For some years, I’ve been using what I found to be the perfect winter glove system. The original blog post can be found here. This winter I’ve been trying a variation and can recommend it without hesitation. I bought a pair of Heat Company Shell Gloves and have been using them over the past month. https://www.theheatcompany.com/en-gb/gloves/shell
My previous solution (if you didn’t read the review) was a combination of Macwet Climatec gloves as liners and day to day gloves followed by a pair of Primaloft Mitts. This setup has served me well throughout the harshest weather that the British isles can throw and at every level from valley to mountain summit. However I am always ready to try alternatives and for the first time, my original setup has been surpassed. The Heat Company make a number of alternatives which at first look offer a confusing level of choice. I decided on the Shell Mitt as I wanted the flexibility to pair with different liners or no liner. I didn’t want a fully leather glove either.
The gloves come as a Synthetic water resistant, breathable outer combined with a goatskin palm. They are filled with Primaloft Gold, the insulator of choice currently across most outdoor products. The end of the gloves unzips and folds back to allow freedom for fingers. The thumb also opens to fold back. Both sections use magnetic discs to hold the flap back and out of the way. There are one handed drawcords at the wrist and cuff to nip the gloves in nice and tightly where you want them. I asked about sizing and was told to choose according to the size of my ungloved hand and that the extra thickness of a liner was already taken into account. For me this worked perfectly on sizing. Delivery was four days from ordering.
In Use: These mitts are as close to perfect as I have found and are impeccably constructed. The fit for me is excellent and they work well over a range of inner gloves such as the Macwet, Merino liners, rab etc. and indeed over bare hands. Unlike so many alternatives, it seems that these gloves have been designed by people who have actually tried using them in harsh weather. Every aspect has been thought through, designed properly and manufactured flawlessly. I found the mitts exceptionally comfortable and many tasks could be accomplished without even exposing the fingers. I could switch my Nikon Z7 on and off and use both front and rear command dials. More than that required fingers. They were not only very warm, but quickly re-warmed cold fingers. I’ve used them in temperatures down to -9C and winds up to around 50mph so far and they have been bomb proof. They are not advertised as totally waterproof and their design is really for temperatures below those at which rain will fall. They shed snow, sleet and hail very competently, mine have successfully resisted rain so far.
The gloves are provided with ready fitted wrist loops, this is the first pair I’ve owned where I havent had to make and add my own. If you’ve not used wrist loops for mitts, try them – they are life changing. The ends of the mitts can be opened by the use of a water resistant zip; I found this difficult to pull at times with the unopened mittened hand and resorted to using my teeth to grab the side of the glove first. This isn’t too bad in Scotland at -5c but would be much less OK in very low temperatures.
Both the finger tip ends and the thumb can be held back by the use of magnets. These work well most of the time but don’t always have the staying power to hold under all circumstances. In use, I tended not to bother with them however as the folded sections stayed well out of the way and at no point compromised the ease of use of the mitts. Those using these mitts in the mountains should bear in mind that the magnets in the gloves will adversely affect a magnetic compass if this is being used for navigation.
In comparison with my previous mitts, these are much more robust, have a dramatically better grip and are warmer. They do achieve all this at the cost of being more bulky when packed however. As a bonus for colder temperatures, the gloves have a pocket on the back of the hand to take instant hand warmer sachets and if this is still insufficient, Heat Company make a further Polar over mitt which looks a though it might cope with pretty much anything. They are also supplied with a tub of cream to condition the leather parts.
These mitts have become a fixture in my winter bag already. The perform flawlessly and I can’t imagine going back to my previous setup under any circumstances. At over £100, they are certainly not cheap but in my opinion they are worth every single penny and I can recommend them without the slightest hesitation.