Montane Alpine Stretch (2015)

Features

For superior warmth, Primaloft Gold synthetic insulation is packed into the back of the hand and pile fleece is fitted to the palm. You get a long gauntlet design too for greater protection, the palm is leather and there is a nose wipe. And I really like the wrist leash along with the cuff adjustment drawcord and webbing buckle around the wrist. 5/5

Fit

The Montane Alpine Stretch is available in S-XL. I was sent the XL; its size appeared similar to that of an L in other models, and it fitted me well. Being able to cinch in the wrist and gauntlet cuff was a bonus that not all other gloves have but it was welcome. The lining didn’t snag or come loose in use either. 5/5

Comfort

This feels very comfortable on the hand, with no seams digging in or material snagging or bunching. The back of the hand and gauntlet feature Chameleon stretch fabric to ensure comfort and ease of movement, while a Freeflow waterproof lining keeps your hands dry and comfortable. 5/5

In use

The Montane Alpine Stretch feel great in use: it’s ideal for grabbing trekking poles and ice axes, and I was able to open buckles and zips wearing it too. There is slightly easier movement with it, as the leather isn’t too stiff, but it doesn’t feel quite as durable as those gloves with more leather that’s also thicker. All the cuff and wrist adjustment works well. 5/5

Value

Not the costliest and perhaps not the most durable, but a great price for a glove that should be ideal for most hillwalkers in the UK. 4/5 

Verdict

The Montane Alpine Stretch is hard to beat as an all-round general winter glove, but perhaps not the most durable option. It won Trail’s ‘Best in Test’ accolade. 4.8/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine February 2015

Montane.jpg

Hillsound Trail Crampon (2014)

As the ice gets harder and the snow cover gets deeper you need more, longer spikes to keep a grip. But you also need a unit that will stay on the shoe and not roll off when you traverse a slope. The Hillsound Trail Crampon has 11 spikes that are 1cm in length, and the unit is held on the boot with a webbing strap. This makes it better than the lower-priced options for more uneven winter terrain. The webbing strap attaches to a rubber cradle and the spikes protrude from metal plates that are attached to chains along the base. These metal plates mean the spikes cannot splay apart, so grip is improved on uneven ground. There’s also a hinged section in the metal plate under the forefoot to help maintain better grip when the boot flexes during normal walking. As with all the devices we looked at full crampons still provide a far superior grip but Hillsound Trail Crampons are very good on uneven paths and stay on the boot better than many others. This makes them very useful for experienced hillwalkers to use when full crampons would be too cumbersome, such as when walking on hill paths with only a thin layer of snow or ice.

Materials rubber cradle with steel chain and spikes
Sizes S (3-5); M (5-7); L (7-9); XL (9-11); XXL (11-14)
Weight 472g (pair, size XXL)
Website www.ardblairsports.com

 

Verdict

Full crampons still provide a better grip on more uneven ground and deeper snow, but on hill paths where there’s a thin layer of ice or snow Hillsound Trail Crampons are very useful. They won Trail’s ‘Best in Test’ accolade.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine February 2014

 


Icetrekkers Diamond Grips (2014)

Icetrekkers Diamond Grips use a rubber cradle like some of the lower-priced options, but on the base they have a metal chain and metal cable arrangement, which is very durable. Along the metal cables are a series of patented Diamond Beads, which have six small spikes on them. There are 34 of these beads and they can all rotate on the wire, which means there are lots of tiny spikes that can give a small degree of grip. Collectively all these beads provide a very good grip on ice and as they rotate on the wire, they self-clean to some extent to prevent debris clogging up the sole of your boot. The spikes aren’t very long, though, so once there’s a layer of snow, the grip isn’t so good. But they do grip better than the spring metal coil designs and they are also more durable than those with a rubber cradle on the base. However, as the chain extends around the edges of the sole, you can sometimes make a step where the metal chain comes into contact with the hard ice before the spikes do – and then they skid off the surface. This means you need to walk with some care if wearing Icetrekkers Diamond Grips, stamping your feet as you go rather than walking normally, ‘heel to toe’.

