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Reviews > Clothing > Gloves > Kombi Guide Gloves > Test Report by Mike Curry

KOMBI GUIDE GLOVES
TEST SERIES BY MIKE CURRY
LONG-TERM REPORT
May 08, 2012

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

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Mike Curry
EMAIL: thefishguy AT hotmail DOT com
AGE: 42
LOCATION: Aberdeen, Washington
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 11" (1.80 m)
WEIGHT: 190 lb (86.20 kg)

I've been backpacking, climbing, ski-packing, bushwhacking, and snowshoeing throughout the mountains of Oregon and Washington for the last 25 years. I'm an all-season, all terrain, off-trail kind of guy, but these days (having small kids) most of my trips run on the shorter side of things, and tend to be in the temperate rainforest. While I've carried packs (with winter climbing gear) in excess of 70 pounds (32 kilos), the older I get the more minimalist I become.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Kombi
tIMAGE 1
Photo Courtesy of Manufacturer (Black/Wheat shown)

Year of Manufacture: 2011
Manufacturer's Website: www.kombisports.com
MSRP: US $85.00
Listed Weight: None
Measured Weight: 9 oz (255 g)
Other details:

Size tested: XL
Color tested: Black

From Manufacturer:

Style M 1/4544
Sizes S, M, L, XL
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Shell:
- Softshell & Leather
- Full leather palm
- New 4-way stretch cuff
- X-Loft

Insulation:
- Waterguard Insert
- X-Loft on palm
- Accu-Dri Lining

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Features- Designed in collaboration with Points North Heli guide Kevin Quinn
- Softshell & Leather combination for optimal balance of dexterity and durability
- Simple open mid length cuff for easy on and off without an extraneous hardware
- New 4-way stretch cuff won't collect snow
- Adjustable Wrist Strap
- Durable leather knuckle protection
- Nose wipe on thumb
- Thumb dexterity stretch panel
- Full finger wrap caps
- Thumb saddle reinforcement

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Colors:

- Black
- Black / Wheat

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The Kombi Guide gloves arrived in their retail packaging. My initial impression from simply looking at them is that they were a nice-looking glove that, while styled slightly differently than other gloves I've owned, looked largely the same: four fingers, a thumb, nice stretchy cuff, strap to tighten at the wrist, etc.. All the things I expect to find when I look at gloves.

As I began to look the gloves over more closely, I realized these gloves were very different in two ways from other gloves I own. First, they are made out of very high-quality feeling materials that are supple yet feel substantial. The nose wipe feels like chamois. The leather feels super-soft and flexible yet substantial. The stretch cuff stretches well and feels silky, and the lining feels downright luxurious. In all, the materials seemed fantastic.

The second thing that seemed different than other gloves I owned is how well constructed the gloves seem to be. Stitching is neat and everything about the gloves shows a high attention to detail in their construction.

Most important, for me, are the leather reinforced palm, thumb, and fingers, and the fact that the leather generously covers areas other gloves I own doesn't, such as wrapping around the tips of the fingers. I also like the nose wipe, which is very soft.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

The right glove contained the following caution stitched to it:

"Caution: When removing gloves, pull each finger off individually holding both the 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 seems straightforward enough for me.

TRYING IT OUT

Sliding my hands into the gloves the first time, I discovered these gloves were very, very different than any others I own. They are among the best fitting gloves I've ever had on, but what really set them apart was their absolute comfort. My hands felt wrapped in luxury. The lining felt soft, and the insulation layers felt almost like the glove was filled with gel as I gripped things. It is a fantastic feeling glove.

I had the opportunity to wear the gloves in the pouring rain on a hike that was just above freezing, and found them on that trip to not only be completely waterproof, but almost annoyingly warm. My dexterity seemed at least as good as with other gloves I've owned.

Taking the gloves off, I heeded the caution to go slow, and while I didn't have any problems, I could feel the lining slide as I drew my fingers out. I can see where it would be possible to invert the lining, but don't see it as being a major risk or something requiring a high degree of caution. Simple awareness seems enough so far.

SUMMARY

My initial experiences with the Kombi Guide Gloves have left me very satisfied. They appear to be exceptionally well-made out of high-quality materials that seem both comfortable and durable. They are clearly more than adequate at temperatures right around freezing, and so far have proven completely waterproof, even in the pouring rain.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

IMAGE 1
Back of glove
I have worn the Kombi Guide gloves in a variety of conditions. They have been used for 4 nights of backpacking, on at least a dozen day hikes, cross-country skiing on one occasion, snowshoeing on another, and while training for some climbs. I also wore them on a few very cold-weather runs just to see how they performed with a higher degree of exertion.

Weather conditions included temperatures ranging from about 15 F (-9 C) to approximately 45 F (7 C). The one time I wore them at 45 F (7 C) it was pouring rain and hail with winds gusting to over 50 mph (81 kph). All other uses were at or below freezing (32 F, 0 C). Precipitation included torrential rain, light to heavy snowfall, sleet, and hail.

