Hiking with Raynaud’s Disease

Hiking with Raynaud’s Disease

Raynaud’s Disease shouldn’t prevent you from hiking or backpacking even in cold weather. Preparation and prevention are the keys to when temperatures drop. I have Raynaud’s and I’m going to share my tips for managing Raynaud’s in the outdoors.

What is Raynaud’s?

Raynaud’s disease, syndrome, or phenomenon is an abnormal condition where arteries in the extremities such as the toes and fingers suddenly constrict. When a person with Raynauld’s is cold or stressed, the blood vessels narrow and the blood can’t get to the surface of the skin. Symptoms that come along with this state vary depending on the person and the severity of the case, and may include:

  • The affected area turns white, and after a few minutes may turn purple or blue.
  • The area may feel numb, tingle or ache; in my experience, it feels as if I have
    minimal sensation in the spot that’s affected.
  • When blood flow resumes, the skin reddens, may throb, or burn a bit (No fun).

What this translates to is that my feet and hands are a lot more sensitive to the cold than your everyday hiker. It can feel painful at times, my dexterity goes down, and if my toes are in that state before going to bed, forget trying to sleep that night in my tent.

Who Does Raynaud’s Affect?

It’s said that 5-10% of the population experiences Raynaud’s. For the most part it’s self-diagnosed, although you can get it determined medically. Raynaud’s is more common in women than men, for people who live in colder climates, for those with a family history of Raynaud’s, and if you’re over 30.

There are two types of Raynaud’s, primary and secondary.

  1. Primary Raynaud’s is most common and supposedly just happens, meaning the cause is unknown.  and that’s a tough thing to swallow for someone who likes to know the root of things (like me).
  2. Secondary Raynaud’s is caused by other underlying diseases such as autoimmune disorders, medications, or injuries.

Raynaud’s: Preparation and Prevention

The best way to deal with Raynaud’s is to be prepared so you prevent a negative scenario from arising. Some of my suggestions are based on trial and error during my own long-distance hikes and shorter adventures, because I wasn’t always hip to the preparation supports prevention theory. If you create habits and systems that prevent your hands and toes from getting chilled, to begin with, you’re staying ahead of the game. Because let me tell you, it’s really hard to bring your extremities back once they go to the Dark Side.

Nutrition

Keeping your metabolism revved up will help you to stay warm. Whether you’re on a day hike or a backpacking trip, make sure you eat first thing and keep fueling your body through the day with snacks. Hydrate first thing in the morning and continue to stay hydrated all day. Ideally, you want to focus on a healthy diet and avoid alcohol, caffeine, and smoking, since they contribute to constricting blood vessels. The more you can support a good flow of your circulation system, the better.

Waking up to snow like this on the Pacific Crest Trail one morning can make a person with Raynaud's scared to get out of her tent, but not if you have extra gloves!
Waking up to snow like this on the Pacific Crest Trail one morning can make a person with Raynaud’s scared to get out of her tent, but not if you have extra gloves!

Packing Up

If you’re backpacking, devise a system of how to pack as much of your bag while in the cozy warmth of your tent. Loss of dexterity is a big issue for those of us with Raynaud’s, which means I try to avoid exposing my fingers to the cold as much as possible. We all know that it’s easier to do things without gloves on, so get packed up in your shelter and do the last bits outside.

I’ve definitely been in situations where I’ve had to take down my tent when it’s rainy, frigid, wet, or with snow and ice. What to do, especially if you want to keep your gear dry but also have the use of your fingers? I’ve tackled it a couple of ways, depending on how much back-up gear I had with me:

  • Option #1 – Take off your gloves or rain mitts and endure the suffering while you take down your shelter, so they remain warm and dry waiting for you when you’re all packed up. Place your cold hands under your armpits, do jumping jacks, twirl your arms and get hiking ASAP!
  • Option #2 – Hike with back-up liner gloves so you can change them out after packing up. This means you don’t have to fight the cold or add more stress to the situation, remembering it’s often challenging to get warm again. Yes, it adds weight to your pack, but I’ve learned that it’s worth it for me to feel safe, comfortable, and warm. You decide. You know your body best.

Keep Moving

Exercise and movement are one of the best ways to combat Raynaud’s, which is all the more reason you shouldn’t give up cold-weather activities. As much as I love breaks when hiking, I take shorter ones when it’s cold out to keep my body moving to prevent an attack. Pack snacks and lunch that are easy to eat and don’t require a ton of prep so you don’t have to spend time being idle.

