Manzella Summit Mitt SPOTLITE REVIEW

Lightweight, dry, and warm handwear for most snow sports, but we found their limits when we used them for snow shelter building.

Overall Rating: Above Average

The Manzella Summit Mitt performs very well for its intended purpose - snow sports - and for that reason we are giving it an above average rating. In all activities where there is only intermittant contact with snow, especially dry snow, the Summit Mitt stays dry and warm. We found its limits when we used the mitts to build igloos. Packing wet snow to make snow blocks caused the mitts to wet through and get quite damp on the inside. They were also slow to dry out.

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by Will Rietveld and Janet Reichl |

Overview

The Summit Mitt is a finger slot waterproof/breathable insulated mitten. It has interior anchored finger slots, so it’s like a glove within a mitten.

Manzella Summit Mitt SPOTLITE REVIEW - 1
At 7.8 ounces/pair for size XL and 7 ounces/pair for size Small, the Summit Mitt is Manzella’s lightest and warmest handwear designed for snow sports.

In cross-section, the construction of the mitts from the palm inward consists of a TuffTec PVC gripper palm, DryZone membrane (10,000 mm WP, 9000 g MVP), Hyperloft hollow filament insulation, MaxDry brushed polyester lining, and nylon Oxford Tactel outer shell with PU coating (600 mm) on the inside and Teflon DWR finish on the outside.

Features include the PVC gripper palm, articulated thumb, interior finger slots, tightening strap around the wrist, and gauntlet with drawcord.

Both the wrist strap and gauntlet drawcord actually tighten and loosen with one hand. The gauntlet drawcord tightens by pulling a small knob on one side, and loosens by pulling a tab on the opposite side. The wrist strap tightens by pulling the strap end, and loosens by lifting up on the buckle. All adjustments can easily be done with the mitts on. Loosening the gauntlet drawcord can also be done with the mitts off by pulling on the ends of the drawcord (knob and tab) in opposite directions.

Manzella Summit Mitt SPOTLITE REVIEW - 2
The one-hand-tightening feature on the gauntlet drawcord and wrist strap really works, just pull the knob and it tightens, or pull on the opposite side leather tab and it loosens. The wrist strap tightens by pulling on the strap end and loosens by lifting on the buckle.

We used the Summit Mitts while snowshoeing, snow hiking, igloo building, igloo camping, and one winter camping trip in Utah’s canyon country. We found the mitts to be quite warm, even in morning temperatures of 8 and 10 °F on our backpacking trip. In more strenuous activities in temperatures near freezing, the wicking lining inside the mitts did a good job of transporting moisture away, up to a point. However, in warmer weather and higher exertion the mitts readily accumulated moisture from sweat inside, signaling that it was time to switch to lighter gloves. The mitts dried out from minor perspiration fairly quickly.

In all activities involving occasional contact with snow, the mitts stayed dry and warm throughout the trip. They also stayed dry while hiking in a snowstorm. However, when we used them for igloo building with wet snow the mitts wetted through. Specifically, we wore the mitts while packing snow in a form to create snow blocks, a situation where they were pressed against wet snow for a period of 4 hours or more. The wet snow and pressure applied while packing snow combined to move water through the seams and possibly the membrane. When we used the mitts to pack dryer snow we had no problem with them wetting through.

Manzella Summit Mitt SPOTLITE REVIEW - 3
Although the Summit Mitts performed well for most snow activities, they wetted through when we used them to pack snow blocks while building backcountry igloos. (Photo by Rick Hagar.)

We built two igloos with the mitts and they wetted through each time in the afternoon when the snow got wetter. The leakage apparently occurred through the seams. We weighed Will’s size XL mitts after building two igloos to measure the amount of leakage and determined that they had absorbed 0.6 and 2.6 ounces of water. The second day was warmer and the snow was wetter.

Further, we found that the mitts are slow to dry once they get wet. Because of the finger slots inside, it is not easy to turn the mitts inside out for faster drying. The photo below shows the extent that the mitts can be turned inside out. We found it easier to put the mitts on a boot dryer to dry them out inside.

Manzella Summit Mitt SPOTLITE REVIEW - 4
The Summit Mitt has a brushed polyester lining. Because of the finger slots inside, the mitts cannot easily be turned inside out to facilitate drying, so they were slow to dry. The fastest method is to put them on a boot dryer.

Manzella states that the mitts are designed for snow sports - backcountry and alpine skiing, snowshoeing, and snowboarding. In our experience, they stayed dry and warm in those activities involving occasional contact with snow. With our igloo building, we pushed them beyond their intended use and found their limits. We expect that the mitts will wet through in related activities where there is a lot of contact with wet snow, such as building a snow cave or snow fort, or sledding.

Overall, the Manzella Summit Mitts are quite well designed and constructed, warm, durable, and stay dry with moderate contact with dryer snow (colder snow, the kind that brushes off). However, they wet through when used to handle wet snow. If they get wet during a multi-day trip, they are unlikely to dry out completely for the next day’s use.

Features and Specifications

  • Manufacturer: Manzella Productions, Inc. (http://manzella.com/)
  • Sizes: S, M, L, XL
  • Features: Durable gripper palm, interior finger slots, waterproof/breathable PU membrane and inside shell coating, Teflon DWR finish, synthetic insulation, soft wicking lining, articulated thumb, adjustable wrist strap, gauntlet with drawcord.
  • Weight: Measured weight size Small 7 oz/pair (198 g), size XL 7.8 oz/pair (221 g); manufacturer specification n/a.
  • MSRP: $50.


Citation

"Manzella Summit Mitt SPOTLITE REVIEW," by Will Rietveld and Janet Reichl. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/manzella_summit_mitt_spotlite_review.html, 2007-01-11 03:00:00-07.

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