Following the SIA SnowSports Show, one of our veteran SNEWS® product testers had an opportunity to test a pair of VO's (Vaughn Outdoors) Workhorse long gauntlet leather gloves with the CZIP design. The CZIP design incorporates a curved zipper across the back of the glove just behind the knuckles that allows the wearer to slip his or her fingers out to make gear adjustments without having to take the entire glove off. While the idea looked a little too gimmicky to our team at first blush, our tester discovered quickly on the first test during a backcountry ski that the CZIP is an unqualified winner.
At the top of the peak he ascended, the weather was nasty and having the ability to simply unzip and get his fingers free to peel off skins, telescope poles down and fiddle with his bindings was a huge plus. The meaty part of both his hands stayed warm while he fumbled with gear and within minutes of getting his fingers ensconced back in the gloves they were warm again.
Much of the credit for warmth goes to the glove's PrimaLoft insulation. That and the long protective gauntlet and inner fleece cuff.
Our tester told us that after one more ski outing, this time alpine, with lots of gear fixes that required manual dexterity, his testing would be complete and his review done. But au contraire.
Several days later, he headed out for a mountain bike ride in temps hovering around 20 degrees with a slight wind. Luckily, the VO Workhorse gloves were still in his truck and he reported that they again performed well in the warmth and protection departments, while giving him the ability to adjust zippers, fix a recalcitrant brake and change glasses without having to take the gloves completely off.
While on the ride, one of the other mountain bike riders in our tester's group was also a photographer who performs a lot of location shoots for snowsport industry clients.
Apparently, he told our tester, he's tried everything from thin fleece liners inside mitts to heat packs and expedition gloves to keep his hands warm while shooting. Nothing has kept his fingers from avoiding mild frost nip.
But the VO gloves piqued his interest and after borrowing them for two photo shoots he, like our tester, came away a big VO glove fan. Or as he put it, "I set up a shot and then just before taking it or an action series, I am able to quickly unzip the gloves, get my fingers out and have the manual dexterity I need to push the shutter button and control the camera. When the shot is completed, the fingers go back in the glove to warm up. VO's Workhorse gloves -- they live up to their name."
SNEWS® Rating: 4 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested Retail: $110
For more information: www.vogloves.com