TEST SERIES BY LARRY KIRSCHNER
INITIAL REPORT - March 1, 2008
FIELD REPORT - June 9, 2008
LONG-TERM REPORT - August 11, 2008
5' 9" (1.75 m)
200 lb (90.70 kg)
I've been an intermittent camper/paddler since my teens, but now that my kids are avid Boy Scouts, I've caught the backpacking bug. I typically do 8-10 weekend hikes per year, and have spent time over the past 2 years backpacking at the Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New
Mexico and canoeing the Atikaki wilderness in Manitoba. I like to travel "in comfort", so I used to pack heavier than needed, but now I'd say I'm down to medium weight. With all of my investment into these ventures, I expect my wife and I will continue to trek long after the kids are gone…
March 1, 2008
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website: www.defeet.com
MSRP: USD $15.00
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: 2.25 oz (64 g) per pair
The DeFeet DuraGloves arrived with a tag indicating that they are designed for "multi-season, multi-use application for road riding, mountain biking, running, hiking, and other sports". After giving them the quick once over, I am planning to try them out for each of these activities, with the likely exception of mountain biking.
The first thing that stands out about the gloves is the stylized 'D' marks all over the palm of the gloves. These marks appear to be a type of rubber, and are designed to provide a "no-slip" grip to the palms of the gloves. The same rubberized material marks the back of the gloves with a larger 'D' and the DeFeet name.
The gloves have a generous straight cuff which fits comfortably up over the wrist, but does not have the no-slip grip material.
As shown in the photo below, the gloves are quite thin.
They are constructed of a Coolmax performance polyester inner layer and a
Cordura nylon outer layer, although both layers are fairly thin. In fact, I did not
even realize that there was a multilayer construction to the gloves until I began
examining them in detail for this report. The inner layer gives the gloves a nice
comfortable feel, and is expected to provide wicking properties, but I haven't
tested this yet. Because they are so thin, there is no significant loss of manual
dexterity when wearing them.
EXPECTATIONS AND CONCERNS FOR THE GEAR
Overall, I think the gloves looks just about as expected. DeFeet has numerous photos
of the DuraGloves on their website, and there were no surprises. My only modest
surprise was on an aesthetic note--I had
requested and received the black gloves, thinking they would have a charcoal or dark-grey appearance. In fact, they are quite black!
TRYING IT OUT
DeFeet sells the gloves in sizes small, medium, and large, which for those of us not in the glove
business, doesn't mean a whole lot. As far as I know, I typically wear large gloves.
Anyway, I searched the internet for information, and settled on ordering the large size
after measuring the width and length of my hands. As noted above, I am 5'9" (1.75 m), and my
fingers are not excessively long (note the 1 inch/2.54 cm grid in the photo).
I do work with my hands, so they are a little on the 'beefy' side, which is why I decided on
the large size. When I first tried on the gloves, I thought they were just a little long in
the fingers, and bunch up a slight bit on my palms, as shown in the bottom photo. Given that they are
quite stretchy, I might have done fine with the medium size gloves, but I'm not sure.
I will examine this more as
I get into the testing and figure out if I like the extra room, or if they are really too big for me.
Anyway, when I put the gloves on, I noticed that they are quite comfortable on the inside, and the
Coolmax does give them a cool feeling. The non-slip markings on the palm do provide enhanced grip, and
I wonder if this is the type of material that grips better if it is a little wet. I have worn the gloves
in and around town over the past few days, although not for any athletic activities (yet). The temperature
over this time has been quite cool, in the range of 25-35 F (-3 to 2 C). Although I was not outside for long
periods of time, I didn't feel like the gloves kept my hands particularly warm, although I did notice good
protection from the wind. I am not concerned about this at present, as I think the DuraGloves were really
not designed for weather this cold.
For the Field test, I will be wearing my DuraGloves during many of the activities mentioned above.
I will definitely be taking them hiking with me over the next couple of months, and will be wearing
them for cycling once the weather gets a bit warmer (and the snow goes away). If all goes well,
I will also be doing a bit of running and playing some other outdoor sports with them. This will
let me get a sense of how well they do in the cool weather (as opposed to our current 'cold' weather),
both for keeping my hands warm and for wicking away moisture. I also want to get a better feeling for
if the gloves are too large, or if I like the extra room. Importantly, I want to see if there are any
activities for which I
have to take my DuraGloves off, or if I can wear them all the time in the cool weather.
This concludes my Initial Report on the DeFeet DuraGloves. Please check back in 2 months for my Field Report on this item.
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June 9, 2008
I have worn the DuraGloves quite a bit over the past few months, but most of the
usage has not been for backpacking. It was cold and rainy for a long time, and then
suddenly got very hot. Because it has been difficult to find reasonable hiking weather,
I have only been able to wear the gloves on 1 hiking trip, which was a two day trip to the
Akron, OH area in mid-April. On that trip, the weather was fairly cool, with temperatures
starting around 45 F (7 C) in the morning, getting up to around 55-60 F (13-15.5 C) during
the day and back down at night. It drizzled on and off during the day. What I have used the
gloves for quite a bit is for running and for biking. I wore the gloves on most of my running
days in March, April, and early May. During this time period, I usually ran in the
afternoon, and temperatures ranged from 45 F (7 C) up to about 55 F (11 C). Any warmer than
that and I didn't want to wear them. I also wore them biking in late April-early May, with
morning temperatures usually in the low 50's F (10-12 C). Again, once it got up above 60 F
(15 C), I didn't wear gloves. The running was in all weathers, but the biking was only in dry weather
(although wind was sometimes a factor). As it was still wintry during the beginning of the test period
(temps in the upper 30's F/2-4 C),
I also wore the gloves around town during my normal activities.
