REI Minimalist GTX Mittens Review

REI Minimalist GTX Mittens Review

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.

The REI Minimalist GTX Mitts work best with rain jackets that have velcro wrist cuffs
The REI Minimalist GTX Mitts work best with rain jackets that have velcro wrist cuffs

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.

Disclosure: The author purchased this product.

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  1. I have some REI eVent gloves that sound similar. are you familiar with those and are these basically the same thing but in GTX?

    • Same exact design, but REI dropped the eVent liners at the end of last year and replaced them with these Gore-tex ones. I owned those too but replaced them with these new GTX ones and find that I stay drier in them. But that’s a pretty subjective observation.

  2. I picked up a pair of these last fall for the cold, rainy conditions as you described. I had tried rubber water proof gloves but those soaked inside from sweat and we’re useless the next day. My wife was annoyed with me spending more money on gear, but I told her you have to warm hands out there. I also got mine large enough so I could wear a liner glove underneath. These will be in my kit for my summer trips because I’ve had numb hands even during July and August. Those days are gone.

  3. Lawrence Constantino

    I have bought and lost and refound them. I mentioned lost because backtracking a mile or so retracing my steps to previous places I removed them, demos how much I value them. How do you lose a mitten? Well anyway I feel these are indispensible, and was willing to risk wifely irritation to get them. I too use them with possom down gloves (I don’t recommend), but found I needed something warmer so bought some Fox River wool mittens while in Damascus. Though these may be to heavy all in all, but feel mittens were better for warmth as that’s my main objective with them. I think some lighter smartwool or Merino wool mittens would be perfect. Just to mention too, I use in a similar way the goretex boot liners as well, and really, really glad I have. Especially since I use Merrell Moab ventilator boots (I decided fast drying boots were my objective), the liners too are indispensible, although I haven’t lost either of them yet :)!

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