Swix Star XC 100 Split Mitt
Great for active winter use, these mitts split the difference between gloves and mittens using a 3 and 1 finger. Built to hug the hand without getting in the way they provide a thin, insulated barrier between hands and environment.
- PrimaLoft insulation keeps them very low profile
- Vents reasonably well
- Dries reasonably well
- Well designed
- Comfortable materials
- For active use only, not very warm
- Long cuff covers wristwatch
Tailored into a pre-curved shape with an extra long cuff the Swix XC 100 Split Mitt looks a bit alien at first glance but after wearing them for a bit you can tell they were designed with humans in mind. The long cuff reaches well past the wrist to keep snow out. The curved tailoring of the mitt follows the natural shape of the hand, especially when wrapped around a pole's handgrip.
The materials, inside and out are quite soft to the touch. Repeated use has not changed that. The interior uses a 100% polyester material they call SWIX-Dry which feels comfortable even if you push things too far and get it sweaty.
The palm is primarily a thin, soft synthetic leather called chamude with some pads to protect and cushion the grip points. The shell is an interesting blend of 60% polyester, 24% nylon, 12% elastane and 4% polyurethane that sheds snow but lets the mitts flex well when holding a pole or doing other tasks.
These mitts are designed for active use and while they do have a layer of PrimaLoft they don't do much to keep your hands warm if you aren't generating some heat. When you are moving they vent well during moderate activity and really do a great job of wicking away moisture when kicking up the intensity enough to get the hands sweating.
Either way they are plenty warm when in motion even in sub zero temps or 40+ MPH winter winds and I swap them out for other gloves when I make camp.
The 3 and 1 split works really well in an active application like this. While a 2 and 2 split would help keep fingers warmer when inactive I really liked dexterity I had using these mitts. I had no problem using either my still or video cameras without taking them off.
The pads mentioned earlier are visible here, three along the palm and a small one at the base of the index finger. That black patch on the back of the thumb is a wide, soft nose wiper if needed.
Note how far that wrist ends from the base of the thumb; roughly 4.75 inches total including the mitt interior and wrist cuff. Tucked inside or outside a sleeve depending on what you are wearing you have great protection even in deep powder. Not being able to easily see a wristwatch was the one drawback I found with this design.
I splayed the thumb and index finger in this shot to give you an idea of the articulation. More than once I was surprised at what I could do without having to take a mitt off.
My use was limited to snowshoeing, but I'm pretty sure these would work equally well for nordic or tour skiing. Testing temps were all below freezing with some below zero. Wind testing included a raging blizzard with 40mph sustained winds and some really fun gusts.
I definitely can recommend these mitts for folks who get warm romping through the snow even if it is cold out. Folks who get cold fingers no matter what will want something warmer. Those on the other end of the spectrum will find these things will keep your hands dryer even when you are at your steamiest and dry pretty well even if you do manage to soak them a bit.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $39.95
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Reviewers Paid: $39.95