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Reviews > Clothing > Gloves > Kombi Guide Gloves > Test Report by Chad E. Fike

KOMBI GUIDE GLOVES
TEST SERIES BY CHAD EMERSON FIKE
LONG-TERM REPORT

INITIAL REPORT - December 12, 2011
FIELD REPORT - February 28, 2012
LONG TERM REPORT - April 17, 2012

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Chad Emerson Fike
EMAIL: chadfike"at"hotmail"dot"com
AGE: 39
LOCATION: Oakland, Maryland USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 10" (1.78 m)
WEIGHT: 150 lb (68.00 kg)

I have gone camping, usually very close to home, since my teens but only started seriously backpacking around age 30. I mostly take weekend backpacking trips and often go dayhiking, mt. biking & cross country skiing. My backpacking experience has been mostly in West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia, including parts of the Appalachian Trail. Each trip has been a learning experience about techniques and equipment. I try to balance weight, durability, and cost with my gear choices.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

IMAGE 2
Manufacturer: Kombi
Year of Manufacture: 2011
Manufacturer's Website: www.kombisports.com
MSRP: $85.00 US
Listed Weight: Not provided
Measured Weight: 8.1 oz (230 g)
Size Tested: Men's Medium
Color Tested: Black
Made in Indonesia

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

The Kombi Guide gloves arrived with a hangtag stating the following: "Dryness, Warmth, Durability, Comfort and Quality. All of our gloves and mittens are constructed using a multi-layer system. Each unique layer (shell, insert, insulation and lining) is built into a glove or mitten and the layers are then put together, one over another. By using this construction we eliminate any cold spots and insure that there is equal protection from the elements throughout the entire hand. Kombi, the art and science of keeping warm."

The Kombi website indicates the Guide gloves are comprised of a "Softshell & Leather combination for optimal balance of dexterity and durability". The palms, knuckles, undersides of the fingers and fingertips are made of leather. Three leather ridges running along the knuckle areas offer added knuckle protection. The back and outside of the pointer finger and outside of the pinky finger are also covered in leather while the rest of the gloves, including the areas between the fingers and the backside of the middle, pinky and ring fingers are all covered in softshell material. "KOMBI" is imprinted in the leather on the back of each pointer finger. The back of each thumb is covered in a soft "nose wipe" material. A rather large tag on the interior of the right glove cuff provides the following breakdown of materials: "Shell: 97% polyester, 3% spandex. 100% polyester back. Trim & Palm: 100% leather. Lining: & Insulation: 100% Polyester. Insert: 100% Polyurethane exclusive of decoration."

IMAGE 3Each glove has a very small tag that reads "Waterguard" on one side and "Waterproof, Breathable" on the other. A hangtag included with the gloves explains that "Kombi's Waterguard membrane system is engineered to allow vapour to pass to the outside of the glove while preventing water from penetrating the inside. Keeping you warm, dry and comfortable, this creates a waterproof breathable barrier against the elements." The website indicates the gloves also feature "Accu-Dri Lining" and "X-Loft on palm". I could not find any additional specifications on the website about either of these features but information provided to the testers mentioned a "moisture wicking lining" and "an extra-lofty down-like insulation" that apparently correlates to these features.

Each glove has an adjustable wrist strap with small plastic keeper to contain any extra strap. A small plastic hook allows the gloves to be fastened together. The gloves feature a thin "4- way stretch cuff" inside of a thicker, insulated mid-length exterior cuff.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

The right glove has a tag inside the cuff providing the following warning/directions: "Caution: When removing gloves, pull each finger off individually holding both outer glove and lining. Remove slowly. Your weather proof insert cannot be sewn to the outer glove. If removed in haste the lining may be inverted and it will be very difficult to replace". This tag also provides the following care instructions: "Wipe clean with a damp cloth and dry away from direct heat source. Do not dry clean". The tag also shows four fabric care symbols. An internet search revealed that these symbols indicate the following: do not wash; dry flat; do not iron and do not dry clean.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The gloves seem to fit me rather well. My hands and fingers do not feel restricted in any way and the gloves allow a full range of motion. My thumb, index finger and middle finger all fit into the ends of the glove but there is a gap of leftover material between the end of my ring finger and little finger. The interior lining of the gloves feels comfortable and soft. The interior flex cuff has a tendency to bunch up inside the exterior cuff so it must be properly positioned before I can insert my hand. Once the cuff is properly opened, my rather thin hands slide inside without difficulty. The adjustable wrist straps are easily tightened and loosened. As directed, I took care to hold the fingertips when removing the gloves to avoid inverting the liner.
IMAGE 4
Loose threads on cuff


