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Reviews > Clothing > Gloves > Outdoor Research PL400 Gloves > Test Report by Chuck Kime

Outdoor research PL 400 Gloves
March, 2008

Photo courtesy www.orgear.com
OR PL 400 Gloves

Contents
Reviewer Information[return to top]
Name: Chuck Kime
Nickname: Fuzzy
Age: 41
Gender: Male
Height: 5' 8" (1.72 m)
Weight: 243 lb (110 kg)
Email address: chuck_kime AT yahoo DOT com
City, State, Country: Upper Darby (Philadelphia suburb), Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Additional Information applicable to this test
Hand circumference: 9 3/8 in (23.5 cm)
Hand length: 7 5/8 in (19 cm)

Backpacking Background[return to top]
My family started car/trailer camping when I was about 5. I now go on monthly Boy Scout camping/hiking weekends, with similar family trips occasionally, and plan to add one or two week-long trips per year. Advancing age, arthritic knees and injuries have led me to rethink my gear choices, switch to hammocking, make some of my own gear, and look closer at my ‘toys’ with an eye for multi-use and light weight. I now have a sub-20 lb (9 kg) 3-season load – before food, fuel and water – and should be able to reduce it further with a little effort.

Additional Information applicable to this test
I have several different pairs of gloves that I wear when the weather gets really cold, primarily a pair of leather work gloves (if I expect to be tending the fire) and a pair of snowboarding gloves. Both are sized to fit liners, with the latter having removable fleece liners included. I also wear a pair of insulated fleece gloves in cool weather.

Product Information[return to top]
Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
Model: PL 400
Year of Manufacture: 2007
URL: http://www.orgear.com
Listed weight (size L): 2.6 oz (72 g)
Measured weight (size M): 2.6 oz (72 g), scale accurate to 0.1 oz
Color: Black
MSRP: $29.00 US

Features/claims (from web site)[return to top]
  • INTENDED USAGE:
    • Heavy-weight, insulating, stand-alone handwear; liner for mitt or glove
  • 300-weight smooth fleece exterior and 100-weight fleece interior creates 400-weight warmth
  • MirrorSeam™ double-layer fleece construction with hidden seams
  • MotionWrap™ palm construction for minimal seams
  • Silicone grip palm
  • Elasticized wrist

Initial Report - October, 2007
Arrival [return to top]
Silicone marks The gloves arrived in late August, 2007, attached to a (very nice, heavy) standard retail hang card, printed in English on one side and French on the other. I did notice that the card had marks from the silicone grip where they had been in contact while waiting for the test to start. There were no other contents, and – other than the silicone marks – all contents appeared undamaged.
OR PL 400 Gloves

Description [return to top]
Buckle The Outdoor Research (OR) PL 400 Gloves are the heaviest of OR’s liner series of gloves and mitts. Only available in black, the double-layer fleece gloves include a retention loop inside the trimmed cuff, an elastic band in the wrist, and a silver/white OR logo embroidered on the back of each hand – but only through the outer layer. The outer surface is a smooth, tight knit, while the inside feels to me like soft combed cotton. The palm and fingertips are treated with a silicone pattern – also black – to help prevent slippage. The gloves may be clipped together with a YKK LB10FR front-release buckle that is attached to the thumb side of the wrist on the right glove, and to the opposite side of the wrist on the left glove, so that the gloves are either both palm up or both palm down when connected. I am guessing that this is to keep the silicone bits from sticking together, but that’s just a guess. Additionally, there is a small size tag inside the cuff of each glove (it reads ‘M’ in my case) as well as a fabric and care tag (in English and French) inside the left cuff – 95% polyester/5% spandex, machine wash cold with powdered detergent and air dry.


Measurements The OR web site gives specific instructions on how to measure one’s hand to decide on the correct size glove. My hand circumference (around the palm, not including thumb) is 9 3/8 in (23.5 cm), which puts me in the middle of size Large, while my hand length is 7 5/8 in (19 cm), which is the lower end of size Medium – I have short fingers and wide palms. Since glove fingers that are too long tend to interfere – sometimes significantly – with my dexterity, I chose to go with the Medium. With the stretchiness (is that a word?) of the fleece, the gloves fit perfectly once I got the cuff and wrist over the widest part of my hand. I can feel the different layers moving against each other while I am putting the gloves on, suggesting that they are not sewn together except at the cuff.

First Impressions [return to top]
The gloves are very stretchy and quite comfortable, and fit me nicely, especially considering my hand shape. They are pretty much what I expected from perusing OR’s easy-to-navigate web site. I am looking forward to getting to use them.

