If you have ever gone paddling in the early spring you probably have come across one major issue at least at some point. That issue being cold hands. This is normally due to a combination of cold water and air temps with winds that will zap any heat from your hands quickly. I have struggled in the past to find a solution that both kept my hands warm and did not affect my paddling too much.
The issue I have had with most gloves that will actually keep your hands warm enough in these conditions are too bulky and force one to over grip the paddle causing a huge forearm pump and also a noticeable loss in power. Luckily after many hours of scouring the internet for a solution I found a solution that absolutely works for myself and if you are inflicted with these same issues might find your some relief.
The solution that I have found are open palm mittens! These mittens were designed for wind surfing and address the major issues that we face. They are made out of neoprene and have a hole in the palm so that you can feel the paddle with your hand while still keeping your hands protected from the cold. Kayakers use pogies which these mittens will be the closest things to pogies for us canoers. We cannot use the pogies due to the nature of us switching sides. My mittens have a Velcro closure at the wrist to keep them secured and they have a couple of stitches between the pointer finger and the middle finger which I assume is to keep the mitten in place.
The use of the mittens allows the fingers to share warmth and when you are paddling there is little need for the extra dexterity that gloves provide. In my opinion this solution keeps your hands warmer in the long run. I also found an additional perk to using these especially on those days that the air temperature is nice but the water is still cold. On these days until I complete a warmup my hands are cold and continue to stay cold for the duration if I do not wear anything. Now I wear these for my warmup and once I am all toasty from working I can pull my fingers out of the mittens and have full dexterity and the same feel on the paddle as if I was wearing nothing! Then, if my hands start to get cold again all I do is flip my fingers back inside the mittens and within seconds they are warming back up.
Below is the link to version that I have personally and for just under $27 ($18+$8.45 shipping) these bad boys come in at a price point that in my opinion is reasonable and worth the warmth that they have provided my hands. Check them out and let me know if you have tried something similar or if you have a solution to cold hands in the comments below and remember to check back for more content to come.