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Outdoor Research Phosphor Down Mitts Review

OR Phosphor Down Mitts Review

Outdoor Research Phosphor Down Mitts are warm down-insulated mittens for people who get very cold hands during winter hikes or when downhill skiing, snowboarding, or snowmobiling. They’re insulated with 600 fill power goose down and made with Goretex Infinium with Windstopper. While this makes them windproof, water-resistant, and highly breathable, they’re not fully waterproof like many other Goretex enhanced gloves and mittens.

Specs at a Glance

  • Insulation: Goose Down, 600 fill power RDS-certified
  • Sizing: Unisex (Men’s) – sizing from XS to XL
  • Weight: 5.0 oz in a men’s XL
  • Windproof: Yes, Gore-Tex Infinium with Windstopper
  • Waterproof: No, the palms are water-resistant
  • Nose-Wipe: Yes
  • Leash: No
  • Gauntlet: No
  • Fit: True to size.

These Phosphor Down Mitts are lined with Gore-Tex Infinium with Windstopper which makes them windproof, but not fully waterproof. The difference between Gore-Tex’s waterproof and windproof membranes is their pore size, which is larger in Gore-tex Infinium with Windstopper than Gore-tex’s waterproof membranes, making it more breathable.

What good are warm windproof mittens that aren’t waterproof? They’re twice as breathable so they trap less sweat across a wider temperature range. Perspiration degrades insulation so if your mittens are more breathable, they’ll stay warmer. This makes the Phosphor Mitts good for start-and-stop activities like downhill skiing, winter hiking, or more urban activities like waiting at the bus stop; activities where you can largely keep the mittens dry.

Most the the down insulation is located on the back of the hand, while the fleece liner keeps your palmes warm.
Most of the down insulation is located on the back of the hand, while the fleece liner keeps your palms warm.

Construction and Performance

The Phosphor Mitts are more stylish than technical although they can hold their own in terms of insulation and construction. The back of the hand has a quilted down-filled exterior while the palm and thumb are covered in a water-resistant synthetic suede. The inside of the gloves is a silky smooth fleece. There is a nose wipe on the back of the thumb and they have a stretch cuff to seal off the wrist. I consider them less “technical” because they don’t have a long wrist gauntlet to overlap the end of a sleeve, they don’t have leashes, or pull tabs to pull them on more easily.

OR doesn’t provide much guidance on glove warmth, which is probably justified, because there’s such a wide degree of variance between people. If I had to rate them, I’d say that their sweet spot is for -10F up to about 20F degrees, depending on your level of activity. I’ve used them in frigid conditions and they’ve kept my hands quite comfortable and toasty.

I think these Phosphor Mitts are best used as standalone mittens and not part of a more modular mitten/gloves system. For instance, they’re too puffy to fit into a waterproof/breathable mitten shell (unless it’s really large) without compressing their down insulation.  Similarly, they’re too low volume to wear over a liner glove, although there’s plenty of space inside for your hands and fingers.


The Outdoor Research Phosphor Down Mitts are designed for people who get really cold hands in winter and want a warm, low bulk insulated mitten to help them stay outdoors. While the Phosphor Down Mitts are far less technical than the modular mountaineering mittens with shells and liners that I favor for winter hiking, they are nice, low-bulk mittens that are easy to throw in a bag or stuff in your jacket pocket if your hands get chilled in frigid alpine environments.

Disclosure: The author received a pair of these gloves for this review.

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  1. How do these compare with the transcendent mitts. They are my ultralight favs

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