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Reviews > Clothing > Gloves > Outdoor Research Snowline Mitt > Josh Esteves > Test Report by Joshua Esteves

Outdoor Research Snowline Mitts
May 2, 2007
mitt


Biographical Information:

Name:  Josh Esteves    
Age: 26    
Gender:  Male
Height:  6’3” (191 cm)
Weight:  265 (120 kg)
Length of Hand:  8.5”-9” (22 cm -23 cm)
Circumference of Hand:  9.75” (25 cm)
Email address:  jandk1800(at)yahoo(dot)com
City, State, Country:  Modesto, CA  USA

Backpacking Background:  I started backpacking five years ago, mostly day hiking and overnight trips with a few multi-day trips and one solo 3 day trip.  I started backpacking in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas and recently returned to California and have been hiking the coastal Santa Cruz Mountains and the Sierras.  I started backpacking as a heavy weight (over a 65 lb (30 kg) pack for a overnight trip) but now consider myself a lightweight backpacker (10-15 lb (5-7 kg) base weight).   I have found that lightweight backpacking allows me to carry all my gear and my son at the same time.

Product Information:
Manufacturer:  Outdoor Research
Year of manufacture:  2006
Manufacturer’s URL:  www.orgear.com
Listed weight:  7.4 oz./208 g (size L, per pair)
Weight as delivered:  7.2 oz/204 g ( size XL, per pair)
Color:  Grey/Black (also available in all black)
MSRP:  $39.00

Initial Report

According to their web site, the Snowline Mitts “have a durable waterproof shell and a warm fleece lining. Synthetic palms offer positive grip in cold, wet conditions and full-length gauntlets keep snow out of your cuffs.”   The mitts are intended to be an “insulated shell for hiking, skiing, and backpacking.”  

The most notable feature of the Snowline Mitts is their Toughtek LT palm and inner thumb.  It feels like a thin rubber material that is smooth to the touch while still offering extra durability and gripping ability.  The wrist has elastic and a buckle to tighten the mitt in that area.  The cuff extends above the jacket and has a draw cord with a toggle to secure the mitt over the jacket.  There is also a small clip on the cuff of the mitts to secure them to each other.  The inside of the mitts is lined with a thin layer of fleece.  The fleece is soft but only appears to be attached at the edges of the mitts.  This allows the fingers to get a sense of floating around within the mitt while the liner moves more then the outer shell.  
seam

The mitts appear to be of good design and quality.  I am  concerned with the upper seam of the mitt where the canvas material and the Toughtek LT meet.  There is a slight lip at that seam where the canvas material could possibly snag and tear.  I will pay close attention to this area while testing.  The Toughtek LT palm seems like it could melt if the mitts are warn while cooking.  I emailed the manufacture about this subject and they responded the next day by saying:
"The glove is designed for cold weather use.  The palms are all
synthetic rubberized materials that will melt if they get too hot.  We
don't recommend any synthetics for use around heat/ flame."

The mitts seem thin and I will be curious to see how well they perform in cold temperatures.

The length of my hand is about 8.5”-9” (22 cm -23 cm) which should fit in a large mitt according to OR’s  sizing chart.  However, my fingers hit the top of the mitts in the extra large size so I would recommend trying the mitts on before purchasing them.  I haven’t warn mitts since childhood and I am not used to the confinement of the mitts.  The fingers are only capable of spreading as far apart as the mitt allows, which is about 5.5” (14 cm).  The mitts are easy to put on, adjust, and take off.  I tried to open my Victorinox Classic pocket knife with the Snowline mitts but couldn’t.  Working a zipper on my jacket was tough but manageable so I am curious how well the mitts will work around camp.  I ran the mitts under the water faucet for about 30 seconds and the water beaded right off and no water got through the mitts.  I then ran  water over the cuff briefly and a few drops got through but the drawstring cuff did a good job of keeping the water out.  I am curious to see how well the cuff does at keeping snow out while skiing.

Field Report


I went on three backpacking trips with the Outdoor Research Snowline Mitts.  They where all in California’s Big Basin and Castle Rock State Parks.  I also took the mitts on several day hikes and on one trip to the Sierras.  

