As a long suffering cold water diver, I like others find that our hands can get a little chilly! This time of year particularly so; with low surface temperatures and water temperature levels at their lowest too, the attempt to keep fingers relatively warm is somewhat of a Holy Quest!
Personally I'm usually in 7mm Lobster Mitts by now. The problem I find with these is three fold:
1) Loss of dexterity - doing clips/signals - working with students etc, all prove more cumbersome.
2) Chilly finger syndrome. The lonely index finger tends to feel the worst, I get maybe 30-40 minutes before I feel the need to move my finger to the warmth of the main mitt area, not the easiest thing to do underwater!
3) Donning, particularly when wet. The first mitt is usually easy enough, the second however... grrrr!
So anyway, this year I've taken a different approach. Some would say "hey, just invest in a dry glove system" but not all divers can afford the price tag for a decent modification and others, including me, would rather not take that kind of action on our beloved dry suits.
I've been testing out the Mares Flexa 6.5mm 5 Finger Gloves!
Like most gloves, they're made of neoprene. And naturally I was fairly sceptical that they would be up to the job in terms of addressing the three problems I usually encounter. However my scepticism was unfounded.
They have honestly kept my hands warmer for longer! In a recent "unscientific" test, I and another one of our instructors compared his new Buzz Lightbeer dry glove system with these 6.5mm wet gloves. Our deal was to be honest and say when our fingers felt cold. Yes, yes, its all personal perception, but generally I'm the one squeezed into the drysuit with my many layers, not him, and I won by at least 10 minutes.
That being said, a decent dry glove system will set you back way over £100. These are just £30.99!
Dive Rutland now has a limited stock of these gloves, available in sizes XXS to XL.
If you've not already read it, scroll through the earlier blog post with more great tips on Winter Diving.