There are a lot of choices out there for hand-wear: Gloves, mitts, pogies. I’ve had at least three different types of gloves since I started paddling. My Salamander gloves are pretty great most of the time. But gloves for warmth have never been the best option. The inuit knew this, the Norse knew this too. Your fingers go numb pretty quickly in cold water and you have to paddle hard for sometimes as much as fifteen minutes to force circulation back into your painfully numb fingers. The Inuit used a sealskin mittens also known as: _maattaalit_ or in East Greenland it is known as: _aaqqatit_ .
Obviously *one big wrapper* for your hands with a good insulating layer and a weatherproofing layer would protect the hand better than a glove. For more information on sealskin mitts, visit the “British Museum Exhibit on Greenlandic Clothing”:http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/online_tours/americas/kayak_clothing_from_greenland/pair_of_sealskin_mittens_aa-1.aspx .
I decided to give the “NRS Toaster Mitts”:http://www.nrsweb.com/shop/product.asp?pfid=2447&deptid=944 a try yesterday on a nice sea kayak paddle on Lake Michigan. The air was in the thirties, and the water is in the mid forties. My hands were nice and toasty the entire time. The mittens obviously limit your manual dexterity somewhat. I was still able to use my camera and scratch my nose. I also discovered that wearing a watch with gloves is a problem. Seven plus years of paddling and I *just* figured that out yesterday. I will have to try the toaster mitts out on a textured water day to see how good the grip is under duress. But I performed a few rolls including a palms up handroll flawlessly, I like the additional buoyancy. Maybe the forward-forward handroll will finally become easy!