SOL REVIEW: Outdoor Research’s Mt. Baker Mitts

My only complaint regarding the new Mt. Baker Modular Mitts is that the manufacturer, Outdoor Research, doesn’t make jackets or pants. Their product line is entirely expedition-tested, from hats, gloves and footwear to bivy sacks and travel bags of every possible size and purpose, and everything is burly and built-to-last.

The Mt. Baker Mitt combines the versatility of OR’s classic Modular Mitt with the Himalaya-proven durability of their high-end expedition line. I rode in a pair of the Modular Mitts for about 170 days, spread over three seasons. Yes, duct tape was eventually necessary, but only around the fingers and palms, from buckling bindings. The Mt. Baker’s cure that potential ailment with a way thicker, more abrasion-resistant palm material that gives solid grip-traction on buckles and shovels and helicopter seat belts.

Idiot Cords on the cuffs connect to your wrists and give you one less thing to worry about. This feature is the trademark of OR handwear. Startle fellow passengers on the chairlift as you yank off your mittens and carelessly let them drop while you dig for the lighter. Slip ’em back on and cinch the straps, and you’re good to go.

The Mt. Baker’s keep the snow out and the heat in with wide Velcro closures on the wrist and forearm. The cuff extends halfway up the forearm, well past any parka cuff. The three-layer Cordura Gore-Tex shell is twice as tough as that of the Modular Mitts, with all seams taped for absolute waterproofness.

The pile liners from my original Modular Mitts are compressed to 1/3 of their original thickness, and still keep me warm enough in all conditions. The new Moonlite Pile liners are quick-drying, super-cozy, and fully removable so you can wear just the shell for spring days, or just the liner for bar-hopping, or whatever.

Apres ride, you can drop a beer into each mitten for stealth and let ’em dangle, still maintaining empty-handed innocence in case the Man is lurking.

Single-liner: $74 (reviewed)

Double-liner: $85 (Africa hot)

Shell-only: $61 (add your own liner)