Our favorite things: OR and L.L.Bean mittens

I have what I like to call “spider fingers,” a legitimate term for someone with long, thin fingers. And these so-called spider fingers don’t have very good circulation. In the winter, they require some attention because I despise that burning, tingling feeling of extremely cold hands. And there’s probably nothing more frustrating to me than not being able to move numb fingers while trying to write in a notebook or press buttons on a camera.

In all of my Maine winter outdoor experiences, I’ve found that mittens are best at keeping my fingers warm, whether I’m scraping ice off my windshield or snowshoeing in western Maine.

If you think about it, a mitten is like a bunch of people cuddling up in one sleeping bag. A glove is like everyone having their own sleeping bag. It’s science.

As a fan of mittens, I’ve owned my share, and I always have at least two pairs with me (after last year’s incident when I dropped one of my mittens on Mount Megunticook in Camden Hills State Park and had to wrap a hat around my freezing paw).

For a few winters now, I’ve used a lightweight pair of Outdoor Research mittens called the Women’s PL 400 Mitts (which also come in men’s), priced at $37 at www.outdoorresearch.com.

These mittens may seem awfully thin, but the double-layer fleece is usually warm enough when I’m huffing and puffing up a snowy hill.

But these mittens are NOT warm enough if you’re just standing around outside in the Maine winter… and sometimes I like to just stand around. So I have a second, warmer pair of mittens in my backpack. Currently, those mittens are the L.L.Bean Women’s Goose Down Mittens (which also come in men’s), which are actually just $29.95 on www.llbean.com. I put these over my OR mittens if my hands are especially cold.

Here’s the product description on the site: “Women We quilted these mittens with wide channels to maximize the coverage of the warm Bean Tested® 650-fill goose down insulation. Rugged ripstop nylon shell is treated to resist moisture. Gripping palm. Elastic cuff. Imported. Machine wash and dry.”

L.L.Bean has other, more expensive mittens, but I find these do the trick for me.

I guess my last bit of advice for people is that if you plan on using your “spider fingers” a lot outdoors (for instance, to use a camera or a GPS), it might be wise to purchase a pair of fleece, fingerless gloves as a liner to go under your mittens.

Hope this post helps keep you warm this winter! And don’t forget… mittens are a great stocking stuffer.

If you don’t know about “Our Favorite Things,” read the explanation below.

“Our Favorite Things”: Welcome to the holiday season, a time of frantic gift buying, tree trimming and sweater wearing. It sounds tiring, but the BDN Outdoors is prepared to help. Well, with the gift part. (We won’t decorate your tree or help you dress.) Throughout the merry month of December, BDN Outdoor Editor John Holyoke and I will wrack our brains to come up with appropriate gifts for any outdoorsy person. But instead of creating the typical gift guide (the lastest, high-techiest version of this or that) we will simply reach into our own backpacks and pull out some of the items we can’t seem to get along without when we’re in the Maine wilderness. Please feel free to contribute to this conversation by posting gift suggestions in the comment section at the bottom of this post.

Aislinn Sarnacki

About Aislinn Sarnacki

Professionally, Aislinn is a Bangor Daily News reporter for the "Outdoor" and "Living" pages. She's a wilderness romper and fashion-forward bookworm.