The novel Hestra Heli Mitt stole our hearts with its cozy liners and amazing thermoregulation. Of all the gloves tested, it has the BEST fit with an incredibly high level of versatility. It performs well across all metrics, keeping hands warm into the double negative digits. Its full mitt liner is thinner than most, offering decent dexterity for a mitt, with ample warmth. We went to the resort, took them into the backcountry, and even cross-country skiing in Quebec, Canada. In all cold weather conditions, our hands are quite happy. This mitt is well constructed, durable, but eventually saturates in wet weather. If you want full mitt construction, with a removable liner and leashes, this is the one to buy.
Hestra Heli Mitt - Women's Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Warm, comfortable, durable, water resistant, replaceable liners
Cons: Limited features, limited dexterity, not best for wet climates
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Heli-Mitt by Hestra is complete with a goatskin palm, three-layer polyamide shell, and a removable liner. In addition to exceptional warmth and comfort, this glove is incredibly versatile and a perfect option for the resort skier or backcountry explorer.
We assumed going into our tests that mittens would score higher in warmth than most gloves, but this contender really surpassed our expectations. The Fiberfill insulation feels really nice on your fingers and does an amazing job with thermoregulation. The one-pull tightening and release system at the hem of the mitten retains warmth when it gets really cold outside (like -40F cold).
Furthermore, the cinch strap around the wrist provides another point to regulate heat again. When performing tests where we had to put our frozen hands into a glove or mitt to see which one warmed up the quickest, the Hestras came out on top. If you find the liners aren't enough for you, add another thin-wicking liner, or switch it out for a different liner that keeps your hands nice and warm. One of the best upsides of this glove!
Make sure to treat Hestra products with a leather treatment to retain water resistance. Hestra makes it easy as they send a small sample to you with any purchase.
If you're living in a dry climate, the Heli Mitt is a must-have piece of gear. Featuring Hestra's Triton 3-layer polyamide fabric, we experienced little to no water permeation while skiing in the mountains. It comes with reinforced soft cowhide leather palm, which doesn't allow water to pass through the material, nor does it get "swampy" after continual use. Even after multiple exposures to water, the leather has not cracked or sliced away (with proper treatment). In addition, the polyester liner wicks away moisture well. If you accidentally get your hands wet and need to slide your hand back inside, it does not stick to the liner but easily goes back in.
Even though this glove is great for dry climates, we wouldn't recommend it for places that are wet all the time. During our dunk tests, we were a little surprised to learn that after just 15 squeezes underwater, this mitt began to leak at the seams by the tips of the fingers. By the one-hundredth squeeze, the mitts were completely soaked inside and took a while to dry out. In addition, on wet days in the mountains, we noticed the mitts becoming a little bit saturated, but not so bad that we lost warmth. On dry days, it was just fine.
During our testing, we found that when a glove excels in one area, it tends to lack in another. For the Heli Mitt, dexterity is not its strong suit. As with all mittens, when the liner and shell are together, you don't have any individual digits available to zip zippers or tie shoes.
In comparison to other mittens, we really like how the thinner leather provided better dexterity than mittens that are thicker. When we took out the liner and used just the shell of this mitt, we found that it performed well. We were able to zip up our jacket, pull off climbing skins, and even tie a shoelace.
This product has the features that you really need, whether you're sitting on lift chairs, battling deep powder, or heading out on a long adventure tour. The long cuff design features a one-pull hem cinch and release, which keeps snow out on deep, deep powder days.
The removable wrist straps are helpful for those worried about losing gloves on the chairlift.
One of our very favorite features of the Heli Mitt is the versatility of the liners. Add them in, switch them out, or take them out completely. The mitt allows enough room for you to choose a warmer or cooler liner, giving you autonomy in how you regulate your body heat on the slopes. If you're looking to hike uphill, take out the inserts, and just wear the shell. If you want a liner that allows you to stay warmer, switch it out altogether. You can even wear a thin glove liner underneath both the mitten liner and shell to accommodate a more dexterous experience in the hills.
Durability and Construction
Like any product made with leather, the Hestra model needs special treatment to maintain its waterproofing. The author is a long-time Hestra owner and knows that these mittens and gloves need to be sealed one to two times a season to maintain top performance. Since she first purchased a pair of Hestra mitts five years ago, she has noticed only simple abrasion, but no cracking of the leather or unraveling of the seams. The liner has now packed out (after six years of use and forgetting some treatment for one season), but it is easily replaceable by simply going to the website. The construction is simply bomber, which adds to its overall value.
This highly durable and warm mitten is more than worth it! While the initial price might seem high, its durability is stand-out. The liners will eventually pack out after many years (or one hard year) of use, but luckily, Hestra offers removable replacement liners at a lower price. This amps up its value. If you're a lady in search of a warm pair of mitts, with a removable mitt liner, this is the one to buy.
This dreamy and adorable mitten is one of our favorites. It features a wonderful balance of warmth, thermoregulation, versatility, and quality. The price is just right, and we know it will be accompanying us on many snowy adventures to come. It's just not our favorite for wet winter recreating.
— Amber King