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Reviews > Clothing > Gloves > Outdoor Research StormTracker Gloves > Test Report by Peter Spiller

Outdoor Research StormTracker Gloves

Intial Report:  (August 23, 2008)Tester Information
Field Report (November 18, 2008) Product Information
Long Term Report (January 20, 2009) 



Tester Information:

Name:Peter SpillerBackpacking Background: I have been camping and hiking avidly since childhood.  In the last several years my passion for backpacking and kayaking has grown.  I am a Chapter Outing Leader for the Sierra Club, I have trained in Wilderness First Aid, and am a staff member for a wilderness basics course.  I enjoy solo backpacking and group trips.  I have an adaptable style that is fueled by my interest in backpacking gear.  I pack as light as possible when the situation dictates, but I am not against hauling creature comforts. I average 1-hike a week, and 1-backpack a month year-round.
Age: 38
Gender:Male
Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83m)
Weight:190 lb (86 kg)
Email address:phspiller@cox.net
City, State, Country:La Mesa, CA U.S.
Personal Website:www.outsidesd.com


Product Information:


Manufacturer:Outdoor Research
StormTracker Gloves
Photo from Outdoor Research's Website
Manufacturers Website:http://www.outdoorresearch.com
Model:Storm Tracker Gloves
Size Tested:XL
Weight (manufacturers):Average (size L): 3.8 oz (180 g)
Weight (as delivered):(Size XL): 4.5 oz (128 g)
Fabric:Glove: WindStopper® Soft Shell
Palms: Leather
Lining: Tricot
Model Year:2008
MSRP:$59.00
Manufcterers Description:From Website: The ultimate in backcountry versatility; the StormTracker Gloves™  provide unprecedented dexterity and tactility. Innovative MotionWrap™ AT construction provides articulation that allows the glove to bend and curl with the fingers so that detailed tasks are no longer a nuisance. The breathable/water-resistant WindStopper® Soft Shell fabric is tricot lined for winter-time warmth.
Infinite GuaranteeFrom Website:We believe so strongly in the quality of what we make that if, at anytime, our product fails to meet your needs, we are happy to exchange or return it. Because of this solid belief, our products are guaranteed forever and are designed with this in mind. Your total satisfaction in our product is our goal.

Initial Report:

August 23, 2008

Product Description:

Glove on handThe Outdoor Research StormTracker Gloves are an un-insulated pair of gloves composed of nylon “Windstopper soft shell fabric” on the back of the hand and around the wrist and  “full leather palms”. The gloves are cut long, with a gauntlet style that covers the wrist and a short ways up the arm. The openings of the gloves are sealed around the wrist using gathered nylon sewn into the palm side at the base of the hand. To aid putting on and taking off the gloves, there is a waterproof gusseted zipper sewn into the top of the wrist area, and extending 3.5 in (89 mm) towards the back of the hand. A small plastic clip attached by a short leather tab allows the gloves to be clipped together when not in use. The sides of the fingers feature “v” shaped cuts in the leather, with black nylon material sewn into the cuts. Outdoor Research describes this feature as such: “articulated sidewalls provide unrestricted finger mobility for enhanced tactility”. The leather palm has a single piece of leather cut to encompass the pointer finger and the pinky. The middle and ring fingers are separate pieces of leather with a seam at the base of these digits. The thumb is composed of two separate pieces of leather. One of them a thin strip, sewn around the perimeter of the thumb creating a box and increasing the volume in the interior. There is a black tag on the right glove with the Windstopper logo embroidered on one side and their URL on the opposite. Each glove has the Outdoor Research logo embroidered near the base of the zipper.

Articulated Sidewalls Zipper

Initial Impressions:

Boxed ThumbThe gloves were very close to what I expected from my visits to Outdoor Research’s website. I was a bit surprised as to how thin the gloves were when I first handled them.  Although unfounded, I expected them to have some sort of insulation in them. Upon reflection, I realized that there was no indication that they were insulated from any of the documentation. The thickness and design of the gloves is conducive to fine dexterity; one of the qualities touted in the manufacturers description.  If fact, I put them on and typed this paragraph on my laptop.  I was much slower and I did have to correct several stray letters, but I was impressed that I was able to type at all wearing a pair of gloves.

