Macpac Alpine Climbing Gloves Review

Saturday 28 March 2015, 3:14pm -- daniel.joll

Macpac Glove.jpg

Testing out the new Dash glove on the classic Darrans climb Labyrinth.

Creator: 
Daniel Joll

It has been several years since I felt Mapac had gloves in their range suitable for alpine climbing.  I am pleased to say this is now changing.  Up until the 2015 season the main Macpac glove that I wore on a regular basis was the Stretch Fleece Glove. This is one of the better base layer fleece gloves I had found. Both the fit and size are perfect for cold approach walks or ski tours. The Stretch Fleece Glove was also perfect to wear as your base glove under a pair of mitts or a cold winter camping glove when you needed to operate stoves etc while sitting at camp. The silicone Macpac mountain print on the palms for grip is probably more gimmick than function but I have found these to be a good glove for scrambling or easy climbing when its cold. This is basically down to the fact they have a good snug fit and do not slide to much on the hand. I also like the length of the fitted fleece cuff. Rating 4.5 / 5

Two new gloves entered the range for 2015.

Firstly the Dash Glove. This is a thin leather palmed fleece lined glove. It is about the right thickness for mixed climbing or alpine rock climbing on a cold day. Most importantly with a climbing glove it doesn’t feel like a loose paper sack when you put it on your hand. This is important as it allows you to climb harder while wearing the glove. The seams do not impede you when holding an ice axe and the leather palm provides a good sticky grip surface. This glove was designed for cycling but is a good cross over alpine climbing glove. I like the cut of the Dash Glove, the fit is good and handling carabineers / tying knots etc while wearing it, is a breeze. On a warm day I think it would be possible to wear this as an ice climbing glove but I really see this as having a good place in my summer alpine climbing and mixed climbing kit. Rating 4.5 / 5

The Powder Glove has been re made for 2015.  I was not a fan of the previous version.  However the new model is quite good. The first notable change is the removable inner. This is a big improvement on their previous models as it allows you to dry the liner overnight in your sleeping bag. The Powder Glove also sports a liner that appears to be almost identical to the Stretch Fleece Glove. In my mind thats a bonus as while I found the combo of shell and liner two bulky to use for most technical climbing.  However having the fleece liner is great and you can use it for approaches and the outer shell minus the liner is a good weight for most summer / winter alpine climbs. The leather palm should last quite a while even when absailing (although I haven’t had mine long enough to fully test the durability of them yet.)  The Event fabric is a bonus and breaths well. I have always used this kind of thick double glove either with out the liner (i.e I would buy it so the glove was snug fitting with no liner and use it for cold weather ice or mixed climbing / general snow climbing and absailing or purchased a larger size that I can than remove the regular fleece liner and fit something like the Dash Glove underneath. This way you have a good technical glove that you can climb, sort gear, tie knots etc and then for cold descents or belays add the larger outer glove over the top. There are a few points on the Powder Glove that I am not such a fan of. Firstly the central compression strap could be removed. The cuff synch works fine and I don’t see much need for any further closures on the glove. (on my pair I cut this off) The other main draw back for me is the open end of the leather strip on the gloves cuff. This is likely to fill up with snow and once it does fill with snow it will be hard to remove, potentially creating a cold / wet spot. Ideally they need to seal this or remove the leather strip completely as I’m not sure it adds any additional functionality to the glove. Personally I will be cutting this open leather section off my glove to ensure it does not fill up with snow when being used in winter.  The only other minor draw back is the carabiner attachment finger loop is a bit tight and hard to get a carabiner through.  I would also like to see the leather palm reinforced with a thicker leather section in the high use palm area. While not quite perfect the Powder Glove is a big step up from models of the last few years. Rating 3.5 / 5  Cut both the leather sleeve on the cuff and the additional compression strap on the cuff and you could add on another half star. 

Purchasing one of each of the Dash Glove and the Powder Glove should cover most of your bases as you will get the good fleece liner, the technical climbing glove and the cold weather / snow climbing glove.

With any leather gloves I regularly wax them. The Dash Glove and Powder Glove are no exception. Any kind of leather wax will do the trick. Lately I have been using Nikwax Fabric and Leather Proof. This is essential if you want your gloves to last and stay water proof.

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