East Bay-based Mountain Hardwear has what must be the niftiest bit of new gear in the pipeline: Red Savina Heated Gloves. They’re more geared to the skiing and snowboarding set but they might be, uh, handy on a snowshoeing outing. Here’s the pitch from Mountain Hard Wear’s product page:

One smart glove, the Red Savina thinks, so you don’t have to. Using patent-pending Aevex® Intelligent Heat ™ technology, the Red Savina monitors internal glove temperature, feeding heat to frosty fingers, and conserving power when hands warm up. With ultra-thin and lightweight batteries, the Red Savina gives you warmth without bulk. Stay warm, and stay out longer.

Good news: total wow factor. Bad news: $300 list price; also, word has it they won’t be available sometime next year, so forget about getting a pair under your Christmas tree. Mountain Gear has a product page where you might be able to score a pair in 2009. GoBlog had a nice overview back in January when they were introduced.

Steve Casimiro at National Geographic Adventure magazine has tried out a pair.

With a name borrowed from one of the world’s hottest peppers, the waterproof-breathable gauntlet glove incorporates flexible heat panels into the fingers and back of the hand, powered by extremely lightweight batteries that can crank for up to six hours. Like the thermostat in your living room, the glove automatically senses temperature fluctuations inside its chambers and adjusts the heat accordingly, kicking in when your paws start to chill and backing off before they get clammy.

Joanne Richard of the Winnipeg Sun likes ’em too.

The technology gets two thumbs up, especially for masterful integration of the heating system into the glove without the bulk or inflexibility that you would expect. “We’ve come a long way from the $3 chemical heat pack,” says Greg Sweeney of Mountain Hardwear.

That’s an understatement. Each glove contains a sealed and protected panel that cleverly houses three ultra-thin and ultra-light lithium polymer rechargeable batteries. The batteries are good for 800 to 1,000 charge cycles and come with a plug-in AC adaptor.

Hey, maybe they could apply the technology to a pair of socks and then I’ll never have to come in off the hills.

Note the Canadian price is $350.

Snowshoeing with poles should generate enough friction to keep your hands warm without heaters — as long as you’re moving. But if you want warm hands around the campsite, they might be worth looking into. Or you could just buy those chemical handwarmers.