Good heated gloves have long been a holy grail in the outdoors industry. New this year, a small company called Chaval makes a pair that are the best we have tested yet. But get ready for the sticker shock: They cost $390.
The Chaval Response-XRT really does work. I’ve put these gloves through some harsh days of below-zero, ice beard, high-wind downhill skiing, as well as some lovely 20-degree bluebird days, and I have been universally comfortable.
A unique feature among heated gloves, the “alphaHEAT” technology detects the temperature inside the glove and moderates the amount of power output automatically. This is accomplished by proprietary “micro-regulating nano technology” that powers up the heating element only in cold areas.
The high-tech heat regulation works; when riding a chairlift, the heat seems to crank up right when my fingers cool down. On the downhills, the gloves cool down when my hands heat up.
This is key; hands do not overheat and batteries don’t waste power. The heating works for a full day of downhill skiing on one charge.
These are nice, heavy leather gloves even without the heating element running. I’ve worn them several days without charge (I’m forgetful and sometimes don’t plug them in) and they stack up with most non-heated gloves on the market. They are made of leather with a waterproof/windproof/breathable membrane and 3.5 oz Climashield APEX insulation.
To power on, press the “play” button that will then glow. Just be prepared to repeatedly tell curious chairlift companions that, no, they don’t play music.
The Gear: Chaval Response-XRT
Made In: Bainbridge Island, Washington, of U.S. and foreign-sourced components.
Where To Test It: Bitter cold ski slopes, winter hikes, snowmobiles, hunting, ice fishing or anywhere cold fingers are a problem.
Who’s It For: Particularly helpful for those with bad circulation and prone to cold fingers.
Boring But Important: Chaval “alphaHEAT” constantly adjusts to keep hands comfortable using paper-thin polymer heating film with a proprietary “nanotech programming” that enables independent temperature regulation in each finger.
Important Specs: Chaval uses flat, flexible, conductive “traces” in place of wires to transmit power inside the glove. The glove is powered by an internal Lithium-Polymer battery that is recharged with a wall-plugged charger that is somewhat bulky (a box the size of a running shoe).
Killer! No need to turn the gloves on and off, the “alphaHEAT” technology senses and regulates the internal temperature for long-lasting warmth.
The charging system will simultaneously recharge and dry the interior of the gloves.
Flaws: Price: at $390, these are a big investment.
The gloves can easily turn themselves on when packed in a bag, draining the battery before use. You can unplug the heating element from the internal battery, but that leaves the connection prone to damage (I damaged one of the small connectors in this way, although it hasn’t yet affected performance).
Chaval warranties the gloves for just one-year from purchase.
First Impressions: Luxurious, heavy leather gloves with electric heating and WHOA! That got warm quick!
Who Should Buy It: People prone to cold fingers with thick wallets.
Contact Brand/More Beta: Chaval USA
—Sean McCoy is managing editor. Our “First Look” column highlights new gear arrivals at GearJunkie.com. © Monopoint Media LLC