My double layer glove system is often essential in cold weather hiking with Raynaud's
My double layer glove system is often essential in cold weather hiking with Raynaud’s

Stay Calm

If you do find yourself in a situation where your Raynaud’s acts up and you begin experiencing symptoms, try to stay calm. Raynaud’s is aggravated by stress and it doesn’t help to panic. I’ve been there before when I’ve barely felt my feet against the ground while hiking on a ridge in a thunder and lightning storm on the Pacific Crest Trail. We’re more at risk of having an accident if we aren’t thinking clearly or rushing, so it’s important to mentally slow down. Do what you need to take mindful action, get warm by moving your body, and affirm to yourself that you’re going to be fine.

Gear Recommendations

One of the points I really want to emphasize is the need to stay dry and maintain your body temperature when you have Raynaud’s. Sure, this is key for any hiker or person who does snow sports, but it’s a hundred times more intense for someone in the Raynaud’s club. Here are some gear suggestions and tips that have worked for me.

Warm Gloves

Always carry gloves, no matter what the season or what the weather report says. I’ve been in situations where it wasn’t even that cold out and I was chilled, in summer months in high altitudes or at night. Yep, that’s Raynaud’s. Do yourself a favor and bring gloves with you. A lightweight pair of Smartwool gloves are great to keep in your bag at all times. Mittens are also practical because they keep your fingers warmer because your skin is touching.

When it’s really cold out in winter, I double-up on gloves. Sometimes I’ll use the Smartwool merino wool gloves as the base because merino wool is super insulating, but I also really like Outdoor Research’s Vigor Heavyweight Sensor gloves. I slip them on and then put a pair of heavy-duty snow gloves on top. It may seem over the top, but without that set-up, I’d be miserable while hiking.

There are tons of awesome, expedition-type gloves and mittens on the market, but honestly, I got my REI Co-Op pair at a thrift shop and they’re a winner. My boyfriend’s mom just made me a wool pair that does wonders on top of my gloves. And you know those long, yellow Playtex gloves some people use for dishwashing? Guess what – they will keep your gloves dry underneath when raining, and they’re both light and cheap.  You get my point; see what you’ve got and give it a go first.

Rain mitts help trap heat and block out the wind when layered over a wool liner glove
Rain mitts help trap heat and block out the wind when layered over a wool liner glove

Rain Mitts

What I love about rain mitts is they also block wind, so they act as an insulating barrier. Mountain Laurel Design’s eVent Rain Mitts weigh less than 1.5 ounces and they do a fantastic job at protecting from rain, snow, and wind. Even when not raining, they have given me the added insulation I needed to stay warm on top of a base layer of gloves.

Warm Socks

I use merino wool socks, but I’m not really loyal to a particular brand. In winter I like pairs that are really long going up my leg, kind-of like leg warmers, for extra warmth. When dealing with snow and cold rain in Patagonia, I used large Ziploc bags around my feet (see vapor barrier liners) for added protection and it definitely helped. Many folks swear by those chemical hand and feet warmers that activate when you open them, but I’ve never found they get that warm for me. Plus, they’re filled with chemicals that I don’t want against my skin, so I opt not to use them.

I got a tip from an experienced hiker recently who suggested I invest in some down bootie socks; he said they’re like cushions of love for the feet and I won’t have to worry about having ice blocks in my sleeping bag anymore – sounds worth trying on my next trip.

Backpacking in the Cordillera Real of Bolivia, having a base layer with 'thumbies' was a game-changer
Backpacking in the Cordillera Real of Bolivia, having a base layer with ‘thumbies’ was a game-changer

Tops with Thumb Holes

I don’t have much of an issue keeping my core warm when in the cold, it’s more my hands and feet I worry about.  I prefer wearing a shirt with ‘thumbies’ as I call them: a shirt that stretches over your hand but allows your thumb and fingers to poke out. My favorites are:

I find this style helps keep my wrists and lower arms warm where my veins are close to the skin, plus it’s thin enough to fit under my gloves or mittens.

Head/Neck

Keeping my core warm supports my hands and feet in terms of circulation, so I never hike without a fleece or wool beanie that covers my ears completely and a Buff for my neck and face.

