In my previous post, I went through the how and why of the search for my ideal rain mitt. The summary is a mitten version of kitchen chore gloves—something I have yet to find.
While hunting around, I stumbled upon a Canadian fishing supply company that sells cold-weather fishing handwear. And, lo and behold, PVC mittens! Not quite what I’m looking for, but close. And one of the mittens comes unlined and in an extra-large size. AHA! Potentially something I could use in all four seasons for backpacking.
I called the company, and the nice person I spoke to said their supply for these particular mittens dried up, and they were not sure when they’d be in stock again.
As I looked at their mittens, I noticed they looked almost identical to Frogwear 8490MT PVC work mittens with a lining. The significant difference is that these 8490 work mittens come in “One size fits most” (OSM) only vs. the various sizes offered exclusively through Lakefish Net and Twine. Of course, it only comes with a liner vs. what I found at the company, as mentioned above. Additionally, the 8940MT looks to possibly have longer cuffs as well.
At only $18 ea with free S&H, I figured it worth a shot to purchase this item.
These mittens are “Triple-dipped PVC” work mitts with a textured grip, acrylic pile lining, and they resist all kinds of fluids, which makes them extremely weatherproof. They are allegedly pliable to -5F.
If you look closely at the mitten-down side, you’ll notice a frog-like webbing grip (another “aha!“).
The “OSM” fit means it’s just large enough to fit my liner glove of choice with some room for pliability. The frog-like appendage gives a little extra gripping ability, too. This use makes sense since industrial workers, commercial fishers, and truck drivers (among others based on reviews) need warmth and functionality in cold and wet environments. The generous gauntlet style goes well up the rain jacket sleeve, too.
Before I saw them up close, my original thoughts on this mitten meant removing the liner. But that idea did not prove feasible. They are relatively heavyweight in at 9.5 oz for the pair. BUT, if you factor they are a very weatherproof option for cold and wet conditions with no shell that will wet out, these mittens compare favorably to a boiled-wool mitten + shell combo (a smidge over 11 oz total.) These PVC mitts aren’t quite as pliable but arguably a better niche for wet and sloppy conditions.
I say I bought two pairs because, well, there are two of us. So Joan gave them a whirl as well.
Joan’s more susceptible to the effects of cold and wet weather than I am. She immediately enjoyed them for the more raw weather found here in late Nov – Jan or so.
And, though my hands do not get nearly as cold as Joan, cold and wet make for some difficult conditions overall. These mittens mitigate those effects quite a bit.
That’s great Paul, but will you use these mittens regularly?
While these mittens fit a niche well, it is a limited niche for most of my backpacking or even day hiking here in the Intermountain West.
If back in my native New England, the Pacific North West, the southeast Appalachians, or similar, I have no doubt I’d use them more often. Though somewhat heavy, not too bad when you consider the normal weight of comparably warm mittens + shell combo. I like them, and they work well, but I don’t think I’d have purchased them if I had known more about them before my purchase. I also prefer the versatility of a liner + inner mitten + shell combo.
Now that I have these mittens, I see myself using them for day hikes during winter’s gray days when we get some precip. Per her words, Joan sees more of a niche for these versus me for reasons stated earlier. To emphasize, these are an excellent options for some but probably not for my particular use and hiking style.
Overall, though, at $18 a pair, the Frogwear 8490MT mittens provide an inexpensive and extremely effective mitten for the person who needs this type of tool in their cold-weather kit.
In the meantime, the hunt continues.
UPDATE MARCH 2022- I keep them stashed in the truck. I found they work exceptionally well for cold-weather camping. They come on and off easily and provide a lot of warmth. Well worth the $18.
Disclosure: I purchased these mitts with my funds.