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Reviews > Clothing > Gloves > Outdoor Research Latitude Mitt > Test Report by Kathleen Waters

Test Report: Outdoor Research Latitude Mitts
May 22, 2007


Contents:
Biographical Information
Product Information
First Impressions - January 6, 2007
Field Report - March 20, 2007
Long Term Report Summary - May 22, 2007

Tester Biographical Information    <back to top>

Name: Kathleen Waters
Age: 55
Gender: Female
Height: 5 ft 4 in (1.63 m)
Weight: 124.5 lb (56 kg)
Hand Circumference: 7.5 in (19 cm)
Hand Length: 7 in (18 cm)
Email: kathy at bysky dot com or
TheMiddleSister at usaring dot com
City, State, Country: White Lake, Michigan USA

Backpacking Background: My husband and I started hiking in 1998 after climbing Hahn's Peak in Colorado.

Hooked, we return to Colorado often. We've hiked/snowshoed glaciers, rain forests, mountains and deserts in exotic locations, including Iceland, Costa Rica, Slovenia and Death Valley.

At home (Michigan), we plan 2-3 hikes of 6-8 mi (10-13 km) weekly and one weekend hike monthly. Weekday hikes take place in Pontiac Lake Recreation Area, a mixture of heavily-wooded moderate hills and flat terrain. Weekend hike locations vary.

My hiking style is comfortable, aiming for lightweight. My current pack weight averages 25 lb (11 kg) including food and water.

Product Information (including picture, from website)    <back to top>
http://www.outdoorresearch.com

Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
Year of Manufacturer: 2006
Model: Latitude Mitts
Weight: 7.4 oz (210 g) (size L, per pair w/liner)
Sizes: S, M, L, XL
Color: Black and Tarmac (olive)
MSRP: $89.00 US
Warranty: "Infinite Guarantee - Outdoor Research products are guaranteed forever."

Description:

"Make a quick transition from grip and dexterity to weather protection and warmth with this glove and mitt combo. The close-fitting soft shell liner gloves allow you to place protection and make technical moves with ease. Gore-Tex® Paclite fabric shells offer weather-protection as you trudge toward the summit.

INTENDED USAGE:
Light, technical system for mixed alpine climbing"

Outdoor Research Latitude Mitts

SHELL:
    + Waterproof/breathable Gore-Tex® 70D Paclite fabric shell
    + Fully seam taped
    + AlpenGrip® palm
    + Anatomical curve; boxed construction
    + 3-panel thumb
    + Ladder-lock wrist cinch with easy-grip tab
    + DuoCinch™ gauntlet closure
    + Removable Idiot Cord

REMOVABLE SOFT SHELL WORK GLOVE:

    + Weather-resistant soft shell stretch construction
    + Wrap around AlpenGrip® LT palm
    + Smooth tricot palm; 100-weight fleece on back of hand
    + Hook/loop tab gauntlet adjustment

Product Information (from tester)

Size: Small
Weight: 7 oz (198 g) per pair w/liner
Weight: 4 oz (113 g) per pair liner only
Weight: 3 oz (85 g) per pair shell only
Color: Black

Initial Report
January 6, 2007

First Impressions    <back to top>

Thanks to accurate pictures and detailed information on the Outdoor Research website, there were no surprises when my OR Latitude Mitts arrived. I was pleased to find them a perfect fit per the website sizing chart. While my hand measurements are at the maximum listed for OR's designated "small" size, the gloves fit snuggly but are not tight. The elastic of the liner work glove falls exactly at my wrist and the cuff continues another 2 in (5 cm) up my arm. Wearing the waterproof outer shell gives me an additional 2 in (5 cm) of coverage. Again, the strap of the outer shell mitt rests right on my natural wrist.

View of both OR Latitude Mitt outer shell and liner work glove

Two gloves in one! The Outdoor Latitude Mitts feature a comfortable mid-weight liner glove covered by a waterproof shell mitten. The shell mittens are all black with only a tasteful embroidered "OR" logo on the mid-back of my hand, the webbed fabric wrist cinch, a soft plastic tab to tighten the gauntlet and a small disc on the "idiot cord" - all in gray.

OR Latitude Mitt Clip

At the top of the outer shell is a cinch cord system to tighten the gauntlet and keep out the elements. The cinch cord system has two different tabs on either side of the mitt. The gray tab tightens the mitt and the black tab loosens it. Additional fitting of the OR Latitude Mitts is via a webbed strap and buckle at the wrist. A last woven cord at the hem of the shell turns out to be the advertised "idiot cord" which thanks to the retail cardboard hangtag, I now know is used to put my hands through so I don't lose the shells when I remove the shells from my hands. (Childhood memories of mittens on strings.) There is one other "safety" feature against loss and that is a clip lock on each outer shell to snap them together.

