Wednesday, August 6, 2014


I bought two.

Having seen the cost of simple knit polypropylene (or polyester or nylon) gloves go from maybe $5 to around $15 or maybe $25, if I could find them at all, I was going nuts.

Not at the price rise per se, but because of that on top of not being able to find plain and cheap gloves at all.

While backpacking, I use lightweight gloves

  • When my hands are cold.
  • When I handle hot food bags.
  • When I handle my hot cup/cookpot.
  • While sleeping.
  • For bug protection.

When my hands are cold: As you might expect. Time of day: Any. Location: Outdoors. During such activities as: Sitting around, looking at a map, hiking, poking at a camera, wondering where in the hell I am.

When I handle hot food bags: Cooking is the process of adding boiling-hot water to a ziplock bag of food, after which I often have to massage the bag to moisten the contents, after which I let the food sit until it's cool enough to eat. Picking up a hot aluminum cup requires a buffer between it and my skin. Likewise for holding or manipulating a bag of food. Gloves are the answer.

When I handle my hot cup/cookpot: Ditto, but with 650 ml of screaming-hot tea in the cup. Ouch. Gloves are the answer for this too.

While sleeping: Both to keep my hands warm and to keep the sleeping bag clean

For bug protection: If it's cool enough, and even if it isn't, especially while waiting for supper to cool, or while doing simple setup and takedown chores in the evening and morning. I prefer a mechanical approach to insect attenuation over slopping chemicals onto my skin, clothes, pack, shelter, camera, and glasses. Removing gloves is much easier than washing off goop. And gloves don't stink. Or melt plastic things.

Well, gloves like these don't rot or wear out fast at all, but are fabulously easy to damage, so they do have to be replaced. Just grab any part of a stove right after it's shut down and you'll see — you get a free hole with each mistake. Then you need new gloves. If you can find them. If you want to pay $25.

And right now I'm living in a smallish town, where there aren't too many options.

But living in a smallish town isn't all bad. If you pick the right one. I've got Port Angeles, WA, and although it lacks a lot, it does have Swain's General Store. Swain's has a little of everything, and tucked away in one corner of the glove section is the $3.87 wonder of North Star Glove Company's item #3271 retail tagged liner.



Size large only, which is a little too big for me, but still perfect. Stiff and scratchy fabric, but still perfect. An odd, partly-unfinished, slightly-frayed edge to the cuff of one glove of each pair, but still perfect.

What can I say? Perfect.

They're here, they're cheap, they fit (kinda), and they work.

That's what I like. Perfection.

More: North Star Glove Company

P.S. No, I don't know where you can find them, but Port Angeles is worth visiting, so just drop by and grab a couple pair on the way through town. You hardly have to slow down at all.