Who the Hell is maadjurguer?

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I like to ski, mountain bike, drink beer, cook and listen to any jam band I can get my hands on; all while making a complete ass of myself. Hopefully this catharsis is as interesting to others as it is to me.

Monday, November 24, 2008

glove review

Here are the results of the glove fitting test I conducted the last 2 weeks. I’ve been slow to respond back due to the Turkey Holiday, but I’ve had time to filter my impressions down into this review. As a disclaimer, my grading factors were influenced by what I deem to be important in a glove given my style of skiing (even mix of backcountry and lift accessed terrain), general locale of skiing (4 corners region) how my hands like to work (I love to take my gloves on and off to work with things), and what makes me comfortable in a glove (hatred for drafts at the wrist, wet liners and crappy construction). During the ordering process, I also deviated from my exclusive search for a gauntlet style glove to include a work-style glove which by default, would not have much of a gauntlet and no removable liner. So off the bat, these work-style gloves get a bad rap in my grading scheme because of this. However, I wanted to try them on to see how I thought they would manage given my hatred for cold wrists vs. their easy-on- easy-off and dexterity considerations. I ultimately chose a gauntlet style glove, yet have a secret desire to have a work-glove in the pack. In fact, if I was given the funds to pick two gloves, the highest rated work-style glove would have been my trusty number 2. Here is the criteria:

-Dexterity (can I easily grip and manipulate things with the gloves on, are they easy to get on and off even with wet hands)
-Removable Liner (need for drying after multiple wet days, potential to utilize just the liner for skinning on warmer days)
-Wrist Fit (wrist straps or tight elastic to eliminate drafts and snow infiltration)
-Palm Material (leather or pleather, component of dexterity, tackiness)
-Overall construction (overall thoughts on utility)
-Verdict (average of scores)

0 Turns – Least desirable for what I wanted
1 Turns – Below average for class
2 Turns – Average for class
3 Turns – Above average for class
4 Turns – Best in class for tested subjects
***only one 4-turn grade assigned per criteria

As a summary in case you don’t want to read the individual grades below, I picked the Black Diamond Prodigy glove for its best in class palm material and overall construction. I also found that in general, the Black Diamond gloves to be very well put together and consistent with respect to material construction, sheer burl factor and their dexterity given the ample insulation levels. Other gloves fell short as a whole in these areas. However, there were a few stand-outs with respect to individual features such as the superior wrist strap design of the Hestra, the novel but ingenious idiot strap design found on the Cloudveil Gauntlet and Hestra and the outstanding utility of the liner within the Marmot Ultimate Guide gloves. Nonetheless, I will be heading to my local craft store to fabricate an idiot strap similar to the ones found on the standouts mentioned since I tend to be an giddy forgetful idiot when facing down thousands of feet of powder. Lastly, it is ironic that the very type gloves that I am replacing and have loved so much scored very low in this test. The newer construction and material choice in the Marmot Ultimate line was disappointing, again; this is based upon my personal preferences which I have outlined.

Black Diamond Guide Guide:

-Dexterity: 1 turn. This should not be construed as being a "bad rating". Given that this was the warmest glove with the most insulation within the class, dexterity should not be a factor when requiring something this warm. Given skiing in the 4 corners region, it is overkill and warrants the low rating for me.

-Removable liner: 2 turns. The liner is basic, but not really usable outside the shell.

-Wrist fit: 3 turns. Elastic, no wrist strap, but firm and tight.

-Palm material: 3 turns. Heavy duty leather, great doubling of leather in key areas, tacky and soft.

-Overall Construction: 3 turns. Well designed and fits great, but lacks idiot strap which I would add as a modification.

-Verdict: 2.4 turns. If I were looking for a very warm/hot glove, the dexterity and removable liner points would have been higher, rendering this the overall winner. Minus points only for this reason. Great glove and decent dexterity for amount of insulation material to include wool.

Black Diamond Prodigy:

-Dexterity: 3 turns. Not as dexterous as work gloves, as good as it gets for a gauntlet glove.

-Removable liner: 2 turns. Not very usable outside of glove, the same as the other BD glove reviewed.

-Wrist fit: 3 turns. Great fit at wrist, elastic, no strap.

-Palm material: 4 turns. Heavy duty leather, great doubling of leather in key areas, tacky and soft. Same construction as other BD glove reviewed.

-Overall Construction: 4 turns. Nice balance of warmth, dexterity and burly construction. No idiot strap, but an easy mod.

