Pick one: Warm hands or nimble fingers. That’s usually the choice with gloves, but not with the BitterBlaze (the women’s version is the Ouray Ice). The secret weapon here is PrimaLoft Gold Aerogel. Aerogel is an ultralight material—it’s 2 percent silica and 98 percent air—that’s a superb insulator: Unlike down or synthetic insulation, which trap heat in air pockets, aerogel is a solid that prevents warmth from escaping (it has extremely low conductivity). And because it’s a solid, it doesn’t compress like normal fill. That’s why Outdoor Research puts only a 1.5mm layer of it in the palm of the BitterBlaze, creating a form- fitting glove that’s shockingly warm. (Aerogel doesn’t breathe well, so the BitterBlaze has 133 grams of breathable PrimaLoft Gold on the back of the hand, and the Ouray has 333.)
The Ouray kept one editor toasty on a ski tour that started off in the teens in Rocky Mountain National Park. A Gore-Tex liner sealed out wet, pummeling snow. And during an ascent of Hyndman Peak, she enjoyed the areogel palm on a bootpack that required ice axes and a sure grip. “With these gloves, my fingers didn’t suffer any cold spots,” she says.
Bonus: Testers loved the oversized pull tabs for easy-on, easy-off.
Weight: 6.4 oz. (m’s L)
Sizes: Men’s XS-XL, Women’s S-L
See more of the Editors' Choice Gear for Winter 2018
See the entire Winter Gear Guide