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Outdoor Research Carbide Sensor Mitten Review: Best Cold Weather Mitts

Best Cold Weather Mitts

  • Warmth 90% 90%
  • Comfort 80% 80%
  • Dexterity 70% 70%
  • Durability 90% 90%

Price: $115

Finger Slots: No

Cuff Style: Gauntlet

Waterproof: Yes (Gore-Tex Insert)

What We Like: Gore-Tex Liner, Comfortable Leash

What We Don’t: Gauntlet Sizing

Outdoor Research’s new Carbide Sensor Mittens are excellent. They come with a Gore-Tex liner to keep water out while allowing your hands to breathe as you shred the glades at your local hill. The wrist strap and leash are made in partnership with adventure belt company Arcade and are very effective at their jobs. The price tag of $115 does seem steep but the warmth, waterproofing, and comfort delivered by the mittens are superb. The cuff could be a little bit larger to become a true gauntlet cuff, but other than that there isn’t anything we’d change about these mittens. With an excellent choice of insulation and soft interior tricot, the Carbide Sensors are Best Cold Weather Mitts, perfect for tackling cold resort days.

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Compare to Similar Products

See Our A Comparison and Review of Ski Mittens Article

A Comparison and Review of Ski Mittens: Outdoor Research Carbide Sensor Mittens - Gear Hacker

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  • Warmth 90% 90%
  • Comfort 80% 80%
  • Dexterity 70% 70%
  • Durability 90% 90%

Pros

Gore-Tex Liner, Comfortable Leash

Cons

Gauntlet Sizing

Finger Slots: No

Cuff Style: Gauntlet

Waterproof: Yes (Gore-Tex Insert)

A Comparison and Review of Ski Mittens: Black Diamond Spark Mitts - Gear Hacker
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  • Warmth 80% 80%
  • Comfort 90% 90%
  • Dexterity 90% 90%
  • Durability 90% 90%

Pros

Finger Slots, BD.dry Insert

Cons

Different Colors Have Different Features

Finger Slots: Yes

Cuff Style: Cuff

Waterproof: Yes (BDDry Insert)

A Comparison and Review of Ski Mittens: Kinco Lined Pigskin Ski Mitts - Gear Hacker

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  • Warmth 60% 60%
  • Comfort 80% 80%
  • Dexterity 70% 70%
  • Durability 70% 70%

Pros

Inexpensive, Super Soft

Cons

No (Can Be Treated)

Finger Slots: Yes

Cuff Style: Cuff

Waterproof: No (Can Be Treated)

A Comparison and Review of Ski Mittens: Amazon Mittens Tough Outdoors - Gear Hacker

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  • Warmth 70% 70%
  • Comfort 70% 70%
  • Dexterity 70% 70%
  • Durability 60% 60%

Pros

Inexpensive

Cons

Overall Fit And Leash System

Finger Slots: No

Cuff Style: Cuff

Waterproof: Yes (Nylon Shell)

I have been a big fan of Outdoor Research for a few years, mainly their climbing apparel. It won’t break the bank like some other brands and is high quality with amazing movement. No, it often doesn’t win any style points, but when you’re trying to climb harder or move faster, style quickly falls to the wayside. The Carbide Sensor Mitt is my first experience with Outdoor Research winter apparel and to say I’m impressed is an understatement. Being blessed with a genetic lack of finger circulation (thanks Mom), warm hands have always been an issue when the mercury starts to fall.

The Outdoor Research Carbide Sensor Mitts are an impressive piece of apparel. They are warm, waterproof, and moderately stylish. It’s certainly hard to top these mittens when those three boxes get checked right off the bat. Outdoor Research has also released the Carbide Sensor Gloves for those who want the added dexterity of a glove versus a mitt.

A Comparison and Review of Ski Mittens: Outdoor Research Carbide Sensor Mittens - Gear Hacker

Material

Outdoor Research is using a mixed material design: 100% polyester laminated fabric as the shell, covered with supple and water-resistant goat leather. The goat leather covers the palm, front of the thumb, and back of the hand. This helps to provide wind protection while flying through glades. So far the goat leather has been excellent, providing a consistent grip of ski poles, and it seems quite durable. The mitts have a Gore-Tex insert for added waterproofing and breathability. It is a bit early in the season to test the waterproofing; my local hill is snow-covered and the rain usually stays in the valley.
A Comparison and Review of Ski Mittens: Outdoor Research Carbide Sensor Mittens - Gear Hacker

Inside the mitt is a Tricot lining that is rather soft and warm directly against the skin. There are no noticeable pinch points or areas of discomfort while wearing the mitt. The leash and wrist cinch have been made in partnership with adventure belt company Arcade. The leash cuff is really comfortable against the skin and I haven’t noticed it while riding or when the mitts are dangling by my side. One drawback is that the inside lining is non-removable, so it does take longer to dry if any moisture gets into the mitt throughout the day.

