The Hestra Army Leather 3-Finger Mitt has a unique design, in that it's a mitt, plus it has an isolated "trigger finger". This semi-lobster claw and separate index finger design, combined with overall solid ergonomics, make this mitt an excellent choice for those who feel too fumbly with more classically designed mittens and want more dexterity. The 3-Finger sacrifices some warmth and is not as warm as the Hestra Army Leather Heli or the Black Diamond Mercury Mitt, but it's not far behind and offers more dexterity. The 3-Fingers are super tough, and while the removable fleece liner seems basic, it resists packing out much better than its synthetic competitors. This contender doesn't feature a waterproof membrane, and in wet and snowy climates, the leather palm must be retreated more regularly.
Hestra Army Leather Heli Ski 3-Finger Mitt Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Great dexterity for a "mitten", ultra warm, super durable, very cozy interior
Cons: Not extremely water resistant, leather palm needs regular waterproofing treatments
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Hestra Army Leather Heli Ski 3-Finger Mitt is our review teams favorite "lobster claw" or "trigger finger" mitten. It is among the warmest models we tested but offers far better dexterity than any other mitt in our review. Even for folks who don't typically like the clunky feel of a mitt still liked this model because it provides Enough dexterity and respectable feel coupled with a TON of warmth.
The Leather 3-Finger Mitts are warmer than you might think, especially when you consider that it has a removable glove (not mitten) fleece liner. After our side-by-side testing, we thought the Leather 3-Finger Mitt was our third warmest mitten we tested. While some of the contenders were close, the 3-Finger was not quite as warm as our warmest gloves, the Black Diamond Guide, and a little warmer than The North Face Montana Mitt. We didn't think the 3-Finger was as warm as the Hestra Army Leather Heli Mitt or our Editors' Choice mitten winner, the Arc'teryx Fission.
When compared to most mittens, the 3-Finger Mitt has an obvious advantage when it comes to dexterity, as it features a separate index finger. We think this contender takes full advantage of this in its design; not only does the separate index finger add to the dexterity, but the feel of the removable fleece glove - not mitten - make this mitt feel significantly less clumsy. We don't feel it sacrificed too much warmth. These mittens felt more dexterous than the warmer Hestra Army Leather Heli Mitt or the Black Diamond Mercury Mitt, but surprisingly only a little higher performing than The North Face Montana Mitt and about the same (a tiny bit more dexterous) than the Black Diamond Guide.
Water resistance is the main downfall of the Leather 3-Finger. They are fairly water resistant, as the 3-finger will fend off colder snow, and most Rocky Mountain or East Coast skiers will find this glove will be a great option. However, because there is not a waterproof membrane, they were less than ideal in near freezing temps. The leather palm started to wet out after extended use and needed to be regularly treated. That said, these mitts are designed to be used in colder climates where water resistance is less of an issue. The more classic mitten, the Hestra Army Leather Heli Mitt, and the Black Diamond Mercury Mitt, all suffer from this same problem.
The Army Leather 3-Finger is tough. Using a supple leather palm and beefy nylon backing, they are built to last. We feel that these mitts are some of the toughest gloves or mittens in our review and are built to last many seasons. We also think that the fleece liner, while a little bulkier and heavier, takes a lot longer to pack out and is thus warmer, lasting longer than PrimaLoft or other synthetic insulated options. This contender scored a 10 out of 10 in this category, with the Black Diamond Legend, the Hestra Army Leather Gore-Tex, Hestra Leather Fall Line, Black Diamond Mercury Mitt, and Black Diamond Guide scoring similarly.
The removable keeper leashes are especially nice. They are low profile, seemingly the perfect length, well-designed, and comfortable. We found ourselves using them often, even more so than a glove, as the chances of removing this "mitten" for a task are higher. The wrist side strap helps lock the mitt into place, providing increased dexterity, while the gauntlet cinch does a great job of keeping snow out. A small feature we liked is the loop on the index finger; this loop can be used to hang the gloves up, so they have the opportunity to dry out more efficiently. The pile fleece liner is also removable, which makes drying the glove quick. Scoring a 9 out of 10 for features, the Black Diamond Mercury Mitt was the only other pair that scored higher.
The Army Leather Heli 3-Finger is best for skiers and snowboards who need something that is exceptionally warm. It is a good option for those in cold climates, or for those instances in which a glove just won't cut it (but the lack of dexterity and the clumsy feel offered by most mittens is not welcomed).
At $145, this pair of ski gloves are average in price but still provide nice features, long lasting durability, and warmth.
The Hestra Army Leather Heli Ski 3-Finger is best for someone who skis in climates where an extremely warm mitt is desired and typically doesn't like the feel of the lack of dexterity that most mittens provide. While the 3-Finger performs well in wet snow climates, like the Pacific Northwest, they are better suited to colder and drier climates, like Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, and New England; this is because they lack a waterproof membrane and the leather palm needs frequent waterproof treatment.
— Ian Nicholson