On my recent vacation to visit friends in Madison, Wisconsin, I dropped into an outdoor store and found a new pair of gloves. As I have confessed in previous posts, I own multiples of just about every kind of backpacking gear, so I guess it isn’t surprising I would have three (now four) pairs of gloves.
I have tried many combinations trying to get the right flexibility, fit, dexterity, warmth and, of course, lightness. One combination included thin liners with a wind and waterproof outer outer shell. At the time, the two-piece approach seemed ideal. In reality, the two layers weren’t warm enough, even though they did keep my hands dry. I had tried this approach after hiking with good quality fleece gloves that got wet during a rainstorm which caused the temperature to drop and my hands to get quickly numb. So numb, I could barely work the clips on my pack’s chest strap.
A New Experiment
I had good reason to buy my fourth pair: my current gloves are a bit thin and starting to wear out, in addition to providing very little protection against cold and wind – the times you really need good gloves.
To remedy this situation, I bought a pair of Manzella Men’s Polartec Windstop Fleece Gloves with Goretex membrane. As you might expect, they are lightweight at 3 ounces for both gloves.
They also are three times as thick as my current pair, yet allow good dexterity (you need to be able to perform basic chores around camp without taking off the gloves). To help with grip, the palm, thumb and two fore-fingers are covered with what the label calls “Pittards World Class Leather.”
The label also claims they are four times more wind resistant, provide warmth without weight, have a water-repellant surface, are breathable and machine washable.
I’ll let you know how they work on the trail next time I’m out.
Be light. Be safe. Be one with the pack.
Technorati tags: Lightweight backpacking, Backpacking gloves