Hestra Fält Guide Glove Review – Nordic-Tough Gloves for Winter Lovers
The Swedes know a thing or two about staying warm in cold weather, which is why Hestra is a leading glove manufacturer in the outdoor adventure space. Their Fält Guide Glove is a simple glove designed for moderately cold conditions and with durability in mind. They are made of goat leather cowhide and feature a removable liner made from 100% wool.
I got my hands on a pair and evaluated them on warmth, tactility, and durability. I also thought about their utility–for their use as hiking gloves in addition to other winter sports and activities.
Mittens are warmer than gloves; let’s get that out of the way. But as far as gloves go, the Fält Guide Gloves were pretty warm. I tested these gloves in conditions ranging from 15 F to 50 F, on sunny days and in snow/rain/slush, and my hands stayed warm throughout.
That’s almost all because of the %100 wool removable liner. The liner is terry cloth at the palm and wool-pile at the backhand, which created plenty of loft between the skin and the glove’s leather surface. The result was a comfy experience that kept my hands toasty in sub-freezing conditions even while partaking in low-output sports like downhill skiing.
The removable liner system created a lot of versatility. During skiing and hiking, I removed and reinserted the lining depending on conditions, temperature, and output level. And the versatility didn’t stop there. The Fält Guide Glove is sized to accommodate any liner so that you can pair it with your liner of choice–screen compatible, waterproof, whatever. But Hestra’s liner is hard to beat–it may be wool, but it was soft and comfortable. As a bonus, wool doesn’t stink as much as synthetic fabrics and insulates even when wet.
The long cuffs on this glove also added warmth by preventing wind, rain, and snow from worming their way down between layers. And the impregnated leather stopped any chilly breeze in its tracks. The Fält Guide Gloves shrugged off light rain and snow, but keep in mind that this glove is leather and will need care and, at minimum, regular treatment with Snowseal or a related product. Hestra ships these gloves with a tube of their own proprietary leather treatment. I haven’t used them long enough to judge how this treatment holds up.
All that warmth came with a tradeoff, though. I’ve tested a good deal of hiking gloves, and these weren’t the most tactile in the bunch. Again, that’s the tradeoff for lofty insulation. I could zip zippers and button large buttons in these, but you can forget about tying knots or other fiddly tasks. Even the included wool liners are pretty thick and were not great for high-tactile jobs.
But that’s the beauty of switching in your own liners. If you think you’ll need high sensitivity and fine dexterity, you can use a thinner, more tactically responsive liner glove.
The Hestra Fält Guide Gloves make winter work or outdoor gloves because they are so durable. Continuing trends towards space-age, lightweight materials mean that a lot of outdoor-oriented gear doesn’t stand up to repeated use. I’ve used gloves that were light, waterproof, and breathable but that I had to take off to collect firewood or scramble across rocks because I couldn’t risk tearing them. Not these. The leather is buttery soft, but tough, and has so far stood up to abrasion on rocks, trees, ski poles, snow shovels, and other hand tools.
The stitching is tight and even, and in my time using the glove, I never noticed any threads wiggling loose. Even better, the stitching is doubled in strategic locations–around the thumb, at the cuffs, and across the backhand. As long as you routinely care for the leather, I anticipate these gloves will last any user a long, long time.
The Utility of the Hestra Fält Guide Gloves
Although these gloves are called “guide gloves,” they are fantastic for all-around use in cold conditions. In one day, I used them to shovel my driveway, keep my hands warm while driving to the local ski slope, while downhill skiing, and on a hike with my wife later in the afternoon. The one downside to their usefulness as hiking gloves is that they are less tactically responsive than many competing products.
You can buy Hestra Hestra Fält Guide Gloves at Hestra’s website for $165. That’s an investment, but one we think is worth making for gloves of this warmth and potential longevity.