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Reviews > Clothing > Gloves > DeFeet DuraGloves > Test Report by Coy Ray Starnes

DeFeet DuraGlove
Test Report Series by Coy Starnes
Initial Report: February 25, 2008
Field Report: June 8, 2008
Long Term Report: August 10, 2008

duraglove 1
The DuraGlove
(image courtesy of DeFeet)

Tester Coy Starnes
Gender Male
Age 46
Weight 238 lb (108 kg)
Height 6 ft (1.8 m)
E-Mail starnescr@yahoo.com
Location Grant, Alabama, USA

Tester Biography
I live in Northeast Alabama.  I enjoy biking, hunting, fishing, canoeing, and most other outdoor activities but backpacking is my favorite pastime.  I enjoy hiking with friends and family or solo.  I hike throughout the year and actually hike less in the hot humid months of summer.  My style is slow and steady and my gear is light.  However, I will sacrifice weight for comfort and durability.  A typical 3-season load for me is around 20 lb (9 kg) not counting food or water.

Initial Report: February 25, 2008

Product Information
Item DuraGlove
Manufacturer DeFeet
Year of Manufacture 2008
URL http://www.defeet.com
Size Large
Listed Weight N/A
Measured Weight 2.3 oz (65 gm)
Color red
MSRP $15 USD

Product Description
I am testing the CoolMax® version of the DuraGlove.  The glove is pretty basic and very stretchable.  The one distinguishing feature is the rubber grip dots on the palm side.  I say grip dots, but actually, it is grip aids shaped like the D in the DeFeet logo.  The glove is not waterproof but it is not designed to be.  

The website has this to say. "Simple but effective, DuraGloves™ provide protection and warmth for those crisp rides and runs. Made from either CoolMax® or wool, DuraGloves™ place wicking fibers next to the skin and a durable shell of nylon outside of the glove. Favored by many top cyclists for Spring and Fall classics, cyclocross and winter training."  

I was surprised and delighted to read on the hangtag that the glove also features "Cordura® Nylon for extra abrasion resistance."   The hangtag also mentions that "while soft CoolMax® performance polyester works internally for extremely high moisture transfer and breathability."
 
Initial Impression

The DuraGlove is pretty much what I expected after reviewing it on the website.  The glove is a little thicker than I expected because of my experience with CoolMax® tee-shirts.  If anything, I was expecting it to feel more like nylon because of the CoolMax® material but I would say it feels more like a cotton work glove.

Fit
In a word, sung.  When I looked online I did not see a XL listed so I requested a Large.  The hangtag showed 4 sizes available, from small to XL.  I am actually between glove sizes as I usually find a Large too small but the XL a little too big.  However, the stretchiness of the DuraGlove is enough the I am finding no problems getting it on and in fact it may prove to be better in the long run as I need a very close fitting  glove when bike riding.  I don't want to be changing gears with the twist shifter only to find my glove is slipping and I have to regrip to twist the shifter.  Below are two photos which illustrate the fit.  The first one also shows off the built up grips on the palm side.
duraglove 2
duraglove 3
grip dots on palm side
fairly tight fitting...for some reason this photo reminds me of Superman...

Future Testing
I plan to use the DuraGlove for bike riding as well as while hiking.  I will see how well the gloves keep my hands warm on fast downhill rides and on cold mornings in camp.  I will see how well I can perform camp chores while wearing the gloves.  I will see how the grip dots affect my grip on slippery surfaces.  I will see if the gloves still keep my hands reasonably warm if wet since they are not waterproof.  I will see how fast they dry in camp as well as at home.  And finally, I will record any cleaning or washing I need to do while keeping a close watch on durability.  
   
Anticipated Testing Locations and Conditions
Most of my testing will be while riding my recumbent bike on the local back roads here in Grant Alabama.  I generally ride for at least an hour and sometime closer to three.  I usually ride anywhere from 10 to 30 miles (16 to 48 km) depending on how many hills and or mountain climbs are involved.  I try not to ride my recumbent in the rain but have got caught out in some a few times.  

I will be making several short overnight hikes and a few longer hikes over the next four months. I will be testing in the southeastern US with trips into the local mountains of Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina.  However, most testing would be done in Northeast Alabama and much of that will be on my bike.  Elevations will generally be less than 4000 ft (1219 m).

