How much thought should one put into their choice of gloves for mountain adventures? If you are a hiker, climber, or skier, you probably spend a fair amount of time thinking about your glove choice. After all, our clothing is really “gear” that needs to perform well by keeping us warm and dry in a variety of adverse conditions under different levels of exertion. To that end most mountaineers head into the hills with 2 or 3 pairs of gloves meant to adapt to the situation. A common system, and one I’ve used for over a decade, is a 3 pair system.
- An ultra thin wicking glove liner that I can use on sweaty approaches rather than going bare knuckle… one shouldn’t handle cold crampons with bare hands and one doesn’t have to if one uses glove liners…
- A medium weight type glove for colder ascents. Still super breathable so a great choice for super cold but high exertion type climbing before you get above treeline. Coincidentally these Outdoor Research Alibi II gloves also rock at harder technical ice climbing.
- A “full on” glove. Ski glove. Mountaineer’s glove. Warm, and waterproof, but a bit bulky (read less-dexterous), but able to keep our very important digits from going numb in the coldest conditions.
This where the newly released Give’r Four Season Gloves come in.
First, what does “Give’r” mean? From the Giver’r website it means “To give it your all, go for it”. This grassroots company started in Wyoming in 2011 first with hats then launched it’s website in March 2012 with a line of adventurous quality “lifestyle” clothing.
Philosophy: Give’r promotes a lifestyle fueled by passion, purpose, challenge and adventure. We aim to inspire the unrelenting pursuit of dreams, the confidence to take the road less traveled, and the desire to share the wonders of life with others. Give’r represents an inclusive lifestyle embodied by those who frequently ask the question, “Why not?”. – www.give-r.com
I heard about the company a few months ago via their social media campaign, specifically sponsored Facebook items in my news feed announcing a new “four season” glove that looked much like my beloved Kincos. I reached out to their Marketing Team and was sent a demo pair to test months before they would be available to the public. This new four season glove is built upon the successful Give’r Classic Gloves:
Still insulated with an all leather exterior, they’ve added some beefiness, a leather skirt, elastic cuff, improved the design to be form fitting, and reinforced areas for durability. The biggest addition is the waterproof membrane which makes the 4-Season Gloves 100% waterproof and windproof without needing any maintenance (unlike Kincos).
As an avalanche course leader I spend quite a bit of time poking my hands into cold snow. While this winter may have seemed mild we did hit a record breaking -40f and I spent quite a few days above treeline in “crazy cold” conditions. The Give’r Four Season Gloves easily matched the warmth of my trusted Kinco Ski Gloves.
So what sets them apart from Kincos? First, I’d say the fit. After a couple of days break-in these felt comfortable enough to lead moderate ice climbs (Grade 3 or lower in my opinion). I’d certainly opt for my more form fitting Outdoor Research Alibi 2’s for any grade 4 or harder, but for cold weather Grade 3 these worked great*! I even grabbed a bit of GoPro footage and dusted off the old iMovie skills for a quick clip of them in action. Please excuse my mention that Give’r was out of Utah. Give’r is a Wyoming based company!
So they were dexterous enough for Grade 3 ice climbing. If I was focused on just ice climbing with them I’d grade them a solid B. While that might seem low consider my ratings for some other uses:
Ski Mountaineering A+
Back-country Skiing A+
Lift Service Skiing A+
Winter Hiking/Camping A+
Snowshoeing A+ (if it is really cold out)
Snow Blowing the Driveway A++
Shoveling the Driveway A+ (you should get a snowblower)
Making a Snowman A+++
Extreme Snow Angel Making A+++
Obviously these gloves have a place in your quiver of gloves since most winter enthusiasts enjoy 4+ of the above activities. There’s a couple of other things that set this company’s gloves apart from anything you’ve probably ever purchased.
1. Customization. The Give’r Classic Gloves offer free** initial engraving on each pair. This is pretty cool as there is no way your climbing partner or significant other is going to try to booty your gloves when they’ve basically been branded. 3-initials is the limit, so I can think of a few acronyms I might opt for rather than my own initials.
2. Hand applied wax coating. The company offers this personal service for hand treating the leather with SnoSeal to double the waterproofness and help preserve the leather. Personally, I enjoy this step to much to have someone else do it. It’s therapeutic. But maybe you are busy and want someone to treat them for you? $10 gets the job done!
Finally another big difference between this and similar style gloves is the use of a 100% waterproof Hipora lining. There are some advantages and disadvantages to this construction.
Drying time. The combination of liner + leather exterior really limits feasible breath-ability. If moisture gets in the glove from either perspiration or bad habits (don’t drop your gloves in the snow while putting your crampons on) it will be hard for it to exit. I noticed after two hours on my electric boot/glove dryer I still had moisture in the finger tips after a long field day. Reaching out to the manufacturer I confirmed this is an issue, and the seal around the wrist that is so good at keeping snow and cold out of the glove is equally good at not letting the warm electric dryer air let that vapor out when trying to “hyper” dry.
The best option? Don’t use an electric dryer, prop them open with an empty paper towel tube, and sit them upright on my baseboard heaters. This solution allowed them to dry fully overnight after a rather damp day on the hill. The key here is airflow in & out of the glove.
Greater warmth and bombproof water-proofness! With the Hipora lining & treated leather you’ve got essentially a vapor barrier type system. High altitude climbers know the benefits (and disadvantages) of using vapor barrier socks, pants, shirts, etc. There is no question that these gloves, while similar in appearance to my Kinco Ski Gloves, are indeed warmer given this property. This advantage diminishes with multi-day trips away from drying sources, but for day outings in arctic cold these are the bomb.
A new comer to the true 4 season glove market I think this company is got a hit with this new model. I’m anxious to try their Classic model which is available to purchase directly from their website here. The 4 Season Model is currently in the Kickstarter phase and early supporters are able to secure some of the first shipments in June 2016 for $69/pair, 30% off the retail price of $99 by pledging here. There are a limited number of pre-orders available (as of the date and time of this post 444/735) so if you want to get in on a pair now is a great time!
Disclaimer: While the pair I tested was provided at no charge it was only a loaner and has been returned to the manufacturer. To that end I could not comment much on durability though the manufacturer has provided quite a bit of info regarding how well these hold up, and personal inspection indicates they would probably out live my Kinco Ski Gloves (901 model) which are showing some seam failure on the end of their 2nd full winter season (keep in mind that’s still a lot of field days!). All this aside, these opinions are my own and I’m happy to pinky swear.
Coming up: Avalanche course season is drawing to a close. For those participants waiting on photos/write ups I’ll be combing the Level 1 two weeks ago and the 2 Level 2’s ending this week all in one season recap later this week. Thanks for reading!
See you in the Mountains,