Review of the Waterproof Mountain Hardware Epic Glove
Mountain Hardwear Epic Glove
The Epic glove from Mountain Hardware boasts a waterproof membrane and durable construction for backpacking and mountaineering, but does it hold up to the test of serious backcountry use? In this outdoor gear review Outbound Dan Human puts the Epic glove to an epic test.
Though many gloves say waterproof, try hiking in them during an Adirondack rain-sleet-snow storm and see how waterproof they are. The Epic glove from Mountain Hardware is one of the few gloves that meets that test. I like to call it a cold-weather multiple condition glove.
Mountain Hardware uses OutDry as their waterproofing agent in the Epic glove. The beauty of OutDry, is that it is very stretchable and bonds directly to the outer glove shell, so there are no gaps in the materials - even when you abuse it. Of course OutDry is both waterproof and breathable. For those of you familiar with gore-tex, OutDry is similar but in gloves Out Dry keeps you drier for longer.
Epic Glove Specifications
Gender: Available in Men's and Women's
Weight: 3.8 oz
Body: Ripstop Nylon
Waterproof Laminate: OutDry®
Lining: Brushed Polyester
Grip: Synthetic Grip Palm
"These are the kind of gloves Batman would wear."
First Impressions of this Mountain Hardware Glove
I was excited when the box arrived that day with the cool Mountain Hard Wear logo on the side. Even though I knew that a pair of Epic gloves, Ascent Stretch Air Perm gaiters, and a lightweight Compressor jacket were inside - I was like a kid at Christmas. Of course, new gear always makes me giddy.
When I first tried on the Epic gloves, I thought - "these are the kind of gloves Batman would wear." I don't know how good these gloves would be at throwing a Batarang or stopping knives, but if he ever found himself climbing a mountain he would love them. I really think the Dark Knight would appreciate the extra grippy palm when using his grapple gun.
I usually have a hard hand to fit, but Mountain Hardware gloves fit me, well, like a glove. I hope they never change the forms they use for glove making. I like how ample flexibility was built into the glove and dexterity isn't compromised. Try switching from snowshoes to crampons in a snowstorm and you'll see how important dexterity can be.
The gloves slipped on and off easily. The non-restrictive elastic around the wrist, keeps them from sliding off. The gusseted gauntlet, adjusts with a Velcro tab for ventilation. When hiking uphill, I leave the gauntlet more open at the wrist to avoid overheating. But adjust the cuff and the gauntlet seals out the water - great for reaching into that nearly frozen stream.
How OutDry Works
Field Testing the Epic Glove
All good reviews require extensive field testing, which pushes the product's limits beyond the manufacturer's specifications. The Mountain Hardware Epic Glove did not escape my torture test and is one those products you can take pleasure trying to beat up.
I've been using these gloves for about one year now for many activities in varied conditions. In the past year, these gloves have been hiking, backpacking, camping, mountaineering, snowshoeing, kayaking, and on search and rescue missions. Because I have an addiction to the area, my field testing lab is in the Adirondack High Peaks. The Adirondacks are the classic cold-wet environment and the perfect place to test a waterproof glove.
I found this glove to be effective by itself down to about 20-degrees with moderate backpacking activity. After using this glove with an over mitt shell (usually gore-tex) the comfort zone was well below 0-degrees. I have a pair of lightweight liner gloves I paired up with the Epic as well which made the glove even warmer.
Remember that gloves are best worn as part of an adaptable layered system, especially when facing frigid temperatures.
So are they really waterproof?
In one word - yes. I first tested the waterproofness of these gloves at home, by placing my gloved hand in a sink full of water. I left my hand in that water for ten minutes without getting wet - it passed that initial test.
In the backcountry I've rescued nalgenes in nearly frozen streams attempting to get water, while wearing the Epic glove. I thrust my hand into the water without fear and without getting wet. The only other gloves I've seen do this, are ice-fishing gloves which are often too warm and too bulky for backpacking.
These gloves have kept my hands warm and dry despite freezing rain which turned to snow at higher elevations. Luckily, these gloves don't soak in the moisture either so after a night in the sleeping bag, they are ready to go the next morning.
Are they durable?
So after a year of hard use, these gloves aren't showing any signs of damage: no rips, tears, or holes and they are still waterproof. Though winter mountaineering is abusive enough, I really put them to the test by using them on a couple of search and rescue missions. These late fall excursions were too chilly for my regular leather gloves so I decided to use the MHW Epic. I pushed my way through dense snow covered woods, and through heavy thorn-laden brush. Most waterproof gloves would be shredded, but the Epic held up fine.
The Epics are ideal to carry when facing unpredictable cold weather conditions and can be used as part of a glove/mitten system to beat back the most frigid of days. Their quick drying, waterproof materials are ideal for backpacking and mountaineering in mixed precipitation and outstanding for cold-wet environments. It's hard to have one glove conquer rain, sleet, ice, snow, and cold but the Epic does.