In normal situations, cold hands mean it’s time to head in and warm up. But, when creature comfort isn’t available, cold hands can signal the beginning of dire circumstances.

Why do our hands get cold so easily? Like ear tips and feet, there’s much less fatty tissue in hands than the rest of the body. The blood vessels in our hands are also very close to the surface. So, blood circulating through the vessels in the back of the hand conducts heat away from the body instead of warming a layer of insulating, fatty tissue.

Combine easy heat loss with the high density of nerves in our hands, and it becomes clear why cold hands are painful; and painful hands lead to problems.

Lead guide for EXUM Mountain Guides, Brenton Reagan leads multiday technical winter mountaineering trips in the Teton mountain range. He’s been guiding since 2001 and has seen how a simple thing, such as cold hands, can initiate a series of cascading events that could lead to disaster.

pile-of-gloves

“Cold hands reduce the safety margin in everything we do in the mountains,” he says. “Closing locking carabineers, tying knots, properly securing gear … these are all easy things that become difficult with numb hands.”

Aside from hindering dexterity, Reagan warns cold hands lead to distracted performance, frustration, and, ultimately, they can compromise one’s ability to make smart and safe decisions.

The Best Defense

The best defense against cold hands is handwear that never has to come off, says Reagan. “Every time you have to take a glove off to do something in the snow,” says Reagan, “you’re making it harder to rewarm your hands.”

Finding handwear that can keep your hands warm isn’t so hard. But, finding gloves or mittens that provide just enough warmth while offering the dexterity needed to manipulate the tools or objects you’ll encounter in the cold is the trick. We spoke with Ben Martin, the handwear product developer at Black Diamond Equipment to find out how an expert looks at all the choices and trade-offs when it comes to handwear.

Gloves vs. Mitts

Your first decision is glove or mitten. There’s no controversy when it comes to warmth. Mittens win. Hands down. Martin says combining your fingers into one mass of mutually warming blood vessels instead of separating them in the fingers of a glove is the most efficient way to retain heat.

But, gloves are the only way to go if you’re working with tools. There are a couple of alternatives if you want more warmth, but still need to use your fingers. Glove liners inside a pair of mittens are a viable option if pulling your lightly insulated hands out of mittens for brief periods is practical. Finger mitts are another option. These are mittens with a separate trigger finger allowing you to use the thumb and index finger, but retreat to a balled-up fist when things get tingly.

Some mitts have inner gloves that separate your fingers. This might reduce thermal efficiency a bit, but it adds dexterity. The fingerways help the glove move with your fingers, so when you’re making a fist in one of these mitts the finger end moves more easily; whereas, in a regular mitt, you can ball up your fingers (or give someone the bird) and the shell will remain unmoved.

Whether gloves or mitts, long gauntlet handwear provides more warmth and easier donning on doffing. On the other hand (can you believe we waited this long to use that pun?) big gauntlets takes up more room in a pack, add a little weight and act as water funnels, catching the runoff from your arms during any hands-down activity.

Fit

Goldilocks is the rule, here. Too big and you’ve got no dexterity, not to mention your handwear could fall off. Go too tight and you’re restricting your hand’s range of motion while crushing the insulation, which compromises its ability to loft and contain warm air.

Martin says panels sewn to fit the shape of an anticipated posture, also called articulation, contributes to the fit of handwear. “With prebent fingers there’s less material to move when using your hands,” says Martin, “and articulation also helps a glove last longer by taking the stress off of areas that are naturally, and constantly, articulated during normal wear and use.” Gloves with straight fingers will always have material bunched up under the front side of the knuckle and palm. That material creases and wears while getting in the way of efficient movement.

Seams

Martin says to check out the seams in the fingertips of gloves. The way they’re sewn plays a role in the comfort and dexterity a glove affords. Big seams that extend all the way to the fingertip leave a bunch of material clogging up the tip of the finger, inhibiting touch and compressing insulation. It’s similar to a big, nasty, annoying seam at the end of a sock, except instead of one, you’ve got five in a glove, one in a mitten and two in a finger mitt.

