OutDry Testimonial

| December 14, 2010

Growing up skiing at Alpental in the Pacific Northwest, I have one word for any garment aside from rubber which claims to be waterproof – bullshit.  (okay, maybe that is a hyphenated compound word, but still…).  I was an early adopter to the GoreTex kool-aid and spent many soggy hours denying that I was wet when the spreading diaper rash told a different story.  If you wanted to stay dry while riding lifts for 8+ hours in a torrential downpour, you went down to Fisheries Supply and bought rubber gloves, rubber pants, a rubber overcoat and a Macintosh hat that worked with goggles.  Two layers of GoreTex (old shells with new ones on top of that) would kind of work for the first four hours, but eventually you’d get wet.  This problem was solved twenty years ago when I moved back to Utah where I have skied in the rain exactly once.

With this skepticism in mind, I was highly dubious when Mountain Hardwear announced OutDry about two years ago while we were at a Design Review meeting in Ouray, Colorado.  After a day of ice climbing in OutDry gloves my hands were still dry, but that isn’t saying much as Ouray is mostly steep or overhung, so your hands don’t get that wet anyway.  At the end of the day when we were done climbing, I stuck the gloves under one of the sprinkler heads that they use to farm the ice and flexed it for a good 5-10 minutes.  Still, nothing.  Dry hands.  Hmmm, well, it could have been beginners luck.

Booting a chute - a good way to test gloves true waterproofness.

I skied in the gloves all of last season and was always impressed that by the end of the day they were still dry, which considering Utah’s dry, light snow is semi understandable.  Then, while skiing down in Antarctica last year, we were on our way back to the ship and decided to search for some iceberg bits to use as evening cocktail ice.  We spotted a nice chunk and after a few aborted attempts to spear it with ice axe picks, I plunged my OutDry gloves fully into the ocean and picked up the mini berg.  Still… dry hands.  I passed the gloves around (MHW Jalapenos) so other people could check them out and think there were six instant OutDry converts.

Kip Garre hunting for Bergie Bits.

On a day-to-day basis where I really notice OutDry is on booting sessions where you are basically crawling your way up steep snow for hours on end. Aside from getting spindrift in the backside of the glove, with OutDry, it just doesn’t matter. For a detailed techno-geek description of the process, check out this video.

OutDry started life as an Italian company which was trying to make waterproof fashion shoes.  Unlike GoreTex, the membrane can be woven or formed into shape, so you don’t have to use great big Mickey Mouse patterns and then try to stuff all of that into a glove.  Aside from not staying dry in the first place, one thing I never liked about GoreTex gloves was that they were so bulky it made ski pole grips or ice axe shafts seem like telephone poles – you got pumped just trying to close your hand.

Columbia (who owns Mountain Hardwear) recently bought OutDry and now it is in a wide variety of MHW gloves and mittens.  Best of all, it is affordable with some OutDry gloves starting as low as $47.95.

Help support StraightChuter.com and check out OutDry in a pair of Mountain Hardwear Jalapeno Gloves from Backcountry.com. Click on the photo below…

Category: Random

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber, Mountain Unicycle rider and father of two very loud little girls.

Comments (5)

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  1. Jim R. says:

    Do you skin with these gloves? I end up carrying two pairs of gloves – a very light pair for skinning and a more burly, warmer pair for the descent. Tying into your previous post, I would love to shed some weight and only carry one pair, but I don’t like overheating on the up.
    Jim R.
    Golden, CO

  2. Andrew says:

    Hi Jim – my current favorite set-up is a pair of MHW Spearhead mitts. I like these as they are lightweight, yet have a removable liner so I can use the shell by itself, the liner by itself or the liner/shell together. When I’m just using gloves like the Jalapeno, I skin in them. No spare pair.

  3. Chris says:

    My new favorite glove for PNW slop is the Vinylove insulated model in orange. Always dry, synthetic nap liner, good traction on slippery stuff. Wouldn’t recommend for skinning though. Also about 9-12$. :)

  4. BP says:

    I’m in the market for gloves and you’ve sold me. My favorite current pair is BD Guides, which I love because they come up the wrist a bit and I don’t often get snow in the top. Any suggestion on which of the OutDrys would be best? And any comment on durability? The Guides are getting chewed up from ski edges and other sharpish things.

    side question: if I click the picture it goes straight to the Jalapenos.. if I navigate around from there and buy a different glove, am I still supporting straightchuter?

  5. Andrew says:

    Hi BP – for backcountry skiing, I like the Jalapenos. It is a nice balance of size, functions and dexterity without going overboard on straps, cuffs, etc. For mittens, I like the Spearhead, but I’m not sure if the OutDry version is available yet.

    And yes, if you enter Backcountry.com through a link on Straightchuter, a purchase there does indeed help support this endeavor and is very appreciated! By a high-end road racing bike while you are at it. ;)

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