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Reviews > Clothing > Gloves and Mittens > Outdoor Research BackStop Gloves > Test Report by Gail Staisil

Outdoor Research 
Women's BackStop Gloves

Test Series by: Gail Staisil, Marquette, Michigan

Page Contents:

Initial Report:
February 15, 2011

Tester Information The author in winter

Gail Staisil
Age: 58
Gender: Female
Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
Weight: 145 lb (66 kg)
Location: Marquette, Michigan USA
Email: woodswoman 2001 AT yahoo DOT com

For the last 19 years, backpacking has become a passion. I am a four-season backpacker and an off-trail navigator. Although I do take yearly trips to the American West or Southwest, the majority of my trips are in Michigan and Canada. My pack weight varies considerably but my base weight is below 18 lb (8 kg). I am primarily a tarp camper who averages more than 50 nights a year backpacking in a huge variety of weather conditions including relentless rain, wet snow and sub-zero temps.

Product Information

Outdoor Research
Model Women's BackStop Gloves
Black (Also available in Berry)
Radiant Fleece
Women's Large (S-L available as well as Men's sizes)
Manufacturer  Weight  2.1 oz/60 g (for size Medium)
Tested Weight  1.9 oz (54 g)
Model Year 2010-11
MSRP $35.00

Initial Impressions and Product Description 

The Outdoor Research Women's BackStop Gloves arrived in great condition in the requested size of Women's Large. They are available in three sizes for women as well as Men's sizes. The gloves were attached to a small hangcard in English and French that explained the details of the gloves.


Design and Technical Features
OR Women's BackStop Gloves
The BackStop Gloves are classified as technical liner gloves by the manufacturer. However their attributes allow them to be used alone or with overmitts. I would describe the gloves as being very light weight. What sets these liners apart from many on the market is that part of the gloves feature a WINDSTOPPER lining. This lining offers total windproofness as well as maximum breathability. The lining covers only the back of each glove from the cuff to the fingertips and includes the back of each thumb.

Radiant Fleece Fabric is the primary material that is used to make the gloves. It is a 100-wt fabric that is highly breathable and reportedly wicks moisture away from the skin. The fabric has stretch to it, has a soft fleece-like backing and is very comfortable. This is the main fabric of the glove and while it is paired with the WINDSTOPPER fabric in selected locations as described above, other areas such as the palm and cuff are comprised solely of Radiant Fleece.

Each glove features a cuff measuring about 2.25 in (5.72 cm) in length.

Extra adornments include the company OR logo on the center top of each glove and flower logos on small tags inserted into the seam near the thumb on each glove. The latter denotes the women's line by the manufacturer. There is also a small buckle to clip the gloves together when not worn, and a tag on the right glove with the WINDSTOPPER label.

The palm side of the gloves feature selected patches of silicone for grip. There is a small patch on the thumb and a bit more on the first and second fingers. Another band runs across the top of each palm area. I have worn quite a few gloves with grippers before but never has the grip been so specialized in certain areas. The manufacturer claims that it is not only for grip but also for added weather protection and abrasion resistance.

Trying Them ON:
Silicone grippers

The Women's BackStop Gloves couldn't fit me more perfectly. Since I don't always find a good fit length wise with women's gloves, I often wear men's gloves. However the latter is often too big width wise.

I pulled the BackStop Gloves on and was happy to see that they fit very well with my fingers having just a bit of space left in the glove at the ends of each finger and thumb.

The "v" space between each finger also matches up just right! The gloves are stretchy enough that my fingers articulate well. My hand dimensions are right on with the manufacturer's chart for length and my hand is on the smaller side of the equation for the recommended width but the gloves don't have extra bulk.


The care instructions are located on a tag inside of each glove. The tag is very crinkly or noisy but doesn't seem to be irritating to my skin so far.

The instructions are to machine wash separately with cold water and powdered detergent. They should be hung to dry and not bleached, ironed or dry cleaned. Sounds easy enough except for the "separate" part, I can see doing that on the first washing due to maybe some loss of color but does it really mean every time? If so, it would be more efficient to just hand wash in my opinion.
I'm looking forward to wearing the BackStop Gloves for the next four months during many backcountry pursuits including multi-day trips.   

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Field Report:

April 22, 2011

USA Locations and Conditions

During the field test period, I have worn the Outdoor Research BackStop Gloves 34 times. Outings included one multi-day winter backcountry trip of three days. I have also worn them extensively for winter/early spring sport activities including cross country skiing, snowshoeing and hiking. Locations in Michigan and Arizona, USA ranged from and included boreal and deciduous forest communities, backcountry frozen lakes, groomed and ungroomed ski trails and low and high desert mountainous terrain. Elevation ranged from 600 ft (183 m) to approximately 5,000 ft (1500 m).

