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The range of climbing gloves on the market has increased massively over recent years, now featuring everything from uninsulated sticky gloves for encouraging cold hands while drytooling through to multiple liner solar heated marketing hype (...well nearly).
The first sign that Marmot's work gloves are worth a look is their longevity - launched back in 2001 they have been part of the Marmot line-up ever since. In a world where many product lines arrive and disappear with the seasons, anything that has done nearly a decade on the books is probably pretty decent kit. Added to this is the fact that the staff of Glenmore Lodge (these being the poor sods who have to head out in to the hills when it's so foul that everyone else is happily hiding behind a steaming mug in Cafe Mambo) seem to live in their work gloves whenever I spot them on the hill (or in Cafe Mambo for that matter).
Building on the traditional worker gloves, Marmot's work gloves (the clue's in the name...) feature a leather palm, fingers and cuff with a tough nylon back, lined with good old Gore-tex and their dri-clime insulation. The palm is reinforced and the gloves are manufactured 'inside-out' so that the stitching (where gloves usually start to fall apart) is mostly tucked away and not exposed to abuse.
So... did they live up to expectation?
Well, to put it simply - Yes. With no shortage of winter of late, they've so far tackled a hefty dose of climbing, ski touring, driveway shovelling, snowball fights and more without fault.
Aside from slight scuffing, the leather palm and fingers have soaked up punishment without effect, and the waterproofing still does the job with water still beading and running off and none getting through. While they're clearly not as dexterous as thinner (and colder) gloves I've found them fine for climbing up to V/VI, fiddling with ski skins and providing a welcome refuge in the recent Arctic temperatures.
The simple one-piece design makes them easy to get on and off and the long cuff gives a good overlap with sleeves, with the elastic draw-cord giving a good tight seal.
Though seventy quid isn't exactly cheap it's in line with the competition, and as they're tough enough to handle several seasons they are a worthwhile investment. While no gloves are ever perfect (you will get cold hands at some point winter climbing) I genuinely can't fault the work gloves as all round mountaineering/climbing/skiing gloves.
Tough, warm, simple all round climbing gloves - they do what they say on the tin.
Amazing Ski conditions in Scotland, Viv testing the Work Gloves in the white stuff.
UKC Gear, Jan 2010
© Viv Scott
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