The North Face Montana Etip Mitt Review
Cons: Not as warm as other mittens we tested
Manufacturer: The North Face
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The North Face has updated the design of the Montana Mitt and added Etip technology, which allows the user to operate the touchscreen on their phone- a rare quality to find in a mitten.
The first thing we found odd about the Montana Mitt, is that it wasn't overly warm. This is odd since it is a mitten and not a glove. With that said, the Montana still offers a decent level of warmth — keeping the fingers together does generate more warmth than most gloves. While warmth might be the only factor that kept the Montana from scoring higher, they did have other advantages, such as excellent water resistance and dexterity.
During our side-by-side testing, the Montana Mitt performed fantastically and offered better dexterity than many of the mittens available in our review; this is due to the Montana's solid design, with the well-articulated thumb and four-finger section. The lightweight design doesn't have as much insulation as some competitors, but this allows for more dexterity. Less bulky insulation surrounding the hand allowed more freedom of movement.
The Montana was the only mitten we tested that felt closest to a glove on the hand. It even performed the knot tying test better than some of the gloves we tested- an excellent choice for those that need something warmer than a glove but don't want the dexterity sacrifice that most mittens threaten.
The Montana Mitt has been updated with a newer Gore-Tex membrane versus the old HyVent that North Face used previously. The Montana has a waterproof membrane fabric inside the shell of the mitt; this shell coverd the entire mitten, including the palm. This is important because the entire mitten can be susceptible to water, and not just the palm or exterior of it. The water resistance of the shell significantly outlasted competitors. In the four-minute ice bath/submersion test, the Montana was impenetrable to water, but the lacking insulation could be slightly felt about halfway through. On the ski hill, we saw similar results. The palms and back of the hand of the Montana mitts performed as we desired, keeping our hands dry. Keep in mind the water-resistant material used in this mitt will not likely wear as well over time as a leather one.
While the Montana Mitts were only tested for one season, they held up wonderfully. The outer fabric offers high-quality water resistance, and these mitts are beefy enough for most resort skiers and snowboarders. The synthetic construction, especially in the palms, does not hold up to reinforced leather, but the price of the Montana is much lower than many leather competitors. Plus, no leather treatment is required, and break-in time is much pretty much negligible.
This pair of ski gloves has loads of useful features that set it apart when compared to the other gloves and mittens we reviewed. One of our favorite features is the inner elastic seal that comes down over our wrist. This not only helps to keep snow out and heat in, but it also adds to the fantastic fit of this mitten. The keeper leashes and tightening strap are great additions and give this mitt all of the extra features some competitors are lacking in a lightweight design.
The gauntlet cinch does a great job of keeping snow out, and the slightly softer fabric on the back of the thumb is nice for wiping goggles and runny noses. The Montana doesn't feature a removable liner; this allows for better dexterity, though they did take a little longer to thoroughly dry out. The new Etip technology works flawlessly with smartphone use and is a great updated feature for mitten technology. And with the added dexterity, we were also able to actually pull a phone out of our pockets successfully — a feat few mitts are capable of with confidence.
The Montana Mitt is priced right. It's a great buy for people looking for excellent waterproofing in a mitten without paying a ton. It is an excellent choice for wet climates and will be warmer than gloves of a similar price.
The high-quality, water-resistant fabric allows the rider to maintain dry hands for a longer period and keeps the mitts from wetting out as quickly as nearly all of the other models. The North Face Montana Etip Mitt offers a quality blend of waterproofing, warmth, and dexterity at a great price. Plus, the features make wearing this mitt very convenient.
— Ian Nicholson, Jeff Rogers and Travis Poulin