February Sledge Trip

Location: Hiawatha National Forest - Michigan, USA
Type of Trip: Old road bed and off trail
Distance: 11.4 mi (18.35 km)
Length of Trip: 3 days/2 nights
Sledge Weight: Estimated 50 lb (22.7 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Mostly cloudy
Precipitation: Trace of snow
Temperature Range: 4 F (-16 C) to 29 F (-2 C)

Day Activities

Cross country skiing, snowshoeing/running and hiking
Blueberry Ridge Trails, Noquemanon Trails, Mt Marquette Trails, McKeever Trails, Michigan Tech Trails, Swedetown Trails, Saux Head Trails, ...all locations in Marquette, Alger and Houghton Counties, Upper Peninsula of Michigan, USA; South Mountain Trails, Superstition Mts, Sedona Area Trails .....all latter locations in Arizona, USA
Distance: Usually not measured in distance but the sessions average 2 -2.5 hrs in length for snowshoeing and skiing. Hiking outings were up to 6 hrs in length

Performance in the Field

Breakdown of Activities (as recorded in my trail notes):

Snowshoeing or snowshoe running: 10 sessions
Cross Country skiing: 16 sessions
Day Hiking: 8 sessions

During the end of February I took a sledge trip of three days. The temperatures on this trip were on the cold side so I wore the BackStop Gloves under shell mittens (Outdoor Research) while sledging and alone for camp duties. They worked well to keep my hands warm while I was setting up camp (tarp). I wore them handling a small shovel to carve out my camp space as well as to pile snow up around my stick stakes. They were also used during food preparation and snow melting chores. The temps during these chores were mostly around 15 F (8 C) and morning chores were down to 4 F (-16 C).

During the rest of the test period the gloves were worn extensively for aerobic winter/spring activities. These included snowshoeing, snowshoe running, cross country skiing and hiking. I have primarily worn the gloves when temps were above 25 F (-4 C) so other outings weren't included in my data. During the Arizona trip I was surprised to be able to wear them on some of my hikes where the morning hours were below freezing (32 F/0 C). After the first hour or more the gloves were easily stashed in my pack the rest of the time.

Thoughts on Performance
Adjusting zipper while wearing the BackStop Gloves
Overall I like the fit of the gloves as they don't have to be peeled off of my hands when my hands are sweaty.

The fit is a bit loose and not tight. The only downside of that is that often my fingertips seem to ride up a bit in the gloves leaving a baggy area at the end of the fingertips. This is very evident when I use them for skiing as I'm sure the strap system on the poles works the fabric with each release of the pole (to explain further, when poling while skiing the pole is released completely after each pole plant and only the strap of the ski pole is touching the glove).

This however is not a negative as they are not marketed as cross country ski gloves. Comparatively it is less of a problem when I use them with hiking poles.

I have found that the gloves are very comfortable and warm when I am engaged in heavy aerobic activity during cool temps (mid 20's F/-4 C and above). Usually this means that I am skiing or snowshoeing. I noticed that when I hike my fingertips seem to get cold as I simply am not generating as much body heat then. The gloves are more comfortable for me when the temps are between 30 F (4 C) and 40 F (4 C) while hiking. The back of the gloves are windproof and that has helped with the cold brisk winds.

I do like the pattern of the silicone grips. It gives just enough grip to whatever I am trying to hold but doesn't interfere or stick to my poles or objects excessively. I have been able to open zippers, adjust bindings on skis and snowshoes, hold on to water bottles and operate a camera all while wearing the gloves.

Although my hands get a bit sweaty in the gloves while skiing it is not excessive. The gloves only feel slightly damp when I take them off and they dry quickly.

Durability and Care So Far
Handling the webbing on my snowshoes after snapping the ends together
Overall the gloves have shown little wear despite all the use. There is a slight catch on one fingertip and there is some pilling in the area between the thumb and the first finger (palm side) on each glove. Surely this is due to my extensive use of poles for skiing, snowshoeing and hiking.

The silicone grip areas are in perfect shape. The gloves have been washed often (at least weekly) in the washing machine with other clothes and they have been placed on a drying rack. With the low humidity in my home in the winter, they have dried quite quickly. 

I have found these gloves to be more than dependable for my sports activities. I can count on them to keep my hands comfortable and dry. The next few months will bring a lot of backpacking trips as well as more day hiking, trail running and mt biking. I look forward to wearing the gloves on many of these adventures.

