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Women's Mitten Questions and Comparisson...

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

I'm looking to buy my wife a new pair of ski mitts. She's a Southern California girl and doesn't do well in cold temperatures. We spend a lot of time in the high Sierras and she's been miserable even in the pretty mild Northern California climate. This holiday season, I'm surprising her with a trip Banff and the Canadian Rockies to celebrate a snowy white Christmas. I want to get her properly geared up so that it's enjoyable for her. The last item that I'm stuck on is mittens.

 

Here's what I'm looking at...

 

I was initially considering the Outdoor Research Alti mitts, supposedly the warmest on earth. I contacted them and spoke with a rep who told me that it's surely overkill and may in fact, be uncomfortable to wear in the temperature range which we'll most likely find outselves (anywhere from +10 to -15 on the extreme) due to the fact that they are so big and bulky and that any movement or grip would be restricted due to their size. The rep that I spoke with instead recommended the High Camp mittens. My wife isn't crazy about the color, which only comes in black... but that's a secondary concern!

 

Next up is Black Diamond. I considered the Absolute mitten initially, but for the same reasons as above, I'm now looking at the Mercury Mitt. They seem to be among the warmest available and my wife finds them aesthetically appealing, which is a big plus...

 

Lastly, Hestra! We're considering both the XCR and Heli, though leaning towards the Heli mitten. These are my wife's favorite based entirely on look and design. I'm not sure if they would be as warm as the Black Diamond Mercury mitt, or if they would achieve the intended task of keeping my little lady comfortable on the slopes... or even just playing around in the snow!

 

Here's what we're considering... we've come to realize that she doesn't need the most extreme heavy-duty mountaineering mitts designed for climbing Everest, although her range for withstanding cold is certainly less than most. A comfortable mitten has as much to do with the circumstances and context of it's intended use as it does warmth. That said, I would like to get her a warm and well-made mitten. Price range is anywhere from one-hundred to two-hundred dollars, give or take.

 

If the decision was solely based on aesthetic over performance, my wife would chose the understated Hestra Heli mittens. Less is more as far as she's concerned. I would tend to agree... however I want to make sure they're a warm enough mitt for her before pulling the trigger. She likes the Black Diamond Mercury as well, which seems to be the warmer mitt of the two choices. My question is: would the Heli mitts be sufficient for a Rocky Mountain winter wonderland in Banff & Lake Louise mid-December, in say -10 degrees; skiing, x-country, sledding, hiking, etc. - for someone who's temperature runs colder than most? I have a feeling the answer is probably "yes" but would like to get some feedback to be certain!

 

Given the two choices (Hestra and Black Diamond) strictly in terms of value - which would you opt for and why?

 

Do you have any other recommendations?

 

Any and all thoughts, suggestions and feedback would be greatly appreciated and hugely helpful; thanks!!

post #2 of 21

In the past I have personally not found the Hestra Mittens to be that warm. Very well made but not that warm. I have a pair of the BD Mercury Mittens and really like them for the colder days. Add a pair of glove liners (I like Merino Wool) for coldest days and she should be very comfortable. They tend to run very large. I usually wear a Large to XL, but found the Medium to be a good fit.

post #3 of 21

I've liked my Hestra Heli mitts but the Extreme Mitt is a bit warmer. 

http://hestragloves.com/en-us/gloves/alpine-pro/army-leather-extreme-mitt/

 

This past winter I got the Kombi GTX Embark Mitt and was wow'd by its warmth.

post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thank you both; I think based on what you're saying, we'll probably go with the Black Diamond Mercury as it seems to be the benchmark for warmth and is pretty comparable to all the others in terms of size and bulk. My wfie likes the design as well, so it seems like a good choice. Are the Hestra Extreme or GTX Embark contenders in terms of warmth or is the Mercury mitt really in a category all it's own?

post #5 of 21
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 

 

The price is certainly enticing (especially stacked with a few promo codes!) but I'm worried that they won't be warm enough for her hands. A couple of the reviews on Sierratradingpost claim that folks still had cold fingers with these. Have you tried out any of the other mitts that I posted about above for comparisson?

