Sunday, 6 January 2013

Mountain Equipment Randonne Glove

Well, this weather is certainly not what we wished for or what the long term forecast was suggesting back in the Autumn.  Quite frustrating that it’s often wet and windy on top of no climbing conditions.

I keep on seeing the same familiar faces at the climbing wall and out on the bike. There should be a few fit folk out there if winter does come back.

In the meantime I will take this opportunity to highlight a product that I have been using for the last 6 years or so.  The Mountain Equipment Randonee Glove. First time on this blog for a product placement.

Climbers and walkers can spend much time hunting out the best glove for the job in hand ! One thing to remember is that no one glove does everything. However, I personally feel that this glove comes close, as I have found it to be a great for climbing, walking, mountaineering and skiing.  

To back this up, it is the only glove I have worn since I first got my hands on a pair all those years ago. I have used them to climb ice, mixed and turf, skiing, whilst winter mountaineering and while working in cold and snowy conditions. They have been used In the Alps, Scotland, Wales and Alaska.

They are not perfect, but what is. I am after a glove, which is snug fitting, I am able to climb in them without my hands freezing within minutes, are dexterous, do not have all that spare room at the finger ends and have some good warmth properties when damp and wet. I tend to only use gortex gloves when its going to be wet, as I feel, gortex gloves are offer less dexterity than these, and the gortex is not long lasting. 

The key to this gloves success is firstly,  the snug fitting and secondly that good old material fibre pile. How many modern gloves use fibre pile as a liner. Well they should, this liner is well suited to climbing as once its wet/damp it still retains lots of warmth compared to other material often used to line glove.  If it gets really wet then just wring them out. 

The only possible downside to these gloves is that they are not quite long enough for everyone’s tastes.  I use mine with a thermal that has thumb loops, before that my fleece jumper/jackets had thumb loops that I used. By using thumb loops then that keeps your wrist area covered which in actual fact is very important in keeping those fingers warm.  Or use some wrist warmers? Not seen these, then there is a picture below

They are not going to keep your hands as warm as some big chunky glove, but they are not designed for this. However, they will do a very good job at keeping your hands a lot warmer than you may think. Many gloves have poor linings offering very little warmth if you get them damp or are not moving.
The palms and fingers actually take quite a bashing, mine have been used on many a mixed and turfy route and hold up well.  You will get the obvious signs of wear on fingertips if they are used to scrape / rub snow off rock looking for gear placements. Even then applying basic glue will do the job when they start showing signs of wear.
So that is my take on these gloves. I am happy to say even if you buy a pair of these and they are not what you really wish for as a winter climbing glove, you will not have wasted your pennies. They will be a very useful glove to have on the hill. That I am certain of.
If deciding to buy some try and get them so they feel snug, even a little to small feeling as the fibre pile will mould around your fingers and hand and will give you a really good fit.

 What do the reviews have to say ?
Exceptionally warm and water-resistant soft-shell glove.

There is hardly an environment or situation where these gloves do not excel
This is a super warm version of something like Terra Nova's Guide Glove or Rab's Baltoro and easily warm enough for winter climbing in Scotland, Wales, Alps and even Alaska. It’s also great for skiing and winter mountaineering. Although not fully waterproof, its tough and water resistant outer will keep damp snow and melt water at bay, and it can be wrung dry in horrendous conditions and should keep on working when your climbing partner has donned their spare emergency pair.
Schoeller® Dry Skin® Extreme with 3xDry finish is water resistant, exceptionally breathable and hard-wearing.
Pittards® Amortan Goatskin leather palm.
Fibre pile lining throughout is warm even when damp and quick to dry.
Shorter sports style cuff fits easily under outer layers.
Precurved, anatomic construction with roll-tip fingers for a precise and comfortable fit.
Soft nose wipe area on upper thumb. Hypalon® reinforce velcro cuff closure.


I just cannot get enough of these. 
The red ones are 4 years old.

Showing the two types of palms available

The fibre pile ( warm )  liner and you will be amazed at how such a good fit and deterous they are if  they suit your hands. These are not as bulky as they look in the photo.

In use and before those pesky leashes went to the scrap box. 

The picture below shows the only possible fault I can find with them. If your jacket is short in the sleeves and your thermal/jumper/jacket  is not long enough you can get a gap on your wrist. However,  sort this out and they are fantastic gloves. 

The positive side to this, is you do not have a big cuff on the glove to deal with and no bungee cord as a velcro strap closes them. So that is another positive point of these gloves.  It makes them less bulky and less restrictive.

Talking of keeping the wrists warm and hence helping out the fingers staying warm. Have you ever tried wrist warmers ?  They are tops and make a big difference.

These are a picture of the ones I used before using a thermal / fleece jacket with thumb loops.

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