-Verdict: 3.2 turns. BD makes some burly gloves overall. This is my winner for skiing the SW. I would have picked the BD Guide if I needed a much colder weather glove, but I already have a pair of these which don't get much use. I will be making my own idiot strap for these based after the Hestra design (below).

BD Patrol:

-Dexterity: 3 turns. A true work glove.

-Removable liner: 0 turns. It’s a work glove…that’s what you get, not neceserrily a bad thing, just not what I need.

-Wrist fit: 3 turns. Great tight fit with elastic, I was surprised by a drawcord strap for a small gauntlet on this glove.

-Palm material: 3 turns. Typical BD burly construction, nicest leather of them all.

-Overall Construction: 3 turns.

-Verdict: 2.4 turns. This comes in 2nd place in the work glove category...granted, I only sampled 2 in this category.

Cloudveil Tramline:

-Dexterity: 4 turns. Best tested, very easy on and off.

-Removable liner: 0 turns. It’s a work glove, so may not be fair criteria.

-Wrist fit: 1 turn. Questionable baffle wrist sleeve may not keep out snow or drafts. I would love to get some feedback on this glove from someone with a season in them.

-Palm material: 3 turns. Great soft leather.

-Overall Construction: 3 turns. Would be 4 if not for the questionable wrist baffle….still intrigued to try these though.

-Verdict: 2.2 turns. I would have picked these gambling that the wrist baffle worked as intended thus increasing it's score. If I was a two glove kind of guy, this would be #2.

Cloudveil Serendepity:

-Dexterity: 0 turns. Very stiff, somewhat uncomfortable

-Removable liner: 2 turns. Very thick and warm liner with grippy palm…could be used separately

-Wrist fit: 2 turns. A little on the loose side

-Palm material: 1 turns. Not too tacky and very stiff.

-Overall Construction: 1 turn. Not XTR fabric on outside which in my humble opinion not only gives you the benefits of GoreTex, but holds up well to abrasion which is a big issue for any skier trying to find weeks old powder in the thickest of forests. I felt like this glove would rip upon first contact with any stray branch I should try try to shield my face from.

-Verdict: 1.2 turns. Lowest rating, yet it had one of the best idiot straps I’ve ever seen; eliminating the cinching piece of plastic and opting instead for an easy on, easy off elastic cuff. It also had a zipper pouch for a heat chem pack if you’re into that sort of thing.

Mountain Hardware Habenero:

-Dexterity: 2 turns. Lots of space in the glove, felt large for the size, would have sized down.

-Removable liner: 0 turns. The insulation felt thin in addition to the fit.

-Wrist fit: 1 turn. Again, minus points as a factor of the insulation issue and no wrist strap

-Palm material: 3 turns. Decent leather, but not as good as BD.

-Overall Construction: 3 turns. The materials were fine, just a bit big for me in a size Medium.

-Verdict: 1.8 turns. Minus points for thin insulation and loose fit…if sized down, would have been higher, but insulation still a factor.

Hestra Army Leather Gore-Tex XCR Glove:

-Dexterity: 3 turns. Very soft leather construction, easily manipulated.

-Removable liner: 0 turns. No liner

-Wrist fit: 4 turns. Great wrist strap, found on underside of glove instead of on top, wider material. Best in class

-Palm material: 3 turns. Great leather construction

-Overall Construction: 3 turns. great idiot strap similar to the Cloudveil….a model to follow.

-Verdict: 2.6 turns. Minus points for lack of a liner.

Marmot Ultimate Ski Glove (The incumbent):

-Dexterity: 1 turn. Very rigid, in part because of weird treated leather on palm and fingers.

-Removable liner: 0 turns

-Wrist fit: 3 turns. 2nd best wrist strap of them all with tacky grip for tightening with the other glove on

-Palm material: 0 turns. Weird, rigid, hard feeling, not tacky grip material

-Overall Construction: 2 turns.

-Verdict: 1.2 turns. Kudos for great wrist strap….glove tested only came with one idiot strap on left glove....guess there is an extra strap without a glove somewhere in China.

Marmot Ultimate Guide Glove:

-Dexterity: 1 turn. Very rigid

-Removable liner: 4 turn. Best of breed….truly 3 gloves in one. I would pay money to have just the liner (windstopper Goretex fleece with very usable tacky grip…great for skinning.

-Wrist fit: 3 turns. 2nd best wrist strap of them all.

-Palm material: 0 turns.

-Overall Construction: 3 turns. Great glove even without the liner, very usable as a stand alone….I just could not see the palm material working out as planned.

-Verdict: 2 turns.


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