Usage has occurred primarily in the Olympic Mountains of Washington State, with one outing so far in the Cascades of Washington State.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The Kombi Guide Gloves have performed very well during field testing. Below are specific comments on performance and features.

COMFORT/FIT/WARMTH

The Kombi Guide gloves are hands down (no pun intended!) the warmest gloves I've ever worn. Provided my fingers were warm going in, they stayed toasty no matter what mother nature dished out. In fact, in many cases they were almost too warm. Not too warm in that my hands became uncomfortable, but rather that my hands began to sweat, which became a problem when removing the gloves or putting them back on, but more on that later.

IMAGE 2
Palm of glove
The lining of these gloves is exceptionally smooth and comfortable against the skin. The fit is excellent and the comfort hasn't changed one bit with use.

The nose wipe along the back of the thumb is super-comfortable and feels great even against a wind-chapped nose.

DEXTERITY

I would have to say that my dexterity is no more impacted by these gloves than any other insulating gloves I've worn, and basic tasks like handling ropes or pack straps are no more challenging than with similar gloves. I also wouldn't say they're any better.

WATERPROOFNESS

These gloves are the most waterproof gloves I've ever worn. Absolutely no water infiltration, period. Even in the pouring rain, even with dipping my hands in a creek to see if there was any leakage. Nothing. Nada. Absolutely excellent waterproofness.

DURABILITY

I would have to say that these gloves have held up better than most winter gloves I've used. Typically when climbing I wear mitts, but while training for some climbs recently I decided to wear these instead. Even with plenty of rope handling (albeit with very clean ropes) the gloves don't show any real signs of wear. I've used ski poles and trekking poles a lot with them and I'd actually expected some kind of visually apparent wear, but so far there has been nothing. They have held up far better than I'd expected. They are reinforced in all the right places across the palm, and the reinforcing wraps around the side of the hands adequately.

EASE OF USE

The only problem I've had with these gloves at all is when my hands get sweaty. Removing the gloves I'm always cautious to not invert the lining by carefully pinching the end of each finger and pulling the gloves off very cautiously. Unfortunately, putting them back on when the lining is damp with sweat is very challenging. Not impossible, but certainly not as easy as when they are dry and feel like they are jumping onto my hand.

Packability is good for winter gloves. They actually compress into a smaller ball than I'd have thought. So far the little soiling I've experienced has pretty much wiped right off.

APPEARANCE/STYLING
IMAGE 3
Note reinforcement


These are some sharp looking gloves. I've had a couple of compliments on them, which I find interesting, as I don't think I've ever had anyone comment on a pair of gloves I was wearing before!

SUMMARY

The Kombi Guide gloves are an exceptionally warm and waterproof pair of gloves that are extremely comfortable and seem so far to be very durable. They are the warmest gloves I own. The only drawback I've found is that they can be difficult to put back on when the lining becomes damp with sweat, which happens sometimes when I'm really exerting myself.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I have used the Kombi Guide gloves for two additional nights of backpacking and on three day trips during long-term testing. Weather conditions have warmed considerably in my area, so the only trips where they have been suitable have been trips I've taken to Mount Rainier. Temperatures ranged from approximately 25 F (-4 C) to 32 F (0 C). One day had light snow, but otherwise the weather ranged from sunny to overcast.

I also wore the gloves on one ski trip at White Pass, Washington.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The Kombi Guide gloves have continued to perform well in the field. They have held up exceptionally well, and while they are starting to show some very slight wear at the base of my index finger where I grip, they still largely look like new.

The gloves fit great and are warm enough for most of the situations I encounter. Below about 20 degrees I tend to prefer mitts, but these gloves are certainly warm enough for me to take into conditions far colder than I've encountered during testing.

The fact that the gloves are so warm is also, for me, their biggest drawback. They are a real bearcat to take on and off repeatedly if my hands get sweaty, which they do quite a bit in the temperatures I've encountered. When I'm headed down the trail that's not a problem, but stopping to eat a snack, check a compass bearing or save a waypoint on my gps can be a drag. Taking them off isn't a problem, but putting my hands back into them can be extremely difficult.

SUMMARY

The Kombi Guide gloves are a very warm and well-designed pair of gloves that are comfortable to wear and fit great. The only issue I've had with them is that they are so warm my hands can sweat during exertion, enough to dampen the liner, which makes them difficult to put back on after removal.

CONTINUED USE

I will likely use the Kombi Guide gloves for more sedentary activities in the future than backpacking (cold weather strolls, for example) and skiing, but they probably will see limited backpacking use. If I could only choose one set of hand-wear for use below 20 F (-7 C) for backpacking, skiing, and everything else I do, the Kombi Guides would likely be near the top of that list, but I have other more specialized hand-wear that I will reach for first under most conditions for backpacking and climbing.

I would like to thank Kombi and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test the Guide gloves. This concludes my report.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.

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