Outdoor Research Lodestar Gloves
$89, 5 oz. (men’s large)
Sizes: men’s XS-XL
Ibex Point 62 Gloves
$85, 4 oz. (medium)
Sizes: unisex S-XL
What’s your winter activity? Nordic skiing? Snowshoeing? Hiking? Running? Whatever you do, you can bet there are gloves made specifically for it. Both of these models have become go-to handwear for me in moderate temperatures (20s and 30s) this winter, but for different activities.
The Outdoor Research Lodestar Gloves shined on numerous days of ski touring in Idaho’s Boise Mountains, including a four-day yurt trip, in conditions ranging from the 20s to 30s, and sunshine to strong winds with dry and wet falling snow. What really impressed me, though, was how they performed on a day of mixed rain and wet snow with the temp in the mid-30s: When I’d normally have been swapping wet gloves for a dry pair after a while, the Lodestars only got superficially wet and kept my hands warm.
That’s because of the Polartec Power Shield High Loft fabric lining, which lends the gloves exceptional breathability and warmth for their weight—meaning you get both dexterity and toasty fingers, a rare combination. Goat leather in the palm and fingers offers superior grip and durability, while a nylon, polyester, and Spandex shell blocks out wind and sheds snow. I also like the big pull loop for easily yanking the gloves on, and the hook-and-loop adjustability of the over-the-wrist gauntlet, for keeping snow and wind out. Whether for winter hiking, cross-country ski touring or snowshoeing at a moderate pace (as opposed to highly aerobic Nordic skiing at a training pace), or as a lighter pair of gloves for backcountry skiing or climbing, the Lodestar delivers a lot of versatility and features at a low weight for under 100 bucks.
The Ibex Point 62 Gloves are more specialized—and stand out precisely for that reason. For winter aerobic sports like skate-skiing or trail running, I have a problem of suffering cold fingers very easily—especially when I start out skate-skiing, a high-speed activity that exposes my hands to wind created by my forward motion. So I need gloves that are warm, dexterous, and breathe well to release heat and moisture once I’ve warmed up. The Point 62 Gloves excelled for just those reasons, preventing my fingers from getting chilled even when skate-skiing for 90 minutes in wind-driven, heavily falling snow in temps in the mid-20s.
Wearing them on a number of days of aerobic Nordic skiing, including outings of up to a few hours, I found them consistently keeping my hands warm without them getting sweaty when I was perspiring heavily on long ascents. Their formula is a warm and soft Merino lining inside a polyester shell that cuts winds and sheds snow, with nylon and Spandex stretch panels for breathability. A stretchy wool cuff that keeps your wrist warm even when damp promotes blood circulation up into the fingers to keep them warmer. The synthetic suede palm with tacky points gives good grip so that poles don’t slip from your hands, and conveniently will easily either pull over or tuck inside a jacket sleeve. For winter aerobic sports, especially for people who get cold fingers easily, the Point 62 Gloves are a winner.
See also my 12 Pro Tips For Staying Warm Outdoors in Winter, and all of my reviews of outdoor apparel, including another lightweight glove for winter activities, The North Face Etip Pamir Windstopper Gloves.
NOTE: I’ve been testing gear for Backpacker Magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See all of my reviews by clicking on the Gear Reviews category at left or in the main menu.