 

Does anyone else have any experience with Grandoe Arctic Mittens?

post #7 of 21

Jivyivy Ive seen the mercury mitt at rei here in so cal; I was really turned off buy how big they were overall, very industrial looking and feeling, something you would take to the south pole, kind of like; Hi i'm Annette and these are my mittens!!I      I saw a pair of Leki colorado mitts for the wife  at Kittridges in mammoth,super sleek,leather unbelievable really but 178.00 bucks.Insert sad face here! For what it's worth I've had the same pair of Grandoe functional curves for twenty years,very well made.

post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by viking9 View Post
 

Jivyivy Ive seen the mercury mitt at rei here in so cal; I was really turned off buy how big they were overall, very industrial looking and feeling, something you would take to the south pole, kind of like; Hi i'm Annette and these are my mittens!!I      I saw a pair of Leki colorado mitts for the wife  at Kittridges in mammoth,super sleek,leather unbelievable really but 178.00 bucks.Insert sad face here! For what it's worth I've had the same pair of Grandoe functional curves for twenty years,very well made.

 

Thanks for that! My wife woouldn't be happy with giant bricks on her hands... I'm really tempted by those Grandoes and think I may just go for them! I'm looking at the Arctic Down mitts. Do they keep your hands warm in -10 temps? You say you've had the same pair for 20 years but are they as well made and constructed today? If so, at the sales price on Sierratradingpost, I'm just gonna go for them and if she's cold on our upcoming trip, we can layer and then look at other options when we're back in the city.

post #9 of 21

I'd be careful about using those Grandoe's for skiing. The material on the back of the glove looks like thin nylon. It says it's waterproof but any small tear there may expose the down to water - then you're toast. That's the problem with down. Once it's wet it may be ruined, whereas a synthetic insulator won't have that problem.

 

My wife has very cold hands and likes the Hestra Heli Mitts. She wears wool glove liners (as suggested above) and, if it's real cold, will keep a hand warmer in the mitten.

 

Remember that if she's going to be skiing with it, it has to be agile and durable. Mountaineering gloves don't always have those qualities.

 

If Trekchick says the Army Leather is even warmer, that may be a winner for you.

post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thank you Kauffee, so back to the Hestra mitts it is then!

 

Just to be certain, are we talking the Army Leather Heli or Army Leather Extreme and does anyone know what the difference is? I want to make sure we're getting a mitt that's durable and can be functional beyond just warmth (for gripping things like poles, etc) since we're no longer considering the giant OR or Black Diamond mittens.

 

Can anyone tell me whether the Army Leather Helis and Army Leather Extremes are the same size... is the leather padded palm lining the only difference between these and the regular Helis? I assume this just adds a layer of warmth and comfort, right?

 

Thanks again for all the helpful feedback!

post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 

And last question: do the Hestras fit true to size?



 



My wife's hands measures a hair under 7" circum. (not incl. thumb!) across the knuckles and ~6.75" wrist to middle finger. According to their website, that would make her a size 7. Some people mentioned sizing issues above, so I just want to be certain.



 



Finally, any reliable online retailers with competetive prices (bonus for promo codes!) to source them from?



 



Thanks!!


Edited by jivyivy - 11/23/13 at 6:13pm
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by jivyivy View Post
 

 

Thanks for that! My wife woouldn't be happy with giant bricks on her hands... I'm really tempted by those Grandoes and think I may just go for them! I'm looking at the Arctic Down mitts. Do they keep your hands warm in -10 temps? You say you've had the same pair for 20 years but are they as well made and constructed today? If so, at the sales price on Sierratradingpost, I'm just gonna go for them and if she's cold on our upcoming trip, we can layer and then look at other options when we're back in the city.


Dido, I've had the same pair for 20 years. They are 100% leather on the outside, no nylon. Do they last? Well 20 years so far. I did put a couple of pieces of duck tape on the outside grip side of the mittens 2 years ago because some of the stiching started to become undone, nothing serious. Do they still make them the same way today. We'll they still advertise down leather mittens, no mention of nylon. My gloves are still great & when I finally decide to use new gloves I have another pair of the same gloves I bought at least 7 years ago on sale for $25. My wife & daughter still have the same old gloves we bought at the same time 20 years ago. They don't ski as much as me so the gloves are still perfect, no duct tape needed. When the times comes they have another new pair I bought on sale for $25 to. Have I tried other mittens? No, why should I, I'm perfectly happy with what I have. Do they keep my hands warm at -10f. Really couldn't tell you because if it's that cold I generally don't ski but it's not because of the mittens.


Edited by steamboat1 - 11/23/13 at 7:41pm
post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 

I have one last and final question for everyone who's been so helpful with all of this... how would a pair of boiled dachstein wool mittens with thin liners compare to any and all of the above?

