Outdoor Research Snowline Mitts
November 17, 2006
February 25, 2007
April 19, 2007
Color: Mojo Blue/Grey
Name: Liz Neely
Height: 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Weight: 145 lb (65.8 kg)
Email address: liz at armory dot com
Location: Santa Cruz, California
been day hiking for many years, and started
backpacking in 2005. My backpacking has been primarily in Central and
Northern California, on designated trails. My backpacking trips
have ranged in length from 2-4 days, with temperatures from 25 to 75 F
(4 to 24 C), and elevations between sea level and 8700 ft (2652 m). I'm
not an ultra-light backpacker, but I keep my pack weight between 28 to
35 lbs (12.7 to 15.9 kg) including food and water. I typically hike
between 7 to 11 mi (11 to 18 km) per day and I sleep in a tent.
Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
Year of Manufacture: 2006
MSRP: $39 US
Listed Weight: size Medium - 6.7 oz
Measured Weight: size Medium -
5.4 oz (153 g)
Available Sizes: S, M, L; a men's version is also
available in various sizes
Available Colors: Black, Mojo/Grey
Care: Machine wash cold water. Wash separately. Powdered detergent. Do
not bleach. Do not use fabric softener. Hang dry. Do not machine dry.
Do not iron. Do not dry clean.
These are waterproof, breathable mittens intended for hiking, skiing,
and backpacking. They have a waterproof shell and a fleece lining, and
a high-grip fabric called Toughtek on the palm side of the mittens.
They have elastic around the inside of the wrist, and a
tightening strap and buckle around the outside of the wrist. It's easy
to tighten and loosen, and it feels secure; it doesn't feel like it
would loosen on it's own. They also have a gauntlet that extends about
5 in (13 cm) above the wrist, and it has a pull cord for tightening it.
This also is easy to adjust and feels secure.
These are the key features listed by the manufacturer:
- Waterproof/Breathable Ventia Insert
- Durable nylon shell; rugged 300D nylon
- Boxed construction allows free circulation to fingers
- Soft fleece lining warms hands
- High-Grip Toughtek LT palm; offers positive grip in cold, wet
- Anatomical curve for easy grip of ropes and tools
- Ladder-lock wrist cinch prevents slipping on hand; easy to adjust
- MonoCinch closure keeps warmth in, weather out
- Full-length gauntlets keep snow out of cuffs
- Tension cordlock at gauntlet is easy to grip and operate
- Sewn hang loops at gauntlet provide option of attaching Idiot
Report November 17, 2006
I ordered a size medium based on the sizing chart on Outdoor Research's
website. The mittens fit me well, although when I fully extend my
fingers, my longest finger reaches the end of the inside of the mitten.
My hand length, using the measuring technique on Outdoor Research's
website, is 7.25 in (18.4 cm); their sizing chart lists the size Medium
mitten as fitting up to a hand length of 7.5 in (19.1 cm). The thumbs
the mittens fit my thumbs perfectly and the width of the mittens is
very comfortable, with a little wiggle room but not enough room to trap
One of the main features I have been looking for in a pair of mittens,
and have yet to find, is true waterproofness. So, I put these mittens
on and held my hands under the shower to see if they were really
waterproof. After three minutes, they were
still completely dry inside! I have high hopes that I may have finally
found a truly waterproof mitten! Of course, during the test period I
will be testing them in rain for much longer than three minutes of
exposure, but I'm pleased that my initial three minute test proved
The fleece inside these mittens is soft and warm, the
fit is comfortable, not too tight, and not too loose, and they are cut
in such a way that my thumb has a full range of motion. I was happy to
discover that I can operate the gauntlet cordlock and the
wrist cinch with the mittens on. I can loosen and tighten both of these
without removing either mitten. The High-Grip Toughtek material on the
palm and thumb does seem to grip well; I was able to pick up a full
of milk, wearing the mittens, without any feeling of it slipping out of
Testing will determine how useful
this Toughtek is, keeping in mind that these are still mittens, thus I
have use of individual fingers for tasks requiring a lot of dexterity.
Overall my initial impression is that these appear to be well designed,
well made, comfortable mittens, and I'm looking forward to testing them.
Below are some specific
questions that I will aim to answer and report on. In addition to these
specific things, I will also report on anything else I discover about
these mittens during the test period.
Are the Snowline Mitts comfortable? Is the interior fabric soft on my
they long enough for my fingers, which are somewhat long?
I have already determined that they are comfortable, soft, and long
enough (just barely) for short-term use; testing will determine if this
also holds true when wearing them for extended periods of time.
How well do the Mitts hold up after four months of backpacking and
skiing, being washed after each use? Is the stitching still in good
condition? Are there abrasions or other wear on the palms?
Are my hands warm enough in the Mitts in the snow? What about in the
rain? Are my hands too warm when backpacking? Do my hands get sweaty or
does the breathable fabric prevent that?
I've had trouble finding gloves or mittens that are truly waterproof.
Do these gloves stay dry inside even when rained on steadily? If not,
how long does it take for them to leak?
