Let talk about over mittens

This topic contains 24 replies, has 17 voices, and was last updated by  Mikhail 3 yrs, 5 mos.

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Feb 17 2013 at 6:53pm #

I’ve been looking for a pair of over mittens to wear over my gloves when it’s under 25 degrees or so.

I’ve tried heavier gore tex gloves, but they make my hands sweat too much. I can wear my regular spring/fall gloves for a while in 20 degree weather, but eventually they get sweaty and my fingers freeze.

I wanted to get some wind blocking over mitten, but I’ve been having a hard time finding them. I even considered some smartwool mittens to wear over my gloves when I start freezing, but couldn’t find any at rei today.

I would prefer something super packable. I imagined something like a windbreaker turned in to a mitten. Any suggestions?

  • This topic was modified 3 yrs, 5 mos ago by  Benzo.

rice rocket

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Feb 17 2013 at 7:09pm #

I think your best bet is a vapor barrier. Just get some rubber/vinyl gloves and wear ’em under your gloves. Yeah, you sweat, but that’s the idea. As long as you don’t soak your insulation layer, you stay warm. Be prepared for some wrinkly fingers though.


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Feb 17 2013 at 7:53pm #

Why would sweating inside a plastic liner help keep your fingers warm? I don’t see how that gives much more insulation etc. Plus, it’s uncomfortable.
I think you have the right idea to minimize surface area on the outside. Doing it with a wool mitten or something like a lobsterclaw cover should work pretty well I’d think. And if you use wool you won’t get sweat buildup.
I don’t have this particular problem because I switch to regular lobsterclaw gloves when it gets really cold but maybe you could get someone to knit you this: I’ll bet one of the local shops selling knitting supplies can find someone to do the knitting if you don’t know anyone. Use Merino wool and you’ll have something really nice.


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Feb 17 2013 at 8:16pm #

I’ve managed my glove problems ok; on the other hand I don’t go out once it’s down to 20°F.

Think of it as cross-country skiing: There’s (or at least used to be) plenty of articulated gloves that keep your hands warm down to very low temperatures. Remember that x-country is work, so your body is generating heat. That’s a clue. Pedal faster if you’re getting cold :-)

For downhill I would wear thin leather gloves with mitts over them. Your hands stayed generally warmer, and when you had to fiddle with your bindings or something the gloves made it work. I remember thin silk liner gloves but they weren’t anywhere as useful as the leather ones.


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Feb 17 2013 at 8:36pm #

I have vapor barrier but insulated gloves. When its that cold my hands don’t noticeably sweat at all. I sometimes will use wool glove liners if its especially cold. I’m not sure what to suggest for mittens.

rice rocket

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Feb 17 2013 at 9:08pm #

jonawebb wrote:Why would sweating inside a plastic liner help keep your fingers warm? I don’t see how that gives much more insulation etc.

Sweat works because of evaporation. When you don’t let the sweat evaporate, it doesn’t cool. It doesn’t mean you can skip your insulation layer. You don’t notice the sweat until the end of your ride when you remove the vapor barrier, you hands will actually stop sweating. Comfort is relative, would you rather have frozen fingers?

Humans have known this for centuries, you probably did it as a kid if you ever put plastic bags under your socks. Before all these techie fabrics were common, that’s how you kept warm.


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Feb 17 2013 at 10:45pm #

I always have issues with super cold hands when the temps dip below 35, I picked up some pearl izumi lobsters that started off amazing in november, but are now showing signs of wear and seem to be less effective than they used to be, i’m probably going to start wearing some liner gloves.
although it is a slight bummer that a pair of $70 gloves isn’t going to make it thru more than a few months of use.
(i guess it jsut means i’m riding too much. ;-) )

the only downside i’ve found to them is that it’s nigh impossible to do much of anything requiring excessive manual dexterity.


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Feb 17 2013 at 10:54pm #

i wear gore tex mittens that have a zipper for chemical heat packets if needed. i always wear them with insulating liners that came with them, which are thin and grippy, but warm. for days where the mittens are making my hands too warm, i just take them off and wear the liners instead. problem solved for me!


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Feb 18 2013 at 9:37am #

I’m going to try out the planet bike borealis gloves. They have a separate fleece liner glove that I can wear in higher temps and a shell I can put on for colder temps. I got the large size, and I hope I can just wear the shell over my existing novara headwind gloves.

Urban velo did a good review on these…

I want a way to layer my hands so that I don’t get cold, but don’t overheat. I don’t see a lot of options here. I’d love to try the pearl izumi lobster gloves, but I think they might be overkill. How do they fare when it’s 40 degrees? Are your hands too hot and sweaty?

My biggest issue is going out to ride when it’s in the low 30s/high 20s and when the sun sets and the temp drops rapidly, that the gloves that were perfectly fine become woefully insufficient, but if I wear my gore-text ski gloves, I’m sweating the entire time. I can’t pack them in my jersey or my camelback bag when I’m going minimal, so I either need to start with super heavy gloves and stick with them or put plastic grocery bags around my hands to make it home without freezing my index and pointer fingers off.


