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What’s in Your Kit #4: SunMitts
I almost forgot about one of my favorite things in my kit because they have become such a go-to basic item for me.
I first started using SunPaws made (and created) by Hayden and Margie Glatte back in the early 90s.  Eventually they stopped making them and other people copied the design.  Fast forward to the ones I use today, a simple neoprene hand cover that covers just the back of your hand and keeps your palm and fingers free to feel the paddle and called SunMitts.
The advantages of this open design are many.  There is no barrier between your hand and the paddle so whatever you feel without them on is the same as when you use them.  They are total sun blockers so there is no need to use greasy and messy sunblock that is too easy to forget.  They are also an added layer of warmth in the winter or spring and work well combined with Pogies, giving you free access to anything that would be hard to use if wearing gloves or mitts.
I use them year-round and don’t find them too hot in the summer since my hands are rarely dry.
An honorable mention goes to Glacier Gloves SPF 50 ASCENSION BAY SUN GLOVE.  Glacier Glove changed my favorite feature of the gloves from a sticky rubber type palm coating to a synthetic leather and that is why I give them an honorable mention—the leather is not as grippy as I like on my paddle.  They are great during hot summer months but don’t offer any warmth for winter or spring paddling.  I have used them on many Grand Canyon trips in the past but are not 100% sun blocks so I prefer the SunMitts.
I am glad that paddlers are finally starting to take sun protection seriously and products like these make it easy to make them a permanent and daily part of your kit.
My local river store, which happens to be called The River Store in Lotus, Calif. carries them and would be happy to mail them to you if you want to give them a try.  Price is $29.95 for the smaller sizes and $30.95 for the XL.  They come in 3 sizes (XS-S,  M-L, and XL) and are color coded according to size.  If you are unsure of sizing, give the store a call and you can order them at the same time.  
link to the River Store:
Happy paddling,