level cut resistance uses steel or more solid materials so watch out. TSC sells a decent one of these. At level 3 it takes effort and multiple passes to hack through the glove with a razor knife. Level 5 just dulls the knife but the insulation value is compromised too so level 2 or 3 is what you want for winter as a liner. Demolition gloves should be outer gloves if you really need those.

Now get three. These gloves are cheap. Don’t spend over $5-10 per pair and you can get by cheaper than that. A lot of guys buy the $10 for 10 Jersey gloves. In my opinion you can get much better for a couple bucks more. Buy at the local industrial supply or farm store.. if you find one you like then switch to Zoro or Amazon.

Then get a good heavy work mitten and wear it over the liner glove. Make sure the mitten comes off easy so when you try it on put on another (liner) glove first. The trapped air between the gloves adds to the insulation and the mitten helps keep your fingers warm. In upper Wisconsin and Michigan they are called choppers. Get one with leather palms and thumb. Some guys bought military surplus gloves or mittens but I haven’t seen those in 20 years. These are much harder to find outside of the Midwest so if you can’t get mittens go for the biggest, bulkiest gloves you can.

If you are working anything with liquids that is wet or greasy or oily where it will soak the glove. Then you need to switch off for a pair or nitrile or PVC coated gloves as the outer glove. I like the “fireball” glove if they still sell it but I never see those around here. This is usually a separate special glove since it stays permanently greasy even after wiping them off regularly. The insulation value of all of these gloves is awful. Also don’t buy really puffy furry lined ones because they interfere with grip. The best ones have a knit glove that is fairly thick but rubber coated. It is going to smell. Get used to it. It will smell worse with grease or hydraulic fluid on it. Get some rags too to wipe stuff down.

Now put one liner pair in the house or truck to dry. Put the second pair in an inner pocket where they are there if you need them. Put the third pair on. Put the heavy outer mitten or glove on over that.
When you are doing heavy work carrying materials, walking from place to place, using tools like hammers, standing, or if your hands are getting stiff, wear the mittens. Wear the outer glove wiping things down too. It’s really important that the inner glove stays dry.

Then for detailed work first get everything together and laid out for the job before you start. Then slip the mittens off in your pockets. Use the more “inner” pockets that go down inside your jacket so they stay warm, not surface/outer pockets but the mittens get nasty so don’t put them in “clean” inside pockets. Do what you need to do quickly and efficiently because you have limited working time. Realistically in negative temperatures you can get about 15-20 minutes of work done at a run before it’s time to warm your hands back up again. On really cold days you work around the idea that you have limited time out of the mittens. On warm days it’s the opposite. You have to dump the mittens if your hands are overheating so you don’t sweat or just use the liner gloves or buy another pair of “all in ones” for those days. Down to about 20 degrees the somewhat thicker knit industrial gloves or the leather palmed sewn gloves do fine.

Get in a habit of putting the big gloves back on every chance you get. As you are working with them off you sort of get a sense of timing. Don’t let your hands get any colder than necessary because it takes that much longer to warm up. You can start to feel your hands get stiff and losing feeling, grip, and dexterity. As you work you sort of have to decide how long you can keep going before it’s time for a break. There is nothing more frustrating than fighting to finish a job when your hands are too cold to start a nut or a screw.

If (when) the liner gloves get wet from sweat or water switch off with the pair you stuffed into an inside pocket earlier. At your first opportunity lay the wet pair out to dry some place warm hopefully rotating them with the pair that was laid out to dry.

So that’s five pairs of gloves. My truck has at least that many in it in winter. Doing electrical and mechanical maintenance destroys gloves so I go through a lot of them.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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  • 8 months later...

I live and work in Canada, in some of the coldest temps on earth.
Glove liners are a must. Warmers help.
The key is a breathable glove. Moisture is the enemy. Most gloves trap moisture and that will only speed up the cold effects.
Using an over glove or mitt style can help, but for an electrician, provides no dexterity. Wool gloves, rubber dipped, help a lot.
Most are a little too rigid when cold, hard to find good, flexible ones.

Milwaukee heated gloves are the worst. They trap moisture, make your hands sweat and are uncomfortable.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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I build tractors for a living. I need safety gloves that protect my hands from chemicals, thin enough to put small nuts on bolts and cool enough to prevent skin rot from sweat. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. I currently wear rubber surgical gloves under my thin safety gloves to prevent chemical blisters but my hands sweat so bad my skin is falling off. I work in hot weather. Without the surgical gloves, I get blisters. 

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