Over the last few years I’ve struggled to keep my hands warm when cycling on the colder winter mornings. In my early days of cycle commuting I only had a 3 mile ride which wasn’t too bad as I wasn’t out for long enough to get chilly. Since my trip is now 7 miles each way, when the temperature gets any lower than about 5° C my fingers really start to suffer. For a few winters I went through all manner of cycling gloves to try to solve the problem but nothing really helped for the freezing cold days. Last winter someone suggested I try a pair of Blazewear Heated Gloves. I’ve now had them for a little over a year.
On the outside the gloves look pretty similar to any other, perhaps just a little more bulky than normal. When you look more closely you see there are zipped compartments in the wrist area. Undo the zips and the battery compartment is revealed. Each of these holds 3 AA batteries and has a small on/off switch and a red LED on the top. The battery box is connected to the gloves via a jack socket on the side. It can be a little fiddly inserting the battery box and plugging in the lead and while you do get the hang of it, I feel the zip could do with being longer. A rechargeable lithium Ion battery pack is available which is smaller, lighter and provides for longer battery life than AA batteries. I suspect the Li-Ion pack is slightly easier to insert into the gloves too.
The heating elements cover the backs of the hands and the fingers – just where the heat is needed most. The elements do bend but are quite stiff which, when the gloves were new I found caused a little discomfort to the knuckles. After a while though they seem to mould themselves to the shape of the hands and I’ve found I now don’t notice them at all.
Using a decent set of AA rechargeable batteries, the battery life is about 3 hours though the heating effect drops off significantly in the 3rd hour. If you splash out and buy the Li-Ion battery packs, they will run for up to 5 hours between charges.
The gloves are both waterproof and windproof and the palms have a velvety feel which provides good grip. They are quite warm even without power. Turn them on and you soon feel the luxurious warmth coming through. I wouldn’t advise wearing them cycling when the temperature is higher than 5 degrees – they are just too warm and things can get a little sweaty. For me, between 0 and 5 degrees Celsius is the sweet spot where I find they keep my hands are kept at just the right temperature. On colder (sub-zero) days I do still get chilly hands, but not uncomfortably so. One evening back in December 2010, my cycle computer measured -8°C and my hands were fine even then!
These gloves have completely solved my problem with frozen fingers. If you cycle all year round and struggle to keep your hands warm in winter I can highly recommend them. They can be purchased from here.