OUTDOOR RESEARCH BACKSTOP GLOVES
TEST SERIES BY NANCY GRIFFITH
June 26, 2011
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Northern California, USA
5' 6" (1.68 m)
130 lb (59.00 kg)
My outdoor experience began in high school with involvement in a local canoeing/camping group called Canoe Trails. The culmination was a 10-day canoe voyage through the Quebec wilds. I've been backpacking since my college days in Pennsylvania. I have completed all of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. My typical trip now is in the Sierra Nevada in California and is from a few days to a week long. I carry a light to mid-weight load, use a tent, stove and hiking poles.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
|Photo courtesy of Outdoor Research|
Year of Manufacture: 2011
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.outdoorresearch.com
MSRP: $35 US
Listed Weight: 2.1 oz (55 g) per pair size Medium
Measured Weight: 1.8 oz (52 g)
Color Tested: Black
Other colors available: Berry
Size Tested: Women's Medium
Other sizes available: S, L
Made in China
The Outdoor Research Backstop gloves are made of 95% Polyester and 5% Spandex. They are technical glove liners with a soft 100-weight fleece lining throughout. On the back of the hands from cuff to fingertips and back of the thumbs, there is a Windstopper lining. The palms have no Windstopper lining to allow for good breathability.
A pattern of silicone on the palm, thumb tip and first two fingers gives grip and abrasion resistance. The backs of the gloves have the OR logo stitched onto them. There is a small clip on the side near the cuff to allow the two gloves to clip together for ease of finding the pair. There is a small tag on the cuff of one glove with 'WINDSTOPPER' on it and both gloves have a small tag near the cuffs with the Outdoor Research flower logo indicating their Women's series.
INITIAL IMPRESSIONS & TRYING THEM OUT
My initial impression was that the gloves seem to be what was shown on the website. There were no surprises. They fit fine but are slightly too big for me. The finger tips are long and the width is a bit roomy. My hand measures at 7 in length and 7-1/4 in circumference which puts me at the low end of Medium per OR's sizing chart. The construction is high-quality with straight stitching and no loose threads.
I like the cozy feeling of the fleece liner. I also like having the clips for keeping the gloves together in a pair and often use this feature on other pairs of gloves that I own. The silicone grips are interesting. I'm looking forward to seeing how well they wear and how well they help me to grip my poles.
I thought that there was a paper insert inside the gloves because when I picked them up (after removing them from the packaging), I could hear and feel some stiff crinkly material inside. It turned out that it was a tag with washing instructions. I can't describe how much I dislike tags inside of gloves…especially large ones made of stiff material. These tags are large enough to cover nearly half of the backs of my hands. I wish that there was a better way of getting this information to the consumer.
I took them out for a pre-dawn run to see how well they breathed. The temperature was 31 F (0 C) and after about a mile (1.6 km), my hands were warm enough to no longer need the gloves. I left them on and noted how they felt. I could feel coolness through the palms as if they were breathing. I couldn't feel anything through the backs which made them feel warmer than the palms. When I finished my run and took the gloves off, my palms were dry while the backs of my hands were clammy (slightly damp).
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
The washing instructions are on a large tag inside both gloves and state:
Machine wash cold water
Do not bleach
Do not use fabric softener
Do not machine dry
Do not iron
Do not dry clean
I'm not sure why powdered detergent would be called for but I typically use liquid, so I'll have to look into that. I'll also have to make sure that they don't end up in the dryer by accident.
The Outdoor Research Backstop gloves are a well-made pair of glove liners which so far seem to have good breathability in the palms.
Likes so far:
Dislikes so far:
Large, stiff tags inside
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
During the Field Testing period I wore the gloves for 4 snowshoe hikes and 4 morning runs. I also wore them for driving on cold mornings.
Yosemite National Park, California; 2 mi (3 km); 4,000 ft (1,220 m); 24 to 31 F (-4 to -0.5 C); fresh powder conditions; partly sunny
Dewey Point, Yosemite National Park, California; 8 mi (12.6 km); 7,250 to 7,385 ft (2,210 to 2,251 m); 18 to 24 F (-8 to -4 C); clear conditions; 5 feet (1.5 m) of fresh powder!
University Falls, Sierra Nevada, California: 2 miles (3 km): 4,000 to 4,200 ft (1,220 to 1,280 m); 24 F (-4 C); partly cloudy; deep powder conditions. We did a similar hike a second time with similar conditions except that the temperature was 32 F (0 C).
Temperatures ranged from 31 to 50 F (-1 to 10 C) with some breezy conditions
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The microfleece lining of the gloves make them very comfortable. I always like slipping my hands into these gloves. The cuffs also make a nice weather-stopper. The only downside to the comfort is the large tags on the backs and the fingertips seem a bit too long for my fingers.
