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Reviews > Clothing > Gloves > Kombi Backcountry II Gloves > Test Report by Mike Wilkie

KOMBI BACKCOUNTRY II GLOVES
TEST SERIES BY MIKE WILKIE
LONG-TERM REPORT
June 30, 2009

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Mike Wilkie
EMAIL: foreverwild1885 at yahoo dot com
AGE: 32
LOCATION: Davenport, New York (USA)
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 8" (1.73 m)
WEIGHT: 148 lb (67.10 kg)

Hiking for me started at an early age, as I was always an avid camper and as a young Scout my backpacking obsession began. Living in the Catskill Region backpacking has become serious for me over the years. I hike, snowshoe, canoe, snowboard or multi-day backpack through the Catskills or Adirondacks almost every weekend. I am learning and practicing safe lightweight techniques and have greatly reduced my pack weight, adding comfort and miles to my adventures. Being an aspirant of the Catskill-3500 Club and Adirondack-46ers, peak-bagging is my main outdoor activity. My long-term goals are to complete long distance thru-hikes.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Kombi Sports
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.kombisports.com
MSRP: US$50.00
Listed Weight: n/a
Measured Weight: 4.5 oz (128 g)
Size: Medium

IMAGE 1
Image courtesy of kombisports.com

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The Backcountry II model is the third pair of Kombi gloves that I have had the opportunity to test and use. With this experience, I have become a big fan of their gloves and sometimes find myself lobbying Kombi product. It was to no surprise when I received a well-constructed glove; the Backcountry II gloves offered much comfort thus far as well. To boot, I feel that the Backcountry II Gloves offer a stylish look and feel.

Kombi describes the Backcountry II Gloves to be mid-weight and versatile. They are constructed of Kombi's Accu-dri lining, 3M Thinsulate Flex Insulation and a stretch woven shell.

The Accu-dri lining is supposed to offer wicking capabilities for dry, comfortable and warm hands. During my field studies, I will evaluate the stretch woven shell for water and wind resistance. The 3M Thinsulate Insulation thus far has proven to have great flex and warmth.

For durability, the gloves have full leather palms and full wrapped finger caps. There is also a small section of what I believe to be a nylon section on the inner thumb for more stretch. For comfort, the gloves have an elastic wrist and a lining that has a soft velvety feel. There is a ladder lock strap on the top of the wrist and an elastic draw cord cuff for a secure comfortable fit.

The color is a flat grey on top and black leather on the bottom fingers, wrists and palms. They have a simple design but in my opinion stylish without a technical appearance. I feel the gloves have an almost dressy look to them. The Kombi emblem is even hidden by blending into the grey color and can easily go unnoticed. A good word to describe the Backcountry II gloves appearance is "smart".

The palms are completely covered with leather that travels up and around the fingers and ends up around the fingernail. The leather actually wraps around the entire fingertips and covers the fingernails except for the thumbs. On the thumbs, the leather ends at the tips.

On the top of the hands and fingers is a light soft nylon material that seems to be breathable. At the wrist is a stitching of elastic, tightening the gloves under the wrist for a comfortable fit. Beyond that, the cuffs extend and flare out a bit to pull over or tuck into an arm sleeve of whatever outerwear is worn. They can be tightened there with the draw cord.

On the right glove a clasp on the inside of the wrist attaches to a small shoelace loop on the left glove. I found that attaching the gloves together could be a bit difficult due the clasp being stiff and the loop soft.

TRYING IT OUT

The Backcountry II Gloves were worn just about on a daily basis thus far in addition to several snowshoes hikes. They consistently offered me comfort during all initial testing. The liner has a nice feel and is a pleasure to have next to the skin. The comfort level has not been an issue with these gloves thus far.

While wearing the gloves the dexterity and compressibility of them was most impressive. Many tasks were easily accomplished with the gloves on. I was able to zip up my jacket and fastened on my snowshoe binding with ease. The flexibility and dexterity of the Backcountry II Gloves has helped to add to the glove's performance during initial use and will be further evaluated in the field during my various planned activities.

The leather palms and fingers helped me to get a grip when grabbing or grasping items. This leather construction should help to resist punctures and tears offering protection to my hands as well as increasing the longevity of the gloves.

SUMMARY

Because of my experience with Kombi gloves, I have high expectations for the Backcountry II Gloves. Thus far, I feel they have offered my hands protection from the elements and comfort in the field. They are light, warm, have great dexterity and the lining is cozy and comfortable. I have always been impressed with Kombi's tight knit and strong construction as offered in the Backcountry II Gloves

Pros
Comfort of lining
Dexterity and flexibility
Strong construction
Stylish design


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

The Kombi Backcountry II Gloves were used and tested in the following locations and conditions.

