A good pair of gloves or mittens is crucial to an enjoyable and fun experience on the slopes. They need to be warm enough but also offer you a lot of control and maneuverability. The Montana Mitt by North Face is a warm yet breathable mitten that will keep your hands in good shape all day long.
- Where to buy: The North Face, EVO, Amazon
- Best for: Skiers who want a well-made mitten that offers solid dexterity and is breathable.
- Pros: These mittens offer great control of your hands, breathability and come with many extra features.
- Cons: They are a little bulky, and some don’t like that the liner has individual finger slots. Not warm enough for everyone.
- Alternatives: Tough Outdoors Winter Ski Mittens, Burton Gore-Tex Mittens, Hestra Army Leather Heli Ski Glove
Why Trust Me
Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Canada, I am very familiar with the cold and snow. Wearing mittens or gloves is all but required for at least half of the year, and I have been through countless pairs over the years. For these exact mittens, I have researched around the internet for the thoughts, concerns, and feelings of individuals who have used them.
Great Dexterity and Hand Control
One of the best things about these mittens is the dexterity and control they provide you. Whether you are adjusting your goggles, gripping ski poles, or holding an action camera, you want control of your hands while skiing. A big reason for this incredible dexterity is the design of the mittens.
The internal liner features specific sections for your fingers, much like a glove. It keeps them separate and allows for a lot more control when grabbing things. While this helps with dexterity, some people voiced their displeasure with this design and would have preferred if the inside was like a standard mitten.
The design is also quite lightweight and features less insulation, which can make it easier to maintain more control of the hand. Also, these mittens keep your hands in a natural and relaxed position. All in all, these virtually fit like a glove, with the added warmth and comfort of a mitten. Of course, if you are used to wearing gloves and not mittens, these can certainly seem a little bit bulky.
Features of the Fabric
In addition to the dexterity, the mittens offer several other features that are worth noting. These mittens are very breathable and will ensure your hands don’t get sweaty or uncomfortable at all. This is largely due to the lightweight construction and build of the mitten.
As far as insulation goes, these mittens feature different insulation on the palm and the back of the hand. The palms feature a light 100g insulation, while the back of the hand offers heavier insulation. While the mittens are still warm, some have noted they fall short of the warmth provided by other mittens. The team at The North Face gave up a little bit of warmth for the added benefit of more control for the user.
The included wrist cinch can help seal in warmth, and the unique removable wrist leashes can provide extra warmth when combined with a hand warmer. The gauntlet of the mitten is also large enough to keep the snow from easily getting onto your wrist, hands or arms.
Several Choices in Design
The Montana Mitt is a popular mitten choice for many, partly because of the line’s updates over the years. The basic version was great, but two main updates were done. One update added the Etip technology, which allows you to use your touchscreen devices without having to take off the mittens.
Another evolution of the original is that the newer Montana Mitt uses Gore-Tex. Gore-Tex is a breathable and waterproof fabric membrane that ensures your hands will stay dry inside of the Montana Mitt. The Gore-Tex technology can also provide a barrier against the wind.
So whether you want the basic offering, one with the included Gore-Tex material, or one that allows you to use your devices, you have choices when it comes to the Montana Mitt.
The value of a glove or mitten is something that certainly needs to be considered. The good news is that the Montana Mitt offers users a lot of value. While you might think something from an established leader in the space like The North Face would be expensive, this isn’t actually the case.
These gloves are great in wet climates, and perform better than many in their price range. The mittens also seem quite durable. This is partly due to their water-resistant nature to keep them dry, but also has to do with how they were constructed. Of course, the durability won’t hold up compared to something like leather, but the price is certainly more affordable than many of those models.
What I Like
There is a lot to like about these mittens. The dexterity is certainly one of the primary benefits that they offer. You can always feel confident in the control they provide. The gloves are light enough to easily complete precise tasks – like grabbing your phone or tightening your goggle straps.
The Gore-Tex technology leads these mittens to be waterproof, which is especially good if you are skiing in climates with more wet snow. This material also helps the mittens be quite breathable, to prevent your hands from sweating or becoming too wet over time.
The extra features offered in and on the mittens are another thing I like. The gauntlet is nice, as is the wrist cinch to keep heat in the mitten and stop it from escaping. The leashes also give you more warmth when a hand warmer is added, and they give you a convenient way to carry your mittens and can provide a better fit.
What I Dislike
On the other hand, there are also a few drawbacks of using these mittens that you should be aware of. First and foremost, there is the issue of warmth. While the warmth provided by these mittens is adequate for some, it lags behind many other mittens.
This is because they made some sacrifices in this area for better control and dexterity. So if you live in a very cold climate, these mittens on their own might not be enough to keep you warm all day.
While the liner helps give the mittens better dexterity, it is also a design choice that some people didn’t like. Many prefer the fit of a standard mitten, especially when taking it off, as the liner can come inside out, and be a bit of a pain to get back in. Also, if you like to wear a base set of thin gloves under your mittens, that may be difficult with these mittens.
Another potential drawback for some could be the size. While they are less thick than some mittens, if you are a glove wearer, it still may be difficult to get used to the added size and bulk of a mitten. You will likely get used to them, but it is still something to be aware of.
While the Montana Mitt is a good option for many people, it is far from the only ski mitten or glove out there. Here are a few alternatives if you are looking for something different:
- Tough Outdoors Winter Ski Mittens – If you are looking for an affordable pair of mittens that offer many of the same benefits, consider these winter ski mittens from Tough Outdoors. They are weatherproof, come with removable straps and offer a lot of warmth while still being breathable.
- Burton Gore-Tex Mittens – With added insulation for great warmth, and touchscreen compatibility, these Gore-Tex mittens from Burton are another good choice. They feature a removable line for versatility and even have a pocket for a hand warmer to be added. These also come in many different colors and designs to ensure they can match the rest of your gear.
- Hestra Army Leather Heli Ski Glove – If you are looking for something a little different, this glove from Hestra should be considered. It offers durability, warmth and a great fit, all with the added dexterity of a glove design. It is certainly more premium, and has a price tag that reflects it.
What is the material of the outer shell?
The outer shell of the Montana Mitt is made of 100% nylon herringbone tweed. It is a flexible material, and one that offers great grip. It is a little abrasive, so be careful when wiping your face or rubbing skin.
Is the lining comfortable?
Yes, the lining offers a lot of comfort. The mittens are lined with 100% polyester sherpa fleece for a soft fit. The mittens also keep your hands in a relaxed position, which is generally quite comfortable.
How warm are the mittens?
While warm enough for moderate areas, I generally wouldn’t recommend these if you are skiing in an area that gets very cold. The North Face sacrificed a bit of the insulation in these gloves to make them more dexterous.
If you value your gloves or mittens’ dexterity, control and breathability over options that provide supreme warmth, these are a great choice. The many features of the mitten, from the internal glove lining, to the Gore-Tex technology, to the included leashes, make them a popular choice. While they aren’t great for incredibly cold climates, they should do you just fine otherwise and are sure to keep your hands dry.