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Gear Review: 2010 Dakine Cougar Mitt

I finally put a hole in my $25 Dakine gloves (mittens) that I got at least three seasons ago. Yep, 25 bones, three seasons. That’s why I like Dakine. Durability. That pair didn’t even have much fancy tech stuff, aside from fury finger slots for my always-cold digits. But I loved them.

So I picked up another pair from Dakine, decided to add some techie features and refused to get anything without Goretex. This season has been just a lil wet in the Northwest.

I got the girls Dakine Cougar Mitt (maybe just for the name?).

I was warned that on gloves, Goretex, though best, still doesn’t keep every lick of moisture out. I got the opportunity to test that out in prime NW El Nino conditions: rainy snow/ snowy rain. See how the Cougars stacked up:

About me: Always cold! Little hands (3″ across the palm to be exact). Skinny in build, so not a lot of natural heat surging to the fingers.

Conditions: Snow showers at the top of Alpental, pissing rain at the bottom.

Features:

Size: Don’t go by the sizing chart. Or go one size larger than the chart designates for you based on the width of your palm. I have a 3″ wide palm; I got XS, as the chart said that was for 5-5.5″. Though not uncomfortable, my hands feel a bit restricted inside the glove, which is annoying. A little extra room inside the glove is ok, as it creates an air pocket of warmth around the hand. So getting a tight-fitting glove is working against you.

Also, the glove is too short for my hand. The elastic wrist closes on the base of my palm rather than around my actual wrist. The skirt of the glove is relatively short. If you prefer long wrist guards on a glove to shield against snow creeping in, you might try a different brand.

Primaloft insulation: My hands did not get cold. You’re not going to find too much of better insulation than Primaloft. Even though the glove did get moist inside (remember, it was raining), they dried out very quickly compared to all others I’ve had. Technically, Primaloft is supposed to dry faster than down. Also, even though by the end of the day the gloves were slightly moist inside (not from sweat), the dampness didn’t sit on my fingers, feeling gross.

Gore-Tex: Well, not 100 % impressed, but I demand a lot. The conditions were snow showers and the rain when I came down off the upper mountain. By the end of the day, there was moisture inside the gloves. But we’re not talking ring them out, throw them by the fire. Just– hold them under the bathroom blow dryer for a minute or so. Still, these are the most waterproof gloves I’ve owned. If you’re not a NWer, these gloves will be amazingly dry in your conditions.

Durafuse leather: This is a Dakine trademarked feature. It adds that durability factor to this high-end glove.  The leather covers the entire palm and is reinforced in a swath right above the thumb where you’d carry your board. Pretty smart.

Nose wipe and goggle squiggy: It’s the little things that make a big difference when you’re snottin all over the place, and need windshield wipers when it’s wet on the hill.

Concealed cuff closure: One of my favorite things about this glove is the fact that when you pull the wrist bungy tight, bam, you’ve got closure. Inside the exterior skirt is another thinner one that seals tightly and creates an amazing barrier between you and the snow. So even though the glove could stretch longer up the arm, this skirt makes up for it.

Aesthetics: Nothing fancy, but definitely a chic chick’s glove. In the all-black, the gold emblems are a little bling-bling. The white gloves are definitely more fem, but from far away I was worried that they’d look odd (the white camo-ed by the snow, leaving just black stripes…panda?). Bolder graphics would have been nice, but then again, graphics usually take a back seat when the tech stuff is priority.

Final thoughts: Most important take aways: 1.) Get one size larger than the sizing chart designates for your palm width. 2.) Only in Northwest El Nino conditions will this glove get a less-than-perfect waterproof critique. These are still top of the line gloves for women, but I’d recommend trying them on at your local shop and scrutinizing over them before splurging on the $85.

Happy shredding.

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