Parting thoughts

With some thought given to preparation and prevention, there’s no reason why you can’t get outside in colder temperatures to enjoy hiking and winter sports. Movement and exercise are like medicine to those with Raynaud’s to boost circulation, so it’s not something you have to give up when it’s chilly outdoors as long as you take precautions. Give some attention to your nutrition, a packing up strategy, sustained movement, remaining calm under stress, and staying warm and dry with appropriate gear. With these tips, you should find you can manage your Raynaud’s in the outdoors with more comfort and ease.

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About the author

Heather Daya Rideout has been a life-long outdoorswoman. Her pursuits and passion for hiking and camping have taken her around the world for many long-distance trips; such as backpacking in Nepal, India, South America, Morocco, Europe, and North America. Heather has hiked the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, and a route of 1,500 miles combining several Camino routes through Spain and Portugal. On any given day she would rather be outdoors than anything else and her lifestyle is a direct reflection of that deep love affair with nature. Heather currently lives in Idaho and she’s having a wondrous time experiencing the beauty it offers. You can read some of her other writing at www.wanderyoga.com.

40 comments

  1. This is a really good compilation on how to live with raynaud’s and maintain the outdoor lifestyle in the winter. I wish I had this when my raynaud’s started 7 years ago. Some key things for me was avoiding tight fitting gloves (mittens with thin liners is best, carry spares, wearing nitrile gloves in extremes to avoid wetting layers) and a move towards covering all exposed skin. Every case is a bit different but I think this article hits a lot of the key things to do.

    • I’m glad you found the points covered were important, Tyler. My case is mild I’d say, in the sense that my skin rarely stings and turns blue, yet it can be really painful and scary if not prepared…so I go that route now! Thanks for sharing your tips and there ain’t nothing from keeping us outdoors, right?

    • Thank you for covering this topic! In my mid 70s I have dealt with it for years and as a flyfisher also have had to give up on damp, cold days even with fingerless or neoprene gloves due dexterity issues. I can’t imagine lighting a stove! There is hope.

  2. This is a useful article and covers quite well how to deal with Reynaud’s. Fortunately, I’ve only got it in my hands, not my feet, nose, and ears like some do. I had no idea what the problem was until I described it to my doctor a few years ago. Sometimes, holding an ice cold drink will set it off, especially if there’s condensation on the container. One of the fingers on my left hand has been numb all week because of that and I just got normal feeling back today. If my body also gets chilled, I can get it with ambient temperatures of 50ºF.

    My wife sometimes thinks I’m the Imelda Marcos of gloves because I have so many, but I’m always looking for the perfect blend of grip, touchscreen usability, warmth and lack of bulk. Of course, that doesn’t exist across all weather spectrums so I have many pair for different conditions.

    I had a couple bad experiences before I knew what I was facing and started taking what measures I could. About forty years ago, my AT hiking buddy and I were panning for gold in the snowmelt on Independence Pass in Colorado. I saw no flakes of gold but this flake dealt with severe pain in his fingers for a month afterwards.

    About ten years ago, I was winter solo hiking on the South Rim trail in Big Bend. The only water source in the High Chisos is Boot Creek (and Boot Spring during the rare years it’s actually running). My hands got wet dipping water out of the creek and the fingers quickly turned white and useless. There’s a combination of severe pain and numbness involved, which I know you’re familiar with. Dusk was approaching and the temperature was already below freezing and I was getting frightened because I had all the gear I needed to spend the night in that weather but couldn’t use my hands. Using teeth, pinning my pack against my body and the clubs at the ends of my arms, I finally got my pack opened and after great effort got chemical hand warmers activated. It was the first time I ever used them and I didn’t realize how long they would take to heat up and how wimpy they actually are. I was able to wrestle some socks onto my hands with the handwarmers inside, got my pack back on and hiked the mile and a half to my designated site in the dark. My hands were finally useable once I got to camp.

    Cold is bad for setting it off but wet and cold is much worse and I always have trepidation when getting water in winter. After my Big Bend experience, I make sure I have a couple pair of 9mil nitrile gloves in my pack. On a bitter cold day during my last AT section hike, my hands were fine while filling up several water containers because I had the nitrile gloves that I slipped over a thin liner pair. I also now have some Sealskinz gloves and have found them quite useful. It’s nice to be able to fill up water from cold sources on winter days without worrying about my hands.

    For hiking purposes, I have lightweight liner gloves and larger shell gloves that I can wear as an overlayer. I also have a pair of waterproof mitten shells I can put on. One very useful product I have are the pogies that Pacerpole sells. They look dorky but really keep my hands warm when hiking and also make it quite difficult to drop a pole. With the pogies, I don’t even need gloves down to about freezing and can wear a really light pair well down into the 20sºF.

