Plumbing the internet’s depths looking for my ideal mittens stumbled upon various forms of surplus biohazard mitten liners.
These mittens’ design goes under what many people call “hazmat” suits but with a military focus.
As such, these mittens are trigger mitten (lobster) style with the index finger and thumb both free.
I found two styles of the mitts, with one currently readily available as of this writing.
The differences do not matter functionally – the material is waterproof (and chemical proof) plastic with some pliability. These mitts not breathe. Still, if using them in the cold (ish) and wet weather with a liner glove, I find that attribute less of a concern.
The first pair had a handy pinch in the gauntlet that keeps it in place a bit over a sleeve. These are only available overseas at the current time.
However, I tend to push my rain mitts through the sleeve of the rain jacket to make a bit of better seal anyway:
Both pairs of the mitts, as mentioned, are lobster mitt style. I find they are large enough to put my fingers in the central mitten part completely without needing the trigger finger portion.
Of course, I can’t use regular mittens as an additional layer of warmth unless I purchase trigger finger mittens
The Swiss pair I purchased from American Science and Surplus goes up to almost my elbow. But with some cutting down of the gauntlet a bit, I have a pair for 1 oz that folds up relatively small and costs only $10 for three pairs.
The Swiss pair has a ripstop like material that gives more durability to the Czech pair in the first photo. However, because of the material, I don’t see these mittens being that durable in the long term in any case. The material will get creases that weaken it and may need duct tape or similar for in-field patching.
This potential weakness brings up how I’ll use these mittens – Occasional use for the infrequent rain vs. other areas such as the Appalachians or the Pacific Northwest.
I think of these mittens as Frogg Toggs practically – light, work well for what they do but not likely to not hold up to long term abuse. For the three-season backpacking I do in Utah, these should work well. However, for colder or wetter environments, I will not take this tool in my kit. For something like my Utah trek or my New Mexico loop, they’d work well.
At three for $10 and 1 oz (cut down), they’ll have a place for backpacking use.
One more option to look at later this week, and I’ll conclude the series.