Waterproofing

Dry hands are warm hands. And, sweat counts as much as snow and rain in this consideration. Martin reminds us that handwear that’s too warm for a given environment will eventually wet out from sweat and cause cold hands. The same goes for handwear that doesn’t breathe. Trash bags on your hands might keep them dry from rain, but they’ll be soaked on the inside from sweat and freezing in no time.

Technical fabrics, such as Gore-Tex, OutDry, and eVent are effective for moving humid air and sweat away from the body where they will chill you, but these branded fabrics add to the price of handwear. Other ways to keep your hands dry include silicone impregnation and waxed finishes on leather and natural fabrics.

Shells

The outer or shell of a glove has to be durable, pliable, and provide a good gripping surface. Nothing will feel better than a broken-in leather glove or mitt. Leather is also more durable than nearly any fabric because it’s not made of yarns that can pull or break. It also kicks ass when it comes to gripping things. It falls down when it comes to water resistance, though. Waterlogged leather is about as bad as it gets. Leather can be treated for waterproofness, though. The downside is that nearly all leather treatments have to be reapplied.

Martin explains that all leather is not equal. He says cowhide is the least supple of leathers. It also gets crunchy and shrinks when it dries after it’s wetted out. Goat leather has naturally occurring lanolin, making it more supple, stronger, and better at dealing with moisture than cow leather. It’s also thinner. Kangaroo hide is very thin and very strong, but it’s very expensive and usually only used in gloves where feel is paramount, say in a purpose-built driving, golfing, or shooting glove.

Nylon shells are lighter than leather, take up less room in a pack, and don’t absorb nearly as much water. But without the addition of grippy material on the palm and finger pads, you’re never going to hold anything securely.

Insulation

We can divide insulations into high-loft and low-loft varieties. Down and Primaloft, respectively, are examples of natural and synthetic high-loft insulations. Wool and Polartec fleece are examples of low-loft natural and synthetic insulations.

High-loft insulation is great on the back of the hand, but it doesn’t work in the palm. It doesn’t insulate when it’s compressed, and it adds bulk between your hand and whatever you’re gripping. Low-loft insulation in the palm and fingers retains less warmth, but has less of an effect on dexterity. Look for handwear with insulation in places that make sense for your use.

Natural down is the gold standard when it comes to high-loft insulation. Nothing is warmer for its weight, but it’s expensive, ineffective when wet, and its slippery and superfine nature make it difficult to retain in fabric shells. Down treated with silicone and other modifiers help it maintain its loft when wet, but the coatings reduce down’s thermal effectiveness, and they wear off over time.

High-loft synthetics create air spaces that trap air using a wild matrix of polyester fibers to create a lofty structure. They insulate nearly as well as down, cost less, and aren’t compromised by moisture.

Low-loft insulations use finer fibers to create tighter air-trapping structures than high-lofting materials. Low loft doesn’t provide as much warmth as high loft, but its density offers warmth with less bulk.

Material Mapping

None of the materials on their own are a silver bullet solution for keeping your hands warm and dry. Good handwear combines materials to provide the best compromise between protection and dexterity for the area of the hand it’s on. Things to look for: Leather palms or textured panels for good grip; reinforcement panels in high wear areas; high-loft insulation on the back of the hand; thin, non-shearing insulation in the palm; gauntlets that seal the handwear effectively, retain heat, and repel water without getting in the way.

Simple Metrics

We did some informal heat retention testing of all the handwear in this guide to get a baseline for comparison. We put a solid hunk of oven-hardened, room-temperature clay, roughly the size of a baby’s fist in each piece of handwear and put them all in a 0 degree F freezer, taking temperature readings at 20 and 60 minutes. This gave us an idea how much heat each piece gave up and how quickly. Keep in mind this is only one highly artificial metric, and it doesn’t reflect the handwear’s ability to handle snow, rain, or wind. But it does help us sort the gloves in terms of pure insulating value.

