Reviews You Can Rely On

The North Face Montana Etip Mitt Review

A lightweight, waterproof mitt at a great value
The North Face Montana Etip Mitt
Photo: Backcountry
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Price:  $70 List | $69.95 at Amazon
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
#14 of 21
  • 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.

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Star Rating
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Pros Extremely water resistant, nice fit, dexterous, extra features, killer price for what you getWarm, water resistant, durable, dexterous, lightweight and packableGreat fit and dexterity, weather resistant, electrical heat works, great glove even when turned offExcellent dexterity and durability, fairly warm, water resistantSuper warm, extremely tough, great weather resistance, removable liners help them dry quicker, our go-to expedition glove
Cons Not as warm as other mittens we testedExpensive, lacks some featuresDoesn't get as warm as other heated gloves, expensiveExpensive, lacks some nice featuresNot very dexterous, take time to break in, if in between sizes you should consider sizing up
Bottom Line A lightweight, waterproof mitt at a great valueWith top-tier performance across the board, this glove is what we recommend to those seeking the best pairAn excellent all-around ski glove with an internal heating elementA weather-resistant and warm glove that retains dexterity, ideal for ski touringFor really cold activities, where giving up some dexterity for some serious warmth is a must, these gloves are hard to beat
Rating Categories Montana Etip Mitt Arc'teryx Fission SV Hestra Power Heater... Arc'teryx Sabre Black Diamond Guide
Warmth (25%)
8.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
Dexterity (25%)
3.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
4.0
Water Resistance (25%)
7.0
10.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Durability (15%)
7.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
Features (10%)
8.0
7.0
6.0
4.0
9.0
Specs Montana Etip Mitt Arc'teryx Fission SV Hestra Power Heater... Arc'teryx Sabre Black Diamond Guide
Double or Single Glove Single Single Single Single Double
Gaunlet or Cuff? Gauntlet Gauntlet Hybrid Cuff Gauntlet
Palm Material Synthetic (polyurethane) leather Leather Goat leather Leather Goat leather
Waterproof Material Gore-Tex insert Gore-Tex CZone Gore-tex Gore-Tex insert
Insulation Type Back of hand: 250g Heatseeker Eco
Palm: 100g Heatseeker Eco
133g Primaloft Gold Eco and 200g Primaloft Silver Eco Fiberfill polyester Primaloft 170g PrimaLoft Gold and 100g boiled wool fleece lining
Nose Wipe? Yes Yes No No Yes

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.
Photo: Rachel Croft

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
Photo: Rachel Croft

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
Photo: Travis Poulin

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
Photo: Travis Poulin

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.
Photo: Travis Poulin

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