1,290 forum posts
someone asked about how to keep hands warm a while back. never been an issue for me - insulated shell mittens have kept my hands fine in the worst weather. but, i conceded that for those times i need some more hand dexterity, i'm a little bit at a loss. my fleece windstopper gloves that offer great dexterity can only accommodate relatively thin liners, so they get pretty cold much below 20 degrees. the insulated shell gloves i have were an inexpensive sale purchase and have a host of issues - non-removable insulation, not much insulation anyway, so....my fingers get cold below 20 degrees. i don't get cold easily; i just lacked gloves suitable for colder weather.
given my office is a ghost town this week, i took an hour this morning and went glove shopping to fill the gap. kudos to hudson trail outfitters for their excellent selection. i tried two really expensive beasts then ended up with a compromise.
-the outdoor research fireband glove has to be the warmest, bulkiest glove i have ever tried. they look like mickey mouse's hands (with five fingers). gore tex shell, removable 'enduraloft' liner. enduraloft is a dupont synthetic insulation. well-appointed with a guantlet shell that cinches tight, leashes, nice leather palm. the gloves are massive, with so much insulation that they don't offer much hand dexterity, so they kind of defeat the purpose of getting a glove to maximize use of your hands. i think they would be extremely warm. they are also extremely expensive, over $300 retail (and available for 33% off on a few websites, but if i can try it on local, i tend to support my local retailer). on price alone, i had to rule them out.
-arcteryx alpha sv glove - very articulated gore tex shell glove, leather palms, synthetic fleece insulation. i wasn't excited. the articulated fit suggests they would feel great, but they did not. despite a great deal of maneuvering, the bulky and somewhat stiff fleece liner kept bunching inside the shell, so they weren't particularly comfortable. much better use of hands with these. they have a drawcord but no leash, which is a significant shortcoming. at $230, they were still expensive. i don't think these would be terribly warm insulated with fleece only.
-hestra heli 3 finger glove - a compromise, but i am pretty happy. i wasn't familiar with the company, so i looked them up. swedish outfit, they make the gloves in their own factory [their own factory appears to be located in China, fyi]. these aren't true gloves - they have an independent thumb and index finger, and the three small fingers are within the same shell. marketed as "lobster mitts," which a number of companies sell these days. black diamond's lobster guide gloves were on my list to try, but i couldn't find them locally.
the outer shell has nice, tactile leather palms and employs a proprietary waterproof/breathable membrane that i believe is a licensed version of entrant. the shell is not seam-taped or sealed, so they probably leak a little - or they will until i go over the seams with silnet. the liner is a removable synthetic fiber liner, a five-fingered glove made of quallofil or something akin to it.
i bought them.
-price is very reasonable, just over $100 full retail.
-nice leather palms, need to be treated just like boots (they come with some waterproofing paste)
-good dexterity with the free finger; lobster design may help keep the smaller fingers warmer.
-removable liner with a good amount of insulating power. should be easy to dry out and should keep my fingers pretty warm. they sell a 3 finger (lobster) quallofil liner for 25 bucks and a primaloft liner for $55, which should be a big upgrade in warmth
-waterproof breathable shell
-gauntlet with an easy-to-use toggle and shockcord, plus runaway leashes
-tiny carabiner and grommets to hook the gloves to a zipper if you take them off
-durability - reviews of hestra's mittens and gloves suggest they hold up well; this isn't a conclusion from personal experience, though.
-they come with a beefy nylon strap at the wrist, velcro closure. i personally don't like these and might end up cutting them off.
-true lobster liners cost extra
-the runaway leash has an elastic wrist strap rather than an adjustable leash - means you have to secure it to your wrist, not around the forearm of your jacket. this might prove to be annoying.
-untaped seams need to be sealed.