For the most part, the gloves appear to be very well made with what appears to be high quality materials. In contrast to the construction of the majority of each glove, there are a surprising amount of loose threads dangling from the edges of the wrist cuffs. The cuff of the left hand glove (pictured) was in the worst condition while the right hand glove had several shorter loose threads. The threads seemed to easily unravel as I handled the gloves for picture taking and evaluation. I plan to trim these threads to try and stop them from unraveling any more.

SUMMARY

I am pleased with the initial fit and comfort of the Kombi Guide gloves. Overall construction appears to be of high quality except for a large number of loose threads on the cuffs of the gloves.

This concludes my Initial Report on the Kombi Guide gloves. Thanks to Kombi and BackpackGearTest.Org for the opportunity to test this product.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Field testing of the Kombi Guide gloves took place in the forested terrain of the Appalachian Mountains including Herrington Manor State Park, Swallow Falls State Park, Mt. Nebo Wildlife Management Area and Garrett State Forest in Maryland. Elevations ranged from around 2,500 to 3,000 ft (762 to 914 m). Temperatures were very mild with most testing occurring at or near the freezing mark. The lowest temperature experienced during testing was 13 F (-11 C). There was below average snow cover during the test period.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

Unfortunately, a remarkably mild winter resulted in limited opportunities to test the Kombi Guide gloves. There was rarely enough snow for skiing and temperatures often became too warm for winter gloves. I used the gloves while cross country skiing 12 times. Most of the ski trips were evening runs at a local state park lasting 1 to 1.5 hours and averaging about 4.5 miles (7.25 km) long. A longer afternoon trip of 2.5 hours and 8 miles (12.9 km) was also taken. I took two short hikes totaling 6 miles (9.7 km). Since I only live about .6 miles (1 km) from work, I often walk to work and home for lunch when weather permits. I wore the gloves on about 40 of these short 10 minute trips back and forth. I also wore the gloves while shoveling snow on the few occasions we had a significant accumulation.

I found the gloves to be plenty warm while cross country skiing. On a cold 13 F (-11 C) evening several of my friends complained of cold fingers but mine stayed warm. On one ski trip when it was around 18 F (-8 C) I did notice my hands started to get a little cold when our pace slowed down to negotiate an area with several downed trees. When I kept up a good tempo my hands were always warm. Most of the ski trips were taken when temperatures were closer to the freezing mark. In these temperatures the gloves almost always felt a bit clammy from sweat when I was finished. On trips when the temperatures were 36 to 40 F (2-4 C) it was somewhat hard to remove the gloves without the insert sticking to my sweaty hands. When the gloves were damp inside I never took any special care to dry them out, they seemed to dry out naturally by the next morning. The Guide gloves seem designed for colder temperatures and I would normally wear a much lighter glove when skiing in temperatures above 25 F (-4 C). Therefore I attribute the sweatiness I experienced more to using the gloves in temperatures warmer than they are intended rather than a serious problem with breathability.

My hands tend to get colder easier when I am just hiking or walking, but the mild temperatures did not allow for testing in extreme cold conditions. The two hikes I took were very mild; my hands felt fine during a 38 F (3 C) hike and during the other hike I soon needed no gloves at all as temperatures climbed near 48 F (9 C). My hands stayed warm on a few of my short trips to work that occurred in cold temperatures between 13 to 17 F (-11 to -8 C). Ten minute walks do not constitute much of a test, but my hands can get cold easily on such casual strolls. I wore the gloves a couple times when taking an hour long walk behind my house in temperatures around 38 F (3 C). I was not moving much, mostly just standing around doing some bird watching. I was not dressed very heavily and did get a little chill and noticed my fingers and toes started to get a little cold. I get cold easily if I am not moving much and this was one of the few times my fingers were even the least bit cold.