Robert V. Riddell State Park (Day hike 1): Susquehanna River Valley - Oneonta, NY (In the foothills of the Catskill Mountains)
Route: Parks main loop trail
Weather: 15 F (-9.43 C) with wind chills below 0 F (18 C). Light snow
Distance: 4 mile (6.5 km) loop
Difficulty: easy with mostly level terrain. This trail is a great snowshoe/ski trail. Snowshoes were worn for this trek.

Robert V. Riddell State Park (Day hike 2): Susquehanna River Valley - Oneonta, NY (In the foothills of the Catskill Mountains)
Route: Parks main loop trail
Weather: 20 F (-6.6 C) heavy snow at times with fresh snow accumulations of 12 in (30.48 cm)
Distance: 4 mile (6.5 km) loop
Difficulty: easy with mostly level terrain. This trail is a great snowshoe/ski trail. Snowshoes were worn for this trek.

Robert V. Riddell State Park (Day hike 3): Susquehanna River Valley - Oneonta, NY (In the foothills of the Catskill Mountains)
Route: Parks main loop trail
Weather: 15 F (-9.43 C) with wind chills below 0 F (18 C). Light snow
Distance: 4 mile (6.5 km) loop
Difficulty: easy with mostly level terrain. This trail is a great snowshoe/ski trail. Snowshoes were worn for this trek.

Robert V. Riddell State Park (Day hike 4): Susquehanna River Valley - Oneonta, NY (In the foothills of the Catskill Mountains)
Route: Parks main loop trail
Weather: 34 F (1 C) sleet, rain and ice mix
Distance: 4 mile (6.5 km) loop
Difficulty: easy with mostly level terrain. This trail is a great snowshoe/ski trail. Snowshoes were worn for this trek.

The Backcountry II Gloves were used and tested on several snowshoe hikes in the forest behind my home. This is a 2 mile (3.22 km) bushwhack, mostly on an uphill/downhill, rocky terrain and is a moderate ascent to an elevation of 2000 ft (610 m). I have logged 7 days for this trek. Snowshoes were worn for all of these hikes.

The gloves were also used while plowing snow via ATV. Weather conditions and temperatures varied from heavy snow to freezing rain with temperatures from just above freezing and down to below freezing. This task took about two hours for each day when snowplowing occurred. I wore these gloves on three occasions for this task.

I have recorded a total of 11 days where I have worn the Kombi gloves for backcountry use. These days of activities included day hikes and snowshoe treks. On three occasions the Backcountry II Gloves were worn while snowplowing on an ATV. The gloves were also worn on an almost daily basis for casual or around-town use.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The Kombi Backcountry II Gloves performed well during field use as they provided me with comfort and protection. The gloves have proven to be durable, lightweight and comfortable. They offered my hands protection from the elements with excellent warmth to weight ratio and they offered technical features for harsh backcountry use all the while keeping a simple but yet a stylish design and look.

For a mid-weight design, the Backcountry II Gloves provided me with adequate insulation for my hands to retain the warmth needed in temperatures below freezing during high exertion activity. However, during low exertions activity the gloves did not provide the warmth needed in the same below freezing temperatures.

In the past when using my heavyweight gloves in below freezing temperatures, my hands overheated during high exertion activity causing my hands to perspire. During these same temperatures and conducting high exertion activity, my lightweight gloves proved inadequate by not providing the insulation needed for warmth. Therefore, these mid-weight Backcountry II Gloves worked well for these conditions during high exertion activity. The Backcountry II Gloves have become my main winter trekking gloves.

However, when little or no activity is carried out, the Backcountry II Gloves have proven to be inadequate in below freezing temperatures. Therefore, I have learned to use my heavyweight gloves when I know activity will be slowed or I will carry them for back up on my longer snowshoe treks.

The mid-weight gloves have also proven to be inadequate when plowing snow via ATV. Because of exposure to high draft from being on the moving vehicle, my hands began to numb quickly. They were immediately swapped for my heavyweight gloves. The well below freezing temperatures and wind chills I encountered in these situations has proven to be too cold for the mid-weight gloves temperature rating. In addition, a higher loft and heavier insulation is needed to grip cold or frozen handlebars.

As mentioned preciously, the gloves have a simple but stylish look. However, they do offer the function and features of a technical mid-weight glove. Therefore, their appearance can bit a bit deceiving.

