People often ask me for reviews and opinions. So occasionally I will list a few gear items which I think outperform the others. Pieces of gear which do their job really well, and make my job more fun, more comfortable, or safer. In this blog post, it is a pair of sunglasses, and a pair of gloves. Let’s get one thing honest from the start: I do not get any free gear from brands. Typically I try to buy from brands which support the avalanche and guiding industry, but only if their products are good in the first place. Ski media is full of gear-for-comment articles, often written by people who hardly even use the gear, despite trying so earnestly to sound like experts. I use my gear a lot and appreciate it when something does a better than expected job.
Montbell is a Japanese outdoor brand (a lot of non-Japanese do not know that). They happen to make the one glove that is harder to find than any other: a durable, very waterproof, reasonably breathable, affordable glove SHELL. No insulation at all, just a tough shell with a thin woven gauze-like layer fused to the inside of the glove, so that you do not suffer from that skin-on-rubber feeling. Water almost never gets in, and my hand almost never sweats too much. This glove is magic, I love it. Perfect for full-power skin track setting in mild winter places like Hakuba when things heat up. Perfect for spring skiing when insulation creates sweat, and when you are often handling slushy snow and wet gear (skis, ice axes, shovels.)
If I feel the cold, I use a cheap inner glove, though it has to be thin as this shell has a low-volume fit. On cold days I use a different heavier glove of course – this is not a cold weather glove. It is a spring or high-output glove for applications where you need more durability and protection than a cross country or gardening/work glove can provide. Best of all: no leather to suck water into the glove, no treatment required, no need to dry a cold damp/wet leather glove overnight. The magic is contained within the OutDry layer. Go reasearch OutDry, it is lightyears better than Gortex when it comes to gloves. Being a shell, they are light and low volume, so I always have a pair in my pack.
Negatives: the are a bit slim fitting so making a fist is tight. Also they feel stiff when new, though that softens. And there is no nose wiping patch and the outer shell material is like fine sandpaper on your nose, which gets a bit sore after a few snot dribbling days.