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Long Term Report:

June 16, 2011

USA Locations and Conditions

During the long term test period, I have worn the Outdoor Research BackStop Gloves an additional 31 times. Locations were all in Michigan, USA. Boreal and deciduous forest communities were common. Elevation ranged from 600 ft (183 m) to approximately 1400 ft (427 m).

Note: All Pack Weights for backpacking trips include 2 qt/1.89 L water

Early May BackpackingTrip:

Location: Hiawatha National Forest - Michigan, USA
Type of Trip: Trail/bush roads
Distance: 15 mi (24 km)
Length of Trip: 2 days/1 night
Pack Weight: 23 lb (10.4 kg) 
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy, sunny
Precipitation: None
Temperature Range: 27 F (-3 C) to 41 F (5 C)

Mid-May BackpackingTrip:

Location: North Country Trail - Manistee National Forest, Michigan
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance:  29.9 mi (48 km)
Length of Trip: 3 days/3 nights
Pack Weight: 24 lb (-4 C)
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy, sunny
Precipitation: 0.17 in rain (0.43 cm)
Temperature Range: 52 F (11 C) to 75 F (24 C)

Late May BackpackingTrip:

Location: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore - Michigan
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 42 mi (68 km)
Length of Trip: 4 days/3 nights
Pack Weight: 28 lb (12.7 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy, sunny and rain
Precipitation: 0.80 in (2.03 cm) rain
Temperature Range: 30 F (-1 C) to 72 F (22 C)

June BackpackingTrip:

Location: Grand Island National Recreation Area - Michigan
Type of Trip: Trail/some bushwhack
Distance: 24.6 mi (39.6 km)
Length of Trip: 3 days/2 nights
Pack Weight: 23 lb (10.4 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Sunny
Precipitation: None 
Temperature Range: 40 F (4 C) to 63 F (17 C)

Additional activities besides backpacking:

Snowshoeing (1 day), hiking (11 days) and mt biking (5 days), trail running (2 days)
Includes North Country Trail sections in both the Upper and Lower Peninsula of Michigan, Nubs Nob Trails, Noquemanon Trails, Harlow Lake Trails, Blueberry Ridge Trails and Marquette Mt (all in MIchigan, USA).
Distance: Usually not measured in distance but most activities ranged from 1.5 hrs to 4 hrs

Performance in the Field

The BackStop Gloves have continued to perform well during the long term period. Due to mostly cool conditions here, the gloves became a necessity on most of my outings.

Continued Thoughts on Performance
Tester wearing the BackStop Gloves during backpacking trip
I continue to love wearing the BackStop Gloves. They have been worn on every backpacking trip while hiking at least in the cold early morning hours and at camp during both the morning and evening hours. There is just no getting away from cool weather here.

I have also found them to perform well for many day activities. This included five sessions of mountain biking. There was just enough grip provided by the silicone patches that I had no problem with my hands slipping off the handlebars. 

The gloves are easy to wear while performing tasks. I can open any zipper including those on my various backpacks, bike pack and waistpack while wearing the gloves. I have also enjoyed the fact that I don't have to take my gloves off to operate my camera or rip open a snack package.

While wearing the gloves they seem to be breathable enough that I have not found them to be uncomfortable or clammy. Sometimes they get a bit sweaty but that is usually if I am trail running. There is enough breeze while mountain biking or just day hiking to keep my  hands uniformly comfortable.

I also did get to wear them one additional time earlier in the long term period while snowshoeing and they were perfect. Most temps that I have found them comfortable in have varied from 25 F (-4 C) for high-aerobic sports such as trail running to 60 F (16 C) for low-aerobic sports such as hiking. They have been worn during many types of weather including rain. Although the gloves get soggy during the latter, I just squeezed the water out and continued on my way. It wasn't cold enough to make a difference in my comfort level.

Piling between thumb and first finger
Durability and Care 

Overall the durability of the gloves has proven to be a winner. Other than some piling that continues to develop between the thumb and first finger of each glove (from pole usage), they are in great condition. I don't consider the piling to be abnormal. The silicone grip areas are still in great shape. I have continued to wash the gloves with my regular laundry and then they have been air dried.


I have found the Outdoor Research BackStop Gloves to be very versatile and comfortable. They have performed well for many types of activities and have held up well to a lot of usage (worn 65 times).

Tester Remarks 

Thanks to Outdoor Research and BackpackGearTest for this opportunity to test the Women's BackStop Gloves. This concludes my Long Term Report and the test series.
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