Try These Military-grade Gloves on Your next Winter Adventure

If you've ever had blue fingertips freeze the fun out of a skiing or snowmobiling trip-or even just a dog walk in Central Park-these Capstone Heated gloves fromOutdoor Researchare a $500 solution. The company, founded in 1981 by physicist-turned-adventurer Ron Gregg, has become afavorite of ice climbers, backcountry skiers, and the U.S.Special Ops, thanks to its products' legendaryreliability.

These gloves, though, are a step abovethe brand's typical gear. Black-on-black, and with a flared gauntlet that lends them a Darth Vader-like silhouette, they come with a square rubberized button nearthe cuff that glows red when you press it, signaling that the battery powered heating elements embedded inside the gloves are working. Press it a second time and the button will turn yellow, loweringthe heat from high to medium; press it again, to attain low heat, and it will glow green.

You should be able to geteight hours of warmth on the lowest setting and five hours on medium.If you are heli-skiing in the Rockies or snowmobiling in Alaska, and you want to keep the temperatures as high as possible, the battery charge lasts abouttwo and a half hours. But even without the heat on, the GoreTex lining and PrimaLoft insulation-a synthetic microfiber thermal material developed for the Army-will keep your hands warm, and more important, dry. "I f it's not breathable, it just turns into a sweatbox,"said Meghan Martens, Outdoor Research's senior product manager for gear and accessories.

Even though the gloves have an electrical component, they are waterproof. It's the result of a two-and-a-half-year development processthat included extensive testing on Mount Rainier in Washington, as well aslab time with a forensic engineer, said Martens. "Being in the Northwest, we assumed that these gloves would get wet. We wanted to make sure they could withstand wetness and extreme cold and still continue to operate." A fully loaded glove weighs in at just over 12ounces, with nearly half coming from a pair of removable, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that zip into pouches above and below the wrists, or about the sample where you would checkyour watch. If you find this an uncomfortable amount of weight, you can run each glove on one battery, whichreduces the heating times, though not the temperatures.

Because thosetemperature demands are highly subjective, I tried them out for about an hour's hike upMount Washington in New Hampshire. I n sub-zero temperatures and gale-force winds, they easily kept my handswarm on medium heat. Even better, when I set the gloves to their highest setting t he heat was still gentle, diffuse, and enveloping. Thecompany's research focused on directing theheat towardyour arteries.

If the prospect of spending $500 to heatup yourcold handsgives you cold feet,consider this:Even with the electrical component, thegloves come with a lifetime warranty.

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