The Outdoor Research Versaliner Sensor Gloves (Men’s and Women’s) are a two-part glove system featuring an inner fleece glove with a pocket to hold a chemical hand warmer and a removable exterior wind shell that can be layered on top for extra warmth. While the exterior shells are not completely waterproof because they’re not seam-sealed, they’re still a great glove system for year-round hiking and backpacking because the fleece inner is so breathable, while the outer shell extends their range for cool and windy conditions with minimal added weight. Gloves, like hiking clothes, are best layered for temperature regulation and comfort.
Specs at a Glance
- Gender: Men’s (Women’s sizes are also available)
- Inner Glove: 7% spandex ActiveTemp fleece liner
- Outer Shell: Ascentshell 3L, 100% nylon 20D mechanical stretch ripstop shell
- Weight: 2.8 oz/79 g
- Touchscreen Compatible: yes
- Waterproof: No (not seam-sealed)
Inner Fleece Glove
The inner Versaliner Sensor Glove is made out of 100 weight Polartec fleece which has a smooth, soft-shell-like exterior that provides good warmth and breathability. Fleece gloves are great hiking gloves in terms of breathability and warmth in my experience, they’re durable, they dry quickly, and they’re reasonably priced because fleece is so widely available. Their only drawback is that they attract and retain snow if you came in contact with it, which melts and makes them wet. That’s much less of an issue with the Versaliner Sensor Gloves which have a tightly woven exterior that sheds snow easily.
The tightly knit exterior prevents snow from accumulating on the surface of the fleece inners, unlike a fuzzy fleece glove that attracts it and must be brushed off immediately if you want to keep them dry. The inner glove also has printed silicone dots on the fingers and palm which provide a good grip on trekking pole grips or other “hiking tools” and helps hold the outer shell in place so it doesn’t slide off.
The inner glove has a nifty pocket sewn on top where you can stuff the outer shell glove when not in use and perfect for keeping the components together and organized. If you suffer from cold hands, these little pockets are also sized to hold chemical heat packs, which can be inserted to keep your hands warm. The inner fabric is thick enough to prevent burning but still allows enough oxygen through the fabric to enable the rusting process that is responsible for heat generation.
The index finger and thumb are touchscreen compatible and I’ve been impressed by the fact that they actually work since most touchscreen-compatible gloves don’t work with my iPhone and plastic screen protector combo. I just have to press down a little more firmly on the screen to be able to use my navigation phone apps while wearing the Versaliner Sensor Gloves.
These fleece gloves have also been treated with OR’s ActiveTemperature technology, which they claim enhances the therm-regulation characteristics of the gloves, although they don’t specify exactly what it does or how it works. While I have been very impressed with the cooling ActiveIce technology that OR uses on their sun-protective clothing and summer clothing (ActiveIce Spectrum Sun Gloves, OR Thr-Gaiters), I haven’t experienced any noticeable difference in warmth, breathability, or temperature regulation in the Versaliner Sensor inner fleece gloves that wasn’t present in the previous version of this product.
Outer Shell Gloves
The outer shell gloves are windproof and made using OR’s new proprietary Ascentshell waterproof/breathable material. While Ascentshell is waterproof and coated with DWR, the seams on the shell gloves are not sealed and will leak in heavy rain. That’s less than an issue than you might think because the outer shell fabric will wet out in rain long before the seams leak (see Why does Rain Gear Wet Out) for a detailed explanation. All gloves and mittens are exposed to a high level of abrasion that wears down their outer DWR layer very quickly – for example in the palms if you use trekking poles.
In terms of breathability, the outer shells are great when worn over the fleece inner glove layer. They block the wind but don’t add any appreciable warmth or make your hands sweat. It’s hard to quantify their breathability without proper instrumentation, but I don’t ever feel any perspiration accumulation in the inner fleece gloves when I wear them together.
The shells are not touchscreen compatible and don’t have silicone print on the exterior. When you wear them, there’s also a marked decrease in the overall dexterity in your dexterity because they’re fairly loose-fitting, compared to the inner fleece gloves. When they’re not needed, I stuff them into the chemical warmer pocket on the back of the inner fleece gloves, which is a good way to keep track of them between uses.
The OR Versaliner Sensor Gloves reviewed here are an update on the previous model that was simply called Versaliner Gloves. Keep this in mind when shopping, since many retailers still list the older version at full price or on sale. I think they’re both great products and it actually makes very little difference which ones you purchase. Here are the key changes that OR made to older Versaliner Gloves.
- The new outer waterproof/breathable glove is made with OR’s Ascentshell, replacing the Pertex used in the previous model.
- The new inner fleece gloves are touchscreen-compatible.
- The new inner fleece gloves incorporate thermo-regulating ActiveTemp technology that “adjusts to your body temperature to keep you cool, dry, and comfortable during high-exertion activities.”
I really like the Outdoor Research Versaliner Sensor Glove System even though I’m kind of neutral on the improvements made to the current generation of the product. As far I’m concerned they still function at the same level of performance as the old gloves, although the new touchscreen compatibility of the inner gloves is a notable enhancement. It’s still easy to use the Versaliner Sensor Gloves separately or to combine them together, it’s easy to keep track of the external shells because you can stuff them into the handwarmer pocket in the fleece gloves, and the inner fleece gloves remain highly breathable.
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