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Hestra Heli Mitt - Women's Review

Perfectly plush for cold, dry days in the hills and mountains.
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Price:  $145 List | $104.96 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Warm, comfortable, durable, water resistant, replaceable liners
Cons:  Limited features, limited dexterity, not best for wet climates
Manufacturer:   Hestra
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 18, 2019
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62
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 12
  • Warmth - 25% 9
  • Water Resistance - 25% 5
  • Dexterity - 25% 3
  • Durability - 15% 8
  • Features - 10% 7

Our Verdict

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.

If you prefer more dexterity, check out the Heli Three-Finger with a split-finger design.


Compare to Similar Products

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.

Performance Comparison


On this warm day  we took off the shells to increase breathability and wore just the liner. This is a huge plus with this glove. Alternatively  if its a little wet outside  you can simply take the liners out from the shells  and just wear the shells.
On this warm day, we took off the shells to increase breathability and wore just the liner. This is a huge plus with this glove. Alternatively, if its a little wet outside, you can simply take the liners out from the shells, and just wear the shells.

Warmth


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).

The removable liners of the Hestra Heli Mitt are soft and warm. Our tester has notoriously cold hands  and this is one of the only mittens able to keep her hands cozy and warm all day long while skiing multiple laps at the resort.
The removable liners of the Hestra Heli Mitt are soft and warm. Our tester has notoriously cold hands, and this is one of the only mittens able to keep her hands cozy and warm all day long while skiing multiple laps at the resort.

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!

Warm fingers on a ski lift? Priceless.
Warm fingers on a ski lift? Priceless.

Water Resistance


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.

The fabric provides decent water resistance  but during our dunk tests we learned that this mitten does leak at the seams.
The fabric provides decent water resistance, but during our dunk tests we learned that this mitten does leak at the seams.

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.

The mitt on the right was worn throughout the day while the mitt on the left was not. It absorbed a little water  but we never felt anything get down to the liner over a seven-hour ski session. What does this mean? Waterproof!
The mitt on the right was worn throughout the day while the mitt on the left was not. It absorbed a little water, but we never felt anything get down to the liner over a seven-hour ski session. What does this mean? Waterproof!

Dexterity


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.

When removing the liners from the shell  we were able to grab the skins and pull them off without a problem. No liners = more dexterity = more versatility. Win!
When removing the liners from the shell, we were able to grab the skins and pull them off without a problem. No liners = more dexterity = more versatility. Win!

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.

Hestra has an outstanding fit system that utilizes a different sizing technique than other companies. Simply measure your hand and get the size that fits you perfectly.

Features


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 Hestras come with features like a one-pull tightening system  removable wrist straps  and wrist adjustment. Not only that  but is has a long gauntlet that fits over your jacket comfortably to keep snow out.
The Hestras come with features like a one-pull tightening system, removable wrist straps, and wrist adjustment. Not only that, but is has a long gauntlet that fits over your jacket comfortably to keep snow out.

The removable wrist straps are helpful for those worried about losing gloves on the chairlift.

Here the Hestra Heli Mitt is pictured with a detached leash.
Here the Hestra Heli Mitt is pictured with a detached leash.

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.

One of the standout features of the Heli Mitts is that you can take out its liner  add your own  just use it as a shell  or just use the liner independently. Being able to manually regulate your body temperature makes this perfect for backcountry skiing and resort riding.
One of the standout features of the Heli Mitts is that you can take out its liner, add your own, just use it as a shell, or just use the liner independently. Being able to manually regulate your body temperature makes this perfect for backcountry skiing and resort riding.

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 is the way the Hestras looked after intensive use. There is no sign of wear and tear and the liner looks like new! The goatskin leather is highly durable and will last for years with proper treatment.
This is the way the Hestras looked after intensive use. There is no sign of wear and tear and the liner looks like new! The goatskin leather is highly durable and will last for years with proper treatment.

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.

Our author tearing it up at the base of Sheep Chute in the San Juan mountains of Colorado. The Hestra Mitt keeps her hands healthy and happy.
Our author tearing it up at the base of Sheep Chute in the San Juan mountains of Colorado. The Hestra Mitt keeps her hands healthy and happy.

Conclusion


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