The Black Diamond Mercury Mitt is our Editors' Choice for mittens because of its bomber, feature-rich design. It's also the warmest mitten in our review. The Mercury is relatively water-resistant, more so than most other mitts, and is burly. Its primary downfall is in the dexterity score, which is not unexpected for a glove with this much insulation. We could perform basic tasks, like buckling ski boots and zipping jackets just fine, but we struggled when our tasks became more complex. The Mercury Mitt remains our favorite for the coldest and slowest of resort chair rides and frigid ice climbing belays or for folks who are easily chilled.Editor's Note: This review was updated on October 28, 2021 to reflect an update to the Mercury Mitt.
Black Diamond Mercury Mitt Review
Cons: Poor dexterity, liner packs out a little quicker than other options
Manufacturer: Black Diamond
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Black Diamond Mercury Mitt
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|Pros||Warmest mitt in our review, bomber shell, nice extra features, nice loop to facilitate drying, good thumb ergonomics||WARM, lifetime warranty, basically two gloves in one, super water resistant||Top-notch dexterity and durability, great for technical descents and rope handling, fantastic feel||Warm enough, weatherproof, inexpensive||Extremely water resistant, nice fit, dexterous, extra features, killer price for what you get|
|Cons||Poor dexterity, liner packs out a little quicker than other options||Not super dexterous, inner glove not as durable||Not as warm as other models, weather resistance requires more maintenance than other models||Poor dexterity, slightly tight fit around the knuckles||Not as warm as other mittens we tested|
|Bottom Line||This contender offers the highest level of warmth yet still allows you to perform basic tasks required of resort skiing||The ideal glove for multi-day ski tours and spending a lot of time in the backcountry||Tough, offering optimal dexterity for almost any application||A warm and fully featured ski glove for a great price||A lightweight, waterproof mitt at a great value|
|Rating Categories||Black Diamond Mercu...||Outdoor Research Alti||Hestra Leather Fall...||Gordini GTX Storm T...||The North Face Mont...|
|Water Resistance (25%)|
|Specs||Black Diamond Mercu...||Outdoor Research Alti||Hestra Leather Fall...||Gordini GTX Storm T...||The North Face Mont...|
|Double or Single Glove||Double||Double||Single||Single||Single|
|Gaunlet or Cuff?||Gauntlet||Gauntlet||Cuff||Gauntlet||Gauntlet|
|Palm Material||Goatskin Leather||Alpengrip||Impregnated cowhide aniline||Polyurethane||Synthetic (polyurethane) leather|
|Waterproof Material||Shell: Pertex Shield, Liner: BDry||Gore-Tex insert||Leather||Gore-Tex||Gore-Tex insert|
|Insulation Type||340g Primaloft Gold and high-loft fleece lining||Back of hand: 200 g/m2 PrimaLoft HiLoft Silver
Removable liner back of hand: 100 g/m2 PrimaLoft Active insulation
Removable liner palm: 60 g/m2 PrimaLoft Gold
|Foam||Megaloft||Back of hand: 250g Heatseeker Eco
Palm: 100g Heatseeker Eco
Our Analysis and Test Results
Black Diamond updated the Mercury Mitt since our test period. We’re currently testing the new version, which has nixed the wrist cinch in favor of a tapered elastic. They now utilize more eco-friendly materials, including a PFC-free water repellent finish. Compare the old glove (below, left) to the new version (right).
After a lot of side-by-side testing with all the other models in our review, the Black Diamond Mercury Mitt proved to be the straight-up warmest model we tested. The Mercury was also the most water-resistant, and among the most durable. Its only drawback? Dexterity, which was pretty much the poorest overall.
The Mercury Mitt uses 340 grams of PrimaLoft Gold insulation, plus a warm-to-the-touch, high-loft fleece. The result was the warmest overall glove or mitten in our review. An exception would be fully-charged heated gloves. But, when the batteries run out, and you don't have a spare, the Mercury is much warmer. We have used these mittens down to -10F, and while we wouldn't want to use them in much colder temperatures, they worked as well as you could hope in those conditions. The Mercury's don't have infinite warmth, but they aren't far from it and are warm enough for the slowest and coldest of East Coast or Mid-West chairlift rides or snowmobiling.
