Monday, January 14, 2013

DIY arm gaiters

As part of my New Years Resolution, I've been working on finding solutions for my "cold hands" problem (i.e. Raynaud's Syndrome).  While the warm weekend weather stopped me from testing a full winter glove system and an awesome suggestion I've gotten from a friend (thank you JJ!), I did make some progress on the base layer for my new system-- DIY arm gaiters (also called sleeves by runners).  In colder weather I plan to wear these under my fleece gloves, with warm mittens over that, possibly adding a vapor barrier.
DIY arm gaiters with silver racing stripes.
I sewed these arm gaiters a while back using a pattern I created myself. The first version was too short and kept sliding annoyingly down over time.  On this trip I tested out some new modification which turned out great.  I added some fabric to make them longer.  I also added an elastic and cordlock closure to the top, and this kept them nicely in place.

I wear my arm gaiters with a short sleeved shirt.  They are easily taken on an off without taking off my pack, unlike a long sleeved baselayer.  They allow full dexterity, but in comparison to my fleece fingerless gloves, they keep my wrists warm.  I think this will be key since I realized my shirts and jackets don't protect my wrists since I've got freakishly long arms.  Keeping the wrists and all those veins that are close to the skin well insulated I've recently learned is really important to prevent cold hands.

The other feature that I tested on this trip was the power of the racing strips.  On hour 4 of this trip, I was uncharacteristically worn out.   We've been gearing up for our next big trapeze show, and the 1 to 3 hour trapeze practices everyday (including a 2 hour practice that morning) had finally caught up to me.  I downed my "emergency" chocolate and put on these arm gaiters, and their shinny silver sparkliness (in combination with the chocolate sugary goodness) provided extra energy on the steep sections.  It's no wonder that superheros where these things.  Perhaps my next version will have lightening bolts.

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