I love these gloves. The goal of every manufacturer of cold weather glove is to maximize both dexterity *and* warmth, which is a challenge because warmth requires insulation, which adds bulk and reduces dexterity. Every serius cold-whether glove is a compromise between these two objectives. The Hestra Fall line has succeeded in achieving both excellent dexterity and warmth better than any glove I've ever encountered.
Of course there are warmer gloves - Hestra's military models or the Black Diamond Mad Max, for example; and there are gloves that provide more freedom of movement - Marmot's Exum Work gloves or Black Diamond's Transition gloves come to mind. But I've never seen such impressive dexterity *and* warmth in the same glove.
The name, "Fall Line," does not mean that these are designed for Spring or Fall skiing. These are intended for heavy duty, take-no-prisoners, January-February skiing, and other outdoor activities. They are made of extremely soft, supple and flexible leather. Your hand feels like they are in a custom, warm cozy home. The insulation is remarkably light for the amount of warmth provided. When the velcro wrist seals are in place, no snow is coming in. The gloves are also completely waterproof.
You can get an idea of the quality of construction by blowing-up each of the pictures.
The only caveat I'll offer is I found them to fit small. I don't know if this is true of Hestra, in general, but it is definitely true of the Fall Line. I normally wear Large and my wife wears Woman's small. Based on other reviews, I ordered a size up, 10, which according to the sizing table is XL. The gloves fit me perfectly. My wife normally wears a woman's small, which the chart shows as a 6. The 6 is too small.
I think these would be well worth the full retail price, and are probably one of the best deals on Dept of Goods at their present price.
IMO, you can't go wrong with this glove.
Be sure and buy the Varius in a size that does not result in a snug fit. If you have the room, and want substantial warmth, zip-in TNF Denali. If you need less, most of the lighter fleece also works. I have zipped the Red Point in, which is much lighter in thickness and weight than the Denali, but provides almost as much warmth. If it's really cold, I can start with a soft flannel shirt, then medium fleece, and then put on the Varius with the Red Point zipped in. Now this combination does provide a snug fit. You might need a full size larger than you would normally get to do this, but the combination is still thiner than must puffy 650 down jackets.
I like the Varius shell much better than either of the shells on the triclimates we own: a Boundary Jacket and a Men's Atlas. However, it could be that one of the triclimate models has a shell as good as, or even the same as, the Various. It would be interesting to hear a response to that question.
To elaborate just a bit. I don't ski, but weather permitting, compute 30 miles on a motorcycle with no fairing or heated grips, let alone a plug in heating system. Weather that keeps me off the bike is unrelated to cold. As long as it's not raining hard, or forecast to do so, I ride with temperatures often in the teens, with wind chills routine at -10 and lower, and ocassionally higher if I happened to be riding at 50 - 60 into a 20 mph head wind. (The gloves I used last winter were inadequate from about freezing (32), and below. I won't mention the brand because to do so would be an unfair, gratuitous slam. They were not designed for my needs.) Water resistence, or proofness, is important, too because I sometimes am caught in hard rain and that 20 mph head wind and at near freezing. On those days I wish I had taken the car, which gets between 1/2 and 1/3 the MPG.
Can anyone compare these gloves in warmth and dexterity to the Black Diamond Mad Max?
The 5' 5" is definitely a Small. 124 will fit fine, but limit what can be added. Probably one light layer will work, in addition to the Osito fleece that is the zip-in the comes with it, but that's probably it. In a Medium she could add a heavier underlayer, or substitute a really heavy fleece, such as the Denali for the Osito, and still not be cramped.
I'm a moral vegetarian and I'm concerned with animal rights. I simple refuse to believe that goose down, harvested in any quantity, doesn't involve intolerable cruelty to the birds. Thus first, I had to have a jacket made with synthetic insulation. I was looking for a jacket that would work with a North Face triclimate shell. I really like this jacket. It is unbelievably light - far, far lighter than, for example, the Denali fleese, in fact, probably lighter than any of the fleese designed to zip into the triclimates.
I purchased it late in the season and haven't tested it in weather below about mid-30s. By itself, that's a little cool for this jacket, unless you're moving with enthusiasm. I wouldn't sit and watch a late season outdoor football game without the shell, too. With the shell, I'd think the combination would be comfortable into the mid to low-20s. If it was going to be colder than that, I'd put a layer of fleese below the jacket.
It is hard to over emphasize how light Animagi is. You hardly notice you have it on, and considering this, I found it to provide excellent protection against the cold - far more than you'd predict upon itially feeling the weight. It is my single favorite jacket. It works well alone, over a t-shirt, as the lone underlayer zippd into a triclimate, or as the miiddle layer in colder weather.
A very well made, resilent jacket, with enormous versatility,. And no geese were unnecessarily killed to provide first rate comfort to those of us with the responsibility to decide how other living creatures who feel the same terror and pain that we feel are to be treated.
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