The body of the OR Latitude Mitts'TM outer shell is crinkly feeling and sounding due to the Gore-Tex® lining with the palm constructed with AlpenGrip® LT material. Yet, the Mitts are very flexible, with and without the inner work gloves.

When it comes to keeping the elements out, the OR Latitude Mitts' work glove not only has the elastic wrist but also has a Velcro strap at the top as well. The gloves are all black with three same-colored OR logos at the wrist (both front and back) and mid-back of the hand near the thumb.

Inside of the OR Latitude Mitts's outer shell

The OR Latitude Mitts'TM softshell liner glove is so soft! Everything about it is soft. The inside is soft and warm fleece. The AlpenGrip® LT palm which covers the palm side of my fingers and wraps around just a bit to the back of my hand is very soft and supple and feels more like a brushed leather or suede. Then there is the main body of material which is a stretchy fabric that is also soft. These gloves are very comfortable.

There are lots of scratchy information tags in the OR Latitude Mitts. The liner work gloves have one size tag and the outer shells have three - a one small tag for the size, another, a much larger one for care instructions and a third dedicated to the Gore-Tex® Paclite® logo. I didn't notice these tags at all though when I tried them on since the Latitude Mitts go over shirts, fleeces, etc.

My close initial inspection of the Outdoor Latitude Mitts found no loose threads, dropped or uneven stitches. The seams are all smooth and flat and except for the hem, are "hidden" so they don't touch my skin. The elastic in the inner glove is evenly spaced. The webbing on the outer mitts and all other "tightening" cords as well as the "idiot cord" are securely attached and show no signs of unraveling at this time. The OR Latitude Mitts appear to be of quality construction and ready for action. Me too - I mean, I'm ready to test 'em! I can't wait to see how the Mitts deal with Michigan's cold, damp, windy winter climate as well as Colorado's dry, very snowy weather.

Field Report   <back to top>
March 20, 2007

The OR Latitude Mitts received a good workout on a Christmas vacation trip to Colorado. The Rocky Mountains and the Front Range area were hammered with a couple of huge snowstorms just before Christmas and there was plenty of snow in which to play.

While I did not witness any precipitation myself, there was in excess of 4 ft (1.2 m) fresh powder in Winter Park, Grand Lake and Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado where I did my testing; all dayhiking trips. Elevations were in the 9100+ ft (2700+ m) range. Temperatures hovered in the mid 30s F to low 40s F (1-6 C) with almost no humidity or wind and lots of glorious sunshine.

Colorado River Trailhead in RMNP
On the Colorado River Trail in RMNP. John (husband), Shawn (son), Julia (daughter-in-law), and Monique (Julia's daughter).

Trails we took were between 6 to 8 mi (10 to 13 km) round trip and were semi-packed from previous hikers. The terrain was moderately hilly. Actually, we were almost always headed uphill for the first half of the trail and then downhill for the latter.

Since southeast Michigan has had a relatively snowless winter, I have only used the OR Latitude Mitts as a system once or twice but have used just the liners almost daily in all kinds of conditions; while shoveling what little snow we received, daily walking the dog, and frequent dayhiking at Pontiac Lake Recreation Area. Temperatures have ranged from 40 F (4 C) to a frigid low of 3 F (-16 C).

So far, I'm having a tough time using the OR Latitude Mitts. I find the system with the outer shell to be very clumsy. I can't "do" anything when wearing the outer shell, there is no manual dexterity. I can barely hold a dog leash or securely grasp my hiking poles. Because of this, I am constantly removing the outer shell and working with just the liner glove on. I'm very grateful for the "idiot" cord loops which I do use to keep the shells attached to me when they are removed. I'm sure I would have lost them by now. The shells are off more than they are on.

Even the glove liners are somewhat difficult to work with. Despite the fact that my finger measurements and hand circumference fall within my size range, I feel, after hours of field usage, like the glove liners don't really fit my hand. I suspect, it's a result of unisex sizing as I have found that unisex sizing doesn't always work with all women's sizes. Or maybe, they are stretching just that little bit which would make them less comfortable.

On a more positive note, I find the OR Latitude Mitts to be stellar at keeping my hands dry and warm even in Michigan's damp nasty winter weather. At the very lowest range of temperature, I wore silk liners under the OR Latitude Mitts, mostly so if I needed to remove the Mitts I would still have some protection against frostbite.

The OR Latitude Mitts were very much appreciated when the winds blew raw, they kept my hands comfortable when ordinary gloves without a similar shell could not. And, when confronted with wet conditions (making a snowman and such!), nary a drop of moisture penetrated through to my hands.

