Columbia Sportswear Mountain Monster Mitten & Glove Review
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Having the right pair of gloves can make or break your day on the slopes. If you like your hands warm and dry all day long, then you should definitely check out the Columbia Sportswear Mountain Monster Gloves or Mittens. I have worn the mittens on several recent visits to the slopes of Summit County, and can attest to the fact that that these guys do their job, and do it well.
I am a snowboarder, so I prefer to wear mittens, rather than gloves, since I don’t really need the extra dexterity of a glove. While boarding, it is common to have your hands in the snow while sitting down to strap in at the top of the mountain, or when taking a break half way down the mountain. In my experience, mittens allow my fingers to keep each other a little extra warm. Having your hands in the snow off and on all day can sometimes lead to wet hands, but these mitts seem to have an adequate amount of water resistance. The snow does tend to stick a bit to the cowhide patch on the palm, which is there to give the gloves some extra grip, but I made sure to brush it off from time to time and it didn’t cause any problems.
Whether you prefer gloves or mittens, this family of gloves has a number of features that help to make them a top pick for me. The OutDry® membrane technology does a nice job of managing the sweat inside the glove, while keeping wet snow out. According to Columbia, OutDry® features a patented lamination process that bonds an absolutely waterproof, but highly breathable membrane directly to the garment’s outermost layer and seals out water at every possible entry point. The Omni-Heat® insulating technology, which is a mainstay across many of their product lines, features a nice level of insulation, along with a thermal reflectivity component that keeps your hands plenty warm without the bulk. In addition to the thicker, higher-grip cowhide palm patch, the rest of the palm side and thumb is covered in a nice, soft goatskin leather, which is also used as an accent on the back of the mitten. The remainder of the mitten and the medium-length wrist gauntlet is covered in a high performance nylon blend.
One thing that I miss on these mittens are arm straps to help prevent dropping them on the ski lifts when you are busy blowing your nose, cleaning your goggles, or fumbling with your smartphone or camera. In their defense, there is a leather loop at the edge of each wrist gauntlet that could accommodate an added strap, and they do have a standard snap clip so you can keep them together during travel and storage. The other thing that I miss is a removable liner. Even with the breathable membrane, these gloves are so warm that they will get a little damp inside. Like most winter mittens and gloves, you will likely need to dry them out after a long day of wear. I haven’t tried it yet, but a glove liner would probably help reduce moisture build up at least a little bit.
All in all, I am very pleased with the ability of these mittens to keep my hands very warm and dry. Although, I must warn you that on a warmer day (in the mid to upper 30sF), this pair might get a little too warm. This is not a horrible problem to have, but something to at least be aware of. As I mentioned, in addition to the mittens that I tested, the Mountain Monster line is also available in a regular glove, if that is your preference. They seem to be sized pretty accurately. I have average length fingers and a fairly wide hand, and the Medium fit just fine. These mittens are not cheap, but they perform very well, and they will ensure that cold, wet hands will not ruin your next winter adventure.