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REPOST(2): Owner Review - Black Diamond Powerstretch Gloves - Yi-Jien Hwa

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  • 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.
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 7, 2008
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      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!



      January 21, 2008


      NAME: Yi-Jien Hwa
      EMAIL: yijien@...
      AGE: 26
      LOCATION: Wilmore, KY
      GENDER: M
      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).


      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.



      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
      and Winter.

      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.)


      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
      trail again.

      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.



      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.

      A lil hole...


      - 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.


      - Pilling and durability issues.
      - Not particularly wind-resistant.
      - Some minor finishing problems.


      Yi-Jien Hwa
      Asbury Theological Seminary
      January 30, 2008

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