Friday, 13 December 2013

Gloves I've been wearing - 2013-14

Seeing as the glove page from a couple of years ago has been visited a fair few times in the past month, I looked through my glove drawer and thought that it could do with a little updating.

I still have a few of the gloves that I wore back then - though they are looking a little battered now, and not a whole load of new ones. I have, however, got rid of a few that just didn't work for me. (and lost a pair... they're probably at the bottom of a bag, or something).

What do I still own and use?

Mountain Equipment Mountain Stretch

Since it has got colder, the most regular gloves in use have been the Mountain Equipment Mountain Stretch gloves - fluffy on the inside, schoeller fabric on the outside, generally great to use, and perfect for me on a run. Walking-wise, just not warm enough for me. I don't produce enough heat at a lower level of activity to get any blood to my fingers, so they
basically freeze. I wore these gloves on the Full Tour of Pendle and didn't take them off the whole time. They're great if you run and get really cold hands.

But what if you walk and get really cold hands? Which is what happens on an MR callout. You need to have warm hands, be dexterous and not loose your gloves, which is quite a challenge.
I have to confess that I have gone from gloves to mitts. Not a "cool" thing to do, but it has saved my fingers many times, and I have a couple of pairs that go out with me on every callout. The advantage being that I have warm hands, and even when I take the mitt off to do things that require dexterity, and my hand gets freezing cold, as soon as the mitt goes on, the heat of my hand and fingers together heats up the space in the mitt and the whole hand heats up to a point where I don't need to worry about it any more.

So which mitts am I using?

Montane Extreme Mitts

These mitts are based on the original soft shell principle- a bit like the Mountain equipment gloves above, but in a mitt format. Water resistant- but certainly not waterproof - on the outside, and warm cosy fleece on the inside. The wrist is done up with a velcro strap that is long enough to strap the glove to your wrist should your hands actually get TOO hot and you need to take them off. (this actually happened to me the other day, I was astonished to be walking across Bleaklow with barehands - heat emenating from them like 60w lightbulbs - a completely new experience!
When your hands get too hot - the velcro volumiser can be used to strap the mitt to the back of your hand. Good when you need dexterity and don't want to lose the mitt.
These are my go-to mitts on a day to day basis on the hill. Comfortable, warm, not bad when wet, and if really necessary, there is plenty of space in the hand portion for a hand warmer as well.
Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant.

Montane Resolute mitts

Again, a montane mitt - with the same kind of inner - based on the softshell idea, but with an eVent shell that you can put over the top to be completely waterproof. (until the rain drips down your arm and into the hole
where your arm goes...) but yes, again, a warm, waterproof mitt, with 2 layers.
It is a bit of a faff getting them on and off as the outer layer has a habit of coming off separately to the inner layer, so I suppose its a bit like putting on 2 gloves at the same time, but for dry (ish) hands, that really isn't a problem.
I have also used the outer waterproof layer as a waterproof cover for some of my thinner gloves earlier in the year, which was quite successful. If it isn't cold, but I need gloves on, once they get wet they are worse than useless. Once I put on a hardshell outer, though, protection from the wind and the rain is there, and my hands stay toasty warm.
Much more expensive than the Extreme mitts, and made for worse conditions. For my money though, the Extremes see a lot more action.

Sealskinz Lobster mitts

Looking a bit the worse for wear now... 5 years on. 
Yes, I still have these. They are still brilliant, though I fear their insulative properties at the ends of the fingers are wearing out. The grip certainly is. I think this might be the final season for these beasts, but they have
served me very well. Once the weather gets colder they will be making more and more appearances until they just fall off my hands from overuse.
Once that happens, I will either buy another pair, or, I have spied some of the same kind of thing made by Craft. Whether or not they are as good is another matter, but I might try and get hold of a pair of them instead. They aren't primaloft filled... so may not be as warm.

Dynafit X4 Performance gloves

I bought these in Switzerland. Dynafit say that they are a summer glove - I think they are more of a changing season glove... One of those purchases where later you think... what? Proper bright lycra with an excellent
storm jacket thing in the wrist pouch. I've used these a couple of times, but not enough to give a decent verdict. This winter might prove too cold for them, but I suspect that when we get to spring they are going to come into their own.

Extremeties Sticky Thickies

Yup - being slowly eroded away...
My original sticky thickies have really started wearing out - so much so that I think that on some of the
The new sticky thickies
fingers there is more hand stitching by me than actual glove. I wear them all the time in summer when I'm running. (not because of the cold, but I'd rather trash a pair of gloves than the skin on my hands... it'd mean I wouldn't be able to work for a few weeks if I fell over - which I do more or less every time I run). So I bit the bullet and bought a new pair of Sticky Thickies. They are great. Slightly different grip pattern, and slightly tighter than the old pair - but I'd put that down to the old ones being stretched and worn out a ridiculous amount. Still great, but still not warm enough for me in the winter...  For me they are a summer, or at the most, a mild weather glove - if I'm out in them for any length of time at the moment, I might as well not be wearing anything on my hands in terms of

Gloves I have got rid of

Rab Baltoro gloves- I just didn't find them warm enough. My fingers just froze in them as soon as we left the house.
Sealskinz Activity gloves - again, although they are ok, I don't need a glove that is waterproof and doesn't keep my hands warm. To me, pointless.
Sealzkinz Primaloft filled activity gloves - yes they have primaloft around the hand, but not really around the fingers - where I really feel the cold. Walking in them was like any other glove - my fingers just froze.
Rab Phantom Grip Gloves - I haven't intentionally got rid of these, I just can't find them anywhere.


  1. Interesting Tim. I'm yet to find the best running glove for cold / wet weather. I find thin gloves too cold, thicker gloves too bulky and mitts sometimes too warm and don't give enough dexterity.

  2. If you want a pair of warm, dexterous gloves that are "waterproof", I've got a pair of Arcteryx SV gloves kicking around that I don't use. Warm and with high dexterity. I don't use them as I'm now a mitt convert. You can try em and buy em if you want.

  3. Hi,
    How do the extremes hold up, and are they packable? I'm thinking of getting them and don't know about durability and space. Thanks!

  4. The extremes have been holding up really well. Durable and bombproof. You do notice when it rains hard and you get ingress into the main body (due to non-taped seams). Ive found you can turn them inside-out really easily to dry them as well.

    They also come with a stuffsack, which they stuff into very easily, and you can hold it in the palm of your hand. So. Very packable. I'll try and get a photo up on this blog later today with them packed into the sack.