How easy are these Mitts go care for? Can they be machine washed and
dried? Do they dry quickly if they get wet on the trail?
According to the care instructions, they can be machine washed, but
must be air dried. I will be interested to find out how long they take
to air dry.
Can I perform outdoor backpacking tasks such as cooking, packing my
pack, or tying my boots while wearing these Mitts? Can I properly use
my trekking poles with these Mitts on? Do the gauntlets work well to
keep the snow out when skiing or do I still get snow inside even with
the gauntlets cinched? If snow or rain gets inside the gauntlets, does
the wrist cinch still keep my hands dry?
Field Report February 25, 2007
I've taken the Mitts on four backpacking trips and two car camping
The first backpacking trip was a two day/one night trip at Henry Coe
State Park, CA. The elevations were between 1500 to 2900 ft (457 to 884
m) and the temperatures were between 43 to 70 F (6 to 21 C). The hike
covered about 6 mi (10 km) each day. Because of the warm daytime
temperatures, I did not need to wear the Mitts while backpacking, but I
did need them in the evening at camp. They did not keep my hands
as warm as I had expected; I found that when wearing them in camp, at a
temperature of 53 F (12 C) my hands were still cold. I also found it a
bit difficult to perform various functions around camp while wearing
the Mitts because they are fairly bulky and they don't allow me use
of my fingers, since they are mittens, not gloves. I found that, with a
bit of effort, I can turn the pages of a book with the Mitts on,
which is really nice when reading in camp. However, I found that I
can't write very well with them on, as holding the pen is difficult. I
also can't operate zippers such as the zippers on my sleeping bag while
wearing the Mitts. Since there was no precipitation during this trip,
I was not able to test their waterproofness in rain.
The second backpacking trip was a three day/two night trip at Henry Coe
State Park, CA. The elevations were between 850 to 2700 ft (259 to 823
the temperatures were between 31 to 65 F (0 to 18 C). The hike covered
about 7 mi (11 km) the first day, 8 mi (13 km) the second day, and 4 mi
(6 km) the third day. All three days were fairly cold, although
there was no precipitation
during this trip. I found that when I was backpacking in cold
temperatures (in the 30's F (-1 C)), the Mitts took about 10 minutes to
warm up my hands. I also found that after I got really warmed up from
activity, my hands became too warm and damp with sweat, and I had to
remove the Mitts. I found that in camp, they didn't warm up my
hands while I was inactive, such as eating dinner. I also found it
difficult to use my trekking pole straps with the Mitts on, it was
easier just to grasp the trekking poles and leave the straps unused.
On both car camping trips, the temperatures were between 40 to 50 F (4
to 10 C) and it was raining. I wore the Mitts while setting up camp in
the rain, and
they kept my hands perfectly dry. Being car camping, rather than a
backpacking trip, I had the luxury of bringing plenty of warm clothing,
blankets, and sleeping bags, so I didn't need to wear anything on my
The third backpacking trip was a two day/one night trip at Black
Mines Regional Preserve in Antioch, CA. The elevations were between 500
and 1300 ft (152 and 396 m) and the temperatures were between 40 and 55
F (4 and 13 C). The hike covered about 5 mi (8 km) each day. It rained
lightly on and off all day on the first day, and was very foggy, but
didn't rain, on the second day. I didn't wear the Mitts while hiking
since I had found on my previous backpacking trip that it was
inconvenient to use my trekking pole straps with them on, and my
hands weren't cold once I got warmed up from hiking anyway. I did wear
the Mitts in camp, including in a light rain. I found them to be
completely waterproof, although not as warm as I would have liked. My
hands stayed dry but remained cold. I also wore them inside my sleeping
bag while sleeping, but every time I woke up (I wake often during the
night while camping), I found my hands were cold and clammy. Eventually
I opted to remove the Mitts and let my bare hands warm up against my
body - my hands stayed much warmer this way for the remainder of the
The fourth backpacking trip was a two day/one night trip at Henry Coe
State Park, CA. The elevations were between 850 and 2600 ft (259 and
792 m) and the temperatures were between 38 and 76 F (3 and 24 C). The
hike covered about 8.4 mi (13.5 km) the first day and 10 mi (16 km) the
second day. It was warm and sunny the first day, but cooled off as soon
as the sun went down. The second day was colder and a bit overcast. I
only needed the Mitts at night after the sun went down and in the
morning before I started hiking. I found that the Mitts kept my hands
warm enough in camp while I was eating dinner, and during breakfast the
next morning, but that wearing them in my sleeping bag while I slept
was not comfortable. I put the Mitts on and went to sleep with my
hands inside my sleeping bag. I woke up in the middle of the night to
find the insides of the Mitts damp and clammy, which was
my hands cold. As with my previous trip, I opted to remove the Mitts
slept the remainder of the night with my hands bare, inside my sleeping
bag. My hands were warmer this way since they weren't trapped with all
that moisture and were also warmed by my body heat.
