The North Face Gonzo Mitt Review
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When The North Face says this is the biggest, baddest, mitten they have ever made, I was very interested to see if this statement came from the designers or the marketing department. This is a pretty big statement for a company that has been making some serious gear for a long time now. The mittens name is The North Face Gonzo Mitt.
Having tested out a number of mittens and gloves over the years from all the top brands, I have developed high expectations for gloves and mittens I test. So when I received these mitts in the mail, I was ready to put them to the test to see if they live up to the hype. There is good and bad when it comes to testing out the Gonzo Mitts this season. The good is that all of the Vail Resorts ski resorts I ski at have amazing snow making capabilities, the bad news is that much of the country including Colorado has had a dismal snow season so far, meaning we haven’t been able to let these mitts swim in any deep powder stashes. And while the Gonzo Mitts would love to do live every waking hour in 6 feet of powder, they are very happy as long as they can hold onto a ski pole in cold temps for hours at a time.
The North Face Gonzo Mitts are made from a combination of both leather and 100% polyester softshell fabric. The leather on the palm of the mitt is for durability and grip. There are two types of leather being used, one is more textured where there is often most wear. The other section is a softer leather that is more flexible located at the finger tips and on the outer surface of the thumb. The top of the mitt is made from a combination of a softshell fabric with raised sections of padding covered by leather that act as knuckle guards.
For warmth, the Gonzo Mitts are designed to provide more insulation where your hands tend to get colder and less insulation where you need less warmth and more dexterity. To be specific, there is 180 grams of Heatseeker insulation on the back of the hand and 100 grams of Heatseeker insulation on the palm. One of the main reasons to have more insulation on top of the gloves is because that is where you get a lot of blood flow. A subtle difference in the Gonzo mittens compared to others on the market is the curvature of the mittens. This allows the hand to sit in its natural position and optimally positioned for blood flow efficiency and warmth.
The inside of The North Face Gonzo Mitts are lined with fleece to help with warmth and moisture management. The nice thing is that these mittens don’t have any internal seems so there are no odd wear points on the inside of this mitten. The Gonzo Mittens are meant to be worn under and over a jacket sleeve. The sleeve of the mitt goes approximately 2 inches down on the wrist which helps keep snow from getting to your skin and it also keeps more of your hand/arm warm. There is a zipper on the mitt cuff that allows you to pull the cuff over a tightened jacket sleeve. Once pulled over the sleeve, you zip up the glove cuff to help keep out the elements. I personally like to pull my jacket sleeves over mitten and glove cuffs and the Gonzo Mitts are perfect for this.
One of the main reasons I wanted to test out the Gonzo Mittens is that I last year my hands would start to get cold very easily. I have never had cold hands and I have to admit, having cold hands while on the mountain is no fun. Since skiing with The North Face Gonzo Mitts, my hands have stayed plenty warm and when not testing, these are often the mittens I will use for skiing. As for durability, I cannot attest to how many years these mitts will last, but from testing out a pair of TNF Patrol gloves 4 years ago with over 100 days of skiing, I feel they should last approximately 4-5 years. Typically the inside insulation will pack out before the outside of the mitten or glove breaks down.
For more info on the Gonzo Mitt and other North Face gear, visit www.thenorthface.com.