Materials rubber cradle with steel chain of spikes
Sizes S (5-6); M (6.5-9); L (9.5-12.5); XL (13+)
Weight 349g (pair, size XL)
Website www.icetrekkers.com

 

Verdict

Icetrekkers Diamond Grips are very durable and useful on level ice and compacted snow, but if there’s too much soft snow on the surface performance wanes due to the shallow spike depth.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine February 2014

 


Kahtoola Microspikes (2014)

Kahtoola Microspikes were the first non-crampon traction device to become a popular option for hillgoers. They were originally designed for running on snow and ice but they are now seen on the boots of hillwalkers. They comprise of a rubber cradle that comes in five sizes to ensure a good fit. Attached to this are chains that in turn link to metal plates where the spikes are located. The spikes are 1cm long, but there are only 12 of them and there are areas where the chain may come into contact with the ice before the spikes do if the surface is uneven. Much of the sole unit of the boot remains exposed, though, which further enhances grip if the boot has a deep lug pattern. The length of the spikes and their sharpness means they can cut through a layer of thin snow and bite into hard ice quite well, although full crampons offer an even better grip. Like others we looked at, Kahtoola Microspikes will also roll off the boot when traversing slopes, so they’re only suitable for level ground. But they’re very good on level hill paths with just a thin layer of ice, where using full crampons would be just
too unstable. 

Materials rubber cradle with steel chain and spikes
Sizes XS (1-4); S (4.5-7); M (7.5-10.5); L (10.5-14); XL (14-16)
Weight 430g (pair, size L)
Website www.betaclimbingdesigns.com

 

Verdict

Experienced walkers will find Kahtoola Microspikes useful on level hill paths, but when traversing slopes or crossing ice covered in deep snow, they aren’t a replacement for full crampons. They received the Trail ‘Best Value’ award.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine February 2014

 


Craghoppers Motion Glove (2013)

The low price of the Craghoppers Motion Gloves makes them instantly appealing and certainly if your budget is limited to £25 then they will at least keep you warm and dry. But compared with gloves with higher price tags they do have drawbacks. On the positive side they are waterproof and insulated and feel reasonably warm, although other gloves do feel warmer at this price, such as the Regatta X-ert Mountain Gloves. The palm is reinforced with PVC, but you don’t get the double-stitched leather palm of higher-priced gloves. The outer is polyester rather that a more durable nylon option so again not best for year-on-year abuse. The wrist is elasticated and this works fine and the cuff is long enough to cover a watch. But there is no adjustment on the cuff, so you cannot fit it as neatly as some around your wrist to keep rain out. But the main problem is the elasticated cuff liner as this stays wet once wet and can easily become a damp area around the wrist that is slow to dry. The glove does not have a wrist leash or soft nose wipe, but you can clip a pair of gloves together. These are not terrible gloves, but if you pay more you do get a much better glove and for regular hillwalkers the cash is worth paying for year on year comfort and performance.

Outer polyester, PVC palm
Waterproof lining Aquadry
Insulation polyester
Mens Sizes S/M-M/L
Womens Sizes no
Removable liner No
Nose wipe No
Wrist leash No
Weight 161g
Website www.craghoppers.com

 

Verdict

If your budget is £25 then these are fine, but you get a much better glove if you can stretch to a higher price tag.

Review by Graham Thompson
Just missed out on being in Trail magazine January 2014

 


Extremities Storm Glove (2013)

The low price tag of these gloves is instantly appealing, but with that lower price does come a lower level of performance. The glove does have a Gore-Tex waterproof lining though, so it is no slouch in terms of waterproofness and breathability. The outer of the glove is polyester, rather than a tough nylon and leather combination that would offer more durability. There is a PVC (Poly vinyl chloride) layer on the palm though for durability. The cuff is ideal for wearing under a waterproof jacket sleeve, but long enough to easily wear over a jacket but it has a good drawcord closure. Elastication at the wrist holds the glove in place and this is well designed too.  You even get a clip to hold the pair of gloves together in your pack, but no wrist leash or nose wipe. On the hand the first thing I noticed was that the lining snagged a little on the thumb and the fit of the thumb was not quite as good as higher priced gloves. Also the fingers have seams on the ends, while higher priced gloves have no seams here, for better dexterity and durability. These are also not as warm as the higher priced gloves. So you’ll certainly get a better glove if you pay more, but if £40 is your budget these will keep you reasonably warm and they do provide enough dexterity and durability to cope with a normal hillwalking.

Outer nylon, PVC palm
Waterproof lining Gore-Tex
Insulation polyester
Mens Sizes S-XL
Womens Sizes no
Removable liner No
Nose wipe No
Wrist leash No
Weight 138g
Website www.extremeties.co.uk

 

Verdict

For the money these gloves are good for hillwalkers, but if you pay more then you’ll get a warmer, more dexterous and more durable glove.