A Comparison and Review of Ski Mittens: Outdoor Research Carbide Sensor Mittens - Gear Hacker

Insulation

Outdoor Research uses VerticalX polyester insulation, of which 85% is recycled – go Earth! There is 130g/m2 throughout with 200g/m2 of insulation along the back of the hand. The insulation is well distributed and there has been no noticeable bunching. The mitt also doesn’t feel very bulky for how warm it is. I have ridden at lake Louise in Alberta at -24°C and they kept my hands comfortable all morning. While riding in more moderate temperatures, my hands warm up really quickly and stay warm. Once my body warms up I have noticed sweaty hands, which clears up quickly through the breathable material.
A Comparison and Review of Ski Mittens: Outdoor Research Carbide Sensor Mittens - Gear Hacker

Dexterity and Fit

There are no individual finger slots like in the Black Diamond Black Diamond Sparks or Kinco Mitts, so the dexterity is not great. But I’m not wearing the mitts for their handling – I want warm hands. I have what some would call smaller hands and I went with the large-size Carbide Sensor Mitt. I did this primarily so if the weather really got cold I could wear a thinner glove inside the mitt for added warmth, but so far I have not needed it and the size has not felt too large. The cinches at the bottom of the cuff and on the back of the wrist help to keep everything secure while riding.

A Comparison and Review of Ski Mittens: Outdoor Research Carbide Sensor Mittens - Gear Hacker

A couple areas of concern that I have noticed are the cuffs and the thumbs. The Gauntlet cuff seems to be having an identity crisis – it isn’t large enough to fit over most jacket cuffs without them being fully strapped down, and it isn’t small enough to go beneath a large coat cuff. As a result I’ve had to really strap down my jacket cuffs to get the gauntlet cuff over my sleeve; not a huge deal, but if they had gone just a bit larger then everything would fit together a lot smoother. In addition, the thumb on the mittens is quite stiff. I didn’t notice it at first but after switching between the Black Diamond Spark Mitts and the Kincos, there is a noticeable lack of movement in the thumb. It doesn’t impact my ability to handle ski poles but it is something to note.

Other Features

Along the back of the thumb is a softer material designated as the “soft nose wipe”, and I can confirm that it is in fact soft. The pull-on loops located at the bottom of the cuff are large and help to get the mitt on snuggly while wearing the other mitt. The leash is fully removable if you don’t want it.
Outdoor Research does mention on their website that the index finger and thumb are touchscreen compatible; I don’t want to be too rude because it really is a great mitt, but they’re out to lunch on this one. I have not been able to get a screen to move or even wake up while wearing them. Again, not a huge issue, as they go on and off easy enough and with the leash, you’re not worried about losing them, so access to a screen is still relatively easy.
A Comparison and Review of Ski Mittens: Outdoor Research Carbide Sensor Mittens - Gear Hacker

The Bottom Line

I have been really impressed with these mitts. While they are a bit “clunky,” they have not been as bulky as I expected and so far I have not dropped one ski pole by accident, which is a miracle in itself. The inside liner is super comfortable for all-day wear, and with the Gore-Tex insert, you will have dry hands all day no matter the conditions.

At $115, they are an investment for mitts compared to some other brands. However, what you are getting is the Gore-Tex insert and a well-designed and durable mitt that should last a few seasons. I am looking forward to using these mitts all season for my resort skiing and am glad to know I’ll have warm hands.
A Comparison and Review of Ski Mittens: Outdoor Research Carbide Sensor Mittens - Gear Hacker

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We participate in affiliate programs to help us fund Gear Hacker. Some of the links in this website are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product using our link, we will earn a small commission. Don’t worry! This comes at no additional cost to you, and we will never base our reviews on whether or not we earn a commission off of a product. With that said, if you find our review helpful and decide to purchase an item we review, we would be very appreciative if you use our links to do so. It will help us bring you more awesome content in the future!