My hand layering system is very dialed in from years of three-season and winter travel.
I’ve crafted a system that works well for my use, activities and my methods for backpacking, skiing, and camping.
- Liner gloves
- Shell mitt
- Inner mitt for increased warmth as needed
This basic system serves me well for all four seasons in most conditions.
Additionally, I’ll take :
- Boiled wool mittens for frigid and dry times
- Leather work gloves or mittens if more in camp-time or dispersed car camping
- Nitrile gloves under my liner gloves as needed. Typically if I am out more than a day.
With the basic liner-inner mitt-shell system and the adjunct layers, I am comfortable during winter and enjoy this fourth season delight.
But you know what I found to be the hardest item in this kit to procure for me? The inner mitt for increased warmth that fits well.
I needed something large enough to work with a liner glove but will still fit in my shells. My hands are relatively large so finding this elusive, perfectly sized for me, inner mitt ended up being a challenge over the years. Some lighter boiled wool mitts initially worked well but are not as easy to find, are expensive, and not as durable for the price. Other popular options did not fit well for me, either.
And the mitten that works well and I have been using since 2013? Kinco Alyseka 5230 Mittens
An inexpensive purchase from a local Boulder, CO hardware store, these simple mittens work well for me.
Meant to be worn with the Kinco chopper mitt, these mittens are a 45% wool, 45% nylon, and 10% acrylic blend and weighs 100 grams for the pair.
These mittens are warm, work well with my system, are not bulky considering their use, durable and are less than $15 a single pair of these mittens. To add some information based on the comments below, I wear the XL size in these mitts, wear a size 5 with the wool liner mitts I favor, and use XL size shells, too.
The downside of these mittens? The higher nylon content means they do not dry as quickly as other blends. However, these mittens are not intended to be worn by themselves be it by design or by practical use in the field. And, to emphasize, these mittens are work mittens intended to take a lot of abuse. The higher nylon content means they do wear well.
I don’t wear them as often as my liner+shell combo, but when I do wear them, I need them!
A simple item. But the simple items that work well are typically the most difficult items to dial in correctly.
Where to get?
If your local hardware or work wear store does not stock these items, you can purchase a single pair for $13 on Amazon, buy the popular Kinco chopper mitt and Alyeska 5230 mittens combo(Nikwax included), or get a pair of Alyseka 5230 mittens for $18. I keep one pair in my winter backpacking kit and another in my winter car camping clothing bag so I never forget to pack them!
Disclosure: I purchased my initial pair at the legendary McGuckin Hardware in Boulder, CO during the Winter of 2013.