Having moved to Colorado later in life from Buffalo, NY, Ryan Anderson is making up for lost time as a climbing guide in the summer, a ski patroller in the winter, and a constant vacationer in between! Biking, rafting, climbing, and gliding on snow are all more alluring than a 9 to 5 for him.
I was able to try Outdoor Research’s Oberland glove during a telling stretch of weather in the Colorado Rockies. A relatively warm spell allowed me to test them as an unheated light weight glove during the days, and use the ALTIHeat, battery powered heating system to take the edge off walking home during the inevitably colder nights at 10,000ft. I found them to function well in both situations.
The glove alone kept me warm and functioning happily down to around 20 degrees, and since the heating system allows bulky insulation to be removed in exchange for improved dexterity, the glove felt spry and lean. Though this glove is designed to be an around town glove, I took it up on the ski hill with me on a work day, and was still able to easily key a radio, use tools, and write with a pen. This dexterity also helps immensely when you use the touchscreen enabled fabric to actually use a phone as opposed to hoping for the best while mashing at a screen with bulkier gloves.
When the temperature dropped, the single button control system was simple and intuitive to use, and provided noticeable heat within 5 seconds of activation. The heating levels are conveniently color indicated through the glowing border and Outdoor Research symbol on the button, allowing you to, at a glance, know how much heat is coming your way. It also allows your friends to find you on a dark night! My hands are generally very warm, so I never needed more than the lowest setting to stay toasty on a 10 degree morning. The highest setting was never needed, but it was very evident that it could overcome some serious winter conditions.
I generally liked the fit of the glove, though having a battery pack in the wrist of the glove felt a bit cumbersome as I put each glove on. Once on my hands though, that clunkiness was forgotten soon enough, as the batteries nestle against the inside of your wrist as if they weren’t even there. I also found my batteries to have a variable life span between the two packs. I charged them overnight, for the same length of time, and one of them generally died hours before the other. However, I rarely needed that much life from them, as the low setting lasts for roughly 8 hrs. This performance difference was only noticed once I was inside for the evening, and running the gloves til they died. I never lost power during a normal day of use.
These gloves proved very durable as an outdoor glove. I had no noticeable wear on my pair, despite having used them for tasks above and beyond their errand-running styling and advertised use.
All in all, I found the Outdoor Research Oberland glove to be a very functional and dexterous glove with plenty of powered warmth. If you have any circulation issues in your hands, or get cold hands while scraping your windshield off in the morning, the ALTIHeat system will keep you warm!