Hands-on Gear Review

The North Face Montana Glove - Women's Review

By: Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 6, 2015
Price:  $70 List  |  $69.95 at Backcountry
Pros:  Warmest glove tested, wicks water from the liner well
Cons:  Big and bulky, very little dexterity, runs really big for size, absorbs water
Manufacturer:   The North Face
50
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Warmth - 30% 7
  • Water resistance - 25% 3
  • Dexterity - 25% 4
  • Features - 10% 7
  • Breathability - 5% 3
  • Durability - 5% 5
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  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Our Verdict

The North Face Montana stood out as our warmest ski glove, boasting 200 g/m3 of Heatseeker insulation across the back of the hand (keep in mind, though that mittens are still warmer). It is a single construction glove with an integrated (nonremovable) Hyvent liner and a synthetic palm. The long gauntlet length keeps snow out when you're crushing deep powder. Even though this was the warmest glove when dry, we found that it was not very water resistant, and that it quickly became cold after saturation. Due to its bulky materials, it was also the fattest glove tested and it runs really big in size, both of which left us with diminished dexterity. If you buy this model, size down and expect it to perform better in drier snow conditions.

Many Updates Added - November 2016
There have been several new updates and added features to the women's Montana glove! These include new styling, new index-finger fabric compatible with handheld electronic devices, increased insulation and a removable handwarmer leash. We are waiting to hear back from The North Face about the details of these new updates and will be adding those details here as soon as we can.


Our Analysis and Test Results

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The North Face Montana is a warm glove perfect for resort skiing at your favorite mountain. Avoid it if you are looking for a glove to perform in wet weather.

Performance Comparison



The Montana is a decent resort glove for those prioritizing warmth in dry and moderate climates.
The Montana is a decent resort glove for those prioritizing warmth in dry and moderate climates.

Warmth


Of all the gloves (not mittens) tested, the Montana came out on top in our warmth metric. These bulky boys provide a high level of warmth with their Heatseeker insulation. The North Face stacked the back of the hand with 200 g/m3, and the palm with 150 g/m3 of insulation. If you are looking for a glove that is super warm, check out these babies. One drawback we found is that when we saturated the outers on a cold day, the glove lost a lot of warmth. If you are looking for an option that offers great water resistance and warmth, check out a top-of-the-line mitten like the Hestra Heli Mitt - Women's.

Water Resistance


In our water resistance tests, this glove kept our hands warm, but the nylon oxford outers began to saturate after putting our hands into the snow after just an hour. During our dunk tests, the synthetic outer became saturated quickly and the liner eventually got wet as well. We were not impressed with its water resistance and would not recommend this model for wet weather.

The nylon exterior isn't the most water resistant and will absorb water after a wet day. Save these for drier days.
The nylon exterior isn't the most water resistant and will absorb water after a wet day. Save these for drier days.

One of our testers was a beginning snowboarder and she noticed that even after taking falls all day long, the interior never got wet. However, the exterior material was soaked by the end of the day. This test day was about 30F, but if this was a colder day, you could expect the glove to lose some of its warmth. This makes sense as it features a nylon outer and a synthetic leather palm, which isn't as waterproof as a real leather palm. As a result, its a decently water resistant glove, but we wouldn't recommend it for exceptionally wet and cold climates.

The synthetic leather palm is pretty durable and moves well  but it still does not help with water resistance.
The synthetic leather palm is pretty durable and moves well, but it still does not help with water resistance.

Dexterity


We were not too happy with this glove's dexterity. Unlike the Pow Gem, the materials used were very bulky and big. This made it difficult to write, get into our pockets, and even attach a lift ticket. This is why this glove sat at the lowest end of the scale for dexterity. Not only that, but the glove runs VERY large in size. Most of our testers, in fact, were male because the size medium women's didn't fit any of our lady testers. If you purchase this model, make sure to size way down.

Trying to write for a raffle submission at the 2015 Ouray Ice Festival proved to be very difficult wearing the Montanas. They are stuffed with insulation which makes them warm  but not the most dexterous. Avoid heavily insulated gloves if you are looking for good dexterity. Instead  go for thinner leather with high-quality insulation and hand warmer pockets.
Trying to write for a raffle submission at the 2015 Ouray Ice Festival proved to be very difficult wearing the Montanas. They are stuffed with insulation which makes them warm, but not the most dexterous. Avoid heavily insulated gloves if you are looking for good dexterity. Instead, go for thinner leather with high-quality insulation and hand warmer pockets.

Features


Not quite as loaded with features as our Best Buy award winner, the Outdoor Research Arete - Women's, the Montana still features a few great things, making it a perfect fit for resort skiing. This includes detachable wrist straps, one pull tightening and loosening system for the hem of the glove, and a nose wipe. We would have liked to see a cinch strap around the wrist (a feature found in gloves like the Hestra Heli Mitt) to lock in warmth and to help provide better dexterity.

The Montanas are full of features like one-pull gauntlet hem adjustments  a nose wipe and removable wrist straps.
The Montanas are full of features like one-pull gauntlet hem adjustments, a nose wipe and removable wrist straps.

We would also like to see some pull tabs at the bottom of the glove and maybe a cinch around the wrist for a better fit. Other than that, this glove is loaded with fun features.

One thing we wished for while pulling these on was a pair of pull tabs at the hem of the gauntlet.
One thing we wished for while pulling these on was a pair of pull tabs at the hem of the gauntlet.

Breathablility


In general, the breathability of the outer glove is not very good. After saturating the inside of the liners, it took the most amount of time (compared to other gloves) to dry. That said, the breathability of the liner is great! If you put a wet hand into the glove, we found it did a good job of wicking away the moisture. So if you are a hand sweater, these gloves will work for you! If you are looking for a glove with both a breathable liner and outer, check out the Arc'teryx Beta AR Glove - Women's.

Durability


This glove did not show any immediate wear and tear during our 45 days of testing. The construction of the glove and the materials should last at least a few seasons with recreational use.

Best Applications


We would recommend this glove primarily for light use while resort skiing or other winter activities that require less dexterity. However, due to limited dexterity, lack of breathability, and less water resistance than other gloves, we would not recommend these for backcountry skiing or ice climbing. You may even find them frustrating to use at the resort since it's more challenging to zip up your jacket, etc. Keep these for general winter use like shoveling snow, building snow men, and snowshoeing.

Value


At $70, The North Face Montana still isn't the best deal. There are a few better options out there that cost just $15 more; one example is the Outdoor Research Southback - Women's, a single glove that almost won our Best Buy Award.

Conclusion


The North Face Montana is a fair choice for someone looking for a less pricey ski glove that offers great warmth and a plethora of features. However, we were not impressed with its lack of weather protection and dexterity.

While a comfortable and warm glove  we weren't too impressed with it's lack of dexterity and MAMMOTH sizing. Instead take a look at a glove like the OR Southback for great features  water resistance  and better dexterity.
While a comfortable and warm glove, we weren't too impressed with it's lack of dexterity and MAMMOTH sizing. Instead take a look at a glove like the OR Southback for great features, water resistance, and better dexterity.

Amber King

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Most recent review: February 6, 2015
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