Tested: Arc’teryx Fission Mitt

I arrived in Whitehorse wearing only the clothes I was wearing, a state of affairs brought about by the airline’s inability to synchronise passenger and his luggage. This would normally have necessitated buying only underwear and a toothbrush, but this was the Yukon. In winter. Which meant temperatures as low as -40°C. A decent pair of gloves or mittens would be essential.

So, Amex card in hand, I arrived at Coast Mountain Sports to stock up on some winter essentials.

Regular readers will know that I’m a huge fan of Arc’teryx clothing, so a pair of its Fission Mitts found its way into my basket. Insulated with PrimaLoft, they have a Gore-Tex liner and are faced with Arc’teryx’s own Fortius softshell fabric.

Leather too, at least on the palm and fingers, there to give extra durability and a better grip. As a result, they’re tough and the synthetic insulation meant that they would keep me warm even if they got wet.

And so it proved. My hands were warm in even the foulest conditions – and it got pretty damned foul at one stage with temperatures, including wind chill, approaching -60°C. I wore them for walking, dog-sledding, snowmobiling, and to warm my hands up between taking photographs. The long gauntlet style and tight inner cuff kept out drafts and gave an almost snow-proof seal.

Being pre-curved, they fit like a, er, well like a glove.

I kept the cord keepers cinched loosely around my wrists, which made it almost impossible to lose them when I slipped one off to quickly to take a photograph or to untangle a recalcitrant dog. As with all the best gear, they simply worked so well that I soon took them for granted.

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Faults? None, really. A snot patch on the back of the mitts would have been handy, but other than that I was very happy with their design, fit and performance.

Expect to pay around $150/£120, which isn’t cheap but then it’s way cheaper than getting frostbite.

Carlton Boyce @motoringjourno

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Happiest in the snow, Carlton is an ex-police officer and prison governor who has migrated to the world of adventure travel via motoring journalism. Carlton drives boats and pickups with more enthusiasm than skill, and is currently working on his first novel in addition to his prison memoirs.