Living in Calgary, there is only one thing I can count on every year, and that is a number of bitterly cold, uncomfortable shooting days. While I can bundle up my feet, body and head, it’s more difficult with gloves. Cameras require a good amount of precision to operate properly, especially if you use a smaller model, like a mirrorless camera or point and shoot. I’ve gone through a huge variety of styles and brands of gloves, but I’ve never found any that worked well for actually keeping my hands warm and allowing me to operate all of my camera’s controls until I tried The Heat Company’s Heat 3 Smart Gloves. These gloves were originally designed for the Austrian Special Forces, but The Heat Company saw a hugely underserved market in photographers and videographers so they started recommending the gloves for our particular niche. It goes without saying that the gloves are very warm and well-made given their original audience, but there are many types of warm gloves out there. So what makes the Smart Gloves so special?
For starters, the Smart Gloves have a large mitten-style cover that can be pulled back to reveal an inner glove with outstanding tactile response. I can easily access all of my camera’s controls using the internal gloves, and they are much warmer than other photographer-targeted gloves. The thumb and index finger even have small pads to allow you to use touch functions on your camera or smartphone! The outer glove stays securely out of the way when it is pulled back, thanks to a very strong magnet that keeps it in place. However, the most important feature for me is a very large pouch that sits behind your fingers. This pouch is designed for a hand warmer, but it is wide enough for camera batteries to fit. This keeps your batteries warm, which is extermely important in cold-weather shooting. I’m able to get a hand warmer and two rechargeable lithium batteries in this pouch without it feeling unbalanced. Between shots, I slip the outer glove back into place to keep my hands extra warm.
Another clever feature is a removable wrist strap that allows you to quickly take off the gloves in critical situations where you need your hands completely free. It may seem like a small thing, but when I need to move fast and can’t miss the shot, it takes less than a second to get my gloves off. And then, after I capture my photo or video, the gloves are hanging there ready for me.
Having shot with Heat 3 Smart Gloves for two Canadian winters now, I can vouch for their excellent durability and functionality. If I only have space in my bag for either an additional lens or these gloves, the gloves are what I choose almost every time! For more on these gloves, you can check out a TCSTV episode I made about them (below) or go to theheatcompany.com or thecamerastore.com.