 

I'm just curious because that's what I bought for myself but decided that modern insulated technology would do better for my wife. I'm a bit concerned because temperatures in the Canadian Rockies mid-winter can plummet quickly with a chinook blowing in and I wouldn't want to be on a mountain with her in -15 with windchill. She'd be miserable. I'm considering a dachstein wool sweater as a mid-layer for her and she has the dachstein hat already. I have a vintage fur hat (ushanka style I think; kinda like the one Thelonious Monk wore) and it keeps me toasty warm in all temperatures, so she could always appropriate that if the wool hat isn't sufficient. I've read that the mittens natural insulation and the wool's water deflection really works incredibly well and I wonder if they might keep her warmer than any of these fancy brands made of synthetic materials? What do you think??

post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 

Okay, so I ended up purchasing these Heli mitts for my wife...

http://hestragloves.com/en-us/gloves/alpine-pro/womens-heli-mitt/100020/

 

 

But I would like to get her a pair of warm liners to be extra safe; something not too bulky that she can slip right inside the stock mitten liner.

 

 

First question - is THIS the stock mitten liner that comes with the Hestras when purchased?

http://hestragloves.com/en-us/gloves/liners/insulated-liner-long-mitt/

 

 

Would these seemingly thin merino gloves work well with the Heli mitt; providing extra warmth and comfort without being too tight?

http://hestragloves.com/en-us/gloves/liners/merino-wool-liner-active/

 

 

Thanks!!

post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 

Should I go for the Active merino liners or the Regular merino liners?

 

Active:

http://hestragloves.com/en-us/gloves/liners/merino-wool-liner-active/

 

Regular:

http://hestragloves.com/en-us/gloves/liners/merino-wool-liner/

 

 

There's also the Polartec Waffled liners, although I'm not certain they'd fit inside the mitten. Does anyone know for sure?

 

I'd like to get her the warmest and most comfortable liners possible and would just assume stick with Hestra to match the mitts.

post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by jivyivy View Post
 

Should I go for the Active merino liners or the Regular merino liners?

 

Active:

http://hestragloves.com/en-us/gloves/liners/merino-wool-liner-active/

 

Regular:

http://hestragloves.com/en-us/gloves/liners/merino-wool-liner/

 

 

There's also the Polartec Waffled liners, although I'm not certain they'd fit inside the mitten. Does anyone know for sure?

 

I'd like to get her the warmest and most comfortable liners possible and would just assume stick with Hestra to match the mitts.

I'd get the active ones, because you may need to take off your outer gloves and manipulate things with the liner gloves.  

 

The regular ones look more delicate and don't look like they are for activity but just going out on the town.

 

In mitts, any liner glove will fit, my snowboarder friend uses wool hobo-gloves (fingerless) in his mitts. 

post #17 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks!

post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 

Can anyone tell me whether the Army Leather HELI mitts are sized the same as the WOMEN'S regular Heli mitts?

 

I ask because one is clearly identified as a women's mitten, whereas the Army Leather Heli (same mitt with goat leather palm) is not.

 

My wife is a size 7 in the Heli mitt and I would like to exchange it for the Army Leather but I'm not sure if I should be ordering the same size?

 

Is it a unisex mitt and if so, would that make the clearly identified "Women's" Heli Mitt unisex as well?

 

Is a size 7 a size 7 regardless of gender?

 

Thanks!!

post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by raytseng View Post

I'd get the active ones, because you may need to take off your outer gloves and manipulate things with the liner gloves.  

The regular ones look more delicate and don't look like they are for activity but just going out on the town.

In mitts, any liner glove will fit, my snowboarder friend uses wool hobo-gloves (fingerless) in his mitts. 

I'll second this. My wife has the regular ones and they developed holes after just a few days out. Very poor considering the cost.

I use the Smartwool liners which have touchscreen-compatible fingers:
http://www.smartwool.com/mens/accessories/liner-glove-20.html

That said, last year Target had touchscreen knit gloves that felt pretty similar to those Smartwools for about $3/pair.
post #20 of 21

About liners.  I have experimented with different types of liners and the thin merino wool liners work best as a layering piece.  My choice is the smartwool brand.  I have a condition called raynauds phenomena where the vessels in my finger tips spasm causing loss of circulation but a combination of mittens and glove liners enables me to ski or be outdoors even when it is -10 to -20F.  Have tried liners made of synthetics that were more expensive but they were not as warm as the thin merino wool liners.

 

Bill

post #21 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks Bill, I have reynauds as well, so I can relate. Have you tried out the Hestra liners as compared to the Smartwools? I can grab a pair of Smartwool for dirt cheap on Sierra Trading Post right now but I'm curious if the Hestras weren't specifically designed for absolute warmth when paired with their own mitts? I suppose merino is merino though; depnding on the weight.

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