The liner gloves feel very soft and comfortable against my skin which is a real pleasure in the cold skin-drying conditions of the Colorado mountains. While I didn't wear the shells much in CO, I lived in the glove liners.

The longer length of the OR Latitude Mitts has been both a positive and negative feature. When wearing the Mitts with a fleece or a windshirt, they go smoothly over the top of the garment and give added wind protection to my lower forearms. However, if weather dictates I wear more layers or add a ski jacket, the cuff of the OR Latitude Mitts will not fit over the added bulk and I have not found a way of "tucking" everything in so as to not have bare spots on my arm/wrist. Mostly, I have been just folding the cuff down which negates the windproofing feature of the drawcord.

Long Term Summary Report   <back to top>
May 22, 2007

During the latter stage of my testing, all of my "technical" wear of the OR Latitude Mitts took place in either the Cañon City area in Colorado or southeast Michigan. There was much supplemental casual wear during this period as well, while walking my dog, doing outdoor chores, etc.

Terrain in Colorado ranged from elevations of 5343 ft (1629 m) to about 6747 ft (2056 m) and consisted of rocky to dirt trails up to a 35% grade, including a good deal of rock scrambling in Cañon City's Red Canyon Park and the BLM district near Cooper Mountain. This area is primarily high desert with lots of piñon pine, juniper and cactus. While it was a wetter than normal winter in this area, I rarely encountered any snow on the ground and only once was hiking in wet conditions during this last stage of testing.

In Michigan, most of my testing was in deciduous forested areas of rolling hills and flat meadows with little or no elevation gain. There was little or no snow on the ground during the last couple of months and no precipitation.

First, let me say, I generally hike "hot". And during the latter period of this test, the weather got warmer at times, up to a high temperature of 80 F (27 C). The low temperature I encountered was about 30 F (-1 C). Any hiking over 40 F (4 C) meant I was uncomfortable wearing the Mitts at even a casual stroll. So I packed away the OR Latitude Mitts a couple of weeks ago.

Now, on to sharing some of my observations as to the fit/comfort, utility and wear of the OR Latitude Mitts.

The fit of the OR Latitude Mitts continued to be a minor source of irritation for me. The fingers of the glove liners aren't quite long enough, so I feel like I have slightly webbed digits. This in no way affected the performance of the Mitts either with or without the shells on. It just bugged me. I think women's sizing would solve this nit-picky detail. (The Mitts fit my husband perfectly and I had to, at one point, hide them so he couldn't "borrow" them!)

The glove liners worked well to keep snow and wind out by its elasticized wrists and its hook and loop strap at the top of the liners.

The shells offered me a couple of different ways to customize the fit of the Mitts and practically guaranteed dry, warm hands! I was able to use the ladder-lock wrist straps to cinch the shells close with the top elastic pulls doubling the protection. Wind and wet never penetrated the shells nor were the elements able to sneak in from the top.

My initial concerns about the scratchy information tags (size, care, etc) turned out to be a non-issue since the Mitts were always worn over the top of long sleeved clothing.

It took a little while, but I was able to use the Mitts either with or without the shells, in almost all instances without any problems. At first, I had a great deal of difficulty removing the shells on the trail when more manual dexterity was called for, for example, taking pictures with my digital camera. The webbed wrist cinch straps on the shells while wonderful for warmth, were hard to release so as to loosen the shell for removal. I finally got the hang of the lift-and-slip action required to loosen the strap.

While the idiot cords were great at these times, I could have used them on the glove lines as well for those times I needed to remove even the liners. More than once I dropped my nice, dry, warm gloves on the ground while snapping that scenic shot of the mountains!

I was able to do most everything with the glove liners on - clip my backpack buckles, open water bottles, zip/unzip my fleece, tie my boots, thread tent poles, etc. I could not manage the controls on my digital camera nor buttons on my clothing. Not bad! The shells were another story though and I ended up with them hanging from my wrists more often than not. I had that luxury since this year wasn't the windiest or coldest weather I've ever hiked in. Next year might have me trying harder to wear them!

For the whole of the test period, the OR Latitude Mitts have held up beautifully with no stains, tears or stressed seams. I expect the Mitts will continue to have lots more time on the trail come winter season, although maybe occasionally, on my husband's hands!

Things I Like:

* Wonderful, fleece lining feels great on my skin and provides stellar warm without undue sweating.
* Manual dexterity is relatively good using just the glove liner and not at all bad with the liner and shell combo.
* Shell provides great wind protection and keeps wetness away from the glove liners and my hands.

The ONLY Thing I Don't Like:

* Fit is not quite right for my hands.

This concludes my Test Series Report on the Outdoor Research Latitude Mitts. Thank you Outdoor Research and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this neat product.

Kathy Waters



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