REPOST(2): Owner Review - Black Diamond Powerstretch Gloves - Yi-Jien Hwa
- Hi Kathy,
Thanks for the edits again. The last time I just changed what you
pointed out. This time I went through the whole thing and revised it
thoroughly. Tell me if anything else needs to be changed. Trust you
had a good trip!
BLACK DIAMOND POWERSTRETCH GLOVES
BY YI-JIEN HWA
January 21, 2008
NAME: Yi-Jien Hwa
LOCATION: Wilmore, KY
HEIGHT: 6' 1" (1.85 m)
WEIGHT: 160 lb (72.60 kg)
I backpacked a few times in high school and college, but only got
"into it" (ok, I'm a little obsessed) in the last few months. I'm a
busy seminary student, but whenever we can, Siu Yin (my wife) and I
hike in Kentucky's Red River Gorge. We have a lot of trips planned
next year, including leading a bunch of youth for a week-long trip,
and several week-longs and weekends in various national parks. Being
relatively new, we're still figuring out all the ropes and trying to
cut our weight, but right now I normally pack between 40-55lbs (18-24kg).
PRODUCT INFORMATION AND DESCRIPTION
Manufacturer: Black Diamond
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Manufacturer's Website: <<HYPERLINK GOES HERE - "http://www.bdel.com"
LINK TEXT = "www.bdel.com">>
MSRP: US$ 19.95
Listed Weight: none
Measured Weight: 1.8 oz (51 g) - Men's Large
While technically these gloves are meant to be liners, they are
versatile enough to be used in different situations as liners or
gloves. They have a smooth, almost velvety, feel to them on the
outside, while the inside is fleece. They are made from midweight
Polartec Power Stretch, and the palms have cowhide leather sewn on,
with the overall result being a sweet, professional feel and look to
them. Nice touches include additional material at the fingertips for
durability and the clips that keep them together and help keep you
from losing them.
Stitching quality is very good overall. Black Diamond says they use
"Kevlar stitching," which I think means that they use Kevlar threads
to stitch the glove. The first pair I used, which was a medium, had no
problems with the finishing; but after deciding that it was too small
and exchanging it for a large, I had some minor problems. Little bits
stuck out from the stitching of the leather more than I liked, making
them irritating to my hands when gripping something. I carefully
trimmed the knobby areas of the leather, with no apparent ill-effects.
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FIELD USE AND PERFORMANCE
To cut to the chase, these gloves are fantastic performers in
temperatures ranging from the 20s to 70s (F, or -5 to 22 C) with some
issues with durability. They have served me well on over a hundred and
fifty miles (or 240 kilometers) of backpacking in Isle Royale, the
Great Smokey Mountains, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and Kentucky's
Red River Gorge, as well as on an almost daily basis during the Fall
Black Diamond rates these gloves at -2/7 C or 30/40 F (though I'm not
sure whether they mean while exercising, or while resting). While they
are not the warmest gloves worn on their own, as long as I kept moving
while hiking/packing, I found these gloves warm enough for
temperatures down to mid teens to low 20s (F, about -12 to -5 C).
Despite temperatures that dropped into the teens (-12 to -7 C) at
night and in the early morning, these gloves were the way to go while
packing in the Smokies. They provided whole-day comfort while
backpacking. I would only resort to my shell gloves while at camp. For
more delicate camp chores like bear-bagging, when the shell gloves
were impossibly clumsy, I would use these gloves even though it was
way too cold, as they were still way better than the raw winter air.
My shell gloves (which have undetachable fleece liners) are wearable
with these gloves, but I found that they are too constricting worn
together, and that the additional insulation does not make up for the
loss of circulation. (An additional note: I think it is a feature of
insulation in general, but I found that with low-aerobic activity like
driving a car or short walks, these gloves will equally keep in the
cold for awhile. Once I started moving a little though, these babies
warmed up real fast.)
