Black Diamond Mercury Mitt - Women's Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Very warm, dexterous for a mitt, durable shell, waterproof, removable and water resistant liner
Cons: Liner packs out after a season, split finger design leaves index finger cold, no leashes included
Manufacturer: Black Diamond Equipment
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Warm, cozy, and dexterous, the Mercury Mitten by Black Diamond stands out for its versatile design and use as an all-around awesome ski mitt. It has a two-gloved construction with a removable liner that is quite water-resistant, giving it functionality at both the resort and in the backcountry. It has a durable shell, but the liner, unfortunately, packs out after a season of hard use. It's a great option for those looking for an all-around awesome mitten that'll keep them warm while sitting on a ski lift, driving to work, and shoveling snow in the dead of winter.
This amazing mitt is designed for warmth. Packed with 170-grams of PrimaLoft Gold into the removable liner, it offers some of the best warmth out there, just below gloves that you'd use for expeditions to the Arctic. If tackling resorts this winter is your priority, this mitt is one to really consider. It's super warm and offers a decent level of breathability, to keep your hands dry, even if they sweat just a little bit. Black Diamond claims that these gloves will stay warm to -20 degrees F. This estimate, however, depends on your circulation and biology.
The mitt features two different parts, the shell, and the liner. The liner is packed to the gills with insulation, which makes it so warm. Not only that, but it's PrimaLoftGold, which our testers have found to be superior insulation in a variety of products. The shell of the glove doesn't offer any additional insulation, outside of weather protection. The liner is where all of the insulation lies. We tested this glove in temperatures hovering just below freezing and found the glove to be quite warm, almost too warm, for these conditions.
However, when dropping into the single digits (F), it'll perform very well. Some of our testers love the liner construction. It has a "split-finger" that separates the index finger from the rest of the mitt. It does amp up dexterity, which we appreciate for more technical skiing adventures, but for resort skiing, many ladies said that their index finger got cold. It's also important to know that the liner is a little less insulated right at the tips of the fingers, which some ladies that run colder found problematic on colder days. But this is in really, really cold temps that most people don't head out in.
These are just minor caveats to an overall awesome glove. If you don't like the split-finger, simply put your index finger into the main compartment with the rest (we found there was enough space). This doesn't change the dexterity performance of the mitt and amps up warmth even further.
The shell of this mitt is absolutely bomber and is quite resistant to water saturation. We tested it while backcountry skiing, where digging snow pits and getting our hands into the snow was a common practice. We also performed at-home tests to objectively test water resistance. Through it all, this mitt offers awesome performance.
While out in the field, we plunged our mitted hands into the snow to see how they'd hold up while building snowmen, digging snow pits, shoveling the driveway, and well…skiing! The shell is made out of a combination of the four-way stretch Pertex fabric that is waterproof, with a goatskin palm. When maintained correctly, this glove offers awesome water resistance throughout its life. Based on online reviews, and experiences from personal friends, the shell is quite durable and retains its performance when the leather is treated and maintained.
We also subjected this mitt to a water test. We put it underwater (with our hand inside) and squeezed our hand about 100 times to agitate the fabric, and to see if water would penetrate through either the fabric or through the stitching. While it's unlikely you'd put your hand in water like this while skiing, it offers a look into the level of waterproofness it offers.
We are happy to report that after these 100 squeezes, no water got through the fabric. We also weighed the mitt before and after to look at relative water absorption. The only part of the glove that actually took in quite a bit of water is the nose wipe, that offers a softer, more absorbent material. The rest of the material took in a bit of water, but it never penetrated through to the liner. It only absorbed 2.5 ounces of water after this test, which is pretty average for our top-performing gloves and mitts. Overall, this mitt offers great water resistance.
The interior liner has a water-resistant shell and a waterproof insert that makes it optional to use on its own. We found this helpful when hiking uphill or when it was warmer outside. You can use the liner as its own glove, which is pretty awesome.
