It took me nearly a year to use the Mountain Laurel Designs eVENT Rain Mitts enough to give them a thorough testing. In the western United States, rain mitts spend more time in my pack than on my hands, but when I need them, I really need them. In other regions of the country, rainwear gets a more frequent and thorough workout, so performance is very important. The MLD eVENT Rain Mitt is a good choice in either situation. At only 1.1 ounces per pair (measured weight, size Large), they are wicked light, and a no-brainer to carry them in your pack as standard equipment.
The Mountain Laurel Designs eVENT Rain Mitts I tested are constructed of Gore-Tex XCR in the palm and inside of the thumb (blue), and two-layer eVENT (black) for the remainder. The latest (2009) version uses three-layer eVENT in the palm area. As can be seen in the photo, the mitts have a curved shape to reduce seam stress while holding trekking poles.
The MLD Rain Mitts have a long gauntlet with an anchored cordlock/bungee cord closure that is easy to operate with mitts on.
My usual glove size is an XL, so I opted for the eVENT Rain Mitt in size Large (it's available in Medium and Large). The size Large provides plenty of extra room to wear gloves inside them, even heavy ones. Although the volume of the mitts is more than ample, I still needed the size Large for their length in the hand and gauntlet areas.
The mitts come with a small tube of McNett Seam Grip for seam sealing, and MLD recommends stuffing the gloves with paper to expand them to facilitate a neat job of seam sealing. That's easier said than done; I find it difficult to do a neat job of sealing anything with Seam Grip! The result is sealed seams, but it's not pretty.
I tested the MLD eVENT Rain Mitts while backpacking or day hiking in rain and wet snow on numerous occasions, with and without trekking poles. In warmer weather I wore thin liner gloves inside them, and in colder weather I went to thicker fleece gloves inside. I also gave them a try for backcountry skiing.
I found the MLD Rain Mitts to be a real hand saver when I needed them. While hiking in really wet conditions, it's hard to keep my hands dry and warm, and with glove liners inside they kept my hands dry all day. They also breathed well, and I did not have any problems with moisture buildup (from sweat) in my glove liners while hiking uphill in warmer temperatures. They are waterproof as expected; I did not have any occasions where water penetrated the fabric or seams. However, how I wore the Rain Mitts did make a difference. With the gauntlet worn over the sleeves of my rain jacket, I found that water (under gravity) has a tendency to run into the mitts, but the mitts worn under the sleeve of my jacket shed water very well. If the mitts are worn with the gauntlets under jacket sleeves, it is helpful to place a rubber band around the wrist area to hold the sleeves in place.
MLD Rain Mitts worn with the gauntlet on the outside (left) and inside (right). Water ran into the mitts with the gauntlet on the outside of my sleeve. The right photo shows my preferred method of wearing the mitts under my sleeve.
The Rain Mitts performed well with trekking poles and did not leak, even with some pumping action from holding the poles. After a year of intermittent use, my test mitts did not show any serious signs of wear from trekking poles, but it stands to reason that fabric abrasion from constant use with trekking poles will probably wear them out faster.
Ron Bell at Mountain Laurel Designs does not recommend using the Rain Mitts for snow sports, and I agree. I used them once while backcountry skiing and realized that they are simply too fragile for that type of use. I much prefer the Outdoor Research Endeavor Mitt for snow sports; they are still light at 3.9 ounces/pair, adequately durable, and waterproof.
Overall, the MLD eVENT Rain Mitt is hard to beat for three-season backpacking. They add very little weight to your pack, and, combined with lightweight liner gloves, make a very effective and versatile handwear system for ultralight backpacking.
|Mountain Laurel Designs (http://mountainlaureldesigns.com/)|
|2008 eVENT Rain Mitt|
|Current (2009) version has three-layer eVENT in the palm area and inside of the thumb, two-layer eVENT for the remainder|
|Ergonomic curved shape to reduce seam stress while holding trekking poles, long gauntlet with anchored cordlock/bungee cord closure|
|Measured weight, size Large: 1.1 oz/pair (31 g) |
Manufacturer specification: 0.95 oz/pair (27 g)