What: Outdoor Research Stormbound Mitt
Perfect for: those sub-freezing ski and snowboarding situations when your gloves are wimping out but your over-the-cuff mittens look like overkill
*Note: I am part of Outdoor Research’s #ORInsightLab, a team of testers who voluntarily share their findings after testing product. #ORInsightLab testers are not asked to publish positive reviews, and no financial compensation was received for this review. I was asked to record my findings, positive and negative, when testing these mittens.
At OWA, the aim is to only publish reviews on gear that, after testing, is found to be beneficial for women outdoors. If gear is received from a company but does not pass testing standards, OWA submits the tester’s feedback directly to the company to assist with improvements. It is OWA’s hope that this process will help improve women’s gear across the industry as well as assist women in finding gear that stands strong in its purpose.
- Palm and back of thumb insulation:
- 800+ fill (90% goose down; 10% feather) insulation sandwiched between PrimaLoft® Silver insulation (100% polyester; 133 g/m2)
- Back of hand and wrist insulation:
- PrimaLoft® Gold insulation (100% polyester: 340 g/m2 back of hand; 133 g/m2 wrist)
- Pertex® Shield+ 2.5L 40D outer shell
- Finger-separated interior lining:
- 100% polyester tricot lining (back of hand)
- 100% polyester Moonlight Pile fleece (palm)
- Goat leather palm
- Acrylic rib-knit cuff with velcro closure
- Nose-wipe pad on top of thumb
- Pull-on loop
- Wrist leash
- Clip to keep mittens paired when not in use
- Pre-curved shape (articulated)
- Weight (Size Large): 6.7oz / 190g
Tested in the the Kootenay Selkirk mountains (south central British Columbia): Resort skiing in -16º to -23º Celsius (-10º to +3º Fahrenheit) both in calm conditions and on days with wind and snow; snow shoveling in both snowy and clear conditions in more mild temperatures (-1º to -7º Celsius / 20º to 30º Fahrenheit)
I’ve been a long-time wearer of over-the-cuff mittens. In fact, I can’t remember why I ever thought gloves were a good idea before getting my first pair of mittens back in 2008 (the same pair that I wore up until this winter). The only downside I had with those faithful mitts were that the cuffs went nearly halfway up my forearm, making me look as though I was heading out on an Antarctic expedition.
Chalk it up to pride, but I want something a little less intense looking when I’m at the ski hill or up in my hometown mountains, but I don’t want to sacrifice the warmth my polar-ready mittens provide.
When Outdoor Research opened up their range of gloves for me to try, I did a little research (no pun intended) to see what was on deck. I dove into reviews and looked at tech specs on finalists that fit my criteria. As it’d been so long since I’d trusted my hands to anything other than the warmth of my over-the-cuff mittens, I knew I’d have a hard time being gracious to gear that came in short.
No need to cut the Stormbound Mitts slack: I didn’t notice any difference in warmth between my trusted go-to gloves of the past 10 years and these Outdoor Research newcomers. In fact, in one way in particular, I preferred them:
When safety’s not a factor, I tend to use my outdoor clothing in ways they’re not always intended for; either that item is what’s easiest to grab or that item has only had one or two days under its belt since the last laundry cycle. This was true for the Stormbound Mitt: I had these on the table by the front door and grabbed them to do some snow shoveling.
Well, lots of snow shoveling.
For nearly two weeks, we received ongoing snowfall. Given the mild temps, and the heaviness of the snow at my house, I thought the mittens’ interiors would be soaked with sweat, similar to my older mittens. But the Stormbound didn’t budge on breathability. The mitts stayed dry inside the liner throughout each session of shoveling.
Additionally, even with rough tools and with me taking no thought to “babying” my mittens, there was no wear on the leather palms. Even with all the uses since, they still look as they did when I first put them on.
I was concerned about the separated finger structure of the lining; my old mittens kept all the fingers together. All other aspects the same, I was taught that having all fingers in one space was the reason mittens were warmer than gloves. This idea stems from the notion that the heat generated by each finger is shared by all in one space.
But my doubts about the performance of this finger-segregated liner diminished after taking the mittens out on inbound days where temperatures hovered at -20º Celsius (-10º Fahrenheit): I felt no difference in warmth by having the fingers in a glove-like liner than I did in my older mitts with their mitten-mirroring liner. When the temps went lower than -23º C, I started to feel a tinge of cold, but that was the same in my older mittens, too. Even at this temperature, it was such a slight chill that, if I weren’t hyper-aware of it because of being in test mode and purposefully looking for issues and frailties in the mittens, I probably wouldn’t have noticed any drop in warmth.
However, my doubts on separating the fingers within the liners are not completely erased. If the outer is a mitten anyway, I don’t see a benefit to dividing up the fingers since the mitten outer still restricts finer movement—which is why many people opt for gloves in the first place. Given this, I am curious as to how much warmer the Stormbound Mitt might be if the liner mirrored the mitten approach instead of keeping fingers apart. However, since my hands stayed warm even in well-below freezing temps, I haven’t spent too much time being concerned about this design detail—it worked well as created.