Winters in the southeastern US are generally mild, with some short stints of very cold weather. I generally see some rain while backpacking, often in the form of sleet and ice in the winter.  Spring is just around the corner and should bring warmer weather.       

This concludes my Initial Report.  Please check back in approximately 2 months for my Field Report to see how the DuraGlove is doing.  I would also like to thank BackpackGearTest and DeFeet for letting me test these gloves.

Field Report: June 8, 2008

warmfront 3
Testing the DuraGloves in a rare Alabama snowstorm!

Testing Locations and Conditions
Nearly all testing has been in Northeast Alabama, either on local back roads or in local woods.  I did use the gloves on one bike ride on the Silver Comet bike trail in Georgia.  I used the gloves on several day hikes but not a lot lately because it was too warm on the 2 overnight hikes and most of my recent day hikes.  Interestingly, the gloves have continued to be useful when riding in warm weather. 

In looking back at my training log, the coolest ride was on an early morning, 38 mile (61 km) ride on March the 13th.  It was 34 F (5 C) when I left the parking lot but warmed to 71 F (22 C) by the end of this ride.  The warmest ride was May 31st at 88 F (31 C) but the last 2 rides in June were also very warm.

The coolest hiking was on an 8 mile (13 km) day hike with snow on the ground.  It was 28 F (-2 C) when I started but warmed to 36 F (2 C).  However, a strong wind made the whole hike rather chilly except for a few times when climbing the steep sections of the trail.  The rest of my day hikes were mostly in cool but nice spring weather with temps in the mid 40s F (around 7 C).  However, since May it has been so warm that wearing them while hiking was not practical at all.

All told I used the DuraGloves for about 575 miles (926 km) on 35 different rides and for around 30 miles (48 km) of hiking.

Field Test Results
I am very pleased with the performance of these gloves so far.  About the only time I had any trouble was in cold weather and to be fair, the DuraGloves are not really made for extreme cold.  I noticed my fingers getting cold on several bent rides and to a lesser extent on a few of my day hikes.  On the hike that had snow on the ground I had to keep my hands inside my jacket part of the time because my fingers got so cold.  It did not help that I got the DuraGloves wet but I don't get a chance to make and throw snowballs that often so I couldn't resist.  And again, to be fair, these gloves are not waterproof nor designed for snowball fights.  On this particular hike, I was going uphill quite a bit and even sweating a little but my fingers still got cold while my body, under plenty of clothes did not.  However, when hiking in low 40s (around 5 C) the gloves were all I needed if I kept them reasonably dry.

When riding my recumbent, I did notice my hands got colder than when hiking in similar temperatures, but in temperatures of around 50 F (10 C) or warmer, the gloves were outstanding on the bent.  Here I am during a break on a ride on a cool morning.

warmfront 4
Notice the atheletic fit of the Duragloves...

That said, I expected that once it got over 70 F (21 C) or so I might not be able to continue testing them very well.  However, I soon found out that they did not seem to be any hotter than going gloveless and I liked to use the DuraGloves to wipe my forehead to keep sweat from running down in my eyes.  And just recently on an 88 F (31 C) and humid afternoon, I got a little too hot as I was climbing the mountain on my recumbent. I stopped for a long break in the shade, drank some water and took off my helmet, glasses and the DuraGloves before continuing my climb.  But one of the first things I noticed was that I was having trouble gripping my handlebars.  I had worn the gloves on every climb before this and didn't realize how well they were working until I stopped using them...funny how that works sometimes.

I also had ample opportunities to test how well the gloves worked at gripping my water bottles.  They would often be wet due to condensation as often happens when I put ice in my drink bottles in hot weather.  Even so, I never dropped a bottle.  And while I can not say the sticky dots are the only reason, I can say they improved my grip on just about everything.  

I also used my cell-phone several times with the gloves on.  If I had my phone in my shirt pocket I even answered it while riding but only if no traffic was around.  If I needed to make a call, I stopped the bent but kept on the DuraGloves to make my call.

Care and Durability
I have washed the DuraGloves several times during the past three months and they are still holding up well.  In fact they are not showing any signs of fading or shrinking.  As I sit here looking at the gloves, the most noticeable wear is that the palm side is now slightly darker than the back side.  I'm not even sure why this is but I think it may be due to black gripper dots and sweating a lot in them.  Actually, after thinking back, I had to change a flat tire (patch a tube) on a ride about a week ago and that is most likely where the darkness came from because I kept the gloves on while I took off the tire to get at the tube.  I will wash them and see for sure and also see if it washes out.  

