The North Face Montana Futurelight Etip Mitt Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
While most mittens tout their warmth, the Montana is on the thinner side and features a lining with individual fingers for increased dexterity.
The Montana Mitt isn't overly warm, an oddity for ski mittens. It lacks the insulation that other models pack, and it separates each finger into a separate internal sleeve in the lining. This takes away the chief warming feature of a mitten, that the fingers can distribute their natural heat from circulation amongst themselves. We were surprised by how cold these mittens felt on chilly days on the ski hill. They are about as warm as many midweight ski gloves. While this comes with some benefits, the lack of warmth may surprise some users who seek mittens for this exact performance attribute.
The benefit of sacrificing some insulation and the addition of individual finger sleeves is that dexterity is increased. We were able to perform most tasks on the ski hill without taking these mittens off, thanks to their thin construction. The main downside to mittens has historically been the lack of dexterity, but in this case, we can't complain. It does make us question, however, why we would choose these mittens over an average pair of ski gloves that might be both warmer and more dexterous. Some users prefer mittens for stylistic reasons, and those are the users who will welcome a thinner and more dexterous mitt.
The Montana Mitt uses The North Face's Futurelight waterproof/breathable membrane, which our testers found to be effective at keeping liquid water out of the mittens. The seams are tight and the wrist cinch strap keeps stormy weather out of the hand compartment. The wrist gauntlet is on the small side and doesn't easily fit over some jacket cuffs, but it gets the job done well enough. These aren't as weather-resistant as the burliest mittens on the market, but they offer plenty of protection for most days on the ski hill. For the coldest and most brutal winter storms, there are better mittens out there.
The Montana Mitts hold up well for most resort skiing use. The stretchy shell material snags a bit easier than thicker, stiffer fabrics, and the synthetic palm is susceptible to wearing out faster than reinforced leather. That said, these mittens have a solid construction with tight seams, and we didn't experience any durability issues during our testing period. These mittens should last at least one season of heavy use, and for the price, this is acceptable.
The North Face Montana Futurelight Etip Mitts are packed with useful features, as the name implies. They have a wrist cinch strap and drawcord wrist cuff gauntlets, both of which help customize the fit and keep you hands warm and dry. They also have a clip to keep them paired up when not in use, and wrist leashes that help to prevent you from dropping them off the lift when you inevitably need to take them off. Finally, they have a touchscreen-compatible fabric patch near the tip of the forefinger, but in our testing, this patch was ineffective, due to either the fabric not working or the lack of dexterity preventing us from putting pressure on the fabric in the right place. The mittens don't have a soft fabric nose wipe patch.
The Montana Mitt is priced to sell. If you like mittens and don't need them to keep you warm on the coldest days of winter, these could be a good option. But for the price, there are better gloves on the market that will also keep you warmer.
The North Face Montana Futurelight Etip Mitt is feature-forward, and relatively dexterous for a mitten, but it lacks the warmth that many users seek in this type of handwear. It is comparable in performance to some mid-weight gloves, and won't protect you on the coldest days of winter. But if mittens are your style, you might like the added dexterity.