Pacerpole-Over-Mitts

Pacerpole-Over-Mitts in Action

Pacerpole-Over-Mitts in Action

I’ve been hiking with a special type of trekking pole for the past few years called Pacerpoles, which have a distinctive diagonal grip that’s quite different from the standard vertical grip ski poles that most other hikers use. Pacerpoles are made in the UK and have a very devoted following there among hikers and hillwalkers. For more information about them and their many benefits see my long term review of them¬†from a few months ago.

Starting this winter, I’ve been using the new Pacerpole-Over-Mitts which are neoprene over-mitts that ¬†slip over the pole handles to keep your hands warm. I like the Pacerpole-Over-Mitts because they reduce the number of gloves I need to bring on long winter hikes/snowshoes and the thickness of gloves required. By wearing thinner gloves, my hands still stay warm, but I sweat out fewer pairs of gloves from exertion. I also retain a lot more dexterity which leads to much faster transition times for map reading, navigation, eating, clothing and sunglasses/goggle adjustments. That is very important when it’s very cold.

Pacerpole-over-mitt Closeup

Pacerpole-Over-Mitt Closeup

The neoprene Pacerpole-Over-Mitts create a micro-climate around your hands which blocks out the wind and keeps them noticeably warmer even though the back end is open. As you can see above, they’re flipper-shaped and very similar to the pogies that whitewater kayakers use instead of gloves when paddling in frigid winter water.

If you’re hiking in temperatures close to freezing, the over-mitts may be too warm and cause your hands to sweat. When this occurs, I remove my gloves and use the over-mitts alone or I peel the over-mitts back onto themselves so I can vent my hands and/or gloves more. The over-mitts don’t weigh much and folding them over like this doesn’t throw off the balance of the pole.

Below freezing or in cold wind, the effect of the Pacerpole-Over-Mitts is just remarkable and my hands will stay comfortable all day with just a thin softshell glove or a synthetic glove liner. I’ve done 10 hour hikes in snowshoes, up and down mountains, with just one pair of lightweight gloves and haven’t had to change them out for a dry pair all day. That is nothing short of remarkable for someone who’s always gone through several pairs of gloves per day on winter hikes.

When I don’t need poles or I’m using an ice axe and want both hands free, I simply collapse my telescoping Pacerpoles as I normally would and attach them to the back of my backpack or under the side compression straps with the Pacerpole-Over-Mitts attached. You can take them off if you want to but they don’t get in the way, so I just leave them on for a fast transition when I want to use them again.

If you’ve used Pacerpoles, you know that they’re handed: one for the right hand and one for the left which would make it difficult to figure out which is which if they were covered by a neoprene over-mitt. Pacerpole added different labels, a union jack and the Pacepole logo, under each mitt so you can easily tell them apart (the mitts themselves are interchangeable and can go on either pole).

Here’s a video from Heather Rhodes, the inventor and co-founder of Pacerpoles demonstrating how to use the Pacerpole-Over-Mitts.

Conclusion

If you use Pacerpoles already and you hike in winter, you should give the new Pacerpole-Over-Mitts a try. At 22.50 British Pounds, they’re relatively inexpensive compared to the cost of a heavier winter glove. If you’ve never tried Pacerpoles and you suffer from very cold hands in winter or you have Reynaud’s disease, I recommend you give Pacerpoles and the new Pacerpole-Over-Mitts a try. My hands stay very warm in winter when I hike with the over-mitts and they might add enough extra warmth to your winter glove system to make winter hiking and snowshoeing a more viable recreational option for you.

Disclosure: Philip Werner (SectionHiker.com) received a complementary pair of Pacerpole-Over-Mitts from Pacerpole but was under no obligation to review them. I just love Pacerpole’s products and belive in shouting about them from the rooftops!

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12 Responses to Pacerpole-Over-Mitts

  1. Gerry Brucia January 8, 2014 at 8:47 am #

    What a brilliant idea. What do you think of a similar design event shell mitt? Would it work or would too much rain pour in from the wrist side?

    • Philip Werner January 8, 2014 at 9:02 am #

      Isn’t it though? I was skeptical when Heather showed me the prototypes last spring, but I am a believer now. This is sheer brilliance.

      The problem with designing something like this for rain mitts is that the fabric will collapse on the hands. Neoprene really is perfect for this for winter use because it stands up by itself and it’s waterproof. But as you can imagine it would be very difficult to get the temperature ranges for warmer temps right because it retains so much heat. It’s perfect for winter but is probably too hard to use for a wider temperature range.

      In other words, don’t let the simplicity of this solution blind you to the difficulty of making rain mitts work in other temperature ranges, regardless of the fabric used.

      Of course, I’d be happy to try anything you come up with. :-)

  2. Jim C January 8, 2014 at 9:35 am #

    I agree … brilliant! Experience with how relatively little insulation is needed under unlined winter shell mitts has been a real eye opener for me and these “pole pogies” should perform similarly.

    The only downside I can imagine is my hiking buddies’ loss of entertainment provided when I try to simultaneously manage overmitts, poles and whatever else I’m handling at times when I need the dexterity provided by thin gloves!

  3. eddie s. January 8, 2014 at 10:48 am #

    SO if I understand this correctly the Mitts and Poles are one unit and to make them a two unit item you have to disengage the Mittt from the Pole. My question is therefore, have you had any events in which you needed to shed the poles and mitts very quickly as in an emergency fall or the need to protect yourself or your face etc. etc…

    • Philip Werner January 8, 2014 at 10:51 am #

      I face plant all the time. :-) Letting go is no problem and your hands slip right out of the mitts. That’s the beauty of these poles in general – no straps/no broken wrists.

      • eddie s. January 8, 2014 at 4:50 pm #

        Thanks Phil, when wearing snowshoes or ski’s I “faceplant” often as well, and sometimes on a clear day just walking down the traill “kerplat”.Lols. .I’ll have to give these a serious look at…Thank You for telling us about this item….

  4. Stephen January 8, 2014 at 9:07 pm #

    Hi Philip,

    Any issues with the adjustment mechanisms in winter, do you think that flick loks would help here?

    Cheers,

    Stephen

    • Philip Werner January 8, 2014 at 11:22 pm #

      Nope, none whatsoever. Heather taught me how to take care of them, simply unscrew the expander as far as it goes before putting them back together again, works like a charm. Been using pacerpoles for years now without an issue. I should add…it’s very hard to take apart a flick lock in winter without a screwdriver. For this application, a screw lock is a better choice.

  5. Stephen January 9, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

    Much appreciated Philip, one last question, any issues using the poles with a mid?

    • Philip Werner January 9, 2014 at 12:50 pm #

      No issues at all. I pitched my Duomid for years with pacer poles and I have friends who do it with Solomids.

  6. Stephen January 9, 2014 at 1:06 pm #

    Cheers Philip, I will get myself a pair so.

  7. Bill in Tennessee February 10, 2014 at 7:15 am #

    After your review I ordered a set and used it for the first time this past weekend at Frozen Head State Park where the temperature varied from the mid 20s to mid 30s. .
    I was skeptical that they would keep my hands warm but after the first mile I rolled them back, at two miles I pushed them off completely as my hands were quite warm.
    I am hooked-they are great and I would recommend these and pacer poles to anyone.

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