As you might guess with all that insulation, the Mercury Mitt didn't have excellent dexterity and was overall one of the poorest performing products we tested for performing tasks that require fine motor skills. They do feature an optional trigger finger sleeve in their liner to increase dexterity. This sleeve helped our "feel" and made these mitts feel marginally less clumsy; however, in our testing, this sleeve only slightly improved dexterity at tasks that required nimbleness. The reason it's "optional" is because you don't have to use it. Due to Black Diamond's design, the other side of the index slot has enough space for all four of your fingers so you can keep them next to each other for improved warmth, but overall we thought this likely made this glove offer poorer dexterity and "feel."
In our side-by-side testing, we could perform basic tasks like buckling ski boots, and zipping jackets with extra-large zipper pulls. For more complex tasks, these mitts were challenged.
The Mercury Mitt performed well in this metric, though it did not offer amazing performance in wet conditions. The shell itself is pretty water resistant even in wet snowstorms; the exception is the leather palm, which doesn't feature a waterproof membrane backing. The leather on the palm is mostly water resistant at first; however, after a half-season of use on wet storm days, the leather absorbed more water than we liked and we would need to re-treat it. This pitfall is elevated some by a unique feature: the removable inner liner on the Mercury sports a waterproof fabric outer shell. This helped keep our hands drier and kept us from feeling as cold from the potentially wet leather palms.
After our tests, we found we liked wearing the Mercury on more occasions than the Hestra Army Leather Heli Ski Mitts, as they offered higher performance. Neither the Hestra's shell nor their leather palms were as water resistant, and they would wet out more quickly and with seemingly less use. For most resort-bound skiers and snowboarders who are going to use these mittens in colder conditions, water resistance issues are less critical because the Mercury deals with drier, colder snow fantastically. We think the Mercury is a decent, but not perfect, option for closer to freezing Pacific Northwest conditions, as long as users are willing to treat the Mercury's leather palm a few times every season, because despite the BDry fabric on the liner, once the palm gets pretty wet, the mitten felt a little colder. For Intermountain skiers who ski in cold snow all the time, these mitts will crush.
All aspects of the Mercury Mitt's outer shell are bomber, featuring a durable and high-quality yet supple goatskin leather palm that is sewn with strong Kevlar stitching. The liner is average in toughness as far as its liner's tear resistance goes, but we did find that the PrimaLoft packed out a little quicker than some of the other models we tested. We also noticed a slight decline in warmth after a season and a half of medium to heavy use.
The Mercury Mitt has a nice feature set that makes it easy to use. It features an easy-to-remove and quick-drying liner that uses a ring of Velcro around the wrist of the liner to lock it into place. There is also a small loop on the top of the mitt to facilitate hanging the mitten open side down to help speed up drying; it will also keep snow out if you clip it to your harness for ice climbing or mountaineering. This pair of ski gloves features a wrist webbing cinch strap and a gauntlet cinch strap to help keep the snow out and the heat in.
One of the unique features of the Mercury is its optional index finger slot in the inner liner of the mitt, using this slot does slightly increase "feel" and dexterity, but we like that you can also keep all 4 of your finger together to maximize warmth. Like many other mitts we tested, the Mercury features a softer fabric on the back of the thumb to make cleaning goggles and wiping noses more effective.
The Black Diamond Mercury Mitt is a much better deal than many competitors and is also warmer and more water resistant.
If you're after the warmest mitten with which you can still reasonably perform the basic tasks required of resort skiing and snowboarding, then we think the Mercury is it. And, the price is right! Not everyone needs mittens, but those that do are almost always because gloves just aren't warm enough. If you're a fan of mittens, meet your new favorite pair.
— Ian Nicholson
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