Kombi Latitude Gloves
Test Series by Kurt Papke
January 20, 2008
Backpacking Background: mostly in Minnesota - have hiked all of the
Hiking Trail, starting on the Border Route.
Dayhiking in Utah,
Colorado and Oregon. Mostly Spring/Fall season hiker.
Winter activities are primarily single-day snowshoe and x-country
skiing outing in addition to the normal cold-weather life in Minnesota.
|| Kurt Papke
|| 6' 4" (193 cm)
|| 220 lbs (100 kg)
|| kwpapke at gmail dot com
|City, State, Country:
|| Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
|| Kombi/Kombi Ltd.
|Year of manufacture:
|| Not available
|Weight as received:
||6.3 oz (180 g)
||MSRP not available
The gloves arrived with full hangtags, including a description of the
glove materials and features:
Interestingly there was a second tag permanently attached to the cuff
with a slightly different view and details of the materials:
As can be seen from the photos and description on the tags the gloves
are a combination of leather and synthetic materials, with the leather
placed in areas requiring high durability on the palms and
knuckles. The neoprene cuff with hook-and-loop closure provides
additional wrist coverage and draft elimination.
The insulation is described by the manufacturer as X-loft, which from
the cuff tag appears to be a polyester fleece. The inner liner is very
soft, described by the manufacturer as Accu-Dri which from the cuff tag
is also polyester, and described by their website as a hydrophilic and
anti-microbial fiber. Another cuff tag gives a scary warning
concerning the liner:
I did not experience any issues with the liner in my first day of use,
even though I did not follow the careful removal instructions on the
Caution tag. I observed no problems with workmanship or finish of
Last but not least the gloves have a small clip to hook the two mated
gloves together so as not to misplace one of them (see below).
More on this later.
The Latitude gloves fit me well, though the tips of the fingers are
snug, not a typical issue I experience with this size of glove.
The fingers have a very natural curvature which keeps the fingers in a
relaxed position and allows full finger flex.
The neoprene cuff does come far enough up the wrist to overlap a watch
where I normally wear one, and I quickly learned to put the left glove
first to allow the cuff to be adjusted over a watch with an ungloved
hand. The cuff has a low profile and fit nicely beneath the
sleeves of my jacket.
My first day of use was a bitterly cold Minnesota day: temperatures
hovered between -5F (-20C) and +4F (-15C) with minimal wind. At
first I experienced very cold fingertips, though after moving around
and generating some body heat my fingers did warm up.
Over the course of several hours I drove a vehicle and performed
outdoor chores, including much lifting/carrying and some use of tools
including a screwdriver and wrench. I was pleasantly surprised at
the fingertip dexterity and was able to perform most operations without
removing the gloves. The leather on the gloves made for a good
driving grip, though once the car warmed up the gloves were overly warm
and had to be removed.
My only frustration with the gloves was the clip pictured above that is
used to keep the pair from being separated when not in use. My
very first experience with the gloves was a bit of a struggle to unhook
the clip - the plastic is very stiff and required quite a bit of
pressure. Perhaps I am unusual, but I actually use these to
prevent the inevitable "where is the other glove?". I have
purchased some very inexpensive gloves that have had clips that were
much easier to use than those on the Kombi Latitudes.
I enjoyed my one day of use of the Kombi Latitude gloves. They
kept my hands as warm as any gloves I have worn, they feel good on my
hands and I found they had sufficient dexterity for performing many
tasks. The gloves are very attractive and I will have no
reservations about wearing them to work on a daily basis.
The gloves met my expectations set by their website, though I found
their use of proprietary names for fabric and insulation (e.g.
"Taifun", "X-loft") made it difficult for me to know what to
expect. They also classify the Latitude gloves in their "mid
weight" category, and as they have neither a "lightweight" nor
"heavyweight" category it was difficult for me to calibrate my
expectations for heft.
This concludes my Initial Report on the Kombi Latitude gloves.
The Field Report will be appended to this report in two months and will
include field testing data from two months of Minnesota winter.
March 9, 2008
The following is by no means an exhaustive list of my usage of the
gloves - I have selected each of these anecdotes to illustrate a
particular attribute of the gloves.