Field Testing Plan [return to top]
Our Boy Scout troop camps monthly, generally in the wooded areas of southeastern Pennsylvania and the Pocono Mountains. Almost all of these outings include a minimum of 2 nights of camping, with temperatures expected to be from lows around 10 ºF (-12 ºC) to highs around 70 ºF (21 ºC) during the 4-month test period. Elevations will range from sea level to approximately 1,650’ (503 m). We have added monthly hikes to our schedule as well. My wife and I, who between us have 3 high-ranking boy scouts (ages 16, 17 and 17), are also looking into additional camping without the scouts, and there are possibilities of some AT section hikes (with overnights) in Pennsylvania with my son as he works towards the Hiking Merit Badge.

We have several trips definitely on our schedule so far for this fall/winter: in late October we will be spending a weekend at Gettysburg Battlefield and hiking portions of the National Historic Trail, Thanksgiving weekend at a Scout camp, a Winter Survival campout held the first weekend in January, the Valley Forge Pilgrimage and Encampment in mid-February, and a potential ski trip in March. My wife and I – with some combination of our children – will be spending Veterans Day weekend with a group that should include at least a few other BGT testers near the Appalachian Trail in PA/NJ. Over the past 2 years these trips have gotten me an average of about 14 miles (22 km) per day of fairly rough terrain, and this year I am scheduling a 20 mile (32 km) hike for my son and me.

I plan to wear the gloves on all upcoming outdoor trips, including camping and hiking, as well as wearing them to work and around town as the weather dictates, checking for both comfort and durability.

Things I am/will be looking for: [return to top]
  • Fit. Do they fit me? Is the sizing on the web site accurate? Do they bunch when worn as liners?
  • Fabric. Is the fabric durable (I use trekking poles)? Does it stretch excessively? Does it fade? Is it windproof? Waterproof? Does it pill, pull, or snag readily?
  • Warmth. How cold can it get and still keep me warm? How much warmth do they add to my sleep system?
  • Dexterity. Can I perform general tasks without problems? More detailed tasks?
  • Packability. How packable are they? I will attempt to pack them in/on (preferably in) my pack.
  • Washability. Are there special instructions? Are they easy to follow? Do they dry well? Do they hold much dirt in the first place?
My findings so far: [return to top]
  • Fit. I am impressed, as I am very hard to fit for gloves.
  • Washability. Hmm… I figure I would be using powdered detergent on an extended trek, but we generally use scent-free liquid at home because of my wife’s allergies. I guess I could hand wash them instead of trying to do a whole load of laundry with powder, but I don’t expect to do so at least until my Long Term Report.
Things I like [return to top]
  1. Light.
  2. Comfortable.
  3. They fit!
Things I don't like [return to top]
  1. A bit snug in the wrist to fit over my hands, but that is an acceptable tradeoff for me, especially since these are meant to be liner gloves.

Field Report - January, 2008
Field Testing [return to top]
Over the weekend of November 9-11, 2007, I met up with a fellow BGT gear tester and a few other hammockers along the AT near Dingman’s Ferry in New Jersey. Night-time low temperatures were around 20 °F (-7 °C), with daytime highs probably around 40 °F (5 °C). Rain/wet snow fell throughout Friday night, but stopped before we got up and left no accumulation at our camp, plus there was a slight breeze blowing most of the time. My son did not feel well Saturday morning, so we postponed the planned 20-mile (32 km) hike, deciding instead to stay in camp to meet up with the others. I had the gloves on and off during the day and evening, depending on how close I was to the fire, and found them tactile enough to leave on while preparing my cocoa. I did not wear them to pitch my fly, though I did put them on while hanging my hammock, again with no tactile difficulties. I did not note my hands getting cold at any time that weekend.

Over the first weekend of January, 2008, we participated in our annual Boy Scout district Winter Survival event. Overnight temperatures were just above freezing with periods of light rain, while daytime highs were around 45 °F (7 °C) and overcast. I hung – and un-hung – my Hennessy Hammock Expedition Asym with the gloves on, with no difficulties. The close fit is a real plus for dexterity. The gloves did not get noticeably wet during the time I was exposed to the rain, but I didn’t stay out in it for too long. I was careful not to wear them too close to the fire, but I did carry a few small bits of wood from the main pile to the fire area without seeing any snags or other damage to the fabric surface.

I also wore the gloves to and from work throughout the Field Test period, including several really raw, windy days with wind chills around 5-10 °F (-15 to -12 °C). Even on the coldest, windiest day my hands were never uncomfortable, merely cool.

