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Reviews > Clothing > Gloves > Outdoor Research Latitude Mitt > Test Report by Sheila Morrissey

OUTDOOR RESEARCH LATITUDE MITTS

Initial Report - January 20, 2007
Field Report - March 7, 2007
Long-Term Report - May 8, 2007


Outdoor Research Latitude Mitts

Photo from Outdoor Research Website


Initial Report: January 20, 2007

TESTER BIOGRAPHY
Name: Sheila Morrissey
Age: 26
Gender: Female
Height: 5 ft 8 in (1.7 m)
Weight: 150 lb (68 kg)
Hand Circumference: 7.5 in (19 cm)
Hand Length: 7.5 in (19 cm)
Email Address: geosheila(at)yahoo(dot)com
City, State, Country: Goleta, California, USA

BACKPACKING BACKGROUND
I have been hiking and camping since I was born, but only started backpacking in 2005. So far, most of my backpacking trips have been weekend hikes into the Sierra Nevada with friends and my dog, Patch. I prefer the eastern Sierra and typically hike at elevations from 6,000 to over 10,000 feet (1,800 to 3,000 m). My pack is usually around 25 pounds (11 kg), including consumables, but only because I make Patch help out.

PRODUCT INFORMATION
Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
Model: Latitude Mitts
Year of Manufacture: 2006
Manufacturer’s Website: http://www.orgear.com
Size: Medium (sized for hand circumference 8 to 8.5 in (20 to 22 cm) and hand length 7.5 to 8 in (19 to 20 cm)
Color: Tarmac/Black
Listed Weight: 7.4 oz (210 g) for size large
Measured Weight: 214 g (7.5 oz) for size medium (the scale I used is in g)
MSRP: $89.00 US
Made in Vietnam

Manufacturer’s Description from Product Tag: (all information is in both English and French on the tag)
“Fully functional glove system for technical mountaineering and alpine climbing in all conditions.” The tag lists the sizes available (S, M, L, XL), technical features (3-in-1 glove system, waterproof/breathable Gore-Tex® PacLite® shell, high-grip AlpenGrip® palm, and removable soft shell work glove), average weight, manufacturer website and phone number, and the Outdoor Research “Infinite Guarantee” (“Outdoor Research products are guaranteed forever.”) More specific descriptions of the technical features are also listed.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS AND PRODUCT DESCRIPTION
The color and size of the mitts are as requested: tarmac/black, medium. I had never heard “tarmac” used as a color before, but to me it implies the blackish brown color of actual tarmac. However, the photographs and color swatch on the OR website show a tan color. The actual color of the mitts is neither the color of tarmac nor the tan color I viewed on the website. Of course, differences in computer screens are probably to blame. A more appropriate color name for the product would be “greyish brown” or better yet, “mud”. I like mud, so the color is fine by me!

OR LATITUDE MITT

The mitts are a size medium, but are labeled as “Men’s M” inside both the inner gloves and outer shells. Nowhere else on the OR website or product tag are they listed as a men-specific product. With a 7.5 in (19 cm) hand circumference and length, my hands don’t fit the sizing chart for the OR Latitude Mitts. My hand circumference puts me in a size small and my hand length puts me in a size medium. I chose the size medium to accommodate the length of my hands. The size medium Latitude Mitts fit well enough for my use and are probably the best size for me based on the sizes available. The inner gloves are excessively wide, as expected based on the sizing chart and my hand circumference, but I don’t think this will be problematic. The fingers of the inner gloves are the right length for me. The thumb of the inner glove, however, is positioned too far up the palm of the hand for me. My hands must be longer than typical. I also wish the thumb of the glove was longer. Next time, I should try a pair of women-specific mitts, but the OR Latitude Mitts should do for now, despite the awkward thumb. According to the OR website, OR does sell other models of mitts with women-specific measurements that would fit my hand measurements. I would prefer that the OR Latitude Mitts be listed as men’s mitts on the website.

Latitude Mitt

The black inner soft-shell work gloves are made of a “weather-resistant soft shell stretch fabric”, but the only stretchy portions of the inner gloves are the tops of the fingers and knuckles (for dexterity) and the material from the wrist down (approximately 3 in (8 cm) of material). The AlpenGrip® material covering the palm of the inner gloves is flexible (but not stretchy), feels rubbery to the touch, and is waterproof. AlpenGrip® covers the entire palm of the inner gloves, including the bottoms of the fingers and thumb, and wraps around the back of the hand. Elastic around the wrist keeps the inner gloves comfortably secure, and a hook-and-loop adjustable tab further secures the inner gloves. 100-weight black fleece lines the inside of the inner gloves along the back of the hands.

The inner gloves are made to fit inside the outer shells of the mitts. The Gore-Tex® PacLite® nylon mitt shells are “tarmac” (mud-colored) with black palms. There is no liner or insulation in the shell since they are meant to be worn over the inner gloves. The shells can be tightened around the wrist by adjustable straps. The coolest features are the DuoCinch™ gauntlet closures, approximately 6 in (15 cm) down from the bend in my wrists. Pulling on the grey tabs tightens the cinches, and pulling on the black tabs loosens the cinches. I can easily pull these tabs, even while wearing the mitts.

