Outdoor Research Luminary Gloves
$99, 8 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XL, women’s S-L
As someone who gets cold fingers very easily, I look for winter gloves that are not only warm, but also versatile for outdoor activities where my hands (like my body) will be warmer at times and colder at other times. While backcountry skiing several days in Idaho’s Boise Mountains and around Galena Summit, in all kinds of fast-changing weather—temperatures ranging from the teens to around freezing, wind, falling snow, sunshine—the Luminary Gloves handled not only cold, but mild temps and wet, windy conditions with equal aplomb.
The winning formula combines a windproof, water-resistant, breathable Windstopper shell—which repelled falling snow and kept my hands dry when digging pits to assess avalanche hazard—with super-warm but very breathable fleece liners. Even with my easily chilled fingers, I often wore either the liners alone (when it wasn’t snowing) or just the shells (in falling snow or wind) when climbing uphill in temps in the mid-20s to 30s. I wore the full glove system when skiing downhill or in colder and less-active circumstances. Neither the liners nor the shells feel oversized, so even when worn together, they allow enough dexterity to handle small items, manage pack buckles, or adjust dials and push buttons on my camera. Leather palms beef up durability, especially for climbing, and there are nice details like the one-hand gauntlet cinch and a carabiner loop on the back of the hand. The Luminary Gloves may be designed for ice climbers, but are good for backcountry skiers and snowshoers, and a terrific value.
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.