Welcome to Further Details, a recurring column where we investigate what purpose an oft-overlooked product element actually serves. This week: an undersized, underused feature of serious ski gloves.
Take a moment to look at your winter gloves. If they are specifically designed for skiing, snowboarding or another alpine use, there’s a reasonable chance that one of the fingers of each features an unobtrusive little leather or synthetic loop. Now you’re probably wondering: what is this thing? Well, unlike, say, the pom pom on your après hat, it’s not just for looks. (Pom-poms have a rich history but are largely decorative these days.)
Rather, it has a very specific backcountry use, plus a secondary application for the less adventurous among us.
“Those loops on the finger allow you to take a carabiner and hang your gloves on your pack with the opening facing down,” explains Drew Eakins, marketing manager at Hestra Gloves. “That way you don’t get any snow or debris in the gloves when you are hiking.”
But even if you’re not an alpine climber or backcountry skinner, these so-called carabiner clasps can come in handy. “They also allow you to dry your gloves with the fingers upward,” Eakins adds. “So that any condensation rolls out the bottom instead of pooling in the fingers.”
Speaking of drying your gloves, Hestra has a few bonus tips on that front. Dry them at room temperature, with the fingers facing up (using the carabiner clasps if the gloves have them). Do not turn lined gloves inside out, as the liner, insulation and membrane can be tricky to get back in place. And if the liners are removable, take them out and dry them separately, which takes less time.
Oh, and if you’re in the market for ski gloves, the Army Leather Tundra gloves pictured above are some of our favorites. They feature a tough goat leather palm, removable merino wool lining, a wide cowhide cuff… and carabiner clasps, of course.