We did find something interesting in the freezer test. When evaluating the insulating abilities of the Mammut Cover Mitten, an uninsulated fabric cover meant to bless any handwear with wind and water-resistant properties, we were surprised to find it added 30 degrees of warmth on its own. This tells us that wrapping your hands in dead leaves or sandwich bags may help stave off frostbite in a dire situation.

Final Thoughts

All of the considerations mentioned above affect the cost of a glove, and glove prices are all over the place. Time spent cutting, sewing, and sealing seams is a primary driver in the cost of a glove. Highly articulated forms mean more fabric panels, and more panels mean more seams to stitch and seal. Also, consider insulating ability as the primary, but not the only factor that determines how well a given set of handwear will work for you.

Whether an emergency forces you into a great white expanse, you’re working or playing out in the cold, or you’re just looking for something to keep your hands warm while scraping the ice off your windshield, there are a ton of great options. We’ve gathered an array of gloves and mittens that we’d consider getting a hold of.

A Guide To Keeping Cold at Arm's Length

  • arcteryx-lithic-glove-back-of-hand

    Arc’teryx Lithic Glove

    GLOVE - Arc'teryx Lithic Glove
    COLORS - Black, Crimson Flame
    PALM MATERIAL - Gore-Tex with TPU Grip Panels
    BASE MATERIAL - Gore-Tex Waterproof/Breathable 3-Layer Laminate
    INSULATION - Primaloft (Synthetic)
    MSRP - $249
    URL - http://www.arcteryx.com
    NOTES - This glove was designed by madmen bent on performance at any cost. It uses three different kinds of synthetic Primaloft insulation, maximizing the benefits of each kind of insulation in the fingers, back and palm of the hand. Two different weights of lofty Primaloft Silver insulation are layered on the back of the hand while the palm and fingers get PrimaLoft Gold Insulation Eco with Grip Control. This is a denser insulation that helps the inner and outer faces of the glove stay in line when you're grabbing things.
    Something present in the Lithic we didn't see in any other glove is an insulated draft tube that stops heat from wafting out at the wrist. The glove also features Arc'teryx's Tri-Dex finger patterning, which means there are no seams at the fingertips for maximum dexterity. Heavy articulation gets rid of all the excess material that would otherwise bunch up under every joint of the hand when gripping anything. Burly Gore-Tex fabric with laminated thermoplastic polyurethane grip panels on the palm and a highly breathable Gore-Tex fabric on the back of the hand keep weather out while promising many seasons of use. Unfortunately, all this means a steep price.
    PERFORMANCE - Few gloves, if any, combine the qualities of warmth, weather protection, and dexterity so well as the Lithic. It's a rare glove that lets you open up and dig through a pack for a set of batteries without having to take them off. Not a great value if you only use them for static activities, but when it comes to keeping your hands warm and dry during active pursuits, the Lithic glove is unequaled.

    The Arc'teryx Lithic Glove uses three different kinds of synthetic Primaloft insulation, maximizing the benefits of each kind of insulation in the fingers, back and palm of the hand to keep you toasty and warm.