Review by Graham Thompson
Just missed out on being in Trail magazine January 2014

 


Regatta X-ert Mountain Gloves (2013)

For the price tag of just £25 these gloves are quite well featured. They get a polyester shell with an Isotex waterproof lining and Thinsulate ThermoGuard insulation. They feel quite warm and certainly warmer than many gloves in their price range. The lining is quite loose though so when my hand was finding its way it side often a finger would snag and would require some work to find the end of the glove. There sorts of problems are tolerable for occasional use, but not what you want when regularly hillwalking in cold conditions. This glove did not fit quite as close either at the fingertips, in part as there are seams here that are moved to the top of the fingers on higher priced gloves. The glove does not have the nylon shell, leather palm or double stitching of higher priced gloves and so if you are hard on your gloves then paying a little more cash now is probably worthwhile in the long term. The wrist does get elastication plus a webbing adjuster and the cuff gets a drawcord, which are all good feature. You can also clip the pair of gloves together, but there is no wrist leash or nose wipe. For the price these are great gloves though and you’ll need to spend around £45 to get something better.

Outer polyester, PVC palm
Waterproof lining Isotex
Insulation Thinsulate ThermoGuard
Mens Sizes S/M-L/XL
Womens Sizes no
Removable liner No
Nose wipe No
Wrist leash No
Weight 174g
Website www.regatta.com

 

Verdict

Great price for the features and it will keep you warm and dry on the hills, but you get a much better glove if you can stretch your budget.

Review by Graham Thompson
Just missed out on being in Trail magazine January 2014

 


Helly Hansen Resort Ski Glove (2013)

This glove is smart phone enabled thanks to the inclusion of a OnTip technology that allows the glove to operate touch screen devices without the need to remove the glove and gain skin contact or use a hand held stylus. I actually found I could use the fingers of the glove without the OnTip to operate my phone but it was slightly easier to use the OnTip finger. It would be a much better glove with a closer fitting thumb and fingers though and other gloves around this price do provide a closer fit. So as the glove is not a very close fit compared to some other gloves I found I needed to remove the glove anyway to really have the dexterity I needed on devices, and so having the OnTip feature was then devoid of purpose. Also when scrambling I think it is likely this area of the glove will get worn pretty easily, so which this may be ideal for skiing I think when scrambling the OnTip patch may easily get damaged. The rest of the glove is reasonable with Primaloft One insulation providing a good level of warmth.  The wrist cuff can be worn inside or outside a jacket. There is also a leather palm for improved durability. The overall fit was a little baggy and certainly not as close as I would like considering the price tag as gloves around the £80 mark provide much better general performance, but of course they don’t have the OnTip feature.

Outer polyester, leather
Waterproof lining HellyTech
Insulation Primaloft One
Mens Sizes S-L
Womens Sizes none
Removable liner No
Nose wipe yes
Wrist leash no
Weight 207g
Website www.hellyhansen.com

 

Verdict

If the Ontip technololgy to operate touch-screen devices is the major benefit here, but that in itself it is not enough to make this an ideal glove for hillwalkers compared with others around this price range, which have better dexterity and fit.

Review by Graham Thompson
Just missed out on being in Trail magazine January 2014

 


Mountain Hardwear Heracles Glove (2013)

The Heracles is designed to be close fitting hardwearing glove and so it gets a 4 way stretch body with a leather palm with Kevlar stitching. The glove has a Outdry waterproof lining plus a Thermal Q layer of insulation on the back of the hand with polyester fleece on the palm of the hand. This combination does allow a close fit that is very dexterous and while it is probably not as warm as some other gloves with insulation on the palm, the advantage of dexterity will be a real benefit to climbers and those using ropes for example. The cuff of the glove is a good length to cover the wrist but it is very narrow and has no drawcord, so it can only be worn inside a jacket sleeve, rather than over the outside. This is ideal when the cuff of a jacket is battened down, but does limit its easy of whipping on and off and also means that when scrambling in the rain in winter that you really need to ensure that the jacket is fully tightened down at the cuff to prevent water running down the inside of the sleeve. Having said that if used in cold dry conditions this glove would be ideal and certainly for alpine use and proper winters (rather than wet British ones) this is a great glove for the climber, mountaineer and anyone using ropes a lot. But it is not my favourite for walking up wet and cold British mountains when the glove sometimes needs to be worn over a jacket sleeve.

