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REI Co-op Guide Insulated Mittens Review

The bare bones mittens are a good option if you prioritize warmth at an inexpensive price
REI Co-op Guide Insulated Mittens
Photo: REI
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Price:  $50 List | Check Price at REI
Pros:  Inexpensive, warm for price, stylish
Cons:  Not very water resistant, not very durable
Manufacturer:   REI
By Jacqueline Kearney ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 8, 2021
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57
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 13
  • Warmth - 25% 7
  • Water Resistance - 25% 6
  • Dexterity - 25% 5
  • Durability - 15% 5
  • Features - 10% 4

Our Verdict

If you are someone who tends to run through their mittens frequently, or just prefers a utilitarian option at a bargain price, the REI Co-op Guide Insulated Mittens are a fine choice. This mitten is very warm for the price point and fits in with an understated utilitarian look. We did think it left some room for improvement regarding waterproofing. It starts to become less water resistant when the oil and wax wear off (which doesn't take long), but when taken care of and maintained with repeated water-resistance treatments, this is a good and inexpensive mitten option. These are an especially economical choice for general winter use outside of skiing.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award  
Price $50 List
Check Price at REI
$200 List
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$52.46 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
Check Price at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
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Compare at 3 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
57
82
66
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39
Star Rating
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Pros Inexpensive, warm for price, stylishWarm, lightweight and packable, breathable, waterproof, single construction, dextrousWarm, versatile, dexterous for a mitt, touchscreen-compatible liners, excellent valueGreat price, breathable, warm, comes with liner gloveIncredibly affordable, durable leather, no-frills design, decent dexterity, cool points
Cons Not very water resistant, not very durableExpensive, won't fit super small handsNot a lot of extra insulationNot fully waterproof, less durable constructionCold, absorbs water, unisex and limited fit, few to no features
Bottom Line The bare bones mittens are a good option if you prioritize warmth at an inexpensive priceThis unisex glove is off the charts for almost any adult, noticeably feeling different and excelling above other gloves on the market we have testedA mitten that is weather-resistant and dexterous at a reasonable priceA well-priced glove that'll work fine for your ski trips this winterThis pigskin glove is perfect for the penny-pincher looking to explore the mountains in dry, warm conditions
Rating Categories REI Co-op Guide Ins... Arc'teryx Fission S... Burton Gore-Tex Mitten Dakine Camino Kinco Pigskin Leather
Warmth (25%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
5.0
3.0
Water Resistance (25%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
4.0
3.0
Dexterity (25%)
5.0
9.0
4.0
7.0
6.0
Durability (15%)
5.0
9.0
6.0
5.0
4.0
Features (10%)
4.0
6.0
7.0
9.0
3.0
Specs REI Co-op Guide Ins... Arc'teryx Fission S... Burton Gore-Tex Mitten Dakine Camino Kinco Pigskin Leather
Waterproof Material Leather Outer 84% nylon/16% elastane, Gore-Tex Dry-Ride Two Layer & Gore-Tex Insert Nylon Shell (black part), Hoxton (75% nylon, 25% polyester) DWR treatment, Leather palm (water-resistant) Leather outer
Insulation Type Polyester 200g PrimaLoft Silver and 133g Gold synthetic fibers ThermaCore Synthetic Insulation 110/350g high loft synthetic HeatKeep Thermal Lining (polyester)
Palm Material Goat leather Goat leather Leather, Sticky Icy Grip Palm Goat Leather Grain pigskin leather
Inner Glove Material (if applicable) Polyester shearling fleece Octa Loft Fleece 150g tricot, 100% polyester n/a
Double or Single Construction? Double Single Double Double Single
Gauntlet or Cuff? Cuff Cuff Gauntlet Gauntlet Gauntlet
Special features Nose wipe Unisex fit, kevlar stitching, removable wrist leash, carabiner loop Nose wipe, leashes, warmer pockets, wrist cinch Google wipe on thumb, touch screen compatible liners, removable wrist leash None
Fit True to size Fits large (unisex sizing) True to size A little smaller, size up if you're unsure Fits large (unisex sizing)

Our Analysis and Test Results

Our favorite aspect of the REI Guide is that it comes in well below many of its competitors price-wise. This mitten is a step above the basic work gloves many of us continue to use for day-to-day heavy use, and the increase in warmth is worth the small increase in price.

