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#6 Layering for your hands, legs and feet 

Updated: Apr 21


Magazines test and review gloves but don't tell you how to keep your hands warm. But we do!

See Chapter 3.2 in our book for more information.

John Traynor quote "The emphasis on context, activity, location and interaction alone sets it apart from others. The detailed content makes it unlikely to be surpassed – ever."


Layering for hands is a rarely used expression or practice in the UK. Not so in the northern climes of Scandinavia and N America. People often search for the almost impossible, 'a thin but very warm glove'. They seek manual dexterity (using phones, adjusting clothing, fitting spikes or crampons, etc.) and warmth all in one layer.

It's not possible, and the answer is two layers: a thin inner finger glove ( to enable the dexterity level needed when your outer glove is removed) and an outer glove (preferably a mitt) as insulation from wind or when touching metals and walking or tent poles, ice axes, etc. Certainly, an outer waterproof layer is important.


Understanding your in-built human physiology is very helpful to warm hands and feet. Let's start with you and your metabolism.

  1. Your hypothalamus ( see diagram below) protects your core (head to crotch, see diagram) to ensure your metabolism has the right temperature to continue producing glycogen to power your muscles and heat your body.

  2. This means reducing circulation to your hands and feet! The hypothalamus ( see graphic ) cuts off circulation to your hands and feet by VASOCONTRICTION. see diagram.

  3. Granny's advice is still sound: if your hands are cold, put your hat on!

  4. If your core temperature drops too far, then hypothermia is the result.

  5. Beware! As we grow older, our circulation decreases; be more aware and keep your core warm with good hydration and nutrition.




quote extract "The emphasis on context, activity, location and interaction alone sets it apart from others. The detailed content makes it unlikely to be surpassed – ever."




Links to help you select your areas of interest on this website.

  1.  

  2. Layering myths, marketing and misunderstandings. 

  3. Layering for cold and high altitude. 

  4. Layering for moisture management, rain and sweat.   

  5. The science of layering.

  6. Layering for head, hands and feet. (= this page)

  7. Garment layer design differences for running, riding, hiking, climbing, and skiing. Shape, fit, size, hood type  

  8. Selling, maintaining, repairing and sustainability.   

  9. PERFORMANCE LAYERING as a key outdoor skill.







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