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While hiking in Isle Royale, I was getting blisters with my improvised
walking stick, so I pulled them on in day temperatures in the high 50s
to low 70s (F or 15-21 C). Voila! No more blisters, comfortable and
dry hands. In terms of the upper limit of the comfort range of these
gloves, I found them comfortable while hiking in the 60s (F or 15-20
C). Once it reached the low to mid 70s (F or 22-24 C) they began to
get hot. Honestly, I'm not sure whether my hands don't sweat wearing
them in lower temperatures, or whether they wick the sweat away,
because in either case, my hands don't emerge feeling sticky or grimy.
The only time I felt sweaty in them was in Hawaii Volcanoes National
Park when we were hiking down to the beach, and the mercury began to
rise above 75 F (F or 24 C) or so. While hiking, I would rate these
gloves as comfortable from 20-70 F (-5 to 22 C); while resting
however, these gloves are not comfortable at anything below 40 F (4 C)
or so--I wanted to either pull on a pair of shells, or get on the
These gloves are supposed to be wind-resistant; but they use that term
rather loosely as I felt anything more significant than a puff. While
riding my bicycle around campus in the 30s and 40s (-1 to 10 C), these
gloves help a little, but my hands are inevitably chilled. Once I was
in the 50s (F or 10-15 C) however, they were ok on a bike (which is on
average 15-40mph or 30-60kph). Higher aerobic activities like
backpacking are different here. While we were hiking on a ridgetop on
the Smokies, even with the wind, they were ok for me while packing in
the 20s (F, or -6 to -2 C). With significant wind however, be warned
that I found that they chill very, very fast. Keeping breaks short or
shell gloves handy solves the problem and is good for thermal (and
therefore food) efficiency.
All gloves reduce dexterity somewhat; however, with adequate patience
I was able to do most camp chores in these gloves. The cow leather is
sticky, which helps when hanging on to something slippery, e.g.
trekking pole shafts. The grip of the fingers is just ok as the
material feels a bit slick, but it worked fine for most tasks. In
warmer temperatures, I found it faster to take them off and do my
laces. It would be nice to have an all-leather grip, though this would
compromise comfort on the fingers a little (with all the necessary
sewing), but still something that Black Diamond should consider
perhaps. I, at least, would be willing to pay a few bucks more for the
added functionality and durability.
Overall, I would give these gloves a 9.8/10 for versatility and
performance. Apart from the grip, I can barely imagine them being better.
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The durability of these gloves, however, is somewhat suspect to me. I
am by no means a gentle-user of my gear. I wouldn't say I exactly
trash my stuff, but when I plunk down that much green for something, I
expect it to last for awhile, and do a good job at it too. Two issues:
1) After only 3 months of use, there is more piling appearing on my
pair of gloves than I would like (as you can see from the pictures).
2) The gloves developed a hole in the finger tip of the index finger
of one of them. I was not doing anything particularly abnormal or
strenuous so I suspect the material just wore through.
These gloves are so good however, that I am returning mine to the
retailer for a new pair in the hope that the next pair lasts a little
longer. After using these gloves I can hardly bear the sight of those
old clumsy fleece gloves that are barely warmer and so much bulkier. I
notice that Black Diamond also sells two other versions with thicker
and thinner Power Stretch: Inner Core, and Thinner Core--as well as a
windblocking fleece glove, the Jetstream. I tried about 6 or 7
different brands of liner-type gloves at an outfitter and liked these
best. Moreover, of all the Power Stretch gloves, these are the lowest
priced. When buying these kinds of things, however, I have to say that
there is no substitute for going to the store and trying them on.
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A lil hole...
THINGS I LIKE
- Fantastic performance.
- Great versatility, 20-70 F or -6-21 C comfort while packing; maybe
40-80 F or 5-27 C or so while resting.
- Good workmanship overall.
THINGS I DON'T LIKE
- Pilling and durability issues.
- Not particularly wind-resistant.
- Some minor finishing problems.
Asbury Theological Seminary
January 30, 2008
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