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Reviews > Clothing > Gloves and Mittens > REI Ridgecrest Mittens > Owner Review by Kurt Papke

REI Ridgecrest Mittens - Owner Review

Review date: January 31, 2009

Tester Biographical Information

Kurt Papke
6' 4" (193 cm)
220 lbs (100 kg)
Email address
kwpapke at gmail dot com
City, State, Country Minneapolis, Minnesota USA

Backpacking Background: mostly in Minnesota and Oregon - all of the Superior Hiking Trail and Border Route, Isle Royale, dayhiking and backpacking in the Columbia River gorge.  Extensive dayhiking in Utah, Colorado and Oregon.  Mostly Spring/Fall season hiker, but easing into more cold-weather/Winter backpacking.  I do a lot of dayhikes and snowshoeing in the Winter, and am always looking for gear to keep me warm in cold and windy conditions.  I like to wear gloves for hiking, but I need mittens in camp.

Product Description

FrontThe REI Ridgecrest mittens are waterproof, breathable and synthetically insulated.  The shell is made from ripstop nylon with a polyurethane coating and taped seams, described as a two-layer REI Elements Laminate by the website.  The palms have a tough polyester fabric with a polyurethane coating (Toughtek) that does a good job of resisting abrasion and water penetration when handling snow.  The mittens are almost rectangular in design; they do not narrow at the wrists nor at the gauntlet hem.  With all the adjustments slack, they are very easy to get on and off.  The mittens have about 1.5 in (3.8 cm) of total (front and back total) loft along their length.  The mitts are flexible enough to be turned inside-out, though I rarely need to do so for drying as I use them only as camp mitts.

They have two adjustments: a wrist strap made of inelastic webbing that both keeps the mittens from sliding off and prevents drafts, and an elastic gauntlet drawcord that tightens around my wrist.  What I really like about these adjustments is that I don't need another person to work them for me.  I can actually tighten and loosen them with the mittens on, not easy with this much insulation and just an opposable thumb.  The elastic gauntlet drawcord is a nice design: I just pull on it and it stays tight.

The long cord with the little "donut" slide on it shown in the first photo above is a wrist cord.  I put my hand through the cord when putting the mitts on, and I can then take my mitts off temporarily and dangle them from my wrist while performing a task that requires finger dexterity without putting the mitts down.

The mittens have a microfiber lining that I find to be very soft.

These mittens are exceptionally warm, really too warm to hike in.  I use them as my camp and break mittens when snowshoeing.

The model currently being sold seems little changed from the set I bought last year other than the elimination of the wrist cord.  It looks like the drawcord pulls have changed color from gray to black, and some of the labeling has changed.  I cannot comment on any material changes.

Lastly, the mittens do include a tether and clip to attach the two mittens together to prevent loss or being misplaced during storage.

Product Information
Manufacturer website
Year Manufactured
Size tested/used
Available in regular sizes S,M,L,XL (unisex)
Color tested/used
Graphite (only one color available)
$49.50 USD
Weight (measured)
8.2 oz (230 g)
Machine wash cold with powdered detergent.  Line dry.  Do not iron, do not dry clean.

Field Information

These mittens have been used in two principal locales over the last two years:
Field Usage
Chanhassen, Minnesota - near my home
Superior Hiking Trail in Northern Minnesota
725 to 925 ft (220 to 280 m)
625 to 1150 ft (190 to 350 m)
Temperature range
-5 to 25 F (-21 to -4 C)
-27 to 15 F (-33 to -9 C)
Wind velocity (estimated)
Maximum of 40 mph (64 km/hr)
Maximum of 20 mph (32 km/hr)
Wooded hills and valleys, open roads
Wooded forest with some open areas
Day hiking, snowshoeing
Snowshoeing, backpacking

Packing: I typically stow these mittens in my pack lid where they are easily accessible on breaks.

I do not use a liner glove with these mittens, though I will occasionally put them on for a few minutes over a shell glove to warm my fingers when I am doing camp chores.

Other uses: I often use a mitt as a cozy for a freezer bag containing the piping hot rehydrating contents of my evening meal.  I also use them as a seat in camp, one under each butt cheek with the palms facing down.  The palms are so waterproof that I can sit on them for hours and not get a wet butt.


  • Fit: I normally wear a size Large glove, and these Large size mittens fit me perfectly.
  • I have never had cold fingers with these mittens.  That's not to say that my fingers have not been cold when I first put them on, but if I clench my fist for a while inside my fingers warm rapidly.
  • The cuffs mate nicely with my jackets to keep my wrists warm.  I like the way a quick pull of the drawcord tightens the gauntlet.
  • If I tighten the wrist strap, I have no problems with the mitts inadvertently coming off.  On the other hand, if I tighten them well, there's no way I can get the mitts off quickly without loosening the strap.
  • I have never worn the mittens in temperatures warm enough for rain, so I cannot comment on the water-shedding capability.  I have worn them many times in snowstorms, and they are quite impervious to even very wet snow.  I always put these mittens on when I am excavating a winter campsite with my hands, as they shed water so well.
  • The have worn well and look brand-new.  I have yet to need to wash them after two years.
  • They pack down exceptionally small for such big mittens, especially considering they have synthetic and not down insulation.  I can roll them in a small ball and stuff them into a corner of my pack lid.  They re-loft very quickly and completely.
  • I feel they are a very good value for the money.
  • I cannot comment on using these mittens with poles while skiing or snowshoeing.  My hands sweat too much to allow me to wear them when in motion, even on a recent morning at -20 F (-29 C).
  • I have not handled hot pots or other such materials that might inflict heat damage to the shell materials, so I cannot comment on their heat resistance.
  • The grey color goes nicely with any color of clothing.


I am a big fan of these mittens.  I've worn them a lot, and I'll continue to wear them into the foreseeable future.  They are ideal for in-camp use.

  1. Warm
  2. Good value
  3. Not bulky, pack well
  4. All the adjustments work easily with the mittens on
  5. Resist snow well
  6. The gauntlet is roomy and fits over my wristwatch
Areas for improvement:
  1. Not nearly as lightweight as most of my gloves
  2. The wrist cord is very long, perhaps too long.  Its nice when I need to momentarily take off my mitts, but it has been known to find its way dangling into my dinner pot, etc.  It seems to have been eliminated in the 2008 model.  Just as well, as I find I really don't take advantage of the wrist cord very often.
  3. Add some elastic to the wrist strap.  There are times I'd like to get the mitts off quickly without fiddling with the strap.  It is enough of a hassle that I often do not tighten the wrist strap.

Kurt Papke

Read more gear reviews by Kurt Papke

Reviews > Clothing > Gloves and Mittens > REI Ridgecrest Mittens > Owner Review by Kurt Papke

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