I don't always get to pick and choose when I spend time in the outdoors— I have to get out there whenever duty calls. Whether it's for a photo shoot, a day of filming or a guide trip, I prepare to the best of my ability, suck it up and get it done regardless of the weather conditions. It literally pays my bills.
There's one problem: I absolutely hate cold weather. I've learned how to keep my core warm over the years, but it seems like no matter what I try, this Georgia boy's hands turn into icicles. I don't know how my brothers to the north deal with such nasty winters. They're better men than me, I reckon.
I've been testing the new Flambeau Rechargeable Heated Gloves this winter and finally—let the Heavens rejoice—I can feel my hands again. If you spend a lot of time outdoors in cold weather, there are some things you should know about these gloves.
What you'll like about them
These gloves aren't like the ordinary $15 gloves you'd pick up as a last-minute purchase on your way to the lake or deer woods. With a durable brushed fabric exterior and 100 grams of insulation, the Flambeau Rechargeable Heated Gloves are as heavy duty as they come. Even without the batteries hooked up, they're ridiculously warm.
The comfort and warmth, however, hits a whole new level when you turn on the FREEREIN 3.7-volt batteries. Each glove features fiber heating elements located on the palm and at the tips of each finger, which warm your entire hand regardless of the air temperature or wind speed. The batteries have three settings: "High", "low" and "off". I've used these gloves many times in sub-freezing temperatures and the "low" setting has been plenty to keep my hands and fingers nice and toasty.
Each glove has a zippered pocket on the wrist, which is where the batteries are stored. You simply plug the batteries in, adjust them to your desired setting, zip 'em up and you're done. The batteries will warm your hands for approximately 4 hours of continuous use.
It's important to note that you probably won't be able to fish while wearing these gloves—they're pretty darn bulky. But they have been worth their weight in gold during frigid 70mph runs across the lake. They have a textured no-slip grip which allows you to grip your steering wheel without any problems whatsoever. I'll wear them each time I run to a new location and slip 'em off and stash them underneath my windshield while fishing. They're easy to slide on and off, so you don't waste any precious fishing time fooling with straps or anything of the sort. Each time I reach my new fishing spot, I have all the dexterity in my fingers, allowing me to cast and tie knots with ease.
I was a bit skeptical in regards to how well they'd hold up against water, but as it turns out they're 100 percent waterproof. When your boat is covered in ice and water sprays in the boat on a windy day, they hold up excellently and no damage is done to the internal heating elements or the batteries.
You'll also appreciate how quickly and easily the batteries charge. The Flambeau Rechargeable Heated Gloves come with an AC adapter that allows you to charge both batteries simultaneously. I bring the gloves and batteries inside at the end of the day and they're fully charged and ready to go within a few hours.
My experiences with them
I fish and hunt a lot—it's pretty much all I do. With that being said, I've not only used these gloves on the water, but also in the deer stand with excellent success.
As I mentioned, these gloves have really changed my outlook on long boat rides in the winter. In the past, I've actually avoided making long runs to good fishing spots because it was just so darn uncomfortable. I'd have hand warmers stuffed in my gloves and pockets and I'd still have numb hands by the time I reached my destination. But the Flambeau Rechargeable Heated Gloves have honestly been a Godsend this winter. When I set the boat down and start fishing, my hands are totally warm and I'm able to fish with a clear head. Rest assured: I'll absolutely be wearing these gloves when I cover the 2016 Bassmaster Classic on Grand Lake.
I've also been quite impressed while hunting with these gloves. A giant cold front with high winds came through my area during the last week of our 2015-2016 deer season. Because it was the last week, you could bet the farm that I wasn't going to sit and home and let the weather scare me away. I wore these gloves constantly and I never—and I do mean never—got the slightest chill on my hands or fingers. I was able to sit completely still and finish filling my freezer with fresh venison. When it came time to field dress my harvests, I was able to operate my knife seamlessly and proficiently.
Whether you fish "soft" water in the winter, ice fish, deer hunt or duck hunt, I strongly suggest trying these gloves. At $149.99, they're pricey—there are no two ways around it. But I hate cold hands and would gladly pay even more for 'em. They've made me a lot more willing to get out there and face the elements this winter.
The Flambeau Rechargeable Heated Gloves are available at FlambeauOutdoors.com.