Friday, March 9, 2012

"Made in the USA" Gear Review: Wintergreen Northern Wear Plunge Mitts

Mush!!! If there is one piece of gear we've tested that instills us with the romantic vision of a lonely dog sledder and his/her team of Huskies hurtling towards the Arctic Circle, then these Plunge Mitts are it. It's not by accident that a large percentage of Wintergreen's customers are dog sledders and arctic expedition teams, because as one would imagine, they are rather particular about the cold weather clothing they choose. 

Make no bones about it, these are some seriously warm mitts. We wanted to test these not only because they are a quality, US made product, but also because here in the Rocky Mountains we often have dangerous, arctic-like weather up to 8 months out of the year. Hands and feet are especially vulnerable, so we thought these mitts would be great to test while backpacking up Longs Peak Trail.


Outer shell:
  • 3-ply nylon reinforced in the palm with Slip-Not grip pad
  • Gauntlet cuff- 1000-denier Cordura
  • Two removable 8.5 oz. Polartec Wind Pro fleece liners (one fits in the other and attaches to the shell with Velcro)
  • Patch of Polartec Wind Pro on back of mitt for clearing outside of goggles, etc.
Detachable Chest Strap: Nylon Mesh Webbing

Weight: 16.8 ounces with chest strap, 15.6 ounces without chest strap

Country of origin: Made in Ely, Minnesota USA


The Plunge Mitts get their name from their wide gauntlet design, allowing you to plunge your hands easily into them while wearing a heavy jacket. They work as intended, making it easy to put them on even with the bulkiest jacket sleeves:

The mitts consist of an outer shell, which is constructed of a water resistant 3-ply Supplex Nylon with (DWR), Courdura Nylon Gauntlet, and a grippy material called "Slip-Not" on the palm. The "Slip-Not" material works very well and made grabbing slippery objects like hiking poles, knife handles and snow shovel handles much more secure. It also seems to be very durable and should provide years of service.

The back of the mitt has a patch of Polartec WindPro Fleece sewn onto it for wiping off wet goggles or wet noses!

An elastic draw cord tightens the gauntlet down with just one hand:


The liners consist of two removable 8.5 oz. Polartec Wind Pro fleece liners that fit inside of each other and attach to the shell with Velcro.

Both liners joined into one:

Chest Strap

I have to be honest here. Dave and I initially thought chest straps for mitts were overkill, but after using them, we now consider them essential. No more worrying about dropping your mitts in a snow drift, or misplacing them and struggling to find them in the dark. Besides, they're just plain convenient.

Shown in the photo are the chest straps over Wintergreen's excellent Expedition Shell Anorak (also made in the USA):

The straps attach to plastic snap connectors on each mitt:

Field Test

To test the mitts, Dave and I took them up on Colorado's famed Long's Peak Trail for an overnight backpacking trip when the weather was hovering around 0 degrees F with wind chills down to -10 F. Normally it would be much colder than this in February, but it's been one strange year for weather to say the least. 

When we had the Plunge Mitts on, our hands never got cold, whether on the move or sitting in camp. As a matter of fact, they were almost laughably warm at those temperatures, which I consider to be excellent performance. 

Dave at the Longs Peak trailhead (click to enlarge)


If you're looking for some of the warmest cold weather mitts around, check out Wintergreen's Plunge Mitts. They are extremely well constructed and versatile with the two layer liner system. Throw in the very useful chest strap and you're ready for whatever mother nature can throw at you. Highly recommended.

For more information or to buy these directly from Wintergreen, please click HERE

About the author
Jason Schwartz is the founder and senior editor of Rocky Mountain Bushcraft. He is a former Red Cross certified Wilderness & Remote First Aid Instructor, and has taught bushcraft and wilderness survival techniques to the Boy Scouts of America, interned with the US Forest Service, and studied wilderness survival, forestry and wildland firefighting at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville, Colorado. Jason has also written for magazines such as The New Pioneer and Backpacker, including writing the "Tinder Finder" portion of Backpacker's "Complete Guide to Fire," which won a 2015 National Magazine Award (NMA). Email him at rockymountainbushcraft @ (without spaces)

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