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Kit review: Berghaus Ulvetanna Hydrodown Mitts

Written by Fiona October 21 2014

I experienced a very strange sensation while walking on an Icelandic glacier in cold and wet conditions. Quite amazingly, my hands felt warm. And it’s not that they had been warm and remained warm. The most amazing thing is that they had been very cold and then felt as though they were suddenly warming up; rather like a radiator had been switched on inside my gloves.


This doesn’t normally happen. During most walks in winter or at high level in summer I end up with cold, numb and sore hands. It doesn’t take much for my hands to lose all circulation and when they do, it takes a long time for the heat to come back. It’s a painful experience, as anyone who suffers with Raynaud’s will know.

Throughout my life I have been in search of a pair of gloves that will keep my hands toasty warm and I do have a few pairs that do an okay job. My Montane Resolute Mitts have been a best buy of the last decade. Mitts work well for my cold hands, helping to retain as much heat as possible between my numb fingers. The Resolutes have a three and one finger set up although this does usually mean that I try to stuff all four fingers in the three finger area.

The Montane gloves come with a very useful water and windproof outer. But, still, the insulation in these gloves isn’t always enough.

At first, on the Solheimajokull glacier, I wore my Montane gloves. After an hour or so of heavy rain and high winds, however, my hands started to feel that horrible and familiar spread of numbness.

And this is when I remembered that I’d packed my new Berghaus Ulvetanna Hydrodown Mitts. I’d stuffed them into a small drybag inside my rucksack.

Swapping the gloves wasn’t nice. I had to expose my bare hands to the chill and that sent them into even deeper numbness. My hand became so useless so quickly that the G-Force to help me to pull on the Berghaus gloves. But it was worth the agony.

Within minutes I could feel a heat building up inside the gloves and within 10 minutes my hands were actually warm. A while later I announced, out loud, that I had hot hands. The G-Force almost fell over in shock. He is normally treated to my cursing and swearing as I moan about my cold, cold hands and how I hate my hands and how I wish I could carry a mini radiator with me wherever I go. (By the way, I do own a pair of battery heated gloves but they are so bulky and heavy that they do not make outdoors activities very easy to do.)

What I like about the Berghaus Ulvetanna Mitts

They might look big and bulky but they are actually very light and easy to wear. They stuff down into a small space in your rucksack and then spring out into their full puffiness for wearing.4-21052TH5-bThese gloves are meant for “the most extreme” conditions but if you have circulation like mine, all kinds of outdoors situations become extreme.

If you need to do anything fiddly then the gloves are a but bulky for that but I know that to have warm hands in the outdoors I need to have big gloves.

The mitts are also windproof and offer a good level of waterproofing. The seem to have a DWR coating so the rain just rolled off them. I doubt this will last but in most rainy conditions I’d be confident that they will still keep my hands warm. That’s because they are made with Berghaus 850 fill Hydrodown, which still offers warmth even when wet. I have tested Hydrodown in a jacket and even when soaked it gives warmth, unlike ordinary down that is almost useless when wet.

In addition, I think I’ll recoat the gloves with a DWR spray when needed.

In addition, the palm of the gloves is made of leather to offer good durability and grip. The G-Force says he would wear these when he is stuck standing on a mountainside belaying a climbing pal.

The mitts also have large oversized cuffs make the mitts easy to put on and elastic cinches so that you can tighten them securely around the wrist. I need to find a jacket with wider arm cuffs so that I can pull the cuffs more easily over the top of the gloves to prevent rain from my jacket dripping on to the gloves. But, as I’ve said, I prefer bulky gloves with big cuffs if it means my hands have a greater chance of stating warm inside.

The mitts aren’t cheap but I am very happy to spend £100 on such a high-quality item.

From now on I’ll have a pair of the Berghaus Ulvetanna Mitts with me when I’m walking, cycling and snowboarding. They are the best gloves that I have found for freezing cold hands so far.

See Berghaus.

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