When the MTP camouflage replaced the DPM one in British Army service, the emphasis was initially on equipping servicemen with a replacement set of uniform. Once this had been completed, however, the emphasis turned to replacing all the secondary items of clothing and equipment that were in the old pattern. Amongst the items produced in MTP was the full range of arctic extreme cold weather equipment, including the system of different mittens. The outer set of mittens in this MTP fabric is the focus of today’s post:
The mittens are large, loose and waterproof and not designed to keep the hands warm, but to keep the warmer mittens worn underneath dry. The palm of the mittens is textured with small raised bobbles that aid grip:
A strap at the wrist with a buckle draws the mitten in to help keep it secure:
A drawstring at the cuff pulls this part in as well and helps keep heat in and moisture out:
A label indicates that these are a size medium:
Here the outer mittens can be seen being worn by a group of Royal Marines on a cold weather exercise:
Some people might question the use of camouflage in winter instead of all white, but unless you’re operating in the high arctic above the treeline then a mix is a better choice.
Witness the trees behind the group where a kneeling or prone soldier would have the white trousers against the snow and the camouflage pattern upper body against the trees and trees at higher elevations tend to be evergreens or scrub deciduous and brush, both of which this pattern would be quite useable in.
The same uniform mix was worn when I did my winter survival course and there’s also a white oversmock that can be put on over the top half quite quickly in the event that you go into the open or above the treeline, it cuts the wind as well which is one of the most useful traits for proper cold weather gear and our winter gear is pretty good.
I’m in Canada, we take our winter seriously here, when I was stationed in Northern Alberta the standfard saying was that we got “eleven months of winter and one month of bad skidooing” and that wasn’t far off, I saw it snow in June and August and the flightline at -40 was taxing to say the least, although you could stand behind a jet right after it shut down and warm up for a few minutes from the still hot engine, until it cooled down enough to inspect and we had all sorts of little tricks like that, some ‘legal’ and some not quite so much 🙂
I have also found there is also plenty of possibility to need mittens without there being snow on the ground (or minimal or patchy snow), where I am in subarctic latitudes it can be below freezing without significant snowfall sometimes, and actually mittens can come into play when temperatures hover around or even just over freezing – wet, windy and although not so very cold definitely capable of producing numb digits. Gloves seem like the solution but can only do so much, a pair of proper mittens can be a life saver, particularly when static and if prone to cold hands as it seems I am. Seen more than a few people wearing commercial unlined goretex “rain mitts” in nasty weather in the backcountry. In my experience the colder it gets the easier the conditions are to deal with, less moisture.
Which reminds me, I could do with a new pair of such mittens, and army surplus is usually affordable and durable, if not stylish. Could you say where to find such a pair of mitts for sale?
A pair of thin gloves inside mittens are about the warmest you can get and still be able to function.
Our arctic mitts had a long strap to go around your neck so you didn’t lose them when you them off to fire a weapon and the trigger guard on our FN’s and SMG’s folded inside the grip to let it be used with mittens.
There was also a big fluffy patch on the back of each one to be used as a ‘nose warmer’…’warmer’ riiigghhttt…. 😉