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Mitten system

To the editor:

I enjoyed Spencer Morrissey’s article in Embark on winter hiking and his sidebar on Outdoor Research mittens. I wear a similar pair of OR shell mitts when skiing in the backcountry, but my layering system differs from Spencer’s. Others might want to try it.

I wear a thin synthetic-fiber glove for a base layer, a wool mitten for my insulating layer, and the OR shell mitt to protect against wind and moisture. I usually start off with all three layers, but as I warm up, I may remove one or two.

In all, there are six combinations, and I’ve tried all of them at one time or another, including wearing just the shell mitts. This versatility enables me to keep hands and fingers warm and dry, not sweaty.

I learned this system from Dick Beamish, founder of the Adirondack Explorer, when I moved to the Adirondacks 20 years ago. However, Dick used a deerskin mitten as his shell layer.

It’s also a good idea to pack extra liner gloves and wool mittens when venturing into the backcountry.

Phil Brown

Saranac Lake

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