IMAGE 1
Small snag
For the most part I have not had any durability problems with the gloves. I snipped the long threads from the cuff of the gloves that I noted in the Initial Report to keep them from further unraveling. I have occasionally snipped other loose threads in the same area as they appeared. The leather palm has held up well. Although I have not used the gloves extensively, the 12 ski trips did subject the gloves to constant abrasion from the handle and strap of my ski poles. I did notice a slight snag about 3/16 inches (10 mm) in diameter in the interior cuff of the right hand glove. The liner fabric is torn and a white material that appears to be the waterproof breathable insert is visible. I do not know how the snag occurred. I once got a large amount of mud on one of the gloves but it cleaned off easily.

The gloves are comfortable but a bit bulky. I found myself removing the gloves to operate my GPS during one hike. The cuff of the gloves tended to bunch up around my jacket cuffs. The glove cuffs seemed to be too small to go over top my jacket cuffs, but too large to fit beneath the jacket cuffs. This did not seem to cause a problem with cold air getting around my wrists. It seems that between the inner and outer cuffs the cold air was mostly sealed out. I never really got into any deep snow to see if snow getting into the gloves would have been a problem.

SUMMARY

Overall I have been pleased with the Kombi Guide gloves. They are a bit bulky and heavy but they are comfortable and have kept my hands warm in most conditions. My hands got a little sweaty when I used the gloves in warmer conditions. The gloves have been durable except for one small snag in the glove liner and a few loose threads.

This concludes my Field Report on the Kombi Guide gloves. The Long Term Report will be amended onto this report in about two months time. Thanks to Kombi and BackpackGearTest.Org for the opportunity to test this product.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Long-term testing of the Kombi Guide gloves took place in the forested terrain of the Appalachian Mountains including Mt. Nebo Wildlife Management Area in Maryland and Canaan Valley Institute and Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge in West Virginia. Elevations ranged from around 2,500 to 3,200 ft (762 to 975 m). Temperatures were very mild and there was no real snow cover, just a few flurries, during the test period.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

A mild winter transitioned into an equally mild and warm spring with few testing opportunities for the Kombi Guide gloves. After a handful of colder days to start the test period temperatures turned consistently warm and I rarely needed gloves of any type. I used them on just two dayhikes: a 5.75 mile (9.3 km) hike with light snow flurries and temperatures around freezing and during part of an 8 mile (12.9 km) hike that occurred on a sunny day with temperatures between 45 and 50 F (7 and 10 C). I also wore the gloves on six short trips (about 10 minutes each) back and forth to work in temperatures between 19 and 45 F (-7 and 7 C).

My limited use of the gloves did not provide much new information but did reinforce some of my previous observations. I continued to notice that the gloves were bulky and found myself removing the gloves to operate my GPS, take pictures and adjust the eyepieces on binoculars. The gloves were warm enough on the hike near freezing. My hands became too warm about midway through the second hike when temperatures climbed to near 50 F (10 C). By the midpoint of this hike I did not need gloves at all. I would not normally wear such heavy winter gloves in such mild temperatures but was trying to get in some extra testing.

The Kombi Guides are advertised as being waterproof. Since I had not exposed them to much snow or rain I conducted a test by wearing the gloves in a bucket of water. About 20 seconds after submerging the gloves I noticed the tip of my left ring finger was quickly becoming wet. Shortly thereafter I felt a slight wetness around the end of my right thumb. As I kept my hands submerged I could feel my left hand rapidly growing wetter but the right hand felt mostly dry. After five minutes I removed the gloves and found that on my left hand only my thumb had stayed dry while my other fingers and most of my palm were wet. I could not tell if the other fingers of the glove had leaked or if water had spread from the leak in the ring finger. On my right hand, my thumb was damp but the rest of my hand was still dry. It seemed the gloves retained a lot of water and took several days to dry out completely.

SUMMARY

IMAGE 1THUMBS UP:
Comfortable
Durable
Warm
IMAGE 2THUMBS DOWN:
Bulky
Not completely waterproof
Arrived with lots of loose threads on the cuffs
Care must be taken when removing gloves so liner does not become inverted




CONTINUED USE

Next winter I plan to continue using the Kombi Guide gloves and look forward to trying them in more extreme temperatures than this test period offered. They do not show much wear so I hope to get many more seasons of use from them.

This concludes my Long-Term Report on the Kombi Guide gloves. Thanks to Kombi and BackpackGearTest.Org for the opportunity to test this product.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.

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