Local dayhike Feb 2, 2008:
I chose this day due to the high humidity to do a roadwalk so as to
use without trekking poles. Temperature hovered
around 25F (-4C), with a relative humidity at 87% which is very high
these temperatures. I tested the gloves on my typical weekend
amble around Lake Riley, a roadwalk of about 6 miles (9.7km) with flat
topography at an elevation of 875 ft (267m). I covered the route
about 2 hours. After the first 15 minutes my hands became quite
warm, on the verge of being too warm and a bit of sweat began to form
on my palms. During the rest of the hike my hands maintained this
temperature. I felt that the gloves were very comfortable for
walking use - they did not feel overly heavy with my arm swing without
SHT snowshoe Feb 9, 2008:
used the gloves for 10-mile (16km) snowshoe outing between Finland and
Crosby-Manitou on the Superior Hiking Trail. Temperatures varied
between 20-25F (-7 to -4C), light winds. Elevation varied from
1300-1700ft (400-520m). Overall pace was 2mph (3.2km/h).
One of the things I was looking for on this hike was comfort with
poles/straps. I found that the neoprene cuff accommodated the
straps very well with no slippage, and the finger curvature made
gripping the poles effortless. My fingers were kept warm by
the gloves during the entire hike - during the last hour my companion
had to switch to mittens to keep his fingers warm as the temperature
dropped, but I was able to continue using the Kombi gloves. I
took the gloves off during breaks and found that my fingers warmed up
quickly when I put them back on again. They were almost too warm
for these temperatures - I was breaking a good sweat and I found my
hands were also sweating in the gloves.
I did experience some liner inversion
during this hike: as the above caution notice picture indicates
the liner is not sewn to the outer glove, and when I pulled the gloves
off during one of my rest stops when my hands were sweating the liner
did come partially out of some of the fingers. With a little bit
of poking I was able to get the liner seated properly again. This
problem seemed to pop up when my hands were moist increasing the
friction between skin and the normally smooth liner.
U of Minnesota Landscape
Arboretum Feb 16, 2008: used the gloves on a 3-mile dayhike with
a relaxed pace. Temperatures varied from 20-25F (-7 to -4C), but
with winds varying from 5-15 mph (8-24 km/h). The hike had
many exposed ridgelines where we were hiking directly into the wind,
with the wind-chill cold enough that I regretted not bringing a
balaclava. The gloves did a great job resisting the wind, and my
fingers stayed very warm.
2nd dayhike at same site on March 8, but 6 mile (9.7 km) hike this
temps: 8-17F (-13 to -8C) with winds from 2-16mph (3-26 km/h) with
low humidity. Once again even with a relaxed pace the gloves kept
my fingers toasty.
Backyard, Feb 20, 2008:
used the gloves during an observation of the Lunar Eclipse. Usage
was notable as to air temperature of -7F (-22C), and use of binoculars
with the gloves. My hands stayed warm during the 30 minutes of
observation, and I was able to focus the binoculars with the gloves on.
Minnesota River Wildlife
Refuge Louisville Unit, March 9, 2008: 4.5 miles (7.25km) of
casual snowshoeing altitudes around 750ft (229m) temperatures from
15-24F (-9 to -4C), winds negligible. Usage was notable as this
was one of the few outings that I wore my Timex Ironman watch, which
was a bit of a hassle when trying to get the cuff to fit over it and
seal well. On the same day I also used the gloves when using the
snowblower on my driveway, an activity that typically results in cold
& numb fingers, but the Latitudes kept my fingers warm during the
Daily use: I wore the
gloves almost every day during the test period, often for only the
minutes of my commute until my car warmed up. Undoubtedly Kombi
did not design the Latitudes as driving gloves, my intent was to test
long-term durability and to get a sense of my feelings about wearing
them on a daily basis. During this time the outdoor temperature
varied from -15F (-26C) to 40F (4.4C), with the interior of the car
much warmer of course. Once the heater
kicked in, the gloves were too warm to leave on. In contradiction
to my statement in my Initial Report above I found extended use for
driving to be problematic: the leather on the gloves is very smooth and
slippery and did not grip the steering wheel well.
My bottom line with my use to-date: the gloves have kept my fingers
comfortably warm in a wide range of temperatures and activities.