The gloves fit well and are comfortable during the limited time I have worn them. The fit and dimensions for the extra-large listed on the website are accurate. I cannot comment on the thermal qualities, as it is August in Southern California, and there is no opportunity to immerse myself in cooler temperatures. I will comment further on this as the weather cools going into the fall and winter.

The “Chili” color is great, although it is brighter than I expected from viewing the image of the gloves online. The red contrasts nicely with the black leather palms and the black trim, making for an attractive pair of gloves. 

Quality Assessment:

At this point I am impressed at the quality if this pair of gloves.  The comfortable fit, the details that aid in dexterity, and the quality look and feel of the materials leave me with an impression that these gloves are well made.  I look forward to testing these gloves over the next four months to determine the durability and performance.

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Field Report

November 18, 2008 

The Stormtracker gloves have been my constant companions during multiple day hikes, camping trips, and trips in town.  The temperate climate of San Diego County is traditionally a tough place to test gloves during early fall.  It has only been during the last couple of weeks that it has been feasible to wear gloves at any time during the day or night.   I have needed the gloves during one overnight, and one day hike thus far.

Field Locations:

Garnet Peak- Laguna Mountain, CA

Elevation: 6772 ft (2064 m)
High Temperature: 90.2 F (32.3 C)
Low Temperature: 41.6 F (5.3 C)
Precipitation: .02 in (.5 mm)

Cool late night/early morning temperatures allowed me to use these gloves in a setting that was less than warm.

Indian Hill- Anza-Borrego Desert, CA -2 day July 2008

Elevation: 2000 ft (610 m)
High Temperature: 73 C (23 C)
Low Temperature: 50 F (10 C)

Precipitation: While no precipitation was recorded the strong winds were blowing moisture onto us from the storms in the mountains. We were hiking in full sunlight, while being lightly rained upon. 

The severe winds and stormy conditions provided my best opportunity to date for testing the gloves.
 
Field Performance:

The Stormtracker gloves worked well during the limited opportunities that I had to test them.  The first chance was during an early morning photography shoot in our local mountains.  I was shooting a series of landscapes, and the morning temperature was brisk enough to warrant a pair of gloves to keep my fingers from going numb during the sedentary pursuit of waiting for the light to change.  While wearing the gloves, I was able to manipulate my digital SLR pretty well.  I could adjust the zoom, turn the mode dial, and press the shutter release to snap photographs.  I did have to remove them to manipulate the smaller buttons on the camera.  It was while removing the glove that I came across a problem.  I am unable to unzip the zippers on the gauntlet area of the gloves while they are on my hands.   I struggled with unzipping them for several minutes, and could not come up with a method to get them unzipped until I had pulled them from my hands.   

The gloves are made of Winstopper fabric, and the second opportunity to use these gloves was a splendid opportunity to test the wind-stopping properties of the fabric.  I went to our local desert region as a storm was blowing into the city of San Diego, California. Like most storms in the area, the precipitation was trapped on the western slope of the mountains, while I was at the base of the eastern slope.  The rain may have been trapped, but a cold wind was howling, kicking up dust storms in the distance, and sweeping the hat from my head at inopportune times.  The wind was so strong it was picking up moisture from the western slopes, and blowing it over the range, giving an effect of rain when there was not a cloud in view.  These gloves worked well to block the wind, without becoming too hot.  I was able to wear them during fairly strenuous hiking, and not overheat. The gloves vented the moisture from my perspiration well, while external moisture beaded off the fabric, and they did not soak into the glove.


Summary

While this fall has not been the most conducive time to test gloves; colder weather is on the way and the Stormtracker gloves are poised to be tested extensively.  The situations where I called on the gloves to perform, they have met the challenge.   The gloves have ridden in my pack for dozens of hikes, and have been used for two days in the field, and still look like new.  I am mostly happy with these gloves, and look forward to continuing to test them further in the next two months.


