Shackleton Centenary Expedition

Dressed For the Occasion Part 3: Hands June 21 2007

You can't really take too many pairs of gloves on a 900 mile walk to the South Pole.

Inner gloves should be supple and not too thick, enabling you to work with them on. They should also be smooth-skinned, so they last longer (especially with lots of velcro and other nasties to snag then on). Inner gloves need to be worn religiously when handling metal objects in the cold, or your hands will stick to the metal.

Outer gloves should be brought in at least two different sizes, for different conditions.

Mountain Equipment's Leather Guide or Couloir gloves have a hard-earned reputation for their warmth and durability. Mine have never let me down and will be my every day glove on the expedition.
For really cold conditions, I'll be using RBH Design's incredible Vapor Mitt (above). These massive mitts are superbly put together by a family run business in Connecticut. They have an internal vapour barrier layer which stops sweat from your hands degrading the insulation. They have a cult following and are reckoned by many polar travellers and mountaineers to be the warmest mitts on earth. It may be impossible to do anything remotely intricate whilst wearing them, but as protection against frostbite, they're second to none.

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