    There are also some medications that have mixed results. Amlodipine, which I’m already taking for borderline high BP is sometimes used, although it doesn’t help the Reynaud’s for me. Nifedipine is also used for BP and Reynaud’s. I switched to that but soon went back to amlodipine because the nifedipine left my mouth tasting like the bottom of a birdcage.

  3. Here in the UK I have found Peacock hand warmers invaluable. They use cigarette lighter fluid, and can be refilled on a walk or overnight. The large one can run for 24 hours

  4. Thank you for this article. My boyfriend used to think I was just whiny until I started warming up my hands under his armpits! I like the thumbhole shirts, but I have found something that works even better for me…fingerless gloves. I thought that they would leave those fingers cold, but they don’t. If I hike with them on a cool day they provide just enough extra warmth that I often don’t even need full gloves. I have found that I start to cool down fast when I stop hiking and that’s just when I need that dexterity to have a snack or get camp set up. I can eat with them, set up a tent, or almost anything I can do without gloves. When I need full gloves I just put them on over the fingerless ones. They are cheap and you can get them anywhere. My first pair came in a package on sale at Target with full gloves. I had never intended to try them until I had them. It was an epiphany. I have really been surprised at what a difference they make. I now have a pair in the pocket of almost every jacket I own.

    • Thank you for that. I’ve never considered fingerless gloves because, in my estimation, the insulation was off precisely where it needed be be ON! They seemed to be among the most useless looking things I’d ever seen. I’ll try them.

      The windmilling arms suggestion is one that will also enter my quiver of Reynaud’s hacks.

      • The windmilling arms is a common technique for heating up your hands in cold weather amongst winter hikers, even those without Raynauds. When your hands get cold, bloodflow to the periphery (hands) constricts and is concentrated in the core. Windmilling your arms and simply snapping your forearm forward, like casting a fly rod, opens up the circulatory “gates” in your wrists that prevent blood from flowing freely. Maybe Dr Joe can explain this better than me…

      • Grandpa, I too was very skeptical of the fingerless gloves and I’m not even sure what made me try them, perhaps I read something somewhere. I hope that you will be pleasantly surprised, as I was. Everyone is different, but they have been a game changer for me. I am able to delay or even prevent pulling out the big guns.

    • I love fingerless gloves! They do make a world of difference and I like to also use them when I set up my outdoor office and it’s still a bit chilly out.

  5. Hello Heather,

    Thank you for this article as it provides the guidance and confidence I needed to tackle cold weather hiking. I’d been put off because of the Reynards rendering my hands and fingers useless. Now that I have the examples you and the other commentators have provided here then I can start going out in colder weather knowing that I’m using a proven solution.

    Thanks again.

    • Russell, this is so wonderful for me to hear. As a community, we are all here to support each other so we can get outside more! Do let me know how it goes.

  6. Thank you so much for this article, learned some great tips and even got myself some down booties! Safe travels!

  7. Great article – thank you for brining attention to this disease. I had this for a number of years before I figured out it was a diagnosable issue. Similarly to Grandpa, I have this in my hands only. I can’t say enough good things about the technique of “wind milling” each arm rapidly to somewhat force blood back into my fingers – works well for me in only a minute or two. Greatly reduced my fear of winter hiking once I knew I could quickly warm my hands/fingers regardless of any external heat/hand warmers. Best of luck to all.

  8. My threshold for enduring cold on my fingers has always been significantly lower than folks I’ve worked and played with. I can remember being on a bike trip from MT to CA during the spring and my partner would have to fasten my pants because my fingers could not get the job done. Or when I was a carpenter and having to wear mittens while a workmate wore cotton gloves. My toes do fine, but my fingers are my “Achilles heel”. Years later I found out about Raynauld’s. However it has not stopped me from being a carpenter, spending many decades in Wilderness Areas on trail crew, as a bio technician, and as a Wilderness Manager for a full career.

    I learned to take measures to get by. One tip I didn’t see mentioned is when you feel the symptoms coming on is to swing your arms and shake your hands to get blood down into your fingers. Doesn’t make it go away, but it can help you get by some tough spots..