Now that the spring temperatures are beginning to roll in and temperatures are staying above freezing, I seem to be using the Backcountry II Gloves more often. These mid-weight gloves seem to be more compatible to these milder temperatures when low exertion activity is being conducted. And as I already know that the gloves repel wetness from snow and freezing rain, I should be able to evaluate the gloves water-resistance during our annual spring showers.

At this point, I have not needed to wash the gloves as my hands rarely perspired during use. Aside from some scuffs of mud on one glove, they appear to be clean and the insides are odor free.

The ladder locks and cinch cords all operate and perform as they did when new. All stitching and seams are tight and overall construction of the gloves still appears to be strong and intact.

SUMMARY

I have accumulated much experience with several of Kombi's gloves over the last few years. Through testing different models, I have become a big fan of Kombi products. All glove models used and tested have proven to be worthy in the field offering comfort and protection from the elements.

The Backcountry II Gloves also have proven to be comfortable and offer features to protect my hands from the elements while never inhibiting my performance or use of hands. Their stylish but simple look, allow them to be used in the front-country but they also offer technical features for backcountry use.

Pros
Comfort
Adjustable cinch cuff
Mid-weight design is more versatile


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

The Kombi Backcountry II Gloves were used and tested in the following locations and conditions.


South Hill State Forest - 3 mile (4.83 km) bushwhack
Weather: Windy with some sun, temperature was 33 F (0.56 C)
Elevation: 2000 ft (610 m)
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate on mostly level terrain. Some dense brush increased difficulty to moderate.

South Hill State Forest - 3.5 mile (5.64 km) Loop hike on old logging road.
Weather: 38 F (3.33 C) with light rain
Elevation: 2000 ft (610 m)
Difficulty: Easy on an old logging road

The Backcountry II Gloves were used and tested on several hikes in the forest behind my home. This is a 2 mile (3.22 km) bushwhack, mostly on an uneven , rocky terrain which includes a moderate ascent to an elevation of 2000 ft (610 m). I wore the gloves for this trek on two different days, both of which required snowshoes. On the first day hike, the gloves endured heavy down pours with temperatures around 38 F (3.33 C). On hike two, conditions were clear and chilly with temperatures around 32 F (0 C)

During my nightly dog walks, the Kombi Gloves provided adequate insulation. This trek with the dog is a short 0.5 mile (0.81 km) on a mostly uphill/downhill terrain. The gloves were worn for five of these nightly walks with the dog in various temperatures from below freezing to mild around 42 F (5.56 C).

I have accumulated a total of 9 days of using and testing the Kombi Backcountry II Gloves during this final leg of the test series. The gloves were used on 4 day hikes and 5 nightly dog walks. The Backcountry II Gloves were carried on several other hikes, but it did not receive use due to warm temperatures. However, the gloves did occupy pack space on these hikes.


PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

Again, the Kombi Backcountry II Gloves provided much comfort during these last few testing opportunities. Due to rising temperatures, they received limited use for this final testing leg. However, in these rising temperatures I found the gloves to be a bit much in temperatures above 45 F (7.22 C).

The Backcountry II Gloves have great dexterity and flex allowing for excellent finger and hand movement. Comfort was always provided with the soft feel of the liner and with the gloves wicking capabilities for moisture management.

As already stated the Backcountry II gloves for me were a bit much for temperatures above 45 F (7.22 C)...especially during high exertion activity. My hands did over heat and perspired on several occasions.

When scraping the gloves against rocks and branches their durability really showed through. They are not showing any worn spots or thread pulls from all of the abrasion they have endured. All of the elastic pull straps, hook and loop closures are intact and working as they did when new.

With all the use the Kombi gloves endured during these testing periods, there appears to be no major signs of wear or tear as I found them to be durable and well constructed. They have really proven to be well made and tightly manufactured. After machine washing them once, the gloves remained in excellent condition. They kept their shape and still offered a good fit to my hands. I did not machine dry them, only laid them on top of the dryer just to be on the safe side. It only took about 24 hours to air dry and using the heat radiating up off the dryer.

SUMMARY

I have had continued success with testing various Kombi gloves over the past few years. With these models including the Backcountry IIs, I received much comfort and protection from the elements. The Backcountry II Gloves have proven to be worthy mid-weight gloves in conditions when heavy-weight or light-weight gloves were too much or too little.

The Kombi Backcountry II Gloves are lightweight, have great dexterity and proven durable with a strong design and construction. I found with these gloves as well in other models; Kombi is all about providing high quality products.

Pros
Comfort - especially the lining
Dexterity
Strong construction and durability

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.

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