Latitude MittLatitude Mitt

Removable Idiot Cords dangle from each mitt. It seems to me that if I'm using Idiot Cords I probably don't want them to be removable or they might fall off. However, I'd have to untie the cords, so I don't think there's any danger of losing the Idiot Cords. Grey plastic disks on each Idiot Cord tighten to secure the mitts, but I haven’t yet figured out how they can be loosened with the same hand (OR promises “same-hand operation”). The mitts also have a small black plastic clip to keep them together while not in use.

Latitude Mitt

TRIAL RUN
There’s no snow on southern California’s beaches, so I won’t have the opportunity to test out snowman building with the OR Latitude Mitts tonight. However, a quick douse of water over the mitts in the kitchen sink assured me the GoreTex® PacLite® material works to keep the water out and the seams on the Latitude Mitts are sealed tightly. I plan on getting out into the cold soon to test the warmth, durability, and weatherproofness of these mitts.


Field Report: March 7, 2007

FIELD CONDITIONS
Unfortunately for me, the Latitude Mitts didn't arrive in time for a week long trip to the Sierra Nevada. However, since the Initial Report, I have still had the chance to use the Latitude Mitts while
backpacking in Los Padres National Forest, cross-country skiing and playing in the snow in San Bernardino National Forest. The first of two weekend backpacking trips was at an elevation of 4,000 to 5,000 ft (1,200 to 1,500 m), with a dusting of snow (up to 1 in, 2.5 cm) on the ground, no precipitation falling, and temperatures ranging from 10 to 40 F (-12 to 4 C). The second backpacking trip was at an elevation of 3,500 ft (1,060 m), with no snow on the ground, no precipitation falling, and a low temperature of 40 F (4 C). The cross-country-ski and snow-play trip was at an elevation of 6,000 ft (1,800 m), with 1 ft (0.3 m) of snow on the ground, no precipitation falling, and a temperature of 20 F (-7 C).

FIELD TEST RESULTS
  • FIT
    The OR Latitude Mitts still fit "just OK". The fingers of the inner gloves fit well, but palms of the inner gloves are a little bit wide. The outer shells generally slide easily over the inner gloves, unless the inner gloves get sweaty.
  • COMFORT
    The mitts have proven comfortable for playing in the snow and the inner gloves alone are also comfortable for wearing around camp or even to sleep in. I found that the anatomical curve of the inner gloves made the mitts quite comfortable for holding ski pole grips.
  • DEXTERITY
    After suiting up in my cold-weather gear, including the Latitude Mitts, for a day of cross-country skiing, I realized that I forgot my phone in the car. I was able to (somewhat awkwardly) unlock and open the car door while still wearing the mitts. So even with the mitt shell, the Latitude Mitts do allow for some dexterity. However, I needed to remove the mitts to unzip the pocket of my jacket.

    While backpacking, I put on the inner gloves after arriving at our camp, but found it too difficult to set up the tent, unleash the dog or collect firewood while wearing them, so I took them off again for these chores. 
  • EASE OF USE
    I found the DuoCinch gauntlet closures very easy to tighten and loosen, even while wearing both mitts. This is definitely my favorite feature of the mitts, simply because it's something I hadn't seen before. I haven't used the removable Idiot Cords, but leave them dangling. The Idiot Cords are long enough to fit around the wrists of my jacket, but tightening and loosening the Idiot Cords seem like too big of hassles (and definitely not doable with one gloved hand).

    While skiing, I needed to remove the mitts and inner gloves to open my jacket pocket, look at my map and get a drink of water. Taking the mitts and inner gloves on and off was easy enough until the inner gloves got sweaty. The sweaty inner gloves didn't slide on my hands easily and were also somewhat difficult to get back into the mitt shells. Each of my water breaks took an extra minute for me to take the mitts on and off. 
  • WATERPROOFNESS
    While skiing, at first I fell often and spent a lot of time trying to push myself up again. Of course, that meant I had the chance to test the weatherproofness of these mitts. My hands never felt cold, even buried in snow, and the inner gloves didn't get wet from these falls. The mitts are definitely waterproof. However, after an hour or so of skiing, my hands were too warm and the inner gloves got sweaty. I took off the inner gloves and shells during a couple of water breaks, but had a difficult time sliding the sweaty inner gloves back into the mitt shells. I could have left the shells off, but was afraid my hands might get cold when I fell into the snow. It wasn't until the end of the day that I realized just how not breathable the Gore-Tex shells are. The inner gloves were soaked through and sweat dripped from the shells. I didn't have quite the same workout while playing in the snow and making snowballs as I did while skiing, so the inner gloves remained dry. 
  • WARMTH
    I wasn't digging my hands in snow while backpacking, so I wore just the inner gloves of the Latitude Mitts most of the time since the mitt shells don't offer any extra insulation. The inner gloves worked very well to keep my hands warm. I also used them while I slept on a particularly cold night (10 F, -12 C) in my not-warm-enough sleeping bag. 