  9. Perhaps I should read the article more completely, but based on the my scanning I have some real concerns. I only get Renauds in my hands but when I get it I am helpless. I cannot even unsnap my sternum strap. I cannot grasp the zipper on my pants if I need to pee. I am COMPLETELY non-functional. I have been on ordinary day hikes where the weather turned worse than expected and I have had to have fellow hikers take my pack off because I am completely unable.
    Why am I posting this comment? Some of us, myself included, would not survive if caught in wet cold weather without some sort of WORKING protective clothing. I never go anywhere without chemical hand warmers, and even then, when I need them it takes at least 30 minutes to an hour before I have ANY use of my hands.
    I would like to see an article that offers ANY actual advice for sufferers like myself who would quite frankly DIE if caught in the wrong conditions without support. I am talking about conditions that might not even mildly affect people without Reynauds.
    My impression of this article was that it was a puff piece that did nothing to address the issues that SERIOUS reynauds suffers have to face.

    • I bristle at your assertion that this is a puff piece. Not being a Raynaud’s sufferer myself, it seems to me that there are degrees of Raynaud’s, not just the severe kind that you suffer from. Based on the comments, I believe that the people who have Raynaud and who read this article by Heather got quite a lot value from it, even if you didn’t.

      A question for you. If your Raynaud’s makes you completely non-functional in cold weather, wouldn’t it be prudent to just stay home where it’s warm? If you want to consider that advice, that’s what I would suggest.

    • Jim- since you are an expert on severe Raynauds, what advice would you give people who suffer from it as severely as you?

    • Jim, I think this post has been extremely useful. I’ve learned several additional things to implement for mitigation. If this column doesn’t help in some way, being alone out in the wilds may not be for you. There’s no shame in realizing that. Plan your future adventures accordingly.

      When I mentioned in my earlier post that I was getting “frightened”, I worried that it could become a survival situation if I wasn’t able to so SOMETHING with my teeth and elbows. I didn’t know what Reynaud’s was at the time but the incident was a real wakeup call that I had a problem that needed an action plan not just immediately, but for the future as well and I started taking the problem more seriously.

    • Jim,

      I’m sorry you’ve got such severe Reynauds. It really sucks, I know. I used to have the exact same problems — completely unable to zip or snap anything. Do you, by chance, have a pseudocholinesterase deficiency?

      I found out that I had this metobalic mutation common to Northern Europeans. When I cut nightshade vegetables out of my diet (and all the products containing additives made from them, like magnesium stearate), my crippling Reynauds completely disappeared. I can now even hold an ice cold beverage without wearing gloves, and I haven’t had one of those hiking zipper episodes in years.

      I discovered my situation via 23 and Me, after running my raw data through Promethease. Red box, right at the top of the results. Changed my life.

  10. Decades ago I had an XC skiing buddy with Raynaud’s. he solved it with surgery on hid nerves in his back.

  11. I have experienced this for years but didn’t know it was a thing with a name until just a few weeks ago.
    I found that if I did some deep breathing when I crawled into my sleeping bag, my toes warmed up and I could sleep. Much safer than standing on the hot coals from a fire pit! Yes, I was that desperate to warm up and it was 50’ out.

    • dj Strong – As a yoga instructor, I’m a big advocate of deep breathing to warm you up and calm you down. And both are important when dealing with Raynaud’s. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Jim,

    Dr Joe here. I am an M.D.

    There is no definitive cure for severe Raynauds. If you have a severe case, I agree with Philip, you should avoid outdoor activities in cold weather, as much for your own safety as those of others. As for Heather’s suggested coping strategies…this is exactly what we tell our patients. Layer up with gloves, stay active, stay hydrated, and eat food to keep your furnace running.

    • Thank you, Dr. Joe for your comment. I did mention in my article that there are different degrees of Raynaud’s and it does sound like Jim’s is a severe case. For that degree, I concur that it may be necessary to stay indoors when super cold.

      I’m glad to hear your advise your patients on similar coping techniques. Thank you again for sharing your input.

  13. I have Raynaud’s in my hands and feet and have for decades. The sport I haven’t figured out well is cycling. I live in Northern California, and riding down long hills after big climbs can be terrifying (and so painful) if I lose the ability to brake well. I’ve tried all kinds of cycling gloves, but it’s hard to find a pair that keeps wind out and has a lot of insulation but isn’t so bulky that I can’t work the shifters and brakes. Has anyone found any great gloves for cycling with Reynaud’s? The yellow dishwashing gloves over warm wool liners is an interesting idea I could try. My hands are the one thing that keeps me from riding before work on cold mornings. So frustrating!
    Thanks for this article!