The silicone grips on the fingers and palm are very sticky and grip well even in cold temperatures. I didn't ever notice them stiffening due to cold or snow. They help to keep a good grip on my hiking poles. When I used the gloves for driving, the grips were actually too sticky on the steering wheel and would not allow the wheel to slip at all.
In deep powder at University Falls, I brushed off lots of snow while making a seat for lunch. My gloves were completely covered with snow but it brushed off easily by simply hitting my hands together. This kept the gloves from retaining any moisture and getting wet. My husband had done the same thing with his liner gloves and yet his didn't brush off as easily and felt slightly wet.
On the second hike at University Falls, we stopped to heat some water for cocoa. I was able to prepare everything and operate the stove with the gloves on. I have good dexterity with the gloves on and some tactility. The grips on the fingers do inhibit some feeling through the gloves. The length of the fingertips causes some issues with dexterity.
On a couple of my morning runs, my hands got too warm after about a mile (1.6 km) and I took the gloves off. The backs of my hands were damp from sweat. I'm amazed at how much I can feel the palms breathing. In warmer conditions or during heavy activity, the breathability in the palms isn't enough to overcome the lack of breathability on the backs.
The wind resistance seems to work well. I wore them a few times in windy conditions and could not feel anything penetrate the backs of my hands. I could definitely feel the wind through the palms.
The Outdoor Research Backstop gloves are a well-made pair of glove liners which are very comfortable, breathe well and shed snow.
Comfortable lining and cuffs
Shed snow easily
Not as great:
Fingertips a bit long
Large tags inside
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
During the Long-Term Testing period I wore the gloves for one 3-day and one overnight backpacking trip and one snowshoe hike. I wore the gloves as my sole layer and did not ever wear them under shells.
Ohlone Trail, Northern California; 30 mi (48 km); 390 to 3,800 ft (119 to 1,158 m); 32 to 60 F (0 to 16 C); clear to cloudy with breezy to windy conditions; snow overnight
Loon Lake Rubicon Trail, Sierra Nevada, California; 10 mi (16 km); 6,327 to 6,700 (1,928 to 2,040 m); 38 to 65 F (3 to 18 C); clear conditions
Loon Lake, Sierra Nevada, California: 3 mi (5 km); 6,327 to 6,500 ft (1,928 to 1,980 m); 32 F (0 C); deep snow conditions; snowing, sleet and breezy
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I was surprised to find how much these gloves absorbed water and allowed my hands to get quite cold. While stopped for lunch at Loon Lake, I put my hands down on the large granite boulder which I was sitting on and my palms were immediately wet. I hadn't noticed the water and wet pine needles. The gloves seemed to soak up the water very quickly and stayed wet. On the hike out, a storm was moving in and my hands were really cold from the dampness. I was able to ball up my hands inside the gloves to try to get warmer. Eventually my hands warmed while snowshoeing and I was able to wear the gloves normally and stay warm. Although the gloves were wet, the fabric wicked the moisture and did not feel sopping wet at all.
On this hike we used a stove to make some warm soup and cocoa. I was able to use the stove while wearing the gloves although some finer movements like operating a lighter were much easier to do with the gloves off.
For our backpacking trip the gloves got a surprising amount of use for May. They were really comfortable while sitting around in the evenings and mornings. The first evening was temperate in the 50s F (10 C) but it was still cozy to wear the gloves while hanging around. The second day was cool at 48 - 52 F (9 to 11 C) and very breezy climbing over our highest peak. Despite a continuous climb, the wind was uncomfortably cold so I was quickly digging these gloves out of my pack. They completely blocked the wind and helped my whole body to warm up. That evening a storm was moving in and was cooler in camp in the 40s F (4 C). It snowed that night which made the morning chores really cold. I liked having the gloves for making breakfast but I was unable to wear them for packing the tent since it was soaking wet. I knew that if the gloves got wet then I'd have cold hands all morning. I kept them dry and wore them for the first few hours on the hike out.
I like having the small clips to keep the pair together in my pack or in my drawer at home.
I washed the gloves twice during this test period. The second time, they inadvertently were thrown into the dryer on extra low heat. This turned out to be a great thing since the fingers shrunk slightly and now fit my finger length much better. The body of the gloves didn't seem to shrink and still fit great. The durability has been fantastic; I cannot see any wear or other signs of deterioration.
The Outdoor Research Backstop gloves are a well-made pair of glove liners which are very comfortable, breathe well and block wind. They absorb water readily and will have to be worn with a shell over them for any moist trips in the future.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.
Comfortable lining and cuffs
Not as great:
Fingertips a bit long (before shrinking in the dryer)
Large product tags sewn inside
Readily absorb water
This concludes my Long-Term Report and this test series. Thanks to Outdoor Research and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to participate in this test.
Read more gear reviews by Nancy Griffith