With a winter workshop in northern Minnesota on the horizon, my thoughts turned to keeping my hands warm. Oh sure, as a person raised in places with serious winter, I had plenty of gloves and mittens, but taking pictures with those on is another story. Sometimes you can do the basic things like take off a backpack and carry a tripod, even hit the shutter, but the fiddly bits? No way. It’s the on-again-off-again routine and even chemical hand warmers can’t keep up if it’s very cold. If you’re skiing or snowshoeing you can work up a sweat and not need gloves at all, and even casual hiking will produce enough body heat to generally keep hands warm. Standing around waiting for light does not.
Folks from northern Europe with parts of their countries in the Arctic Circle know about winter. So I’ve always trusted the Finns and had Nokian Hakkapeliitta snow tires on my cars. Now I’m trusting the Norwegians with my fingers and have a pair of Vallerett Tinden photo gloves. I’ve used them a couple times here in Wisconsin and a few days in Northern Minnesota on Lake Superior.
If you don’t want to read the rest, here’s the verdict.
They’re The Bomb.
If you want the specs and other details check out their website by clicking here.
Here are a few of the deciding factors for my choice of this particular model since they make several and there are other companies making winter gloves specifically for photographers.
- Sized properly for women
- No over-mitten
- Hand warmer pockets
- Good flexibility in finger joints
- Gloves connect together
- Gauntlet-style wrist
As you can see, the Tinden falls at what the company calls Deep Winter which basically means cold as hell, but could also mean standing around doing nothing. I figure even if temps aren’t crazy cold the standing will feel colder than it is simply from inertia. There are lots of sites that go into the construction and materials so I’ll just talk about how they worked for me in the field.
First, they are soft inside. Like kittens. No, they didn’t use real kitten fur. That would be mean. It’s actually wool and feels nice, and I suspect it will last a lot longer than synthetic fleece would. Second they fit fairly well. No gloves really fit perfectly, but these are pretty good. I believe I have the smallest size they make – XS and I came up with that by measuring my hands and using their sizing chart. They are comfortable for extended periods and they grip well. I had no trouble carrying the camera or the tripod without fear of slipping or feeling too much of a disconnect for precise positioning. My bulky Goretex gloves felt too padded and weird sometimes.
Yep, that’s me wearing one on that hand, and trying to take a picture with the phone with the other. The carabiner to hook them together is there and you can see the velcro adjustable gauntlet, too. The finger flaps don’t stay down with the magnet all that well, so I just let them sort of flap around. Much nicer than taking the whole thing off on very cold days. I haven’t quite broken the habit of doing that all the time, but I’ve gotten better at remembering that I don’t have to. Fishing in pockets still requires it though.
When going out for long in temps below 15F I recommend chemical hand warmers. Having one in the pocket on the back of each hand worked really well. Apparently, that’s the optimal place to keep them because they help to warm the blood returning to the heart.
So as I’m writing this the snow is nearly melted and these will be going into brief summer storage along with the micro spikes, snow pants, winter boots and the battery-heated jacket my husband got me for Christmas. When the weather turns and winter sets in again, these gloves will be a welcome addition to my gear.
Useful. Thank you.
You’re welcome. I had a time choosing, but I think I ended up with the right ones.
I’ve had a pair of Markhof Pro gloves for a few years. Wonderful on those chilly or cold days.
Gloves are so individual, aren’t they? Glad you found some that work for you. I got a little better toward the end of the season at keeping them on and only folding the fingertips back, LOL. Maybe next year I will improve!