    • Heated glove liners from The Warming Store may help. They need recharging each time used, but with a good overmitt or wind proof shell they may work for you

  14. I’ve had moderate Raynaud’s for years. Luckily I live in the relatively mild climate of coastal California, so it’s been more annoyance than limb-threatening. A couple years ago I was taking a Wilderness First Aid class and the instructor mentioned a “home remedy” for Raynaud’s developed in the 1980s by Dr. Murray Hamlet of the US Army. It basically involves Pavlovian conditioning with hands in a tub of hot water (maintained at about 110-115F) first in a warm indoor space and then immediately in a cold outdoor space while dressed lightly, repeated 3X every other day for three weeks or so. I tried this and it definitely did help in my case. I bought two bucket heaters and two temperature-controlled outlets with submersible thermometer probes to plug the heaters into (total cost about $140) and maintain temperature in an indoor bucket and an outdoor bucket.

    According to the research I’ve read on this, the benefit is not necessarily permanent, but does seem to persist for one or several years, and can subsequently be reactivated with additional hot-soak sessions.

    I would encourage people who suffer with Raynaud’s to web search for Dr. Murray (or MP) Hamlet to find out about this treatment. Unfortunately the scientific journal articles are mostly behind paywalls with only the abstracts easy to access, but with a little diligence it is possible to get more details about this simple, effective, and safe treatment.

  15. I, too, have dealt with Raynaud’s for years. It is an extra burden to always be stressed about weather and cold. Preparation and anticipation is crucial, to the point where we do appear to be overpacked and ‘doom and gloom’ to our non-Raynaud’s friends. So be it. In addition to my arsenal of gloves, hats, buffs etc, I now carry down mittens, weighing only 1.25 oz per pair. Black Rock sells a ‘flip’ down mitten that allows me to use liners and not remove the outer mitten. I also wear designated dry sleeping socks when I backpack, and keep my down coat wrapped around my feet in the bottom of my sleeping bag, as I usually pull it up around me sometime during the 4am chill. This eliminates the need for down booties in the tent.
    When Nordic skiing I use heated boot liners with the battery pack clipped onto the back of my skate boot. I also finally broke down and bought heated glove liners from The Warming Store that must be worn with an overmitt or gloves. The heating wire runs along each finger instead of having heat delivered to the back of the hand. Total game changer for me….I can comfortably ski for a few hours and not be in tears with pain.
    Thanks for the additional tips. I will try nitrile gloves when having to scoop water so my hands stay dry. I’ve been considering Pogies too.

    • Nancy, just an FYI. I too have the fold-back mittens from Black Rock Gear and love them. Unfortunately, they went out of business recently. Sad.

    • Thank you, Nancy for your additional tips. I’m sad to hear those Black Rock flip down mittens went out of business though!

  16. This is part of an email I sent tp Philip:

    I think the “Hiking with Reynaud’s” hit a nerve–and not just the ones affected by lack of blood circulation. I had no idea how many others dealt with Reynaud’s. It’s certainly benefited me and given me some additional arrows in my quiver for handling it. I love snowy mountains (I’m in Texas and don’t have to deal with them on a constant basis!) but the last few years I cringe every time I see someone doing outdoor activities in those conditions because I know the pain I’d be facing if I tried it. Now I’ve got some new ideas on mitigation. Thank you for the post.

  17. You might want to try a nitrile glove as a vapor barrier liner direct to skin. I’ve been surprised at how much my hands sweat, in most any temperature or conditions. Not until after I remove the VBL do I notice the moisture inside the VBL, and that moisture would otherwise be acting as an evaporative cooler. I probably still have a mild case of Renaud’s, but evaporation was a much greater cause of my suffering than I would have thought.

    I size up two sizes, which is more comfortable for me, but allows some evaporation, which perhaps prevents a clammy feeling. The VBL can be reused many times if it’s a 7 or 9mil. Before removal, I like to use hand sanitizer on the VBL, then turn the glove inside out when I remove it.

    A VBL glove is also nice to have when duty calls, cleaning up the camp, and stealing mail (apparently).

  18. I backpack and ski in the PNW with Reynauds. It’s always nice to read pieces like this because it’s easy to feel really odd and isolated when you look overdressed in the backcountry or have to escape indoors while skiing to get some feeling back in fingers and toes after just a an hour of skiing. The dexterity issue is the most frustrating.I had a much better summer this year after I bought warmer gloves, a down balavlava and down booties. Keeping my core from getting chilled seems to be key as well. I’ll probably pick up some heated boot liners this fall!

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