There are a couple of different aspects of the DuraGloves that I would like to discuss, and I will try to break the report up among these topics.
Warmth: These gloves provide a decent amount of warmth, and they were quite comfortable to wear around camp when the temperature was in the 40's F (5-8 C) or up. On the few times when I wore the gloves when the temperature was below 40 F, I felt that my hands were cold, although I was not exerting myself like I would be backpacking or cycling. On all the occasions when I was exercising when wearing the gloves (hiking, running, biking), my hands stayed reasonably warm. I think it also important to note that the gloves breathe well, so that I never felt that my hands were overheating when wearing the gloves. I also never felt that my hands were getting sweaty, which I attribute to the wicking properties of the gloves. The other features of these gloves that is important for warmth is that they do a nice job in blocking out the wind. This is obviously most important when cycling, and I thought the gloves did a very nice job at keeping my hands warm when riding.
Comfort: The gloves remain very comfortable to wear. The lining has stayed soft and I actually prefer the feel of the DuraGloves to any of my other gloves.
In terms of fit, I have found that I actually like having a little bit of extra room in the gloves. I suspect
I would do fine with gloves that were one size smaller, but these have also worked well for me.
Dexterity: In terms of the gloves' ability to hamper my movements, I thought they functioned very well in this area. They are thin enough that I was able to use my trekking poles normally while wearing the gloves. I was able to open my pack, tear wrappers from energy bars, and eat them, all without removing the gloves. As noted in the IR, the gloves have non-slip coating, and this worked well for me, as I felt I had a solid grip when needed. Dexterity is much less of an issue while biking, but I never had any issues.
WEAR AND TEAR
I really have had no issues with the gloves, despite wearing them quite a bit over the test period.
The only issue I have is that one of the fields where I run has a type of artificial turf laid down, and this stuck quite heartily to the fabric of the gloves. Most of the green stuff has fallen off now, and I am planning never to wear them near that field again! I haven't had any significant issues after washing the gloves either.
Overall, I really have liked the DeFeet DuraGloves. I have found them to be good gloves for general athletic activities. I do not feel that they are warm enough for snow-camping, especially as they are not waterproof. However, at temperatures above freezing, they provide good warmth during exertion, without making my hands sweaty.
This concludes my Field Report on the DeFeet DuraGloves. Please check back in about 2 months for my final report on this item.
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LONG TERM REPORT
August 11, 2008
FIELD CONDITIONS (LTR phase)
Over the long-term phase of the test, I haven't had much opportunity to wear the gloves for camping. I brought them with me on a weekend hiking trip in mid-May on the Wildcat Hollow Trail in southeast Ohio. Elevations on the trail were between 800 and 1000 ft (250-300 m). The temperature on the trip was between 65-75 F (18-24 C) during the time I was hiking, and somewhat cooler overnight, probably around 60-65 F (16-18 C) while I was in camp. It was warm enough when I was hiking that I didn't think to wear the gloves, but I did wear them a bit at night.
Although I haven't taken the gloves with me on any other trips, I have worn them an additional 10-15 times during the LTR phase for biking to work. My trip is about 7.5 miles (12 km) each way, and the temperatures have ranged as low as 65 F (18 C) and as high as 85 F (29.5 C) over this time.
Although I really didn't wear the DuraGloves for hiking over this time, I did wear them in camp. I had no problem setting up my tent or preparing dinner while wearing the gloves. Also, it was raining lightly over this time, and the gloves did not soak up water. In fact, I left them out in the tent overnight and they had fully dried by the next morning.
Although it is now the middle of summer, I have continued to wear my DuraGloves for biking. I have been stunned at how comfortable these gloves are, even when it is quite hot outside. Even though they block out the wind on the cooler days, they do not accumulate heat in the warm weather (even though mine are black). My hands stay cool and dry, even if I am sweating elsewhere. (In fact, when I wore my DeFeet DuraGloves and my DeFeet UnDShurt together for biking, the places I felt the hottest were on my forearms and on my face!). The grip on the gloves functions well, and I never have any problem with slipping. I have recently begun biking with an mp3 player on my sleeve, and I have no problems manipulating it while wearing my gloves.
Although my hands never feel sweaty while wearing the gloves, I know that the gloves are wicking because they eventually begin to smell. With all the usage, I have washed the gloves a few times, and have not noticed any significant wear of the fabric or of the rubberized grip material.
I highly recommend the DeFeet DuraGloves for any athletic activity where gloves
might be worn. Although they are not warm enough for sub-freezing weather, they
are wind-resistant and kept my hands cool and dry in all types of weather. The
gloves are thin enough that almost all camping activities can be performed without
removing them, but they are sturdy enough to wash and wear without falling apart. As long as I
can prevent my son from borrowing them, I
will definitely continue to bring my DuraGloves with me on all hiking trips. I have
grown so used to the comfort they provide for bike riding that I expect I will continue to
wear them most of the time, through the summer and into the fall (and beyond).
Things I liked about the DeFeet DuraGloves:
Things I disliked about the DuraGloves:
- Lightweight and very comfortable
- Excellent wicking
- Rubberized grip works well
- Wind resistant without retaining excess heat
This concludes my report on the DeFeet DuraGloves My thanks once again to DeFeet for providing these gloves for testing, and to BackpackGearTest.org for selecting me to participate in this test.
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