I dislike gloves, and having warm hands I’m often able to get away without them, but that’s not always the case. Skiing, cycling, and hunting are all examples of activities where cold exposure is increased and the demands for dexterity heightened. The following are two examples of gloves which provide maximum weather protection with minimal inhibition of dexterity.
The Phantom is 100% Polartec Wind Pro, with silicone dot palm. The Mont Blanc combines a laminate, windproof synthetic back with a light stretchy palm material. As is obvious, the Mont Blanc is thinner and much less bulky than the Phantom, which makes it my favorite of the two when I can get away with it. The genius of the Mont Blanc is that the back is very windproof right where you need it, while the palm and inside of the fingers breath well to fight sweat and fit very closely. I wore the Mont Blancs every day hunting in October and November because they don’t impede trigger feel or slow down bolt manipulation in the least. For the same reason, these gloves give a great grip on handbars.
The Mont Blancs get almost all their warmth from windproofing, so when the ambient temperatures are low I switch to the Phantoms. The Phantoms aren’t as windproof, so when it’s both cold and windy I’ll add a shell mitt of some type. The less-tight fit of the Phantoms also promotes good blood flow when it’s darn cold. Wind Pro has a great dry time for the amount of warmth and wind protection it provides, providing a nice counterpoint to the Mont Blanc, whose only issue is the slow drying laminate material.
Durability is always a concern with gloves, one reason I try to use fairly inexpensive gloves as my mainstay. At 20 bucks MSRP, the Mont Blanc is an unmatched value. At 45, the Phantom is much less so. Both are reasonably, but not exceptionally, durable. I had low expectations for the Mont Blanc finger and palm material, but aisde from the touch screen material on the index fingers wearing through, both pairs I own have survived the winter with no holes, which is impressive The Phantoms have fuzzed out quite a bit on the fingers, and one thumb picked up a hole of unknown origin, which is acceptable.
The Mont Blancs I recommend heartily; indeed they’re my favorite gloves of all time, in spite of the poor dry time. The Phantoms are a bit expensive given their modest durability, but they are well constructed of a great material. Combine a pair of each with a good shell mitten and you have a versatile system for less than the cost of a single pair of mid-level Arc’teryx gloves.