Thursday, 23 March 2017

Montane Minimus Mitt first look

After recently discovering that the synthetic leather reinforced palms on my old (must be a decade by now) Terra Nova/Extremities Tuff Bags had started to disintegrate and was leaving black specs on everything I touched with them, I thought it was about time they were replaced. Given that they had had a faultless service record in all that time I was just going to replace them like for like until much to my horror, I discovered that they were out of stock everywhere.

Forced to start looking at alternatives I was quickly seduced by the Minimus Mitt from Montane. They’re made using the well regarded Pertex Shield fabric with fully taped seams so should be perfectly water and wind proof while still being very breathable. Design wise they are very similar to the old Tuff Bags although I doubt that there’s much you could do to improve on such a simple design. Montane have however managed to cut the weight significantly compared to the Tuff Bags(72g) with my size large pair of Minimus Mitts tipping the scales at 52g with the stuff sack and 45g without. They are oversized to fit over warmer gloves and they also fit nicely over a simple powerstretch glove just like their predecessors did with a decent length cuff. The cuff also has a one hand operated pull cinch to seal out the elements.

I suspect weight reduction comes down to two major differences. 1st Montane have swapped out the Tuff Bags overkill strap adjuster for a lighter and simpler elasticated wrist and 2nd there’s no reinforcing material on the outside of the palm. Given that all mine ever really gripped was the handles of my trekking poles or ice axe head I don’t see any issues here. It is worth pointing out that my old mitts are only failing as the material on the palms is very old, dried out, cracked and separating from its backing material. If they’d had a real leather reinforced palm I suspect they’d be fine.

I haven’t had the Minimus Mitt on the hills yet but they are nicely constructed with tidy stitching and neat seam taping. They’re very similar to a design that’s worked well for me for years so I don’t foresee any issues but if I do come across any once they’ve had a bit of real world use I’ll report back.

A couple of points worth noting though if you are considering these... My old Tuff Bags were a size medium and I find that the comparable size in the Minimus Mitt is a large. Remember that the palm is unlined so I’d look elsewhere if durability is a concern for your usage (see above).

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