  • astis-naddodd-mitten-back-of-hand

    Astis Naddodd Mitten

    MITTS - Astis Naddodd Mitten
    COLORS - Tan
    PALM MATERIAL - Suede Leather
    BASE MATERIAL - Silicone-Injected Suede Leather
    INSULATION - Polartec Thermal Pro
    MSRP - $195
    URL - http://www.astis.com
    NOTES - It's cool if you don't like the way the Naddodd Mitten's look as much as we do. That red shield with a white deer skull? We dig it. The name? Naddodd was a Viking who discovered Iceland. It seems like a good name for glove made for getting out and exploring frosty lands. On the flip side, this pair is pricey.
    PERFORMANCE - We were shocked at how functional these mitts were. We used them skiing on a nasty, wet snowmaking day that approximates activities ranging from snowmobiling to sled dog racing, and we couldn't believe how much grip the silicon-injected, waterproof suede leather provided on ski poles. The Kevlar stitching holding the thick leather mitts together might mean the Naddodds are going to withstand heavy use. Being leather, the more use they see, the more comfortable they become. Astis handwear was born a few years ago, and its products are handmade in the states, and that wouldn't matter a lick if the mitts weren't well made. The craftsmanship in these mitts is on par with the warmth, dexterity, and protection they provide.

    Naddodd was a Viking who discovered Iceland. It seems like a good name for glove made for getting out and exploring frosty lands, and we were shocked at how functional these mitts were.

  • black-diamond-guide-finger-mitten-back-of-hand

    Black Diamond Guide Finger

    MITTS - Black Diamond Guide Finger
    COLORS - Natural, Black
    PALM MATERIAL - Goat Leather
    BASE MATERIAL - Nylon/Gore-Tex Waterproof/Breathable Liner
    INSULATION - Primaloft Gold/Polartec Fleece/Boiled Wool
    MSRP - $170
    URL - http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com
    NOTES - The most practical approach to massively warm and useful handwear, the BD Guide Finger combines all the durability and comfort of leather with the insulating properties of carefully mapped out array of Primaloft Gold hi-loft, Polartec Fleece and Boiled wool insulation. Aside from the dexterous benefits of a claw mitten, there's even some foam padding on the knuckles, and a Cyberian cord lock for one-handed open and closing of the gauntlet.
    PERFORMANCE - Out in the open these mitts are warm. They are equally warm in a driving wind and can sluff off snow and rain for hours. Like any leather, though the innards will remain dry, extended use in rain will lead to the leather wetting out and weighing a ton. Still, with dry warm hands on the inside, you've got options. Probably the second warmest feeling handwear we donned for this test, it's without a doubt the best combination of warmth, comfort, and dexterity in any handwear presented here.

    The most practical approach to massively warm and useful handwear, the BD Guide Finger combines all the durability and comfort of leather with the insulating properties of carefully mapped out array of Primaloft Gold hi-loft, Polartec Fleece and Boiled wool insulation.

  • camelbak-cold-weather-gloves-palm-of-hand

    Camelbak Cold Weather Gloves

    GLOVE - Camelbak Cold Weather Gloves
    COLORS - Black
    PALM MATERIAL - Leather
    BASE MATERIAL - Nylon
    INSULATION - Thinsulate (Synthetic)
    MSRP - $56
    URL - http://www.camelbak.com
    NOTES - Camelbak's cold weather entry is purpose-built for the military market. Thinsulate insulation does an adequate job staving off the freeze while leaving enough feel to work on vehicles or fire a rifle. The index finger is uninsulated beyond the last knuckle for better trigger feel. Padding offers protection for the lower knuckles while adding a little insulation. A gutted 550-cord loop sewn at the wrist helps keep track of the gloves and helps putting them on.
    PERFORMANCE - The gloves fit true to size and wear well. A Velcro strap keeps things in place, and the whole back of the thumb is a neoprene snot pad. The alligator pattern on the leather palm supplies excellent grip. But, all four seams of the box sewn fingers meet up at the fingertip and don't help the glove's feel at all. They aren't the most thermally efficient gloves in the bunch, but they're going to keep your hands from freezing while chopping wood or hooking up a trailer. They definitely won't cut it for a long patrol unless Odin is really smiling on you.

    Camelbak's cold weather entry is purpose-built for the military market. Thinsulate insulation does an adequate job staving off the freeze while leaving enough feel to work on vehicles or fire a rifle.