Outer 4-way stretch Cordura 1000 nylon, leather
Waterproof lining Outdry
Insulation Thermal Q, polyester fleece
Mens Sizes S-XL
Womens SizesS-L
Removable liner No
Nose wipe yes
Wrist leash No
Weight 164g
Website www.mountainhardwear.eu

 

Verdict

Ideal glove when worn inside a jacket sleeve for mountaineering and climbing, but not the best option for walking or scrambling in the rain during winter.

Review by Graham Thompson
Just missed out on being in Trail magazine January 2014

 


Ice Trekkers Diamond Grip (2013)

When walking on snowy level tracks and bridleways a full crampon is often more than you really need, but a pair of Ice Trekkers Diamond Grips fitted to your boots works well. These are rather like fitting snow chains to your car tyres in that they just give a small degree of traction to keep you moving. There are many similar devices out there, but the Ice Trekkers Diamond Grip is a very durable option so it should last a few seasons. The extra durability comes from a steel cable around the base that is fitted with a series of diamond-shaped beads, which have six spikes each. These steel beads rotate on the wire, which helps them bite into the surface and also to self-clean. The teeth are quite short so once the snow becomes deep, the ice very hard or the slope steep then the grip is not so great. But use these for crunching along level paths that are frozen or have a sprinkling of snow over top and they work really well. As the Ice Trekkers Diamond Grip’s spikes are not too long you can keep wearing these between patches of ice too without tripping over readily, which often happens when wearing full crampons.

Materials rubber cradle with steel chain of spikes
Sizes S, M, L, XL
Weight 260g (pair, size M)
Website
www.icetrekkers.com

 

Verdict
The Ice Trekkers Diamond Grip are the best option for valleys tracks in this test.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine January 2013


Kahtoola Microspikes (2013)

Kahtoola Microspikes have rapidly become one of the most popular traction devices for hillwalkers as they are very good on iced-up paths when used by experienced hillwalkers. They were originally designed for running on snow and ice, and they comprise of a rubber cradle that comes in five sizes to fit over your footwear. Attached to this rubber cradle is a chain frame and a series of 10 spikes. Areas of the boot outsole remain exposed to provide some traction, while the spikes are 1cm deep and quite sharp, which allows them to grip well on hard ice. These spikes are not as long as full crampons so their grip is still limited and sometimes the chains come into contact with uneven hard ice before the spikes do, which can lead to a slip – so care is still required, especially when the ground becomes more uneven or the snow becomes too deep for the short spikes. But when used by experienced hillwalkers on frozen level paths, Kahtoola Microspikes do work well. They are not as good as full crampons on deep snow and hard ice or when stepping off the path onto frozen slopes, so care is needed in using them appropriately.

Materials rubber cradle with steel chain and spikes
Sizes XS, S, M, L, XL
Weight 430g (pair, size L)
Website
www.betaclimbingdesigns.com

 

Verdict
The Kahtoola Microspikes are the best option for level tracks in this test.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine January 2013


Extremities Corbett Glove (2012)

The Extremities Corbett Glove has been around for many years and it is a well-proven glove for hillwalking. Surprisingly for the price, you are getting a Gore-Tex waterproof lining inside, which is insulated with a brushed polyester liner and this is precisely fitted to the shell so that nothing snags and you can easily get your hands in and out without the lining getting tangled. As there is less insulation, this glove provides good dexterity and feels great for grabbing trekking poles, opening and closing  zips, or using a compass. The cuff is quite short and close-fitting, which allows it to fit easily inside the sleeve of a waterproof jacket, which is ideal for walkers. But when scrambling or climbing a bigger cuff would be better. The cuff adjuster is a simple drawcord, but it works well and can be tightened and loosened easily while wearing the gloves. There a nose wipe and a PU palm rather than a leather palm. There’s no wrist leash and other gloves are warmer. But most walkers will find this a great option, I think, except when tackling those higher Munros rather than Scotland’s  less lofty Corbetts.

 

Outer nylon; Gore-Tex waterproof lining; PU palm

Insulation brushed polyester

Men’s sizes S-XL

Women’s sizes none

Removable liner no

Nose wipe yes

Wrist leash no

Weight 126g (pair, men’s size L)

Website www.terra-nova.co.uk

 

Verdict

As the name suggests, the Extremities Corbett Glove is ideal for hillwalking on the lower hills such as the Corbetts or in milder conditions when its extra dexterity is a real a benefit.

 

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine February 2012