Problem: Cold/Wet Hands
It’s not always convenient to wear bulky winter gloves with a gortex shell since most of the work people do with their hands involve more complex motor skills. If you’re wearing lightweight gloves, they’re probably not waterproof and that means they are going to get wet and your hands are going to get cold. One trick that most of us SERE Specialists use is drying gloves in the belt line. I carry two pair (wearing one set while drying the other) which allows for continuously warm/dry gloves.
I use the Government Issue wool glove inserts for this method. You can find these online for about $5 or at any Army-Navy surplus store. You can also use this technique with other light-weight gloves that are made of materials that dry fairly quick.
Here’s what I do: Place the gloves inside my pants at the belt line (palm and fingers inside) around the front of the pelvis. The wool inserts ride more evenly as they have a longer cuff than most gloves which allows them to balance easier and prevents the gloves from working their way inside and getting lost in the pant legs.
As I go about my work, my core body heat slowly dries these gloves out as they are pressed in to my pelvic area by my belt and the waist of my pants. If you wear cotton underwear, you might want to reconsider this technique or better yet switch to a quick-drying underwear fabric. Cotton takes forever to dry out and will wick heat away from your body 25 times faster when wet!
After the pair of gloves on my hands become wet, the gloves in my waistline are usually dry and ready to go. I continue to rotate them throughout the day and my hands stay warm, dry and operational.
Test it For Yourself
Give it a try the next time you’re wearing gloves in wet conditions and you’ll see how a $10 investment and a little knowledge can mean the difference in cold or even frostbitten fingers.
How do you keep your hands warm and dry? Leave a comment below!