Most mittens really perform poorly in this category simply because the fingers are not disarticulated to grab items with more ease. However, since this mitten has a split-finger design that frees up the index finger, it is surprisingly more dexterous than any other glove tested. It even offers more dexterity that some of the gloves that have a little too much insulation in the fingers, preventing mobility.
We tested this mitt while backcountry skiing. When ski touring, you make transitions from that involve needing to take off a pair of sticky fabric strips that stick to the back of your skis (while going up) so you can go downhill. While we didn't wear this mitt while heading uphill, simply because it was way too hot, we did put the mitts on for this test.
The mitt offers a surprisingly narrow profile in its fit, with thinner materials on the palm side of the hand, which offers better dexterity overall. With the split-finger design, we are able to grab items, with the shell on, and still complete our transition with the mitt on. While this was a pain, and not nearly as easy as it would be with a thinner glove, it is still doable. To be honest, it'd be much easier to remove the liner and complete more dexterous tasks with just the liner, inside of the shell. This great feature makes it a more dexterous option than any mitten tested so far.
The exterior shell of this mitten is totally bomber. According to several online users, and personal friends that have used this mitten, it's lasted them for upwards of several years. The goatskin palm does require treatment, and more if you're traveling in wet climates or you use the glove every single day. The only issue is the durability of the inner liner. After about a season of hard use (we are talking about those who get out skiing every day!), it packs out and eventually loses its warmth. Unfortunately, Black Diamond does not sell just the liner separately, forcing you to buy a whole new glove. We really wish BD would sell the liners separately to avoid the waste associated with having to throw out a glove.
We haven't had this mitt long enough to test its longevity, yet. Stayed tuned until next year and we'll report back. The information presented above comes from the mouths of personal friends and several other online reviewers. During our testing period (about two months), we noticed the nose wipe wearing down in hard weather, and we can see how the lining would eventually pack out. Aside from that, the is a fairly durable mitt. Just be sure to treat it before using it.
For the resort skiier, this mitt has everything you'd want, except it has no leashes.
It comes with a nose wipe on the thumb, double mitt construction, and a gauntlet with easy-pull cords for quick cinching and release. It also has a carabiner loop to clip your mitt to a harness, extending its function as a warm belay mitt if you choose to use them for ice climbing or other activities.
We also appreciate the Velcro liner attachments that makes it easy to take the liner in and out of. Also, since the liner is inside of a shelled mitt, putting the liner in doesn't require any additional work. The only thing we didn't love is the wrist adjustment that was hard to pull and tighten. However, we hardly used it.
Many resort skiers, especially those that use mitts, like having a set of leashes to avoid dropping their mitts off a lift. If you need to take your phone out to text a friend where to meet you on the hill, having your mitt tethered is a really nice security feature, so when you take it off, you don't drop it off the lift. That said, if you really want a set, you could probably fashion your own and girth hitch them to the metal loop on the side of the mitt. While we appreciate the features of this mitt, a removable set of leashes would be a nice extra for Black Diamond to add in the next update — just as an option for those that might want them.
The price is right! These mitts aren't too expensive and they have exceptional performance. What more could you ask for? Those that would see the most value in these are ladies that have especially cold hands and prefer mittens to gloves. If dexterity isn't the biggest priority on your list, then this mitten is a good choice. That said, it's important to note that the split liner makes this mitten a little less warm in the index finger, which can be remedied by simply not using it. In addition, be ready to replace this mitten after a season or two if you're a pro in the field, or if you get out every day. The liner will eventually pack out and there is no way to replace the liner with a BD manufactured option.
The Black Diamond Mercury Mitten wins our Editors' Choice for Mittens simply because they offer great dexterity, versatility, and warmth. This mitten is built for resort skiing with its functionality extending well into the backcountry. If you're somebody who's going to be frequenting the resort and you need a warm mitten, this is one to really feast your eyes upon. The split-finger liner is one that some love and others hate though. If you prefer a straight-up mitten, where all fingers are together all the time (sacrificing dexterity), be sure to check out our other top-scoring mittens…they are also pretty amazing.
— Amber King