Things I am/will be looking for: [return to top]
  • Fit. Do they fit me? Is the sizing on the web site accurate? Do they bunch when worn as liners?
  • Fabric. Is the fabric durable (I use trekking poles)? Does it stretch excessively? Does it fade? Is it windproof? Waterproof? Does it pill, pull, or snag readily?
  • Warmth. How cold can it get and still keep me warm? How much warmth do they add to my sleep system?
  • Dexterity. Can I perform general tasks without problems? More detailed tasks?
  • Packability. How packable are they? I will attempt to pack them in/on (preferably in) my pack.
  • Washability. Are there special instructions? Are they easy to follow? Do they dry well? Do they hold much dirt in the first place?
My findings so far: [return to top]
  • Fit. I am impressed, as I am very hard to fit for gloves.
  • Fabric. No noticeable wear yet. They stretch perfectly to aid in dexterity. I have not found them to be completely windproof, but they stop most of it.
  • Warmth. I’ve taken them well below freezing and have yet to find my hands uncomfortably cold.
  • Dexterity. I can hang my hammock and tie a variety of knots in fairly small lines.
  • Packability. They fit in the smallest pockets I have on any of my gear – or clothing.
  • Washability. Hmm… I figure I would be using powdered detergent on an extended trek, but we generally use scent-free liquid at home because of my wife’s allergies. I guess I could hand wash them instead of trying to do a whole load of laundry with powder, but I don’t expect to do so at least until my Long Term Report.
Things I like [return to top]
  1. Light.
  2. Comfortable.
  3. They fit!
Things I don't like [return to top]
  1. A bit snug in the wrist to fit over my hands, but that is an acceptable tradeoff for me, especially since these are meant to be liner gloves.

Long Term Report - March, 2008
Field Testing [return to top]
Cold weather at Valley Forge... Over the middle weekend of February our troop attended the 96th annual Valley Forge Pilgrimage and Encampment. Temperatures stayed near freezing the entire weekend, with the overnight lows about 20-25 ºF (-7 to -4 ºC). We were not allowed wood fires or ground fires, so a basic 'wax log' in a pan was all the heat we were allowed. Even with limited heat during extended time outside in the evening and night hours, my hands stayed warm and - more importantly - functional throughout the weekend.
Buck, the big puppy with bigger ideas... Over the past six weeks I have had the opportunity to enjoy several long walks each day with my dog, Buck, while I have been unemployed. Some of these walks were in shorts-and-tee weather, but more of them were in true winter weather. Buck is an energetic young fellow, and keeping my leash hand in my pocket could have resulted in damage to my jacket, so I found it quite necessary to wear gloves to handle the leash while maintaining warmth and feeling in my fingers. The silicone grips allowed me to hold the nylon leash without slipping just as effectively as I had been able to handle my hammock webbing that I mentioned in my Field Report, even under more load. I was also able to handle necessary clean-up chores without removing the gloves. When Buck is ready to join us in the woods (he's still a puppy, albeit a fairly large puppy) these will be the perfect gloves to have along to handle his needs.

I noticed something new since my Field Report - the silicone grips on the fingers are not located such that they all fully contact a flat surface, whether they are being worn or not. The grips on the index and little fingers are rotated inward just a little, so they make good contact when holding a variety of shapes - a ball, for example, or the shaped grip of my trekking poles.

Things I was looking for: [return to top]
  • Fit. Do they fit me? Is the sizing on the web site accurate? Do they bunch when worn as liners?
  • Fabric. Is the fabric durable (I use trekking poles)? Does it stretch excessively? Does it fade? Is it windproof? Waterproof? Does it pill, pull, or snag readily?
  • Warmth. How cold can it get and still keep me warm? How much warmth do they add to my sleep system?
  • Dexterity. Can I perform general tasks without problems? More detailed tasks?
  • Packability. How packable are they? I will attempt to pack them in/on (preferably in) my pack.
  • Washability. Are there special instructions? Are they easy to follow? Do they dry well? Do they hold much dirt in the first place?
My findings: [return to top]
  • Fit. I am impressed, they continue to fit well.
  • Fabric. No noticeable wear. I have not found them to be completely windproof, but they stop most of it.
  • Warmth. I’ve have yet to find my hands uncomfortably cold, even when slightly damp.
  • Dexterity. I can hang my hammock and tie a variety of knots in fairly small lines.
  • Packability. They fit in the smallest pockets I have on any of my gear – or clothing.
  • Washability. They just never really got dirty, as I take pretty good care of my gear.
Things I like [return to top]
  1. Light.
  2. Comfortable.
  3. They fit!
Things I don't like [return to top]
  1. A bit snug in the wrist to fit over my hands, but that is an acceptable tradeoff for me, especially since these are meant to be liner gloves.
  2. They are not waterproof. However, they do not claim to be, so I do not hold this against them.
Summary [return to top]
Nice gloves. A nice idea that has been well executed.
Thank you for your time.

Chuck Kime
a.k.a. Fuzzy


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