The North Face Montana Ski Mitts Review
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The North Face Montana Ski Mitts
|Price||$42.22 at Backcountry|
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$69.99 at Amazon
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$34.89 at REI
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|Pros||Warm, great features, comfortable, inexpensive||Warm enough, weatherproof, reasonable price||Inexpensive, heavily featured||Very dexterous, breathable, great fit, fair price||Tough, waterproof, warm, dexterous for a mitt|
|Cons||Not dexterous, bulky and cumbersome||Poor dexterity, slightly tight fit around the knuckles||Don't seem very durable, unimpressive dexterity, not as warm as expected||No wrist leash, soft-shell construction can wear out quickly, overall durability||Sweats out easily, must apply Sno-Seal often to avoid soaking up water|
|Bottom Line||A quality mitten that is super warm, comfortable, and relatively inexpensive||A warm and fully featured ski glove for a great price||These gloves don't match up to the best on the market, but they are a lot more affordable||A more dexterous but less durable deviation from hardware store leather gloves, this model is an OK choice for resort, side-country and short backcountry missions||A tough, trendy, and affordable choice for resort or backcountry skiing|
|Rating Categories||The North Face Mont...||Gordini GTX Storm T...||Gordini AquaBloc Do...||REI Co-op Guide Ins...||FlyLow Oven Mitt|
|Water Resistance (25%)|
|Specs||The North Face Mont...||Gordini GTX Storm T...||Gordini AquaBloc Do...||REI Co-op Guide Ins...||FlyLow Oven Mitt|
|Double or Single Glove||Single||Single||Single||Single||Single|
|Gaunlet or Cuff?||Gauntlet||Gauntlet||Gauntlet||Cuff||Cuff|
|Palm Material||Synthetic leather||Polyurethane||Rugged ripstop softshell, bluesign® approved||Leather||Pigskin leather|
|Waterproof Material||DryVent||Gore-Tex||AquaBloc® insert||None||SnoSeal beeswax|
|Insulation Type||Back of hand: 250g Heatseeker Eco
Palm: 160g Heatseeker Eco
|Megaloft||Back of hand: 600-fill GooseDown, Palm: Megaloft® synthetic insulation||Polyester fibers||Spaceloft Micropuff|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Mittens are favored by some for their impeccable warmth, compared to gloves. However, they often suffer from poor dexterity. The Montana Ski Mitts fit the mold, with great warmth and weather resistance, but limited dexterity for even the most basic tasks. Regardless, The North Face presents great value with these otherwise high-performing ski mitts.
These mittens are prized by our group of testers for their warmth. On the coldest days at the ski hill, the Montana Mitts can be counted on to keep our hands warm.
They use lots of synthetic insulation, as well as a heavy pile fleece lining, to keep warm air inside the mitten. The Heatseeker Eco is strategically placed with 250 grams on the back of the hand and 160 grams on the palm. There are no finger slots to prevent the sharing of heat from one finger to the other. On days when the temperatures dip well below freezing, these mittens will keep you warm. And, they don't feel quite as bulky as other super warm mittens.
The big downside to mittens is their lack of dexterity. Wearing these mittens is like wearing big wool socks over your hands. We can't perform many tasks while wearing these mittens, and had to take them off for things like digging into a pocket for a phone, buckling ski boots, and sometimes even zipping jackets.
The general design of mittens makes them inherently less dexterous than gloves. Having all your fingers enclosed in the same space doesn't allow you to use your fingers independently the way you can on gloves. These mittens are warm, but even on cold days, you'll have to remove them often for simple tasks like zipping zippers and manipulating ski boot buckles. The good news is that they have wrist leashes so you don't accidentally drop them off the chairlift when you take them off, and they'll be warm when you put your hand back in.
Dry hands stay warmer than wet hands, and the Montana Ski Mitt does a great job of keeping moisture and weather at bay. The combination of a tough nylon shell, waterproof membrane, and long gauntlet cuff resist the elements to keep your hands dry and warm.
The Montana Ski Mitts use a proprietary waterproof/breathable membrane called DryVent to keep water from penetrating to the hands. The gloves also have a nylon exterior shell fabric with a durable water-repellant (DWR) finish that does a good job of keeping water out. The DWR finish performs about average, compared to others we have tested, and is relatively durable, though it does rub off after sustained abrasion. The wrist gauntlet is huge and covers the cuff of any jacket, with a drawstring closure that works to seal out the elements. These gloves do a great job at keeping weather out and keep your hands dry and toasty warm.
The Montana Mitts have good durability. The materials are quality and the craftsmanship appears to be top-notch. There are relatively few seams that could break or split open, and the mittens have such poor dexterity that it is unlikely that much wear and tear will occur around the palms and fingers anyways.
The palm material is synthetic leather, which doesn't wear out quite as easily as real leather, but it may crack over time. The thumb is reinforced with a patch of genuine leather, which adds durability, since the user is likely to use their thumbs more often to increase dexterity. In general, these appear to be well-made gloves that we feel should last for several seasons of use.
The Montana Ski Mitts have useful features that make them easier to use on the slopes. They feature a large nylon pull loop that allows the user to slide the mittens on easily, and the loop is large enough that it can be grabbed by another hand that already has a mitten. An ergonomic drawcord keeps the cold and snow out, and a nylon strap cinches tight over the wrist joint, increasing dexterity ever so slightly. There is a soft nose wipe on the outside of the thumb.
They also have a small plastic clip to keep the pair of mittens together, and small elastic wrist leashes that keep them attached to your body when you need to take them off to use your fingers. Finally, the leather on the thumb is touchscreen compatible, but we found this to work only sometimes, and the lack of dexterity in the large thumb seriously limits usage with small icons on a screen.
Should You Buy The North Face Montana Ski Mitts?
These mittens perform well in the main metrics where you'd expect, including warmth and weather resistance. They are warmer than most gloves, and if you prefer mittens for this reason, the Montana Mitts are a great value. They are downright cheap compared to other high-performance mittens. Many users with chronically cold hands use mittens because they only care about warmth. However, to most users, warmth is just one component of quality handwear, and there are better options out there for all-around performance. Still, we think these are a great deal for those who prioritize warmth above all else.
What Other Ski Gloves Should You Consider?
If you are willing to spend about twice as much money and want the best mittens money can buy, the Black Diamond Mercury Mitts are just as warm and are slightly more weather resistant and durable. The Flylow Oven Mitt is a much thinner, all-leather mitten with better dexterity and decent warmth. If you want to make the switch over to gloves, the Arc'teryx Fission SV is our overall favorite glove, and the Gordini GTX Storm Trooper II provides the best value. Both of these gloves will keep you nearly as warm as the Montana Mitts.
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