WORDS: Scott Rawstorne from Global Paddler.
I have to admit that in the past I have not been overly enthusiastic about wearing gloves while paddling. That was despite the obvious dual benefits of protection from the sun and prevention of hot spots and blisters. I was prepared to forego those advantages because many gloves bunch up uncomfortably in your palm, and lots of them extend high on your wrist where they rub when you cock your wrist to change the angle of your paddle. Sea to Summit Solution Gear has addressed both of these issues with their Eclipse Glove UPF50+.
The name of the Eclipse Glove UPF50+ gives away its first big benefit. UPF50+ is maximum sun protection. That is particularly important on the water where you not only get the sun beating down on you from above. You also have it reflected off the surface of the water. Sunscreen will help for a while but as your hands are often wet on a regular basis, you may find that it is washed off long before its usual effectiveness period expires. Trying to remember to reapply sunscreen when you are having fun on the water can be problematic. It is much easier to simply wear a pair of gloves.
Hot spots and blisters are problems at some time or another for anyone who spends a lot of time with a paddle in their hands. The most common affliction is that annoying little spot on the inside of your thumb. Admittedly, this is usually caused by holding the paddle too tight and it can be resolved by adjusting your technique, but once it is there, it is too late to do anything about it. Nobody fancies paddling all the way home with a blister on their thumb so it makes sense to wear a good pair of paddling gloves.
Palm abrasion caused by sand sticking to the paddle shaft is also a thing of the past when you use the Eclipse Glove UPF50+. Sea to Summit Solution Gear has gone the extra mile when it comes to protecting your hands by adding a second layer of material in high wear areas.
The Eclipse Glove 50+ is a fingerless glove. If you are someone who feels the cold on your hands, you might like to opt for Sea to Summit’s full fingered neoprene Paddle Gloves in winter instead. I prefer fingerless gloves because they make it easier to work with small objects when you are adjusting your rigging or using other equipment.
Back to the to issues that I have had with wearing gloves in the past. The first is bunching up in the palms. It is impossible to eliminate this problem entirely but Sea to Summit Solution Gear has managed to do as well as you could possibly expect by using surprisingly soft and supple suede-like material on the palm and form fitting lycra on the back of the hand. The second issue I have had is rubbing on my wrists. This has been resolved by securing the gloves at the base of the hand rather than the wrist. A 2mm neoprene cuff with velcro attachment is used to keep them in place.
There’s a lot to like about the Eclipse Glove UPF50+ from Sea to Summit Solution Gear. That is why these are the first paddling gloves I have worn in a very long time.
The Eclipse Glove UPF50+ comes in blue, blue or blue, and sizes XS, S, M, L, XL and XXL. It retails for just $34.95. I recommend that you try before you buy so you can ensure that you get a snug fit. Use the store locator on the Sea to Summit website to find the stockist nearest you.