Performance Comparison


A utilitarian and basic mitten, just a step above a basic work glove.
A utilitarian and basic mitten, just a step above a basic work glove.
Photo: Jeff Dobronyi

Warmth


While this mitten does not feature very heavy insulation, a large degree of warmth comes from the fact that is a mitten. The REI Guide does a good job of circulating existing heat from hands inside the mitten. We did like the pile lining on the inside of this mitt. We found that the pile helped to wick moisture away from hands and keep them both dry and warm. On very cold days, however, we did still find ourselves balling our hands into fists inside these mittens to warm up fingers on the chairlift.

Soft pile insulation helps to warm up cold hands and the air around...
Soft pile insulation helps to warm up cold hands and the air around them.
Photo: Jeff Dobronyi

Water Resistance


The overall water resistance of the REI Guide Mitten comes from an included water-resistant treatment that must be applied to the leather. Without this treatment, we found that water seeps into the seems of this mitten. This also begins to happen as the treatment wears off and is due to be reapplied. This mitten requires more maintenance than most other mittens we have tested.

Leather's water resistance is best right after a conditioning...
Leather's water resistance is best right after a conditioning treatment.
Photo: Jackie Kearney

Dexterity


We found that we had a fairly good ability to adjust gear, zip zippers, and handle ropes with the Guide Mitten compared to other mittens. The nature of having four fingers in one pocket still hinders dexterity compared to gloves, of course. The lack of heavy insulation, however, allows for some individual motion and use of fingers.

The thin insulation of these mittens makes them surprisingly...
The thin insulation of these mittens makes them surprisingly dexterous for a full mitt design.
Photo: Jeff Dobronyi

Durability


We believe the durability of the Guide Mitten is just so-so, and largely dependent on the maintenance of the leather. The fabric construction of the mitten in the woven cuff and wrist backer is susceptible to tearing and catching.

The double-stitched goat leather construction of the main body of the mitten appears solid. The supple nature of the goat leather leads us to believe that it may begin to wear thin in the highest use areas. This being said, a major factor in the health of the leather is protecting it from moisture, and diligent water-resistance treatment will significantly improve the durability of this product.

Double stitched pads in high use areas increase durability, but we...
Double stitched pads in high use areas increase durability, but we have concerns about the soft leather wearing through at the edges over time.
Photo: Jeff Dobronyi

Features


The work-style Guide Mitten is relatively sparse on features. It does feature a suede textured nose wipe, which should not be underrated. This being said, we do wish these mitts had at least a leash, as we do find ourselves taking mittens off more often than gloves due to decreased dexterity.

These mittens have minimal features, sparsely utilitarian in style.
These mittens have minimal features, sparsely utilitarian in style.
Photo: Jeff Dobronyi

Value


These mittens are a great consideration for the wallet-savvy skier. Spending just a little more than you would on a hardware store pair of gloves will get you significantly warmer and hardier mittens. Moreover, if you want a pair of general use winter mittens that might occasionally see some ski use, these mittens are ideal and well-priced for that functionality.

Conclusion


The REI Co-op Guide Mitten is a bare-bones option for the mitten minimalist and bargain shopper alike. If you are someone who ruins gloves or mittens quickly and regularly and doesn't want to spend a lot on a sturdy option, this is a great option that is not precious.

The REI Guide Mitten is a utilitarian mitt for those who don't want...
The REI Guide Mitten is a utilitarian mitt for those who don't want to break the bank on this piece of gear.
Photo: Jeff Dobronyi

Jacqueline Kearney

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