Winter outdoor sports are fun until your fingers, toes, ears, and noses get cold. Once that happens, the fun becomes numb and no more fun. Certainly, gloves work well to keep your appendages warm, but when you ice fish, hands will get wet, sweat in the winter means cold against the skin, wind accelerates cold, and lack of movement allows the cold to set in.
Here are some ideas to keep the hands warm without gloves!
Apply a heavy coating of hand cream or balm to your hands and extremities.
Circulation is key. Keep your fingers moving.
Avoid caffeine, booze, and smoking.
Loose clothing, gloves, and socks allow better blood flow.
Drink Ginger tea. Ginger creates heat when metabolizing.
Place cold fingers onto the back/ side of your neck over the major blood vessels.
Place hands under your arms and between your legs where big blood vessels flow
Keep you core warmer. If you do not have insulation, add some. Extra layers of clothing or if you need to rough it, use dry leaves, crumbled newspaper, moss, or…
There is also a large selection of hand warmers on the market. Each style has its pros and cons. Fuel burning warmers produce odors. Shake and Bake sacks need to stay dry and offer limited heat. Gel warmers are good for just a few hours then need to be re-boiled. Electronic warmers require a power source to recharge. All have control, time, and simplicity limitations. Match the warmer to your specific needs.
There are also many glove solutions, but this article is about when you leave the gloves home. If you do enjoy gloves, consider still using a hand cream and perhaps a thin liner. Get cloves that are slightly larger than what you need. Carry an extra pair of gloves if one pair gets wet.
I also have used a hand muff that allows you to put your hands inside for a quick warm up. Normally, handwarmers can be placed into the pockets for a bare handed warm up.
Stay warm and enjoy the outdoors!