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The North Face Montana Etip Mitt Review

A lightweight, waterproof mitt at a great value
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Price:  $70 List | $55.96 at Backcountry
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Pros:  Extremely water resistant, nice fit, dexterous, extra features, killer price for what you get
Cons:  Not as warm as other mittens we tested
Manufacturer:   The North Face
By Ian Nicholson, Jeff Rogers and Travis Poulin  ⋅  Jan 17, 2020
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64
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#13 of 20
  • Warmth - 25% 8
  • Dexterity - 25% 3
  • Water Resistance - 25% 7
  • Durability - 15% 7
  • Features - 10% 8

Our Verdict

The North Face Montana Etip Mitt is a legit mitt and is one of the lowest-priced pairs in our fleet. They provide an excellent fit and are surprisingly dexterous (for a mitten) and water-resistant while offering some of the best features of any mitt in our review. This mitt has been around for a while, and our testers and the modern world welcome the addition of the touchscreen compatibility. The Montana Mitt is a quality choice for most resort or backcountry skiing. It performs best at the resort in temps above 0F but can handle colder weather in the backcountry when you're working harder. Note that this mitt trades warmth for more functionality than commonly found in thick and stiff mittens. If you are looking at mitts singularly for a whole new level of warmth, these aren't our first recommendation.

Compare to Similar Products

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.

Performance Comparison


A dry choice for backcountry or resort skiing.
A dry choice for backcountry or resort skiing.

Warmth


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.

No moisture was felt during the submersion test
No moisture was felt during the submersion test

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.

Water Resistance


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.

Durability


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.

A warm  lightweight mitt for backcountry
A warm, lightweight mitt for backcountry

Features


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 leashes are both comfortable and convenient
The leashes are both comfortable and convenient

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 wrist tightening strap is a key feature.
The wrist tightening strap is a key feature.

Value


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.

Conclusion


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