Friday, December 20, 2013

Never Again Have Frozen Fingers

Mind numbing cold, fueled by a bitter north wind, tears at my body in the predawn light. The motor on my ice auger coughs and sputters like a two pack a day smoker trying desperately to pull oxygen from the air. Obscenities spew forth from my frozen mouth but are quickly extinguished by the howling wind. Suddenly the motor fires, the blade spins and the ice at my feet begins to grind away as the machine penetrates deep into the solid, cold, blue surface. In seconds, I bludgeon a large 10-inch hole through the hard water to allow access to the murky depth below. Withdrawing the auger it spews forth water and shards of ice that flow over my boots and splash high up onto my legs where it freezes instantly.

This is ice fishing in the frozen north, it is difficult, unforgiving and a sport for those with a high degree of intestinal fortitude and perhaps even a small dose of the crazies. 

Maine’s weather is extraordinarily fickle and to be comfortable in these often rapidly changing environments, one must dress in layers and make sure to take excellent care of their hands. In these situations, it pays to have the absolute best gear money can buy. Gear built tough for those of us who like it rough, gear that can withstand season upon season of abuse without failure, gear that keeps its user warm and dry despite what that bitch Mother Nature can dish out. Whether hunting or ice fishing, having the right equipment can make the difference between shooting a big buck, catching that monster pike or going home empty handed. Warm, dry digits allow sportsmen to be comfortable in the wilds and spend their time concentrating on the task at hand (pun intended) instead of being cold and miserable.

For the outdoorsman, nothing will destroy a day in the wilds faster than having equipment that fails, was poorly crafted or simply cannot withstand the rigors placed before it. In my time afield, nowhere have I seen more failures than in the design of gloves and mitts. To be effective, gloves and mitts need to be capable of maximizing warmth while at the same time still allowing a certain level of dexterity. No place is this more critical, than when ice fishing. At a moments notice, ice fishermen will frequently need to switch between multiple tasks requiring varying degrees of dexterity. Gloves tend to be to cold when the mercury dips, while mitts tend to be much to cumbersome for tasks as simple as pouring a cup of coffee, choking a finicky motor, popping the top on a can of beer or wrestling a Vienna sausage out of a can.

Enter onto the stage the new “Yellowknife Trigger Mitts” from Duluth Trading Company. These nylon “mitts” combine all the positive features of a gloves and mitts with an innovative “trigger” design that frees up the index finger while at the same time keeping the remaining fingers securely wrapped in a “mitt”. The exteriors are waterproof, breathable nylon and reinforced in all “critical” areas with cowhide. The interior glove is also solidly designed, removable from the overmitt for quicker drying and even comes with smartphone friendly finger pads. These bad boys will pretty much beat the crap out of winter and send it running.

Looking to add a pair of Yellowknife Trigger Mitts to your gear arsenal? Then be sure to check out Duluth Trading Company!

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