Clothing to meet Mother Nature head on.

Hestra Tracker Soft shell gloves

Posted: Oct 09 2012

FINALLY got cold enough to test some of the Hestra Glove range we have got in. Sunday got down to about 5C, so I took out the Hestra Tracker Soft Shell gloves out on our ride. 

I was excited to be dressed up again for winter, but I felt suspiciously snug in my kit. I had warm bib tights, Brynje Super Thermo 3/4 neck top, Sprint 3/4 neck Zip polo over that with a Altura Transformer jacket to top it off. I felt absolutely no wind, cold or chill whatsoever wearing the glove. The fit was good, with plenty of room for fingers, but not too loose to feel the hand slipping around inside. Hestra have a measuring chart which you can use to get the right glove for you by taking two different measurements of your hand. Last winter myself and my riding companions realised that gloves that are tight get cold! You need a little wiggle room for air to be trapped and do it's job as an insulator (common sense? Not for this 39yr old and his mates!). If we would have though about it a little, it's the same principle as your feet....tight socks and bike shoes make for cold feet also.
Hestra Tracker Glove
The gloves are made of Gore Windstopper Breeze fabric on the outer, with the palm made from Chamude and foam padding. Inside is a velvet-like fleece lining which really feels like it boosts the warmth rating of the glove. The neoprene cuff does a good job of sealing in the warmth. Some may prefer a velcro closure for more control. One thing I'd like to see is a nose wipre strip on the back of the thumb. You get this on the big brother Hestra C-Zone Gauntlet. They come in three colours: White/Black, Black/Black and High Vis Yellow/Black
Chamude palm with padding


So it was time for 25 mile hill circuits, as I had, by my own admission  been a bit of a slacker over the last few weeks. As I started on the first hill I realised that I was pretty warm and had to vent my top straight away. On the next hill I soon realised that the temperature had climbed a little and I was warm, but still comfortable. I kept checking to see if I felt any cold in my hands, but they stayed very toasty. I had some long descents, which was a great test of the windproofness of the Tracker. It was a breeze (sorry, I had to slip in a pun!) with hands staying warm and no hint of wind getting through. However, on the next climb I realised I was experiencing something I've learnt from the Polar guys we work with.  When your core and body are warm, blood circulation continues unimpeded to the extremities, and they feel warm.....even when it's cold. When your core and body are cold (or not at their comfortable temperature) the body starts to change it's circulation pattern and drive less blood to the extremities, thus they feel cold. My core and body was really cozy and so I didn't suffer any loss of blood to the hands.....in fact my hands where too warm and I had to take the gloves off for the climbs. This raises an important point. When your hands or feet get cold, don't assume that it's the glove or socks not doing their job. Having warm extremities is a balance of core and body temperature as well as the kit you have on them.
    To this end, I need to test the gloves again when it's a little colder. I can see that they will definitely get me closer to 0C than I thought. Cycling Weekly will also be featuring them in their November Winter Gear edition.
All in all though, a glove that exudes quality and is a great addition to the winter armoury  The only thing I don't know yet is "how low can they go"! I'll let you know ; 0 )

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