Sealskinz All Season Gloves
Sealskinz have been one of those brands that I've (not deliberately) somehow avoided over the years so I thought I'd best try them out. A month or so back I took part in an overnight race on the moors of Bleaklow and needed some new clothing that would keep me dry and warm in pretty testing conditions. We were on the go for around 12 hours, starting at 11pm, with a good dose of sub zero temperatures, winds, and horizontal sleet. One a number of recent reccies in the snow it had become blindingly obvious that after the head, the most important body parts to keep warm on isolated excursions like this, are the hands. Lose the use of your hands and it's impossible to then do much other than keep walking or running. You can't put on more clothes, do up zips, eat or drink, or map read effectively. Enter the Seal Skinkz All Season Gloves.
They did exactly as intended - they kept my hands dry. The gloves in themselves weren't warm enough in the temeratures that we experienced, but that was to obe expected so I had an additional outer waterproof shell to put on over them top of them when things got bad. All told my hands ended up a little damp after 12 hours, but crucially they never got cold.
If I had one complaint it would be over the sizing. I don't consider myself to have particularly big hands, but these gloves are snug in a Large fit. This is fine when at home and with perfectly dry hands, but I was reluctant to take them off when he going got tough as getting them back on again with hands that have been made wet by rain whilst rummaging around in a bag for something proved tricksome. I'd advise going for a larger size thatn you think that you need.
The touch screen pads on the thumb and forefinger tips work well (though we weren't allowed to use mobile devices in the race!) which greatly reduces the number of times you need to remove your gloves on any given outing. They are closed tight by means of a Velcro strap which works well enough too and can be easily operated with the teeth if necessary as this is the sort of micro dexterity that becomes tricky when wearing them.
They are not as comfortable as a nice pair of fleece gloves, being a little more rigid thanks to the waterproof membrane inside, but they are good enough. My best description is that they feel a little like a pair of good leather driving gloves.
In terms of activities I've run in them and found them to be great. Cycling proved a bit trickier in that in heavy rain water would run down my arms and collect in the gloves, but to be far this is more of a function of the length of the sleeves of and riding position which meant that I couldn't keep my sleeves over the end of the gloves. In fairness to Sealskinz they also aren't specifically designed for cycling and have a leather palm which isn't suited to gripping a handle bar. They do a range of cycling-specific gloves, but the reality is that people will use them for all sorts so I thought I'd test them on the bike too.
They retail at £40 which feels good value for a mid range glove that sits somewhere between a pair of lightweight fleece gloves and a pair of full on winter mountaineering or ski gloves.