The back of the hands is a common place for melanoma. We all know we can protect our faces with sunscreen and hat, and long sleeves cover our arms, but what about hands? On cold days, the manos are safe in gloves of course, but on those fine spring corn-snow days even a light glove may be too much. And then there’s exposure when driving, hiking, stand up paddling, and all those other summer activities normally done without gloves.
I’ve tried slathering my hands with sunscreen, but I don’t like the possibility of the grease coating the insides of my gloves, and it’s a hassle to remember to reapply every time you wash. I’ve found a better solution with sun gloves. They’ve been around for fishing and water sports and they cross over well for skiing. I have a friend who even wears them while she’s swimming laps.
I wore a pair of sun gloves during our European ski trip this past winter. A fingerless lightweight nylon pair fit nicely under my ski gloves and on cold days the extra layer added a smidge of warmth. On toasty days, they were often all I wore. Since they are fingerless, I find I keep them on when normally I’d take off even a thin glove to dig through my pack for an orange to peel.
Sun gloves are available from a number of companies. Two companies provided me with samples during the show in minimalist styles that I like.
Glacier Outdoor has been making gloves for 30 years and have seven styles of sun gloves in their line. The Abaco is a light weight sun glove similar to the ones I wore in Europe. The Lycra/Spandex material slides easily into a heavier glove on cold days. Now that it’s summer, the grey fabric stays cool when hiking and the solid palms are comfortable with trekking poles and adds a bit of protection against blisters. The ample cuff covers the wrist and slips under the sleeves of a long sleeved shirt, offering full 50+ sun protection. The only thing this glove is missing is a clip to keep the pair together when you throw them into a drawer. For the style go-getters, they also come in two fish inspired patterns by artist Val Atkinson: rainbow and brook trout. MSRP $19.99
Buff also has a line of sun gloves developed for water sports. They are made of a heavier nylon blend with a patterned silicone applique on the palms to enhance grip, and provide 50+ protection in both wet and dry conditions. These gloves are designed to be snug-fitting with a waterproof suede tab for pulling on the glove. A small loop at the end of the tab could be used for clipping the gloves together. An improvement would be to provide a clip for keeping the gloves together when not in use. An embedded silicone ridge on the back of the middle finger provides grip for removing the glove. Bright new colors will be available in Spring 2013: Fuchsia, Purple, Brite Blue, Deep Lime, and Light Grey. MSRP $27.
It’s a good idea to wear full fingered gloves when mountaineering to protect your hands from falls and rough rocks. But consider adding a layer with a fingerless sun glove. On cold days, they’ll give a bit of insulation, and on hot days they provide a cool way to protect your hands from the sun.
When it comes to the dreaded big-C, precaution is way better than cure.