Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Black Diamond Midweight Fleece Gloves

Black Diamond Midweight Fleece Gloves

I've been trying to come up with a perfect glove set-up for a while now so when I found out that Webtogs were sending me a pair of Black Diamond Midweight fleece glove for review I checked them out on their Website to find out a bit more. The thing that appealed to me was the mention of a kevlar stitched goat leather palm, I find my biggest dislike when it comes to fleece gloves is the lack of grip followed by bulk. I'd tried a pair of ME G2 Lite soft shell gloves earlier in the year but found that while they had a silicone print on the palms/fingers which provided plenty of grip they weren't much more water resistant than fleece gloves but when wet felt colder and took longer to dry.

When the Black Diamond gloves arrived I was surprised at how thin they were, I expected a 'Midweight' glove to be thicker but as Black Diamond also make a lightweight and heavyweight fleece glove (with silicone grips on thumb/forefinger/Index Finger and a goat leather palm) I guess it's relative. The other thing that I noticed was that the leather palm was exactly that, apart from extending very slightly up the thumb and forefinger.

The gloves are made from Polartec Powerstretch which provides a nice close fit and being 'midweight' don't feel bulky. What I particularly like is the long cuff, some fleece gloves have quite a short cuff but these extend well beyond my wrist. As they're close fitting they work well under my Marmot unlined shell gloves, better in fact than the liners that came supplied with the Marmot gloves.

So far I've only managed to try them when skiing last Tuesday, the temperature was quite low so the snow was dry but the gloves didn't wet out even though my ski poles have suede grips, clipping in and out of the bindings and so on wasn't a problem nor was operating a DSLR. I suspect that with the leather palm they'll provide plenty of grip on a canoe paddle but apart from twirling a paddle in the garage I've yet to try them.

Good as they are they aren't perfect though, I can't quite see the point in not having the leather extend the full length of the thumb and forefinger at least, as it is the leather palm improves the grip over a plain fleece glove if you're holding a mug or flask but for more delicate tasks where you're using forefinger and thumb they aren't really any better than plain fleece gloves, the other advantage of full leather finger and thumb is durability, as it is the gloves are starting to feel a little worn where the thumb leather ends probably due to the suede grip on my ski poles. That said it's perhaps a bit unfair to criticize them for that as they aren't marketed as ski gloves.

All in all I'm pleased enough with the performance that if I lost/damaged them I'd replace them with another pair. I may get a pair of ME Windchill Grip gloves which as far as I know have the Silicone print all over the palms including fingers and thumb or alternatively the Black Diamond Heavyweight fleece glove to see if they offer any advantage otherwise I'll be using the Black Diamond Midweight's as the foundation on which to build my 'Glove System'

My gloves are size Large and weigh 48g pair, they cost £17.99 from Webtogs

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