Expert Review: Hestra Army Leather Heli Ski 5-Finger
This review is my honest opinion of the gloves, which I purchased with my own money in January of 2020.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the gloves, which I purchased with my own money in January of 2020.
The Hestra Army Leather Heli Ski 5-Finger is a cold-weather glove with a powder skirt that keeps the snow out. With proper care, or routine application of the included leather balm, these gloves will last. Though they’re not the best for warm/wet conditions.
About this gloves I own
- Model: 2020 Hestra Heli Ski 5-Finger Gloves
- Size: 9
- Height: 6’0”
- Weight: 160lbs
- Experience: 15+ years of snowboarding
- When I bought them: January 2020
- Days used: 60+
- Weather conditions used in: Wet spring days, deep/light powder, whiteout blizzards, -30 degree wind-chill
- Where I’ve used them: VT, NH, ME, CA, CO (Ikon Mountains)
- Terrain: Backcountry and resort (Groomers, park, powder, trees, chutes, and snowfields)
How they perform
What I was looking for
My previous mittens were heavily worn; ripping at the seams, missing insulation, and losing waterproofing. I needed to find a replacement. I wanted something that would perform well in cold conditions, in the backcountry as well as the resort. I was looking for 5-finger gloves, for added dexterity, in order to access small latches on a new set of snowboard bindings that I purchased.
Why I chose this gear
A member of my family has Raynaud's, a disease that restricts blood flow to their extremities, giving a cold and numb sensation. This was an issue that affected their ability to have a good time on the mountain. However, after purchasing a pair of Hestra’s, their worries were gone. This was ultimately the reason why I was looking for options within the Hestra family of products, and the Heli-Ski 5-Finger Gloves were a perfect fit.
What I love about them
- Fit: I have a size 9 that I wear as a stand-alone glove. If one’s hands get cold, I would recommend sizing up and using additional liners or upgrading the existing in-glove liners.
- Comfort: Very comfortable, no pressure points, and accurate length/spacing for my fingers.
- Waterproofing & Breathability: I typically apply the balm to the leather and Nikwax Glove Proof to the ‘Triton’ membrane at least two times per year. Although this is not necessary, I am a big proponent of extending the life of my gear for as long as I can. Doing this not only improves the water-resistance, but also enhances the breathability.
- Warmth: These gloves are not waterproof, but water resistant. For warm/wet conditions, water seeps in and can soak the gloves.
- Weight: This is lightweight for a glove of its size.
- Conditions: These gloves perform best below freezing, where water is in its solid form.
- Features: These gloves include wrist cords and removable liners for easy washing/drying. One can even upgrade their liners with more or less insulation, Hestra makes a variety of in-glove liners and external liners that are compatible.
- Quality: The palm (and inside of the fingers) are made out of goat leather, and the remainder is Hestra's 'Triton' Membrane. The goat leather provides great grip for adjusting bindings, or holding poles (in my case splitboard poles). The Triton membrane has held up much better than the goat leather palms.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Ease of movement: In extremely cold weather (less than -5°F), sometimes it’s hard to manipulate the leather. Good range of motion and dexterity.
- Touchscreen compatibility: These gloves are not touchscreen compatible.
- Durability: There are small knicks and tears in the leather with prolonged use. I am from the East Coast and enjoy tight tree riding and backcountry touring. I expected these gloves to take a beating, and they have held up better than my previous pairs. The leather balm helps to restore these tears, but I can visibly see the grime and wear. I would not recommend this glove to those looking to retain its original white color.
Favorite moment with this gear
In December 2021, I was lucky enough to be riding at Aspen Highlands when the patrollers dropped lines for Highlands Bowl. While I wasn't the first to make it to the summit, over two feet of snow fell over that week and I had the run of my life. These gloves kept me warm and completely dry. The cuff or, as I like to call it, the Powder Stopper, kept all unwanted snow out through the entire hike and descent.
Value for the money vs. other options
For the money, these gloves perform exceptionally well. However, Hestra offers GORE-TEX alternatives that are worth it for those willing to shell out the additional money. In hindsight, I should have purchased the GORE-TEX alternative, as they are more catered to the conditions that I currently experience. Along the same lines, the Black Diamond Guide Gloves are another alternative at the same price point as the GORE-TEX Hestras, but are ultimately more durable and stiff (but also heavier). For those who are planning on putting a beating on their gloves, I would go with the Black Diamond Guide Gloves.
An excellent cold weather glove that keeps the elements out. Has a removable lining for easy care and the included leather balm is a must have for restoring leather and increasing water-resistance.