First Look: OR Heated Gloves

It’s still October, but I’ve been itching to put these new heated gloves by Outdoor Research to the test. With the first winter storm of the year headed for the Rocky Mountain high country, I grabbed the Lucent Gloves and a pair of hiking boots, and I packed my car. Destination, snow!

The Gear: Outdoor Research Lucent Heated Gloves

Price: $350

Available: Now.

Where To Test It: From the frozen North Woods to howling high mountains, these gloves are fitting for bitter cold winter skiing, snowboarding, mountaineering, snowmobiling, hunting or any other activity in which ultra warm gloves are needed.

Who’s It For: People who get cold fingers, be it from bad circulation or bitter cold temperatures.

How They Work: The Lucent starts off as an insulated ski glove capable of keeping hands warm without the help of a battery. They are made with waterproof, breathable construction, leather palm overlays, protective EVA foam knuckles, and polyester insulation.

To amp up the warmth factor, OR added its ALTIHeat battery-power heat elements, which run on included rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. To turn on the heat, you just press a button on the cuff of the glove and electricity flows though warming resistors at the fingers and thumbs. Press once for high, twice for medium, three times for low (the button changes color to indicate heating level).

The warmth is nearly instant, and judging from brief early season testing, it is very effective.

How Are They Different? Heated gloves are hardly a new idea. But despite a few attempts by big outdoor brands (including one by Outdoor Research a few years back) the category has had trouble taking off. The ALTIHeat line, which includes the Lucent and two other models, has smaller, more powerful batteries and a new kind of heating system. Outdoor Research touts “61 percent more power output than any other heated glove” and “twice as much heated surface area.” The heating elements, which are tiny fibers that send warmth to the fingers, are built into the interior fabric of the glove.

Three Models: The Lucent Heated Gloves have a cousin, the Lucent Heated Mitts ($350). Both are waterproof with Gore-Tex construction and goat leather palms. A third ALTIHeat model, the Stormtracker Heated Gloves ($235), are lighter and more dexterous — they are made for climbing, backcountry skiing, and higher-aerobic sports. All three use the same ALTIHeat batteries and heating elements.

Important Specs: The Lucent gloves weigh 17.9oz in size large, which includes the batteries and circuitry. They have high, medium and low heat settings selected by the touch of a button. Waterproofing ensured by Gore-Tex inserts. Nylon shell with water-resistant goat leather palms, polyester insulation.

Made In: China.

Awesome! Fingers getting cold? Just push a button on the cuff and they won’t be cold for long. (The gloves heat up fast and will keep pumping out heat for 8 hours on low, 5 hours on medium, and 2.5 hours on high.)

Nice Extras: While easy to overlook, the included mesh storage/carrying bag is great and fits the gloves, charger and batteries to keep everything in one place. With so many electronic gizmos to organize, it’s nice not to have to search for a charger before hitting the slopes. The gloves ship with outlet adaptors to use the charger in South America, Asia, Europe, and North America.

Flaw: $350 is a lot to shell out for gloves, but with a lifetime warranty, you’re sure to get many years of warm fingers out of the Lucent.

As with all electric gloves, they require regular charging to function. Now if the company could just invent one that charges with motion or solar power as you ski….

First Impressions: I used the gloves this month on a snowy hike in the Rockies, with temps dipping into the 20s. At first blush I was impressed with the warmth, the glove design, fit and function. They are warm and functional with the heat turned off, and then with the push of a button the warmth floods the fingers, thumb and back of the hand. I’m looking forward to a season of testing as the temps drop in Colorado and I wear the gloves for skiing and climbing all winter.

Who Should Buy It: Skiers, snowboarders, mountaineers, or others who spend significant time in bitter cold.

Contact Brand/More Beta: Outdoor Research Lucent Heated Gloves.

—Sean McCoy is managing editor. Our “First Look” column highlights new gear arrivals at GearJunkie.com. Photos © Monopoint Media LLC

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Managing Editor Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in Denver, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.

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