  • carhartt-fleece-duck-glove-back-of-hand

    Carhartt Fleece Duck Glove

    GLOVE - Carhartt Fleece Duck Glove
    COLORS - Black, Brown, Gravel
    PALM MATERIAL - Polyester Fleece w/Polyurethane Grip Panels
    BASE MATERIAL - Polyester Fleece
    INSULATION - None
    MSRP - $23
    URL - http://www.carhartt.com
    NOTES - These polyester fleece gloves feel a little bit lighter than a college sweatshirt. But, the tiny voids trap a lot more air than the knitted fabric of your favorite leaf raking uniform. We pulled these synthetic fleece Carhartts off a discount rack and used them for an afternoon of early winter fence mending in northern New England. Rubberish grip panels across the palms helped give some grip to the otherwise frictionless fleece.
    PERFORMANCE - The fleece snagged on every splinter in the fence boards and every swing of the hammer brought visions of Thor loosing Mjölnir upon the horses in the adjacent pasture. The gloves hold more heat than they should by looking at them, but it's still not that much. Fine dog walkers, and a step above "better than nothing."

    We pulled these synthetic fleece Carhartts off a discount rack and used them for an afternoon of early winter fence mending in northern New England. Rubberish grip panels across the palms helped give some grip to the otherwise frictionless fleece.

  • faded-glory-ski-glove-back-of-hand

    Faded Glory Ski Gloves

    GLOVE - Faded Glory Ski Gloves
    COLORS - Black
    PALM MATERIAL - Silicon-Coated Nylon Strip
    BASE MATERIAL - Polyester
    INSULATION - Polyester (Synthetic)
    MSRP - $10
    URL - http://www.walmart.com
    NOTES - Walmart. It's where we go when buying new socks is cheaper than doing laundry in the hotel. It's also home to the Faded Glory brand of clothing. We aren't sure what glory this brand once attained, but it's tough to imagine anything more faded than a crinkly, $10 polyester hand marked with the words "Hecho en China" laying on the floor of a Walmart men's department. Polyester inside and out, with more polyester loft insulation in the middle. A strap across the back holds them in place and a cordloc on a shock cord attempts to seal the wrist.
    PERFORMANCE - In the freezer, the Faded Glory Ski Glove looked like it could outshine it's price tag and hang with the big gloves. In the real world, though, the glove's lack of articulation means the insulation and fabric bunch up in the palm. Waterproofing isn't a bright spot, either. Loose seams and wandering stitches could be forgiven on a bargain basement glove, but when you add poor dexterity, water ingress at the seams, and the idea the gloves could unravel at any time, you can do much better for a few bucks more elsewhere.

    Walmart. It's where we go when buying new socks is cheaper than doing laundry in the hotel. It's also home to the Faded Glory brand of clothing. We aren't sure what glory this brand once attained, but it's tough to imagine anything more faded than a crinkly, $10 polyester hand marked with the words "Hecho en China" laying on the floor of a Walmart men's department. Polyester inside and out, with more polyester loft insulation in the middle. A strap across the back holds them in place and a cordloc on a shock cord attempts to seal the wrist.

  • flylow-gear-tough-guy-glove-back-of-hand

    FlyLow Gear Tough Guy Glove

    GLOVE - FlyLow Gear Tough Guy Glove
    COLORS - Blue/Tan
    PALM MATERIAL - Pig Leather w/Wax Treatment
    BASE MATERIAL - Cotton Canvas
    INSULATION - Space Loft (Polyester Synthetic)
    MSRP - $32
    URL - http://www.flylowgear.com
    NOTES - Pig skin and cotton canvas doesn't seem like a formula for a warm glove, and it's not really that warm. But warmth alone may not be the only criterion you're considering. If you work outside in the winter, you'll find the natural grippiness of the pig skin a plus. Blessed with hot hands? The breathable cotton on the back of these gloves will be a further blessing. The light layer of polyester insulation throughout the glove keeps things warm enough without destroying the ability to complete gross motor skill tasks. The triple baked-in application of Sno-Seal natural wax provides a waterproof finish for the leather areas.
    PERFORMANCE - The Tough Guy Glove is what hardware store work gloves aspire to. Ten days of use and you've broken in your favorite winter truck gloves. Putting chains on a tire or pulling an injured person to safety in a toboggan won't leave you with bloody, raw hands. On the contrary, the more you beat up on these gloves, the more you'll miss them when it comes time to buy a new pair … or when a buddy recognizes their awesomeness and "borrows" them indefinitely.

