Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Gear Review - Outdoor Research Stormsensor Glove

Gloves.  I don't think there is a more important piece of gear for winter activities than gloves.  Your gloves need to be warm and dexterous but they also need to be comfortable and dry.  The perfect glove, I have found, does not exist, but there are many good options for all around use and only a few suitable for specific activities like ice climbing or skiing.  The Outdoor Research Stormsensor glove is definitely a glove that fits in the all around category.  This glove does pretty much everything very well.  I have used it hiking, ice climbing and snowboarding and the glove performed quite well in every application.  It breathed well during the hike, but was warm enough once in the alpine when I wasn't moving as much and so I wasn't having to change gloves just to regulate temperature   The leather palm and fingers are also very tacky and provided a good grip while ice climbing and fooling with climbing gear, ropes and cordage.  It did so well that it may be my new go to workhorse glove.  There is no Windstopper or Gore-Tex waterproof shell and not even Primaloft or Polartec fleece, but what it lacks in mainstream name brand technologies it makes up for in design, functionality and wearability.  Oh and it has some voodoo magic that lets you use touch screen devices like smartphones and tablets while still wearing it, more on that below.
Close up of the Stormsensor
The Outdoor Research Stormsensor glove doesn't have a lot of frills.  The glove is simple by design with a softshell outer and fixed fleece lined interior.  The softshell is highly water repellent, the fingers are anatomically pre-curved and the fleece lining is extremely nice next to skin and warm.  I used this glove mostly while ice climbing and the pre-curved fingers along with the tacky leather palm make for a great ice climbing glove.  It shed water quite well and the low bulk of the glove combined with the suppleness of the leather made it stand out as a dexterous glove for fooling with carabiners and cordage.  The softshell breathes incredibly well and during my hike into the high alpine of Rocky Mountain National Park I rarely noticed I even had the glove on.  For all the simplicity and functionality of this glove there is one main feature that is overlooked.  Outdoor Research uses a technology called TouchTec for the entire palm and finger portion of the glove.  Outdoor Research uses a nanotechnology on the leather to make the gloves completely compatible with touch screen electronics.  I used the gloves on my android phone in the parking lot to start a hiking tracker app for the hike into Longs Peak and stopped the same app once we had reached Chasm Lake at about 10,500 feet after 4.5 miles.  The Stormsensor gloves were extremely responsive and accurate on the touch screen display.  I used them on an iPad at home as well and the accuracy was just as good.  I don't know how much you would need the use of the TouchTec feature, but if you were to use this glove while skiing or snowboarding I could see this glove as a necessity on the chair lift.  The best part about the TouchTec is that it covers the entire palm and every inch of the fingers.  That means you aren't limited to just the tip of your index finger like some other gloves are.  You can pinch to zoom, use either hand or use whatever finger you want.  This glove truly has great alpine function with a new technology that makes the little things easier to do.

Final Say: 

Angry Birds on the lift or WI5 pillars in the Park, you're covered either way.

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