During the 16/17 ski season I was researching down product design, mostly in order to design/create my own half bag and some other more “simple” products like down mitts. Throughout my research on DIY forums I came across one company over and over which DIYers held at very high regard, PHD or Peter Hutchinson Designs. I contacted them about my half bag design and ended up purchasing several of their down products, including the Mera Down Mitt. After using this mitt over the last two months, with 40 days of skiing, I feel I can give them an honest review.
Simple Down Mitts
There really isn’t much to the Mera Down Mitt and it is one of the reasons I love them. They have 100% wind-proof/water-resistant outer fabric, wrist cords (“idiot loops”), Lycra cuffs and are filled with 800 European Goose down. They are super light at 96g (mine actually came in at the advertised weight) and compact smaller than a hardball or flatter than my smartphone.
Although simple, these mitts get the job done and then some. I have successfully used them at -30C while skinning/skiing and down to -40C while testing my new PHD Xero Half Bag, (admittedly I have a “warm” body type so results may vary for other people). Layering them with my waterproof shell mitt increases their warmth and the shell provides extra durability. I have used them without the shell while doing some light bushwhacking and tree skiing without any issues, the P9 outer fabric (a coated ripstop nylon) seems to be tough enough but the shell mitt provides extra piece of mind.
Freedom to Preform While Warm
My favourite thing about the Mera Down Mitt is that I don’t have to take them off to use my camera, phone, GPS, video equipment, etc. Touch screens on my smart phone/GPS work well. My camera on/off button, which is basically impossible to hit using my other gloves/mitts, is a breeze and using video equipment, like my gimbal, in cold weather has never been warmer. There has been many times in the past when I would not bother taking pictures/video because I didn’t want to remove my big warm mitts on cold days; thanks to the Mera Down Mitts I no longer have to choose between warm hands and “getting the shot”. Holding ski poles, ice axes and racking glacier gear (haven’t done crevasse rescue just yet with them) is also simple while still providing overall warmth. This miracle seems to come down to the fact that you can crush/push the down out of the way when you need to apply direct/precise pressure and afterwards the down lofts back with ease. I have found that when gripping onto cold items for an extended period of time, a ski pole for example, your palm will start to get a chill, layering with my shell mitt fixes this slight drawback.
Long Idiot Loops
When I first got these mitts I thought the wrist cords or “idiot loops” were way too long, I actually remember laughing at them! But after using them in the field I’m now thinking of putting longer loops on my shell mitts. The longer loops make one of our most basic tasks easier, peeing. Before I would hope to aim away from my dangling mitts or have to take the loops off, which defeats their use. With the longer loops I can easily tuck the glove under my armpit and go about my business.
Forever In My Pack
After it’s all said and done the Mera Down Mitts will be found in my pack regardless of trip type, time of year or weather forecast. At 96g there is no reason not to carry them and with the bonus of allowing me to preform with my equipment better I wouldn’t think twice about purchasing these again.
For more information about this PHD product please visit https://www.phdesigns.co.uk/mera-down-mitts