They have held up admirably after many hours of use with no discernable
- The neoprene cuff worked very well for me with jackets that had
elastic or hook-and-loop adjustments that allowed the sleeve to go over
the top of the cuff. The resultant air seal is excellent.
The cuff also mates well with trekking or ski pole straps. The
cuff was bothersome when wearing a thick watch.
- The gloves kept my hands comfortably warm at moderately cold
temperatures at low exertion levels even in stiff winds.
- The gloves were well-suited to light activities above 20F (-7C),
but with vigorous activity they were too warm and my hands sweat inside
the gloves at
- If my hands are moist or sweating, I found it necessary to follow
the cautionary note and remove the gloves carefully to avoid inverting
- In very cold conditions I sometimes pull my fingers out of glove
fingers and make a fist to warm them up. The hook-and-loop cuff
made it difficult to do this, requiring the cuff to be loosened.
- I found the hook-and-loop cuff irritating when I had to remove
the gloves frequently, to answer my cell phone, blow my nose,
Its possible to pull the glove off without unhooking the cuff if it is
not tightened too far, but impossible to get them back on again without
undoing the flap.
- The liner material is very soft. I never felt the need to
wear liner gloves with this product.
- There is a lot of insulation material at the ends of the
fingertips. This kept my fingertips warmer, but limited
dexterity with fine tasks.
- As can be seen in the first picture in the Initial Report above,
the right glove has the mating clip on the upper part of the glove near
the thumb and is very visible. I would prefer the clip to be on
the bottom of the hand where I wouldn't normally see it.
This ends my Field Report of the Kombi Latitude gloves. During
the remaining two months of the Long Term report I will use the gloves
as much as possible, but with the weather warming up these gloves may
become too warm to use.
May 20, 2008
Usage and Conditions
During late March and into April I was able to use the gloves only for
three short dayhikes as the temperatures became too warm for everyday
use. Temperatures ranged from 30 to 35 F (-1 to 2 C) on all of
the walks with moderate winds.
The gloves retain heat very well and I find them uncomfortably warm
above 35 F (2 C) when hiking. Above this temperature I find that
my palms sweat in the gloves, and I have a distinct sensation of
overheating in my hands.
The gloves have held up remarkably well after months of use. I
can find no signs of wear, cracking or discoloration. They have
also retained a very clean appearance - the leather and polyester are
quite resistant to dirt and staining.
On one snowshoe outing I was wearing all black and gray clothing with
the gloves - my wife commented that I looked disgustingly color
The tight fit
of the cuff continued to be an issue with my thick watch as can be seen
on the photo of my wrist to the left. The hook-and-loop closure
made it difficult to see the time on my watch. The "bump" created
from the watch face did diminish the cuff weather seal and allowed some
drafts. This also made it difficult to tuck the cuffs into my
jacket sleeves unless the jacket cuffs were elastic - the watch with
the cuff on top of it makes for a thick wrist.
I enjoyed my use of these gloves this winter. They are warm under
a wide range of cold and windy conditions. I appreciated the
comfort, the feel of the insulation against my hands, and the way they
mate with trekking poles used with straps.
Things I Liked
- Heat retention, warmth and wind resistance. The excellent
insulation and draft-preventing cuffs make for warm fingers.
- Finger curvature - great comfort for all-day use.
- Attractive and stylish - the gray & black colors coordinate
with many different colors of clothing.
- Durability and dirt resistance - these gloves will look great for
a long time.
- Contoured finger shape in combination with the tight cuff work
well with poles/straps.
Areas for Improvement
- The placement and difficulty of use of the glove clips really
irritated me. It was a shame for such a great set of gloves to
have something so trivial diminish my experience with them.
- Prevent liner inversion. I only had this happen once, and I
caught it before it became difficult to correct, but I have some
worries that this could occur under very cold conditions if I was
- Find a way to make the cuffs work better with a wristwatch.
The Kombi Latitude gloves have earned many future seasons of winter use
in below-freezing temperatures for walking and snowshoeing. They
have become my preferred hand protection in conditions where very warm
gloves are appropriate, particularly when poles (trekking or ski) are
Many thanks to Kombi and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to
test this product.
Read more gear reviews by Kurt Papke