    Pig skin and cotton canvas doesn't seem like a formula for a warm glove, and it's not really that warm, but if you work outside in the winter, you'll find the natural grippiness of the pig skin a plus.

  • mammut-climb-glove-back-of-hand

    Mammut Climb Glove

    GLOVE - Mammut Clomb Glove
    COLORS - Black
    PALM MATERIAL - Goat Leather
    BASE MATERIAL - Elastane
    INSULATION - None
    MSRP - $79
    URL - http://www.mammut.com
    NOTES - The glove isn't meant for bivouacking on a frigid mountainside, but for the sweat-soaked ascent that demands maximum tactility and control of the tools of ascension. If you can feel the warmth of sun on your back and hear the dripping of icicles around you, chances are the Climb Glove will be enough to keep your fingers from resembling a 10-pack of pink Popsicles as long as you're focused on the up.
    PERFORMANCE - Winter in icy New England and the mountains of western Wyoming aren't anything like the temperate-ish conditions found across most of the Southern U.S. So, if you don't need a cold weather hero glove for your climate, or you live in the cold but you're all about touch and control, check out the Climb Glove.

    The glove isn't meant for bivouacking on a frigid mountainside, but for the sweat-soaked ascent that demands maximum tactility and control of the tools of ascension. If you can feel the warmth of sun on your back and hear the dripping of icicles around you, chances are the Climb Glove will be enough to keep your fingers from resembling a 10-pack of pink Popsicles as long as you're focused on the up.

  • mammut-cover-mitten-back-of-hand

    Mammut Cover Mitten

    MITTS - Mammut Cover Mitten
    COLORS - Black
    PALM MATERIAL - DRYtech Waterproof/Breathable 2.5 Layer Laminate
    BASE MATERIAL - DRYtech Waterproof/Breathable 2.5 Layer Laminate
    INSULATION - None
    MSRP - $69
    URL - http://www.mammut.com
    NOTES - Take just about any glove or mitten and add the Cover Mitten to give it handwear superpowers. It's a windproof and waterproof hard shell for your hands that extends the host handwear's usable range downward by trapping more air, too.
    PERFORMANCE - We used the Cover mitts with a pair of already warm Hestra ski mittens. The covers added warmth to them by keeping the cold mist and wet man-made snow from sticking to the original mittens. The beauty is how small and light these are compared to the utility they provide. Ball them up and shove them in a pocket, and you'll forget about them. The best part is how stoked you'll be in your hour of need when you realize you've got them.

    Take just about any glove or mitten and add the Cover Mitten to give it handwear superpowers. It's a windproof and waterproof hard shell for your hands that extends the host handwear's usable range downward by trapping more air, too.