    The sweaty Latitude Mitts may not be a good match for me for strenuous cold-weather exercise like cross-country skiing, but they were still warm, even when sweaty. The inner gloves alone may have worked better, particularly if I didn't spend the day falling in the snow.
  • DURABILITY
    I machine-washed the inner gloves in cold water and put them in the dryer on low heat after the sweaty ski trip. The glove color didn't bleed and they still look and fit the same after the wash. I only rinsed the mitt shells. I don't have any concerns about the durability of these mitts.


 Long-Term Report: May 8, 2007

LONG-TERM TEST CONDITIONS & RESULTS
Since my Field Report, I have again used the Latitude Mitts for cross country skiing and on one of my backpacking trips. I spent two days cross-country skiing in Mammoth, mostly on groomed trails, at an elevation of approximately 9,000 ft (2,700 m) in sunny conditions with temperatures ranging from 35 to 65 F (2 to 18 C).
I learned a sweaty lesson during earlier field testing to not use the waterproof shells for skiing, so I wore only the inner gloves while skiing. I again found that they were very comfortable for holding ski poles. I took a ski lesson where I learned how to hold the poles correctly, how to go uphill without falling and, most importantly, how to slow myself down on the way down hill. I generally have much better control now, so I didn't fall at all this time around. With my newfound confidence on the green ("easy") ski trails, I was willing to take off the inner gloves when my hands got warm and risk cold hands if I did fall in the snow. As the temperature heated up, and while I trudged up a 2-km (1.2-mile) slope, I took the gloves off because my hands were too warm. There was no way to attach the gloves to my jacket and they are too big to fit in the pockets of my fleece jacket comfortably, so I stuffed them into the front of my ski bib. It may have looked silly, but it worked and the butterflies on the nearly empty trails didn't seem to mind. The waterproofness of the inner gloves was tested, however, while I nervously compressed snow into balls of ice before descending a blue ("more difficult") trail that I never should have attempted. The inner gloves remained dry.

Latitude Mitts

The backpacking trip was an overnighter in Los Padres National Forest at an elevation of approximately 7,000 ft (2,100 m) in windy but otherwise clear conditions with an evening temperature of about 40 F (4 C). Except for chunks of ice flying off the tops of the pine trees, there was no precipitation. I wore the inner gloves after dinner while I watched our fire and took them off again when I went to sleep. The gloves definitely helped keep me warm, but will probably soon be unnecessary as the evenings are getting warmer in the local mountains.

SUMMARY
The mitt shells combined with the inner gloves were great for snow play and, without the mitt shells, the inner gloves alone worked great while skiing or hanging around the campfire. They were comfortable, especially for gripping ski poles. The fit of the Latitude Mitts turned out to be good enough for me, though still not great. The finger length was perfect, but the thumb seemed a bit short when my hand was in any other position besides gripping a ski pole. I think the anatomical curve and thickness of the inner gloves limited my dexterity. Since the dexterity of the Latitude Mitts wasn't great, I often took them off to zip my jacket closed or open a water bottle. Taking the Latitude Mitts on and off was only a problem when they got sweaty. The excessive width of the inner gloves didn't bother me while I used the Latitude Mitts, but I do wonder whether a tighter fit might have kept my hands even warmer. I never did end up using the Idiot Cords, though I appreciated the elastic and hook-and-loop fasteners around the wrists of the inner gloves and was also very pleased with the easy-to-use Duo Cinch gauntlet closures on the mitt shells. I have now washed the inner gloves twice and they are still in great condition with no changes to the fit or color. Summer has arrived now and, after one last trip to the Sierra Nevada later this month, I will be putting the Latitude Mitts away for next season. I will definitely continue to use the inner gloves for skiing and the inner glove and outer mitt shell combination for playing in the snow, though I will probably switch back to fingerless mittens for snow-free backpacking.

PROS:
  • The mitt shells are completely waterproof -- great for snowman building!
  • The inner gloves can be used separately from the mitt shells
  • Elastic, hook-and-loop fasteners and cinches around the wrist keep snow and wind out of the Latitude Mitts
CONS:
  • The mitt shells are completely waterproof - awful for skiing as my hands were drenched in sweat!
  • The fit could have been better 
  • Dexterity was limited while using the inner gloves alone or the inner glove/mitt shell combination

REMARKS
This concludes my Test Report. Thank you to Outdoor Research and BackpackGearTest.org for providing me with the opportunity to test the Latitude Mitts.



Read more reviews of Outdoor Research gear
Read more gear reviews by Sheila Morrissey

Reviews > Clothing > Gloves > Outdoor Research Latitude Mitt > Test Report by Sheila Morrissey



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