Long Term Report

January 20, 2009


Test Locations

During the long term testing period the weather in Southern California has finally cooled down enough to get a little better feel as to the gloves insulating capabilities.  The gloves accompanied me on three more trips into the backcountry, and an additional day-trip in which trip snow was a factor.  The gloves also have been my constant companion in more civilized locals, and I have used them several times to protect my hands as I cleaned early morning frost off of my vehicle. The gloves have been used for a total of 5-days in the field over the course of five different trips.

Arroyo Tapiado- Anza Borrego Desert, California

December
Elevation: 900 ft (274 m)
High Temperature: 64.0 F (17.8 C)
Low Temperature: 47.3 F (6.3 C)
Precipitation: None

January
Elevation: 900 ft (274 m)
High Temperature: 62.8  F (17.1 C)
Low Temperature: 77.8 F (25.4 C)
Precipitation: None


I made two over night trips to Arroyo Tapiado in preperation for leading trips for the Sierra Club

Laguna Mountain (Day Trip) San Diego County, California

December
Elevation: 4000 ft (1219 m)
High Temperature: 57.3 F (14.0 C)
Low Temperature: 29.7 F (-1.3 C)
Precipitation: 0.7 in (17.8 mm)

I made a day trip to the first significant snowfall in San Diego County with my family for a day of fun and snowball fights. Most of the weather I experienced was near or above freezing 32 F (0 C).



Ghost Mountain- Anza Borrego Desert, California

January
Elevation: 2500 ft (762 m)
High Temperature: 70.9 F (21.6 C)
Low Temperature: 39.9 F (4.4 C)
Precipitation: None

I made a planning trip to Ghost Mountain scouting out locations to lead for the Sierra Club.


Field Performance


The Outdoor Research Stormtracker gloves continue to perform well for me.  They are great mild weather protection, providing a good compromise between insulating my hands and allowing for freedom of movement and a reasonable dexterity.

The gloves do a fine job of protecting me from the weather. I have not had them wet through, although the only significant moisture they have seen was from a rousing snowball fight with my family.  They provide enough insulation that I have not chilled my fingers, even when using them in the snow.  They only provided marginal comfort when my hands were handling snowballs for long periods of time, and I speculate my hands would have been chilled if not for the aerobic activities I was engaged in.  The zippers on the gauntlet have not loosened up any over the 4-month testing period, and I am forced to pull the gloves off my hands to unzip these zippers.

The gloves have proved to be durable, with no major damage apparent anywhere on the fabric or the leather palms.  While they are labeled as work gloves, I have not done any significant manual labor, although in the snow they were used in conjunction with a snow shovel for a short period of time and did not suffer any undue wear.  I am capable of shooting photographs in these gloves, although the dexterity is not great enough to manipulate fishing equipment.

The light weight, and compact size of these gloves are ideal for backpacking in mild weather, and are a great addition to my 10-essentials.  I plan to continue carrying these glove in this capacity into the future, using them as my primary hand insulation when backpacking in San Diego County.


Summary

I am happy with these gloves as mild weather protection with a close fit and good dexterity while performing the majority of the tasks that I will find in the backcountry.  They keep my hands warm and dry in above freezing conditions, and are comfortable to wear. These gloves just seem to disappear on my hand when wearing them (despite their bright red color) and provide warmth and protection in moderately cool environments.



Pros:
  • I have good dexterity while wearing the gloves
  • The gloves are not too warm
  • The gloves are good at blocking wind

Cons
  • I cannot unzip the gauntlet zippers while wearing the gloves
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This concludes my report of the Outdoor Research Stormtracker Gloves.  Thank you Outdoor Research and backpackgeartest.org for the opportunity to test these fine gloves.


Read more reviews of Outdoor Research gear
Read more gear reviews by Peter Spiller

Reviews > Clothing > Gloves > Outdoor Research StormTracker Gloves > Test Report by Peter Spiller



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