  • mechaniz-wear-winter-impact-pro-glove-back-of-hand

    Mechanix Wear Winter Impact Pro Glove

    GLOVE - Mechanix Wear Winter Impact Pro Glove
    COLORS - Black
    PALM MATERIAL - Leather
    BASE MATERIAL - Nylon w/Hipora Membrane
    INSULATION - Thinsulate
    MSRP - $39
    URL - http://www.mechanix.com
    NOTES - We'll forgive you if you look down on Mechanix gloves because they are everywhere. We can't walk through a Home Depot without seeing some Wilford Brimley type massaging his be-knuckled meat beaters through a pair of over-branded gloves. That mass-market appeal has funded a fine line of gloves on the other end of the spectrum, though. The hard-charging end, we mean. There are more features, useful features, crammed into this glove than there is Botox in Donatella Versace's forehead. Thinsulate insulation, Hipora waterproof/breathable membrane, dual layered leather palm, a touchscreen compatible finger … we're running outta room here.
    PERFORMANCE - This glove comes close to the freezer performance of a ski glove. That's pretty impressive for a low-loft–insulated glove. It's waterproof, though the leather wet out after 40 minutes of stacking wet brush during a light rain. No moisture got through the membrane, but the water did seep in at the wrist. Nothing anyone can do about that. But when you're outside doing yard work in wet weather cold enough to see your breath, and your hands aren't screaming, it's time to thank Mr. Brimley. As much as we like the warmth, the glove is stiff across the back and the non-articulated fingers gather a lot of leather when clenching a fist.

    The Mechanix Wear Winter Impact Pro Glove comes close to the freezer performance of a ski glove. That's pretty impressive for a low-loft–insulated glove.

  • montane-super-prism-mitten-back-of-hand

    Montane Super Prism Mitt

    MITTS - Montane Super Prism Mitt
    COLORS - Black
    PALM MATERIAL - Hypalon (Synthetic Rubber)
    BASE MATERIAL - Pertex Waterproof/Breathable
    INSULATION - Primaloft Gold
    MSRP - $64
    URL - http://www.montane.co.uk
    NOTES - The Super Prism is a super packable mitten suitable for any medium output endeavor. The mitts are filled with a light load of Primaloft Gold high-loft insulation. As small as they pack up, they're well suited for emergency use. They are thin enough to wear inside a larger mitt in a pinch. But, on their own they have all the features you'd need for a cross-country trip around or down a mountain.
    PERFORMANCE - The shells are a little on the delicate side, a by-product of their packability, so climbing over rocks isn't on their resume. But, keeping a pair stashed in glove compartment or pack pocket could save your bacon stuffers. The light insulation will keep you warm below freezing with just a little activity.

    The Super Prism is a super packable mitten suitable for any medium output endeavor. The mitts are filled with a light load of Primaloft Gold high-loft insulation. As small as they pack up, they're well suited for emergency use.

  • mountain-hardwear-absolute-zero-mitten-palm-of-hand

    Mountain Hardwear Absolute Zero Mitt

    MITTS - Mountain Hardwear Absolute Zero Mitt
    COLORS - Black, State Orange
    PALM MATERIAL - Polyester w/Grip Dots
    BASE MATERIAL - Ripstop Polyester w/OutDry Waterproof/Breathable Membrane
    INSULATION - Q. Shield-Treated 800-Fill Down w/Polyester Fleece Liner
    MSRP - $180
    URL - http://www.mountainhardwear.com
    NOTES - When it's time to attack the mountain, or brave what could be the worst conditions you'll ever face, it's the Absolute Zero you'll want on your hands. The treated 800-fill power down surrounds the hand, so there's no fine finger work happening with these. But, they're roomy enough for a glove liner so you can pull your hands out and in to get things done. There's a synthetic suede nose wipe, a wicking fleece liner and loops so you can clip them for safe keeping. However, you get what you pay for, so for these top-quality gloves, you're gonna have to shell out a bit.
    PERFORMANCE - Warm, dry, and absolutely impervious to the weather, your hands will sweat in anything but well below freezing temps. We'll say the Absolute Zero is as close as we'll get in this universe to shoving our hands in a dying Tauntaun … without the smell.

    The treated 800-fill power down surrounds the hand, so there's no fine finger work happening with these. But, they're roomy enough for a glove liner so you can pull your hands out and in to get things done. There's a synthetic suede nose wipe, a wicking fleece liner and loops so you can clip them for safe keeping.

