Ortovox Arctic Mitts
The boiled wool Ortovox Arctic Mitts are an excellent alternative to bulky ski gloves or down expedition mitts. They work great teamed with a pair of thin liners and a pair of shell mitts for even more warmth.
- Warm while wet
- Tightly woven
- Woolen palm is subject to abrasion
Mittens are warmer than gloves due to the additional space they provide. I am often out in temperatures around 10–15℉/-9–-12℃ in the winter. I run warm generally and am usually out of the wind, but I do deal with Raynaud’s disease. This means my clothing is pretty low profile as winterwear goes, but non-bulky handwear warm enough for me is hard to come by. The Ortovox Arctic Mitts have been a good option for my particular needs.
Compared to rag wool of equal weight, boiled wool is much denser. I have found these mitts to be quite good in the wind (but for extended periods in windy cold a nylon shell would go a long way) and to fend off moisture quite well. My understanding is that the felting process preserves a good deal of the source wool’s natural oils. This fact plus the density of the material must be the main reasons the mitts are water resistant.
The gauntlets are generous. I sometimes double mine over to seal the cuff of my jacket.
The material is quite durable—I even used mine a few nights on the job making snow (a hell of a test of durability, believe me!). Still, I worry that the lack of a leather palm guard is going to eventually be the cause of death of the mitts. I can see some wear from my trekking poles between the thumb and the body of the mitt.
The fit appears to run on the smaller side of things generally. One of the thumbs on my pair is tighter than I would like, but this might be an OCD niggle.
The pair I own was had at The Mountaineer in Keene Valley, N.Y. at a discounted price of $25 in February of 2012. Two years later, the non-discounted price appears to be $50.
Source: received it as a personal gift