My first trip with the Snowline mitts was three days and 30 miles (48.3 km) though Big Basin and Castle Rock State Parks.  During the trip the temperature ranged from the 40 F (4 C) to the mid-60 F (20 C).  The first two days where dry and the weather was fair.  The third day there was a fairly heavy downpour the last two miles (3.22 km) of the trip.  

The second trip was a  short six mile (9.66 km) overnight trip in Castle Rock State Park.  The temperature was in the upper 30’s F (3 C) to the low 60’s F (17 C).  The weather was fair and dry.  

The third trip was a twelve mile (20 km) overnight trip in Big Basin State Park.  The temperature ranged from 50 F (10 C) to 70 F (20 C).  Prior to the trip the park had received enough rain that the trail was wet.  However, during the trip there was no rain.  

My day hikes were in the same temperature range as the overnight trips.  However, I did take one trip to the Sierras.  The temperature during the day was around 20 F (-5 C).  There was a few feet of snow on the ground, but it was significantly less than normal.

During my backpacking trips, the Snowline mitts were too hot to wear while hiking.  When at camp, I found the mitts to be too hard wear while doing chores.  The mitts were just too bulky to handle small items around camp.  I spoke with the manufacturer and they said the mitts are not to be used around high heat.  Due to that I did not use the mitts during cooking or while drinking a hot beverage.  I was not able to open my Victorinox Classic pocket knife while wearing the Snowline mitts.   Working a zipper, knot tying while pitching a tarp, and going though my backpack were also too tough to do with the mitts.  
water

I did like using the mitts while getting water out of a cold stream.  Wearing insulated waterproof mitts kept my hands warm and dry while getting water and while washing the pot after dinner.  I also found the mitts to be warm enough while sitting around camp in the upper 30’sF (3 C) and while being active at 20F (-5 C).  

My favorite thing about the Snowline mitts is that they are waterproof.  I normally don’t carry waterproof gloves in my backpack and I found them to be very nice when doing dishes on a cold night.  However, I greatly disliked the bulkiness of the mitts.

I prefer to save pack weight whenever possible and for me the Snowline mitts are not worth carrying on my average backpacking trips.  I do like the Outdoor Research Snowline mitts for cold weather and I will continue to use them after the test period for my snow skiing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing trips.    

Long -Term Report

During the long term test period, I took the Snowline Mitts on several day hikes, two overnight trips, and three kayaking day trips.

During this period, the day time weather never got below 60 F (15 C).  Due to the higher temperatures, I didn’t get to wear the mitts very often.  I found them to be much too hot and the waterproofing caused the mitts to become saturated with sweat very quickly. Due to that fact, I seldom wear the mitts while hiking.  I continued to use the mitts for getting water and enjoyed the warmth and waterproofing.  I took the mitts along on my paddling trips, however, the weather didn’t warrant wearing them.  

The Snowline mitts claim to offer a “positive grip in cold, wet conditions.”  I found the mitts did provide good grip on larger objects, however, they were too bulky to wear while using smaller items.  They also claim to be an “insulated shell for hiking, skiing, and backpacking.”  As an insulated shell the mitts performed well.  They are extremely waterproof, which has its own advantages and disadvantages, as well as warm enough for moderately cold temperatures.  They also provide enough room inside to wear an insulating layer for colder temperatures.  I agree that the gloves are good for skiing and I will continue to use them on my future ski trips.  When I applied to test these gloves I was extremely curious about an insulated shell for hiking and backpacking.  I just think that my definition of a hiking and backpacking trip differs from Outdoor Research’s.  According to the OR’s engineering department the Snowline mitts are “designed for cold weather use.”  For me, over 90% of my hiking and backpacking trips are not at a cold enough day time temperature to warrant the added weight of the Snowline mitts.

In conclusion, I will continue to use the mitts for skiing, snowshoeing, and winter backpacking. However, as an overall backpacking mitt, the Outdoor Research Snowline mitts, are not worth their weight and when I pack my bag, weight is everything. So I won’t be packing the Snowline mitts any time soon.

I would like to thank backpackgeartest.org and Outdoor Research for the opportunity to test these mitts.




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