Outdoor Research Inception Aerogel Gloves Review

Outdoor Research Inception Aerogel Gloves Review

Outdoor Research makes great gloves but their Inception Aerogel Gloves fall short of expectations. Although they are insulated with Aerogel, they’re shockingly cold and uncomfortable to wear in colder weather. If you’re looking for a high dexterity insulated winter glove for climbing, skiing, or hiking, I’d look elsewhere.

Outdoor Research Inception Aerogel Gloves

Waterproof
Breathability
Warmth
Adjustability
Fit

Not Very Warm

While these gloves become comfortable to wear when you're working hard, my hands freeze when starting out or during food and water breaks, when my activity level drops. While you can expect some of that with any glove, the lack of warmth is quite noticeable and uncomfortable.

Specs at a Glance

  • 4-way Stretch
  • 3L Soft Shell (86% Nylon, 14% spandex)
  • Synthetic Abrasion-Resistant Palm with Silicone Dot Print for grip
  • Grid Fleece 100% Polyester Lining
  • Touchscreen synthetic leather thumb and index finger
  • PrimaLoft Aerogel 1.5mm in the palm and fingers
  • Weight: 5.5 oz/157 g

These gloves are insulated with Aerogel, an ultralight material developed by NASA used to insulate spacesuits and spacecraft. Aerogel is a synthetic material that is 98.2% air, making it the lightest solid ever discovered. It is created by removing the liquid from gel giving it the lowest thermal conductivity of any known substance, meaning it’s an incredible insulator. More and more outdoor companies are incorporating Aerogel into their products including Oros, LL Bean, Merrell, Dynaft, Mountain Hardwear, and Montane.

The OR Inception Aerogel Gloves have a silicone dot print for improved grip.
The OR Inception Aerogel Gloves have a silicone dot print for improved grip.

Outdoor Research surrounded the Aerogel in these gloves with a 3-layer softshell fabric and lined them with a grid fleece that wicks moisture away from your hands and dries quickly. The palms and fingers are covered with a silicone dot print for enhanced grip while the thumb and index finger are covered with a touchscreen-compatible synthetic leather. Pull loops and long wrist cuff with velcro closures trap warmth and allow the gloves to be clipped to a climbing harness.

I’ve used these OR Inception Aerogel Gloves for snowshoeing in hilly terrain which is quite strenuous and generates a lot of body heat. While the gloves become comfortable to wear when you’re working hard, my hands freeze when starting out or during food and water breaks, when my activity level drops. While you can expect some of that with any glove, the lack of warmth is quite noticeable and uncomfortable. I normally snowshoe with inexpensive $20 fleece gloves and they’re far warmer during periods of inactivity than the OR Inception Aerogel Gloves. While fleece gloves lack the wind resistance and water resistance of the Inceptions, the fact that they’re warmer across the full spectrum of snowshoeing activity levels certainly gives me pause.

The wicking action of the grid fleece on the interior of the Inception Aerogel Gloves is good and their reasonably wind-resistant which you’d also expect on a softshell style glove. But the dexterity of the gloves also leaves much to be desired and they feel quite fat-fingered, while the touch screen compatible thumb and index finger lack the finesse needed to interact with a smartphone.

My advice would be to give the single layer Inception Aerogel Gloves a pass and recommend that you try the OR High Camp Gloves instead. They’re also alpine gloves designed for use in the same conditions but have an inner glove liner than can be worn by itself when high dexterity and touchscreen compatibility are required.

Disclosure: Outdoor Research provided the author with a pair of gloves for this review.

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2 comments

  1. Noooooo!! I just bought these on a Pro Deal, so can’t return them. With the NASA credit, I thought I was getting the cutting edge of warmth. I’m one of those poor souls that start wearing gloves in September in southern New England! Oh well, perhaps EBay?

  2. OR products usually live up to their promoted use. As always, thanks for an honest review to let us know that they may not be all that they should be. Like yourself, my preferred snowshoe and XC ski glove is a Black Diamond PolarTec fleece with a nice leather palm. Maybe 8-10 years old now. Pretty durable, lots of shoveling and snow blowing double duty use. I do have much warmer gloves, polyfil and down filled and such, but find the PolarTec works well unless it’s extremely cold. ( minus 0, ect.) I will avoid this OR glove, and stick to the tried and true. Thanks Philip.

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