Summary so Far
I can't really think of much to say other than I am pleasantly surprised at how well they are working for hot weather riding.  I will also say that the gloves have made my riding safer in hot weather due to the ability to better grip the handlebars.

This concludes my Field Report.  Please check back in approximately 2 months for my Long Term Report to see how the DuraGloves are doing.  I would also like to thank BackpackGearTest and DeFeet for letting me test these gloves. 

Long Term Report: August 10, 2008
duraglove 4
Using DuraGloves in hot weather and ready to ride off the mountain...

Testing Locations and Conditions
All long term testing was done while riding my Bacchetta Cafe (my recumbent bike).  Some rides were as short as 8 miles (13 km) and one as long as 53 miles (85 km).  Most were in the 20 to 30 mile (32 to 48 km) range including one overnight tour of 29 miles (47 km).  I did ride a few times in 95 F (35 C) weather but tried to ride early or late in the day to avoid the hottest part of the day.  I got caught out in one downpour once but otherwise the only moisture I dealt with was sweat.  However, since I usually got soaked from sweat, it really didn't matter if it rained or not....

Long Term Test Result    
Due to the extremely hot weather I did not need the DuraGloves for any of my hiking.  However, that same hot weather made wearing the DuraGloves paramount for my safety on the recumbent.  As I noted in the Field Report, I found my handle bar grips getting slick from my sweaty hands and the DuraGloves made gripping them much easier.  About the only times I didn't wear the gloves were a few times after a rest break when I removed them and stuffed them behind my seat and forgot to put them back on.  Once, I was climbing the mountain and did this, and instead of stopping and putting them on again, I continued on because I was timing myself.  This just confirmed what I had already experienced earlier; The DuraGloves flat out made it safer to ride by securing my grip.

duraglove 5
So I sweat a little, actually, I'm only halfway up the mountain so this is not as bad as it gets...

Care and Durability.
The DuraGloves are still holding up well.  I managed to avoid any wrecks which would have tested the Cordura woven into the material but I am not going to wreck on purpose just to find out how well they would survive.  What I can report is that after around 575 miles (926 km) on 35 different rides during the early stage of testing and around 434 miles (699 km) on 26 more rides during this last stage of testing for a total of around 1009 miles (1634 km), the DuraGloves are holding up remarkable well.  I have washed the DuraGloves every few weeks due to my excess sweating, but this has not really seemed to wear out the gloves much.  In my Field Report I mentioned that the palm side of the gloves seemed darker after changing a flat but after washing them I maintain the palm side still looks slightly darker than when the gloves were new.  I think part of this could also stem from the many rides up and down the mountain when I was sweating enough to soak the gloves while gripping the black handle bar grips.  Regardless, the photos below shows the front and back and also gives a hint as too how little wear the gloves are showing.

duraglove 6
duraglove 7
front of glove lighter
palm of glove darker


Summary
The DuraGloves have surely proven to be a valuable addition to my riding gear.  I figured they would be useless once it got hot but I was proven wrong.  It's hard to remember back in March and April but they also worked well in cool weather, but not when it got down near freezing.  In chilly weather I really appreciated having the DuraGloves on, and while I am no speed demon on my recumbent, I routinely hit 40 mph (64 kmph) going off the mountain. Bottom line, the DuraGloves were great in cool but not freezing weather, especially when riding fast, but really came in handy when it got hot by helping me maintain a more secure grip on my bike.  The last thing I want is to do is miss a shift while speeding off the mountain but perhaps more importantly, when poking back up at 3 mph (5 kmph).  A missed shift or slip on the bar then is not something I want to contemplate due to the nature of how easy a bent is to wreck going uphill at slow speeds.

On thing is for sure, now that I have completed this test I won't stop wearing the DuraGloves.  I have another pair of bike gloves but I really liked the grip of the DuraGloves better than my old leather pair and they are a lot more comfortable to wear and much easier to get on and take off.  As a hiking glove they also worked well and at even cooler temperatures.  Since they are neither waterproof or insulated, they do have their limit, but for the conditions I like to hike and ride in, they work nicely. 





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