  • mountain-hardware-typhoon-outdry-glove-palm-of-hand-louter-layer

    Mountain Hardwear Typhoon Outdry Glove

    GLOVE - Mountian Hardwear Typhoon Outdry Glove
    COLORS - Black, Brown
    PALM MATERIAL - Leather
    BASE MATERIAL - Polyester w/OutDry Membrane
    INSULATION - Polartec Power Stretch
    MSRP - $135
    URL - http://www.mountainhardwear.com
    NOTES - The Outdry Typhoon is a serious wet weather glove. It can keep hands dry in ways that would interest Moses. It's two gloves in one. Instead of a slippery liner sliding around inside a slippery outer glove, though, Outdry technology allows the outer glove to be lined with a waterproof membrane and a nonslip, protective backer. In turn, a regular fleece liner provides decent warmth, and no slippage between glove and liner.
    PERFORMANCE - The leather palm is durable, but we found the smooth leather very slippery. So much that we'd hit it with a few light passes of 120-grit sandpaper to keep from dropping carried items. While the glove shrugged off ice and snow from an all day adventure, it didn't retain as much warmth as we'd hoped. This is an ideal spring skiing or overland travel glove. The glove and liner system offers more options to extend wear.

    The Outdry Typhoon is a serious wet weather glove. It can keep hands dry in ways that would interest Moses. It's two gloves in one. Outdry technology allows the outer glove to be lined with a waterproof membrane and a nonslip, protective backer.

  • smartwool-ridgeway-glove-back-of-hand

    Smartwool Ridgeway Glove

    GLOVE - Smartwool Ridgeway Glove
    COLORS - Black, Buck
    PALM MATERIAL - Leather
    BASE MATERIAL - Leather/Wool
    INSULATION - Wool lining
    MSRP - $80
    URL - http://www.smartwool.com
    NOTES - Wool is one of our favorite performance fabrics. But, when we think of wool handwear, they're the big, hairy, ivory-colored beasts popular in the '70s. Since we weren't eager to teleport back to the time of bell-bottoms and the Brady Bunch, the Ridgeway didn't get much wear time. At first.
    PERFORMANCE - It turns out, like most things in life, a strong negative reaction can lead to a stronger bond than one that begins with a "meh." Once we gave it a chance, the Ridgeway became a favorite yard glove. The soft leather grabbed everything like caterpillar feet. The lining never hinted at the itch we remembered from our childhood. And warm? Yes. Even when they were wetted out with slushy snow, the wool kept the frost at bay. As a SHTF glove, the boxy fingers aren't great for pulling triggers, but they are naturally fire resistant.

    Wool is one of our favorite performance fabrics. The Smartwool Ridgeway Glove's soft leather grabbed everything like caterpillar feet. The lining never hinted at the itch we remembered from our childhood.

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    Stormy Kromer Tough Mitts

    MITTS - Stormy Kromer Tough Mitts
    COLORS - Black, Charcoal
    PALM MATERIAL - Goat Leather
    BASE MATERIAL - Wool
    INSULATION - Polyester Pile Lining
    MSRP - $60
    URL - http://www.stormykromer.com
    NOTES - Stormy Kromer is a 115-year-old brand that started on the American railroad. Their Tough Mitts combine wool and leather to make a functional, but good looking mitt that'll serve admirably as hand warmers for your daily winter commute. But, when things go sideways, the Tough Mitts can prove their metal beyond what flimsy Isotoner driving gloves can provide.
    PERFORMANCE - Slipping the Tough Mitts on provides instant access to the warmth of a pile lining, unlike knitted or woven liners that take a minute or two to warm up. The leather provides great grip and warmth when wet. These are durable enough for years of regular use and their mild-mannered appearance won't betray your inner prepper.

    Stormy Kromer's Tough Mitts combine wool and leather to make a functional, but good looking mitt that'll serve admirably as hand warmers for your daily winter commute. But, when things go sideways, the Tough Mitts can prove their metal beyond what flimsy Isotoner driving gloves can provide.

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