Saturday, 20 November 2010

Extremities Tuff Bags, Pack-Lite Mitts

I prefer shell Gloves/Mitts to those that are lined, of the lined gloves I have all get wet through and then take ages to dry and taking them off means you lose all the protection in one go. I have a pair of Marmot shell gloves which are reasonably good but they're a bit too tight with anything more than a basic fleece liner. I bought them last year from ULOG but couldn't get XL as they were in the sale so went for L instead. It seems they aren't made anymore unfortunately.

In my opinion the reason you don't often get breathable shell gloves is the difficulty of taping the seams, most if not all Gore-Tex/eVent gloves are 3 part. there's a plain nylon outer glove, then a liner made from a waterproof breathable fabric which in many cases isn't seam taped and then a thin fleece liner. There are some shell mitts made from waterproof breathable fabric and I'd put that down to it being easier to tape the seams on mitts.

I've looked at both the Extremities Tuff Bags (Gore-Tex) and the MLD eVent mitts. The MLD mitts are incredibly light at 35g/Pair Large but aren't seam sealed, instruction for sealing them youself using silicone sealer are given on the website. The MLD mitts are a very simple design and appear to only have one drawcord at the cuff but as a simple waterproof shell look like they'd work well.

The Extremities mitts aren't quite as basic, they have taped seams, a shockcord and captive cordlock at the cuff and also a webbing strap and buckle at the wrist, they weight 75g size large. In the end though I decided on the Tuff Bags as they were available without needing to wait and Field & Trek had themn reduced to £32.

I ordered the Tuff Bags in Large, having tried them on in the past I knew they'd fit ok. They feel really light but could have been (or could be with a little modification) even lighter. The shockcord used at the cuff is 3mm and has an nice plastic end cap thing but if you were really keen you could replace it with 2mm and use a mini cordlock, in fact it might be worthwhile swapping to a lighter shockcord anyway as the fitted stuff puts quite a bit of stress on the fabric. The cuff strap at 20mm seems overkill for such a light mitt considering it needs a 20mm buckle and combined with the cuff shockcord must make up a fair percentage of the total weight of the actual mitt, again if you were seriously keen to lose a few grams you could remove it completely or cut it off leaveing just enough to stitch on a lighter strap/buckle or shockcord/cordlock.

I don't have a liner sorted yet apart from my normal fleece gloves. I have a pair of Wild Country Extreme mitts from way back, they have a heavy stiff Gore-Tex shell and a removable fleece liner and I considered using the liner with the Tuff Bags but it's a bit too long. I do however have a pair of Wintergear mitts of a similar design, they're made from a lighter coated breathable fabric with a removeable fleece liner. I haven't been able to try them though as they're in my mum's attic. Failing that I may go for a pair of Buffalo Pertex/Pile mitts and only add the Tuff Bags when I really need them.


  1. I have the MLD ones and Tuff bags. I tend to use the Tuff Bags. Its simple really. They are better I find. I would not remove or alter them. The weight is nothing to worry about. What matters when it is hosing it down and it is freezing cold is they work. They do and so don't fix anything as nothing is needed to be fixed on them. For inner gloves all I use is my fleece gloves.

  2. Hi Martin, you caught me just in time before I grabbed the scissors ;-)

    Good to know that you're happy with them, I value your views, what about the shockcord though, did you find it ok? I thought it felt a bit too strong but it may be just new gear nerves.

  3. I've had my Tuff Bags for 8 or 9 years and they are still going strong - no mods. Just remember to wash & reproof them like you would a gtx jkt or pants!

  4. Hi David, again that's good to know.

    Wash & Reproof like a GTX jacket? you can't know the irony of that suggestion :-)

    I tried to wash and reproof my 20 y/o Phoenix GTX jacket a few days ago as I couldn't find anything current that had as good a hood. Cleaned out the washing machine, washed the jackey twice in Tech Wash (it was pretty grubby)at the recommended setting, then in TX Direct. After waiting patiently I pulled the jacket out ready to tumble dry but some of the seam tape had come off :-0

    Ah well, at 20 y/o it didn't owe me :-)

  5. No need to alter them Richard. Had them since start of the year and like them.

  6. I use the Outdoor Designs summit mitt for winter with a fleecy glove not mitt underneath.
    I like mitts because of the lack of seams when it’s lashing but i like a lightweight glove when i can take the mitt off.
    Not the lightest outer available but i agree with Martin that it’s being dependable that is the main factor. They certainly are dependable.
    The Extremities look a good option. They were on my list at the time but i must have chosen the OD’s purely on price.

  7. Another vote for the Tuff Bags. With a pair of Rab Baltero's, Buffalo Mitts, and a pair of Powerstretch gloves i have loads of combinations to suit most conditions.
    I use a Vapour Barrier Mitt for serious cold.

    Mike fae Dundee

  8. I removed the wrist strap on my Tuff Bags, not to save weight but to simplify and clean the design. It works better with the wrist straps that are necessary on cross-country ski poles. Snip away in my opinion! The cuff cord actually works much better at sealing the glove anyway. The Tuff Bags appear much more durable than the MLD mitts, an admirable trait in winter, but the MLD mitts would be great to carry the rest of the year. A compromise would be the Haglofs Gram mitts at 50g.

  9. Thanks for the comments guys, looks like a picked a winner with the Tuff Bags.

  10. I used Buffalo Pertex/Pile mitts in the Lakes this weekend in snow, ice and rain and they were great - even when wet, my hands were warm. That said, I'd like to avoid them getting wet for as long as possible and the Tuff Bags seem a good option - and it would be a light system too. They would also work with my ME Windchill Grip Gloves for as long as I did not need to use the dexterity granted by gloves rather than mitts.

  11. Hi Maz, Buffalo mitts sound like they'd work well, I hunted out the old Wintergear mitts I mentioned and the pile liners fit the Tuff Bags fine which will do for the time being. Jackson Sports in Belfast stock Buffalo so next time I'm in Belfast I'll check them out.

    My provisional glove set up is currently SealSkinz Activity Glove when I need a degree of waterproofing/warmth, reasonable dexterity and grip,

    The Tuff Bags can go over the SealSkinz if it's really wet/cold, add the pile mitt to the Tuff Bags with or without the BD Midweights when I don't need the grip/dexterity that the SealSkinz provide.

  12. Hi Everyone,

    I'm hoping to get a pair of the tuff bags but I will need to order them online. Does anyone has any recommendation about how they are sized? I'm torn between the medium and the large option :)