To celebrate Valentine’s Day 2019, we packed some camera gear and headed downtown to explore and photograph Glow Festival. Our strongest memory? Freezing fingers! For one thing, the temperature was -25C (-13F). For another, downtown office buildings create very effective wind tunnels, adding a brutal wind chill effect to the experience. Not even Little Hotties hand warmers could save the night! 😉
This fall, when we were in Fish Tales Fly Shop, we spotted windproof glommits on one of the racks. After a closer look, we tried some on for size and ended up purchasing a pair of Simms Guide Windbloc® Foldover Mitts, size Medium.
I wore them out and about in Canmore for several days in October and liked them enough that we asked the friendly folks at Fish Tales Fly Shop to order in another size Medium pair for Mr. GeoK. They arrived later in mid-October.
After more than 10 outings wearing our newest photography gear, we agree that these fishing mitts are a great option for photographers! And we’re not the only ones!
Each mitt has two pairs of snaps: one for the thumb foldover and one for the main foldover. The snaps securely hold the foldovers out of the way so they don’t interfere with operating camera dials and buttons. They are easy to snap with the opposite hand, even when it’s in full mitt mode.
Little Hotties Pocket
Simms rates these mitts at 3/5 on their warmth scale. When I phone to ask what temperature range that corresponded to, the rep I spoke with explained that the warmth scale is relative to other similar Simms products. So I take that to mean the Guide Windbloc® Foldover Mitts are middle of the pack when it comes to warmth.
To extend the temperature range where these mitts are effective, Simms has included an internal, elasticized pocket on the inside of the wrist portion of each mitt. They stretch enough to accommodate a disposable hand warmer, like the Little Hotties carried at Costco. The inside wrist location is supposed to warm the blood flowing past the wrist pulse point, which, in theory, should have a warming effect on the hand.
We were out one day when it was pretty cold (around -10C / 14F) and the wind was blowing hard. This was before I discovered the little elastic pocket, and I tucked the Little Hotties into the large foldover portion. Thanks to the fleecy lining, there was enough friction to hold the hand warmer in place, even once the temperature warmed up a bit and I snapped the foldover open for the last 15 minutes of our walk. Next time it gets chilly enough to warrant breaking out another set of Little Hotties, I’ll wear one at the wrist and one at the other fingertips to see which is more effective.
Choice of Fabrics
The outer fabric is snow/water repellent, while the fingerless glove section and the foldover sections are all lined with fleece, for warmth. Be warned, though – because the foldovers don”t zip or snap closed when in the mitten position, if you end up sticking your hand into water or snow, the inside of the mitt will get wet.
I like that the outer fabric is also wind-blocking. When we’re out walking, I often wear them with the main foldover piece off my fingers, but not snapped back. That keeps the wind off the back of my hands so my fingers don’t get too cold, but helps with overall temperature regulation.
Simms designed these mitts to be naturally curved inwards, which means less fabric to bulk up over the palms.
Room for Improvement
At this point, the only design change we’d like to see is the addition of some loops to the fingerless glove portion, so that they’d come off without quite so much work. The previous Simms product for this particular niche had orange loops on two of the fingers, which we’d like to see come back.
The only other irritant was a one time thing: when we brought them home, we found there was a lot of loose fuzz on the fleece lining, presumably the result of the cutting process during fabrication. It took a good few minutes to brush off all the loose fuzz, ball it up and toss it in the garbage.
It’s too early to know the effective temperature range for these foldover mitts, so we’ll post an update when we have more information.
There are two aspects of the design where we’re reserving judgment:
1) the durability of the plastic snaps; and
2) whether the inside wrist placement for the Little Hotties pocket is effective. If not, I will probably sew a length of elastic inside each of the main foldover compartments, to hold Little Hotties against my fingertips (and prevent accidentally losing them/littering).
Pricing / Purchasing
Simms Guide Windbloc® Foldover Mitts are CAD$79.99 at Fish Tales Fly Shop. US online shops have them priced at USD$64.95. This product was not available from the Simms website when I checked a couple of days ago.
I’d recommend calling your nearest fly-fishing shop to see if they carry this product. This is one instance where it’s probably wise to try them on for size before buying. When I purchase men’s gloves/mitts, I usually buy size small. In this case, I opted for size Medium because I thought the finger openings in the size Small were a little to tight. Mr GeoK usually wears a small or medium glove/mitt and he also opted for the size Medium for these foldover mitts.
We bought Simms Guide Windbloc® Foldover Mitts on impulse, without doing a bunch of advance research or product comparisons. Based on weather conditions to-date, we believe that from late fall through early spring, they are going to be some of the most-used gear in our photography kits. That may be enough to go on for some of you. But if you prefer to do advance research/comparison shopping, you may want to start with this April 2019 blog post on Shutter Muse: Best Photography Gloves in 2019?
Finally, if there’s some other brand/style of gloves or mitts, or some other way of keeping fingers and hands warm that you’ve found works great for photographers, please let us know by leaving a comment.