REI Minimalist GTX Mitts are waterproof/breathable mitten shells that have velcro wrist cuffs and are seam-taped. I use them as rain mitts over a pair of thin wool or fleece gloves. I’ve used other rain mitts in the past including Mountain Laurel Designs Rain Mitts and I like these better. They don’t have to be seam-sealed, which is a messy process with rain mitts, and the velcro wrist cuffs lock them onto my hands so they don’t slip off.
Specs at a Glance
- Gender: Unisex
- Weight: 1.8 oz/pair
- Waterproofing: Gore-tex insert
- Shell: Polyester
- 5 Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL (see size chart at REI)
Rain mitts are nice to have if you have to hike in cold rain or wind, down below 45 degrees or so. These REI Minimalist Mitts work best if you have a rain jacket that has velcro wrist cuffs rather than stretch cuffs because you can prevent water from dripping down your arm and into the mittens.
I typically wear these mittens over a light Possum Down Wool Liner Gloves so I still have some dexterity if I need to pull my hands out of them to do something that requires fingers. If my liner gloves do get damp, it’s not that big of a deal because my hands will still remain warm inside the mittens. That’s really the value of these gloves, instead of keeping your hands dry, which is pretty difficult if you have to be out in the rain for hours on end.
These mitts have an external DWR coating to make rain bead up and roll off the surface of the mitts in order to maintain their breathability. But DWR coatings wear off very quickly on clothing, like gloves, so the polyester will wet out unless you refresh the DWR coating periodically with a treatment like Nikwax TX Direct. They’ll still remain waterproof though.
You can also use the REI Minimalist GTX Mitts as an external shell for winter sports, which is what REI originally intended them for, but if you do I’d suggest sizing up a size or two so you can use a much warmer and bulkier inner glove.
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