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Marmot Minimalist Shell Mitts Review

Marmot Minimalist Shell Mitts Review

Marmot’s Minimalist Shell Mitts are waterproof/breathable shell mitts insulated with a lightweight liner that can be worn alone or layered over insulated gloves or mittens. They are made of Gore-Tex Paclite with reinforced leather palms and are seam-taped for leak-proof protection from the elements. Shell mittens like these are the backbone of winter hiking glove systems: you just swap in different liners when they get wet from perspiration or when you want more or less insulation.

Specs at a Glance

  • Waterproof/Breathable: Gore-Tex Paclite (100% Recycled Polyester)
  • Liner: Marmot DriClime sewn-in liner
  • Gender: Men’s (fine for women with appropriate sizing)
  • Weight: 3.6 oz (size large)
  • Cuff length: 3.5”

I’ve long been a fan of layering waterproof/breathable over-mitts like these Marmot Minimalist Mittens with various types of fleece or wool liner mittens or gloves due to the flexibility offered by such a glove system. If the liner gets wet or you need more warmth, you can replace it with another one that you’re carrying. I’m particularly fond of Dachstein boiled wool mittens (see review) as a complement to a weatherproof shell.  I like the moisture-wicking and warmth properties of the boiled wool and layering a shell mitten over them makes them windproof and completely waterproof.

The Minimalist Mitts have supple leather palms and long gauntlets.
The Minimalist Mitts have supple leather palms and long gauntlets.

These shell mittens are made with Gore-tex Paclite, which is very pliable and comfortable to wear. They’re seam-taped so they’re fully waterproof and quite breathable. They are lined with a thin fleece material, so you can wear them without a separate liner glove or mitten. The liner does not offer much warmth and is not meant to, since it’s a shell mitt, but it means you can wear them without a separate liner if you just want wind protection. From the description, I was concerned that the lining might be too warm for what I was looking for, but they’re just right.

The leather reinforced palm is supple but feels substantial enough to last. I got these mittens to replace a pair with a failing synthetic palm grip and these seem like they will be much more durable. They also fold up compactly and are quite light, weighing 3.6 oz for a size large.

I also like the wrist construction and gauntlet on these mittens. The wrist is elasticized inside the wrist and has a draw cord on the outside so that it can be cinched tighter. The cuff has an elastic drawcord that can be pulled tight with mittens on and a quick-release cord lock that can be operated with one hand. The gauntlet is about 3.5” long and offers a good amount of coverage over the cuff of a jacket. There is no mitten leash, but there are loops on the inside of the cuff that would allow you to attach a safety leash of some sort on your own.

On a recent hike, when my hands got too warm, rather than switching to light gloves, I simply pulled out and stashed my Dachsteins and was quite comfortable with just the Marmots. They also work very well over any fleece or wool glove or mittens. As for sizing, I suggest you consult Marmot’s size & fit guide. I opted to size up because I planned to wear them over my thick Dachstein mitts. I feel that it’s better to have handwear that is a little long since short gloves or mittens can lead to cold hands, so my choice of size works okay.

I’m very happy with these Marmot Minimalist Mittens and they are a significant upgrade over my previous shell mitts.

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About the author

Wanda Rice has been backpacking since the late 1980’s. She has climbed the New Hampshire 48, the New Hampshire 48 in winter, the New England 67, the New England Hundred Highest, and the Four-Season 48. Wanda also teaches for the Appalachian Mountain Club’s (AMC) Mountain Leadership School, the AMC New Hampshire Chapter Spring and Winter Schools as well as the AMC NH Winter Hiking Series. She leads day and overnight trips for AMC NH year-round and loves mentoring new leaders. She is a gear junkie, a self-proclaimed Queen of Gear Hacks, and loves sharing her tips and tricks with others. Wanda lives in southern NH and is looking forward to moving closer to the mountains in the next few years.

One comment

  1. 3.6 oz. is a nicely lightweight for GTX mittens WITH leather palms.

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