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Feb 18 2013 at 9:47am #

I really like the Ibex Tuck Merino Gloves for the purposes you describe. They are good down to the low 20s and don’t seem to get sweaty up in the 40s. Leather fingers and palm for durability.
Lobsterclaw gloves are good when it’s really cold. Mine get sweaty pretty easily.


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Feb 18 2013 at 11:21am #

Leather work gloves seem to be the most durable, and I don’t think they compromise much on warmth either. Personally I’d never go back to synthetic winter gloves that cost twice as much and last half as long. They’re not waterproof, but a coat of sno-seal each season gets them close enough.


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Feb 18 2013 at 12:13pm #

I have REI extra large mittens that I put over my gloves (and glove liners. And sometimes silk glove liners in the glove liners).

My had isn’t all that big, but there isn’t that much room even with the biggest mittens they have. If I insulate to the point where I can’t wiggle my fingers, I get all kinds of cold. I’ve heard people say that glove liners don’t work for tham, but I suspect that is a size issue.

The REI mittens are nto very packable. All I really need in the mitten layer is pretty much one layer. They should be able to make that, but I haven’t found it.


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Feb 18 2013 at 12:21pm #

The Pearl Izumi lobster gloves do get a little sweaty at 40 degrees. I usually wear them from 30 degrees on down, and put smartwool liner gloves on as well for days like today.


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Feb 18 2013 at 12:43pm #

I have these for the mornings where regular riding gloves are not useful.
They have a latex barrier which covers wind/waterproofing and no obnoxious branding making them aesthetically pleasing too. For very cheap non riding specific gloves they are light and fit well enough not to bunch up on the bars or become sweaty, which totally makes or breaks a riding glove .|14202513&CPNG=Accessories&kpid=14202513&LID=PA&ci_src=17588969&ci_sku=14202513

helen s

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Feb 18 2013 at 1:29pm #

“Pedal faster if you’re getting cold :-)”

Sometimes I get to work sweating on my torso but my fingers are frozen.

Layers seem to be key- with one being a barrier to wind penetration. I am shocked that the original post complained of sweaty hands on cold day. I wish!
Are you sure it is from sweaty hands, or are they just freezing from cold penetration?
If my hads were sweating, I would just take off a layer or pull my sleeves up to expoase my wrists, thereby cooling the blood passing into my hands.


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Feb 18 2013 at 2:46pm #

@ahlir Pedal faster if you’re getting cold

That’s a nice idea, but lately my coldest rides have been downhill while it was snowing and cold enough that iced section could refreeze.

The safe speed is roughly walking speed. I get off and wlk when it gets too slipery, and at least once I’ve walked because I need to exert some to get over the cold and going faster on the bike was dangerous.


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Feb 18 2013 at 2:48pm #

I have a pair of these that are good down to low 30’s, then I switch to a layered over-glove and liner


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Feb 18 2013 at 3:05pm #

Different people have different reactions to the cold, is one thing. What Mick is wearing makes me sweat even to think about it, but he says he still feels cold.
As to “pedal faster when you’re getting cold” that doesn’t work all that well for me except going up one of our lovely hills. Fortunately, there are a lot of them on my commute, so I don’t have too much trouble staying warm.


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Feb 18 2013 at 3:24pm #

I found something a little different. My fingers were the limiting factor in winter riding (white fingers, ick). I tried all sorts of glove/mitten/leather mitt combinations. None worked or gave me the dexterity I was comfortable with.

Eventually I tracked down “moose mitts,” or podgies. These are big warm envelope-like mitts that go over your handlebars, you can slide your hands in and out easily to signal ( I wear liner gloves underneath) and there is room for braking, changing gears, etc on the inside. There are companies that make them particularly for bikes (, or you can also find them manufactured for snowmobile/ATV handles that can be used on flat handelbars. (

I have the “moose mitts”, from I love them. Waterproof, windproof, easy to get on and off of the handlebars, and with a reflective strip.

Hmm, not sure if the links are done correctly, apologies if things are ugly.


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Feb 18 2013 at 4:30pm #

I always carry a lot of crap, so my strategy might be different…

I have a set of lighter gloves, and a set of heavier gloves

When I get hotter in the heavy ones, I go to the light ones

When I get cold in the light ones, I go to the heavy ones

I used to have a good medium pair, but they fall off my bike somewhere between McCandless and West Mifflin last semester

P.S. Heavy ones are snow boarding gloves I got about 15 years ago
They have a insulation layer, covered by a vinyally layer


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Feb 22 2013 at 9:21am #

Marko82, your pair is almost ready. :) It’s a mix of alpacka and merino.


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Feb 22 2013 at 9:42am #

^Yes! Maybe the alpacka can help get my ass up the hills too. ;-)


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Feb 22 2013 at 9:51am #

[insert joke re: ass versus donkey]


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Feb 22 2013 at 10:22am #

Ok, so Mikhail knits. That’s what we’re saying, right?


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Feb 25 2013 at 7:46am #

jonawebb wrote:Ok, so Mikhail knits. That’s what we’re saying, right?

No, Mikhail successfully uses products of knitting. :) But his wife knits.

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