Back at the beginning of December I was trying to figure out what to do about winter gloves when Outdoor Blogger Network offered up the Alaska Pro Glove from Glacier Glove. Deal is, get picked, get the gloves and write a review. Never thought I would actually get the gloves.
The Glacier Glove Alaska Pro Glove is a breathable waterproof glove perfect for cold weather adventures. 60 grams of Thinsulate insulation provide warmth (recommended for cool conditions or for very high activity levels where a lot of body heat is generated); leather palms and index fingers allow for great durability and dexterity.
• RealTree Max 4 Pattern
• Waterproof and breathable
• 60 grams of Thinsulate insulation
• Leather palm for grip
These gloves retail for $39.99.
Putting Them Through the Tests
I’ve been told that when I was born, back in those days when men weren’t allowed in delivery rooms, my dad finally spotted me on the other side of the viewing glass and exclaimed, “Jesus Christ, the kids got catchers’ mitts for hands.”
Having lived with these hands all my life, I don’t think of them that way. I’m not a big guy and I don’t think my hands are out of proportion to the rest of me. But they are out of proportion to themselves. My hands are wide enough to require me to wear a Large in gloves. The problem is that my fingers fit comfortably in a Medium. I think they call that a large stout, or large short or something like that. Stubby comes to mind.
As soon as the Alaska Pro Gloves arrived on my door step, I ripped open the box and tried them on. Right off the bat I ran into the same issue I have with all gloves, the fingers are a quarter inch too long. The rest of the glove is a perfect fit. I’ve done some cursory searches on gloves labeled large/short and large/stout and have yet to find what I want. I have a feeling there are others out there with similar hand issues. A slight modification might be worth looking into for a glove manufacturer.
When I read the Thinsulate description recommending 60 grams for cool conditions and high activity levels, I thought that left a lot of room for interpretation. One persons cool is anothers’ cold. I was already thinking about the different weather conditions I was going to have to put these through to see what their limits, and mine I guess, really were.
It’s rare that I buy clothes with a specific purpose in mind. These are gloves, I’ll put them through glove use. Hunting, chopping wood, going for a walk, driving, shoveling snow . . . I put on gloves. These gloves had a nice feel to them, comfortable and not heavy. Very flexible movement, I knew I would be using these for all of the above mentioned purposes and then some.
I waited a good week before starting to test them. I was going squirrel hunting and I wanted them to be in pristine condition when I stepped into the woods.
Sunrise the day of the hunt the temperature was 6 degrees with a wind out of the northwest at around 12 miles per hour. Hoar frost clung to the tall grass along the edge of a large open field I had to walk across to get to the squirrel woods.
Nothing in the literature for the gloves mentioned that they were wind proof and by the time I reached the woods my hands were pretty cold. I could feel the air coming through the gloves. I learned one of their limits.
As soon as I got into the woods the wind died down. I slowly walked along and my hands quickly began to warm. All hunters know that one of the tests of any gloves is whether or not we can feel the cold of gun metal through the palm of the gloves. These did well as I walked and I barely noticed the cold metal.
I had to bust through some pretty dense brush to get to the ravine where the hunt becomes more of a waiting game. You wind up sitting and waiting and waiting and hoping that at some point a squirrel will appear. Their tracks are everywhere, where are they? Sitting still in cold weather can become a real endurance test.
I learned later that the air temperature never went above 19 degrees and my hands felt the cold. The Thinsulate description was correct about cool conditions and activity levels. At least I had learned the low end limits of the gloves.
Over the next couple of weeks I put the gloves through hell, doing all of the things I listed above. They performed flawlessly and as long as I stayed even moderately active my hands stayed pretty warm, even when temperatures dropped below 10 degrees. I was going to put my hands in the river down the hill from my house to test the waterproof claim, but I noticed I had put a few very small holes in the fabric. These probably came from the brush busting I did while squirrel hunting. I was able to test their water proof capabilities on a limited basis by playing in the snow. I never felt moisture through the glove.
I like any clothing that claims to be breathable. There is nothing worse than wearing fabric that gets wet from the inside out. I tested these by doing a fair amount of work in a very short period of time. I shoveled a lot of snow, 6 inches worth, off my walk and fairly large driveway. Then I went and chopped up a bunch of wood, primarily oak. Though I could feel my hands sweating a bit, they never got uncomfortable. When I went in the house I tossed the gloves on the kitchen table to dry. A half hour later I put them on and they were bone dry inside and out. A very nice surprise.
The hunting I did next was for pheasant and rabbit, 3 days worth. All of the days were the same from a temperature standpoint, starting out at 15 degrees and rising to 25. Day one had virtually no wind and a near cloudless sky.
The other 2 days were cloudy with winds out of the northwest ranging from 10 to 15 miles per hour.
You couldn’t tell the difference. The gloves performed the same under both of those conditions. My hands stayed comfortable and dry, I couldn’t feel the cold of the gun metal and I could comfortably grip the gun.
It wasn't till I looked at the photo later that I realized the camo pattern did well at blending into the pheasant habitat.
The only drawback was the extra quarter inch of material on the fingers, especially my trigger finger. I would have to fuss with the tip folding over and getting in the way when I would go to put my finger on the trigger. As with anything, you get used to what you have to do and it ultimately didn’t effect my shooting, but it would be nice to not have to do that small bit of fumbling.
We had a couple of days here in Northern Illinois where the temperatures came up to normal, around 32 degrees. We’ve had an odd cold winter so far. I purposely went out and sat still for 15 or 20 minutes to see how the gloves would behave. Just like they say, they performed well under cool conditions. My hands were fine even though I wasn’t moving around. Between the pheasant hunts and the normal temperatures, I was convinced I had tried all of the gloves limits. As well as my own.
There was only one thing left to do, wash them. To my wife’s dismay, she quickly learned why I dress the way I do. Nothing needs to be separated into different colors and types of clothing. It’s a washing machine, they all go in together. The gloves didn’t come with instructions for washing, a plus in my eyes, so they went in with everything else. Dried along with everything else too.
What I’ve had happen in the past after washing gloves is that the lining and filler in the gloves all start to pull apart. When you put them on again, there are wads of filler all over, or the lining will come out of a finger and wind up in the palm. These came out in perfect shape with no issues whatsoever.
I can highly recommend these gloves. I think any user will have to find their own comfort levels under different conditions, but once that is figured out they should be happy. I was looking through the Glacier Glove website and have found a few other things I may have to get. Fingerless windproof gloves, ideal for spring fishing around northern Illinois. Windproof and warmer hunting gloves, some with much better shooting capabilities. And I’m assuming their Neo Winter Sock is waterproof. Perfect for my otherwise good condition waders with the leaky feet.
On top of producing what appears to be some pretty outstanding products, they’re reasonably priced as well. The Alaska Pro Gloves are worth a try.
As with all reviews on Waterdog Journal, the following review is my honest opinion. I received the Glacier Glove Alaska Pro Gloves free of charge and agreed to provide a review in exchange, which I’ll do again in a heartbeat for other products if asked. Waterdog Journal is not sponsored by or associated with Glacier Glove and is accepting no other compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for this review. My independent status may change in the future, but as of the date of publication, no relationship other than described above has been pursued or established.