Kayak gloves are essential accessories for kayaking in the best conditions. They are often forgotten although they only have advantages for comfortable and safe practice. From mittens for hot weather use to winter mittens, all models have advantages and disadvantages that must be taken into account according to your needs.
The importance of choosing the right kayak gloves
If you sail in mid-season, or even in winter, you should first cover yourself well. It should be noted that the extremities of the body such as hands and feet are the most sensitive parts to cold. Indeed, in the event of a drop in temperature, our body will try to protect itself. To do this, it will primarily irrigate vital organs such as the heart and brain at the expense of the hands. Cold means a lower blood flow to the extremities of our body. Hence the fact that this area is more exposed to the cold.
Exposure to cold can cause:
- Frostbite: redness, swelling, tingling, itching and pain can be seen in the affected area.
- Superficial frostbite: the skin turns white and there is a feeling of numbness on the area exposed to the cold.
- Freezing: the blood circulation is blocked or even interrupted, one is insensitive and blisters may appear.
It should be noted that contact with cold and metallic objects such as aluminium paddles accentuates these phenomena. That’s why it’s important to be well protected. Everyone is different, so it will be necessary to adapt according to their own resistance to the cold and their practice. A person who is not very cold when kayaking at sea will not feel the same as a person who is cold when kayaking in rivers where the water is colder.
The different types of kayak gloves
Gloves protect you from the cold, but not only. They also protect you from water, wind and sometimes even the sun. There is no doubt that covering your hands will allow you to fully enjoy your activity. There are several types of hand protection:
- Mitts: for use in hot weather, they provide good protection and freedom of movement. Practical for kayak fishermen because the fingers are cut off and allow you to keep feelings to the touch, especially with fishing lines or any other accessories.
- Gloves with two cut fingers: they offer a good compromise between protection and agility. They can be used in cold weather and allow fishermen to keep some motor skills in their thumb and index fingers.
- Long gloves: these are classic gloves. They completely cover the hand and fingers and offer the most protection but less contact with the paddle. They can be used in cold to very cold weather.
- Mittens: less precise than gloves, they generate more heat because all fingers are grouped together. They are also easier to put on than gloves.
- Sleeves: they allow you to stay in direct contact with the paddle while protecting you from the elements.
What do these differences correspond to?
The thickness and material of the gloves plays an important role in the motor skills of the fingers, the thicker the gloves, the more they will lack flexibility and sensitivity. The effort to move your fingers will therefore be greater. Also be careful to choose the right size so as not to be too tight and to keep a maximum of comfort. Of course the easiest way is to try them before buying them, however if you are not able to try them, you should measure your skill. To do this, you must wrap a sewing tape around your dominant hand: the right one if you are right-handed. In principle, the dominant hand is generally the most developed. Measure the circumference of the hand at the widest point on the palm and squeeze your fist.
There are also gloves or mittens with an opening on the palm of the hand. This opening allows to keep a maximum of sensitivity for the paddle grip. The opening improves the feel but loses in thermal insulation.
If your gloves do not have grip, it is also possible to add on the paddle of the guidoline to keep a good grip.