Summary of feelings about the Snowline Mitts after three months of
Comfort/Fit: The fabric
on the inside of the Mitts is soft and comfortable, and the mitts are
long enough for my fingers. The mitts seem pretty wide for their
length. I have a lot of unused space inside the mitts, but because my
fingers are nearly as long as the mitts, I would not be able to wear a
smaller size. This excess space might be so that I can wear liners
underneath the mitts.
Durability: So far the
Mitts are not showing any signs of wear or deterioration. I have washed
and dried them after each trip, and they have held up perfectly. There
are no abrasions or other wear on the palms either.
I have not yet had the opportunity to wear the mitts in the snow, but I
have found that in general, they do not keep my hands as warm as I had
expected them too, when I'm inactive. When I'm active, it takes some
time (maybe about 10 minutes) for my hands to warm up inside the mitts,
then after another 10 or 15 minutes, my hands get sweaty inside the
Waterproof: I have
worn the Mitts in the rain several times, and they stayed completely
dry inside; they
appear to be completely waterproof as advertised.
Care: The Mitts are very easy
to wash and dry. I just wash them in the washing machine and hang them
to dry on the line. I have found that if I turn them inside out they
dry surprisingly quickly. If I forget to turn them inside out, they do
not dry on the inside.
Usability: I have
that I can perform tasks that don't require much use of my fingers and
don't require me to handle small parts such as small zippers or a
lighter, but I need to remove the Mitts for certain tasks such as
unzipping the tent, lighting the stove, or tying my boots. I found it
difficult to use my
trekking poles the typical way (using the straps for support) while
wearing the mitts, but I was able to use them wearing the Mitts by
ignoring the straps and grasping the handgrips on the poles with my
found that I can hold my spoon and eat with the Mitts on, but it's a
bit clumsy doing this. I can also turn on and off my headlamp, but it
takes quite a bit of feeling around to find the button since the Mitts
are fairly bulky so it's difficult for me to feel the button.
I will continue testing the Mitts for an additional two months and
report on any
changes of opinion I have. If our Tahoe snow comes in, I
will also test them on a ski trip and report on that.
Report April 19,
I've worn the Snowline Mitts for two days of skiing since my Field
The first day of skiing was at Mount Rose Ski Resort in the Lake Tahoe,
NV area of the Sierras. The elevations were between 8260 and 9700 ft
(2518 and 2957 m) and the temperatures were in the 30s and 40s F (-1 to
4 C). It did not snow or rain at all while I was there, but there was
snow on the ground. I wore the Mitts all day and my hands were never
cold. In fact, my hands were often hot and sweaty and I had to remove
the Mitts occasionally to cool off and dry out my hands. The times when
I fell down, no snow got into my Mitts - the gauntlets worked very well
to prevent that - all the moisture in my Mitts was from my hands
sweating. I didn't have any problem removing the cap from my hydration
tube with the Mitts on; however, I found it a bit difficult to handle
the trail map with my Mitts on, so I generally took them off when
reviewing the trail map.
The second day of skiing was at Homewood Ski Resort in the Lake Tahoe,
CA area of the Sierras. The elevations were between 6200 and 7880 ft
(1890 and 2402 m) and the temperatures were in the mid 30s to low 50s F
range (2 to 11 C). The conditions were very similar to those at Mount
Rose, no snow or rain fell, but there was plenty of snow on the ground.
again wore the Mitts all day and had the same experience as I had at
Mount Rose - my hands were warm enough all day, even when riding the
chair lift (inactive). But I periodically had to remove the Mitts to
air out my hands because they got wet from sweat. Again I found that
kept every bit of snow out, even when I fell.
I agree with most of what I wrote in my Field Report about these Mitts.
However, the one area in which I have changed my opinion is in regards
to warmth. In my field report, I reported that when I was inactive,
they did not do a good job of warming up my hands. The interesting
thing is, on my two ski trips during the Long Term Testing period, I
found that even when inactive (while riding the chair lifts), my hands
did not get cold. I believe the difference is that on the backpacking
trips, I put the Mitts on cold hands and my hands didn't warm up very
well. On the ski trips, I put the Mitts on warm hands, and they kept my
hands from cooling off. This could be because there is quite a bit of
air space inside the Mitts, so if my hands are already cold, I would
need to generate enough heat to warm up that air space as well as my
hands, and, when I'm inactive, I don't generate that much heat. I think
thick liners inside the Mitts would probably help with this problem.
I find the Snowline Mitts to be completely waterproof; they are a great
way to keep my hands totally dry in rain and snow. I do not find them,
without liners, to be very good for keeping my hands warm in cold
weather, unless I am very active. Even though I do not like how sweaty
they get inside when I'm active, they are the most waterproof hand
protection I have found. I will continue using these Mitts when I need
waterproof hand protection, although I will experiment with wearing
layers under them in cold weather, since they were not adequately warm
when I was inactive.
Thank you to BackpackGearTest.org
and Outdoor Research for giving me the
to test the Snowline Mitts.
Read more reviews of Outdoor Research gear
Read more gear reviews by Liz Neely