Protect Your Digits!
Are you a rural mail carrier working in a cold climate with snow and freezing wind chill temperatures? If you’re like me, you’ve experienced frozen fingers and frustration from not being able to keep your fingers warm while delivering mail during the winter months.
I have tried so many different types of gloves over the nearly 20 years I’ve been a rural letter carrier and have yet to find the perfect solution. The warmer the gloves, the bulkier they usually are and that makes them unusable for fingering the mail. On top of that, the newer postal scanners we are now forced to use are anything but reliable and were obviously not designed for cold weather climates. The touch screens tend to freeze up regularly and most of us are forced to remove our gloves to complete our scans.
Not only is this a pain in the rear but it means frozen finger tips and numbness. The job is already uncomfortable enough without having to deal with situations like this. Don’t hold your breath for USPS to implement any new “Northland Edition” for the scanners! We are forced to find our own solutions once again to make due with what we have to work with on our routes.
The so-called texting gloves I’ve tried really don’t work that great either with our newer scanners so I wanted to share the unlikely combination of cold weather hand wear that I’ve been using the past few years. It’s not ideal but seems to work better than most other gloves I’ve tried on the mail route.
Get yourself a pair of inexpensive Mechanix Wear SpeedKnit CoolMax Work Gloves. They are comfortable and even though they are not supposed to be made to work with touch screens, I have found that they work just as well as gloves made for touch screens.
What you want to do is “layer” your hands by first putting on a pair of latex or nitrile gloves. These act as a base layer and actually keep the height of your hands inside the gloves. Most Post Offices should provide these free of charge to carriers but if not, you can always purchase your own disposable nitrile gloves.
Once you have the disposable gloves on, slip the Mechanix Wear gloves over the top. The scanner should work decently for you even with the double layer you are wearing because of the thinness of both gloves. For most of you rural carriers, this should be all you will need but if you are delivering in the tundra like here in Minnesota where the temps and windchills can fall to -20F on the route, I suggest you place a disposable hand warmer bag on the backs of your hands in between the two pairs of gloves you are wearing. I have found this to work great on those extra cold days and because of the flexibility of the Mechanix Wear gloves, the hand warmer stays in place and is not cumbersome at all.
This winter mail carrier glove combination has helped keep my hands and fingers warm for 6+ hours a day on freezing cold winter days.