Dachstein Extreme Warm Wool Mittens are very warm boiled wool mittens popular with mountaineers. Made with very dense boiled wool (more on this below), they’re windproof and virtually waterproof. When the mercury drops near zero or below, these are the mittens you want to be wearing. They’re also ideal for people who get very cold hands in winter or who suffer from Raynaud’s Disease. They’re not itchy at all. They can be worn alone or with an outer shell mitt in extreme winter weather.
Boiled Wool Clothing
Boiled wool mitts are made by repeatedly boiling heavy wool mittens in hot water until they shrink to the desired size. The boiling process preserves the natural oils occurring in the wool and results in a very tightly woven mitt that is windproof and virtually waterproof. Boiled wool clothing has been around since the Middle Ages and is prized for its warmth and value. It’s surprising that there’s not more of it available, if only from cottage manufacturers who could tailor it for niche winter hiking and mountaineering use.
I’ve used the Dachstein Wool Mittens on long winter day hikes in cold, zero-degree weather in the White Mountains. They’re very thick and warm, with long wrist gauntlets that extend over the wrist and half-way up your arm. In terms of dexterity, the mitts are perfect for use with trekking poles but are otherwise too large and bulky for much else. It can be convenient to wear them with a thin glove liner, so you can remove your hands to adjust zippers, drink from a water bottle or eat snacks, without exposing your hands, however briefly, to the cold.
One of the things that’s always impressed me about the Dachstein Mittens is their water resistance. When I go winter hiking and snowshoeing the mitts invariably get covered with snow, but the interior never feels wet, even when I’ve worn them all day. I guess that’s just the density of the boiled wool weave at work. It’s rare for me to get a full day’s use out of a fleece or wool glove before they get soaked by external moisture, so being able to wear a single pair of these the Dachstein Mittens all day is a novelty.
Sizing and Care
Dachstein bases their sizing on the length of your hand from the wrist to the top of your middle finger. If you intend to wear the mittens with an inner liner, you’ll probably want to size up. I wear a size 8 and my mittens weigh 7.8 oz for the pair.
The mittens retain their shape well through multiple washings as long as you wash them in cold water and blot dry in a towel rather than ringing them out or putting them in a drier. When washing use a very gentle detergent like Woolite and rinse well.
As you can imagine, Dachstein’s Extreme Wool Mittens are simply too well insulated to wear in warmer temperatures, but they are an ideal cold-weather glove worn alone or under a large waterproof shell glove, and a fairly affordable one as cold weather mitts go.
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