I’ve suffered from small-fiber polyneuropathy for much of my life. I’m also a rock climber and a mountaineer.
Unfortunately... those two things don’t exactly go hand in hand. Cold weather, in particular, is extremely difficult for me to deal with. As a result of my neuropathy, I have extremely poor circulation in my hands, a condition known as Raynaud’s Phenomenon or Raynaud’s Disease (which perhaps many of you have too if you’re reading this).
There are two forms: Primary Raynaud's, where there is no known causal disease, and Secondary Raynaud's, like mine, where the condition is caused by diseases that affect the blood vessels, such as neuropathy or rheumatoid arthritis.
Long story short, the cold is tough on my hands.
For the outdoor mountain enthusiast, Raynaud’s is an extremely uncomfortable condition to manage. Whether you’re a boarder, skier, climber, or anything else, if your hands are numb, it’s difficult to function properly.
Cold hands in the mountains are something we all face, even if our circulatory systems are in optimal condition. The human body simply isn’t meant to function on its own at high altitudes and in freezing temperatures. Blood vessels constrict, blood flow decreases, and our hands get cold. As someone who can’t feel three of his fingertips from frostbite after a climbing accident in South America, I know firsthand about the negative impact of not protecting your hands from the cold, even beyond my neuropathy.
That’s where BAÏST comes in.
BAÏST’s founder, skier and snowboarder Ace Jonas, also suffers from Raynaud’s Syndrome, and dealt with cold hands all his life. As a result, that need (for a durable, extremely warm glove that still managed to be high performance) was close to heart for Ace. Typical, run-of-the-mill snow gloves wouldn’t cut it, and he knew that there were plenty of things to be improved upon. The old way of doing things wasn’t good enough. That’s why he designed the BAÏST Glove System.
The BAÏST Glove System is the best option for anyone with cold hands who still wants to get after it in the mountains. It allows for more tactility and durability than heated gloves and is far better at improving circulation than compression gloves. In my experience, it’s by far the best option for anyone (Raynaud’s sufferers in particular) looking to keep up high technical performance in the mountains, whether you’re a mountaineer like me, a skier or snowboarder like Ace, or just someone who wants to go have a snowball fight and not have numb fingers. The tactility, durability, and warmth of BAÏST can’t be beaten, and this is coming from someone who’s spent a decade in the mountains, most of that time with neuropathy.
It all comes down to the revolutionary design.
A BAÏST glove isn’t just a glove, it’s a full-on system, including a “glove” or shell, a removable heat liner, and a skin liner with touch screen capability (a wrist leash, anti-fog goggle cleaner cloth, and concealed storage are also included). Designed from waterproof goat leather, some of the strongest, most lightweight, and stretchy material in existence, and Cordura fabric for extreme durability and dexterity, the BAÏST shell offers pristine protection against the elements, in addition to reinforced knuckles for impact protection and reinforced leather in high-wear areas for longevity.
Next, there’s a warm, breathable, and removable liner, designed from a special BAÏST blend of Thinsulate and Thermolite, perfectly constructed to keep each individual finger warm. Finally comes the BAÏST skin liner, which acts as a second skin on the slopes. Because this liner is constructed from extreme moisture-wicking and heat-sealing fabric and is touchscreen compatible, you never have to take it off, so you'll stay warm and dry all day.
In addition to the full-fingered glove system, BAÏST also has a mitt system and trigger glove system. The gloves are rated from -20°F to 45°F.
All told, there isn’t a warmer, more durable, or better performance-based glove system on the market, whether you’re looking for Raynaud’s gloves or you just don’t want to be cold.
Owen Clarke is an adventure travel journalist. He is a columnist for Rock & Ice, Gym Climber, and The Outdoor Journal. He also writes for Friction Labs. In his free time, he is an avid motorcyclist and mountaineer.
Follow him on Instagram at @opops13.