Gear Review: Rab Blizzard Mitt

RRP: £80
Weight: 235g per pair (small)

When is a mitt not really a mitt? With the Rab Blizzard, the mitt outer conceals a glove-shaped inner supposedly to give the best of both worlds; I’ve been testing it over the winter.

This is a gauntlet-style mitt with box wall construction in a pre-formed shape with single finger inserts. I found them to be close fitting – the women’s small really is small, particularly in width and unlike normal mitts the finger inserts mean there is little extra room inside. However the fit is well-designed, giving good articulation and being comfortable for long days.

The outer material is ripstop nylon, with leather covering the whole of the palm side and added reinforcement leather patches on the palm where you grip a pole/ice axe/rope and also extending over the end of the finger box. There is a soft nose-wipe patch on the back of the thumb and loops to hang the gloves from a carabiner or hook so they don’t fill with rain or snow. Waterproofing is provided by a Porelle breathable membrane – during numerous outing in wet and snowy conditions they have never leaked or become even slightly wet on the outside and they show no signs of wear and tear at all so far. Insulation is provided by synthetic Pryotec and has proved adequate in most conditions although at times this winter I have swapped them for my reassuringly warm down mitts. However, I do tend towards cold extremeties, getting hot aches when other peoples’ hands are fine, so these should be good for many folk for most Scottish winter conditions except perhaps on days with the very coldest wind chill, or on long belays. The insides have a fleecy lining which has pilled a little over time, but I haven’t experienced sweaty hands and so have found the breathability to be good.

There is a tightening strap at wrist in addition to the half wrist elastication and there are long wrist tethers. I’ve yet to decide whether to love or hate these, having lost a glove previously to a merciless gust of wind, if you remember to always put secure the tethers then that risk is elimated, however invariably I end up with some of the tether stuck inside the glove or flapping in an annoying tangle – as they are easily removed the choice is yours.

The gauntlet is of reasonable length although the cuff is not wide enough to fit over bulky layers so if wearing a waterproof I’ve tended to have the gloves inside the sleeves. The cuff itself can be tightened – a good feature for foul weather. The grip is very good and the extra leather on the palm should ensure it lasts a reasonable time to justify the high price tag. There is definitely more dexterity with the separate fingers but for many jobs (opening rucksack, adjusting snow shoe straps etc) it was still necessary to take the mitts off so I think the advantage over regular mitts is marginal although the difference would be appreciated for scrambling and ropework. Overall there are solid mitts for winter conditions.

Pros: Robust construction, leather palm reinforcement
Cons: Close fit, high price

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