Outdoor Research Olympus Touchscreen Gloves (Men's)

4_5stars

Outdoor Research Men’s Olympus Sensor Glove

,,,,,

Price: $175

The Outdoor Research Olympus Sensor touchscreen gloves are, quite simply, a thing of beauty. Adding to their growing stable of remarkable gloves, these are some of OR's warmest and most rugged touchscreen compatible gloves, which are geared toward the most serious of backcountry enthusiasts and professionals.

00000

The Outdoor Research Olympus Sensor touchscreen gloves are, quite simply, a thing of beauty. Adding to their growing stable of remarkable gloves, these are some of OR’s warmest and most rugged touchscreen compatible gloves, which are geared toward the most serious of backcountry enthusiasts and professionals.

Conductivity

Despite their bulk, these gloves work flawlessly. They easily operate a touchscreen device – even if it’s a smaller phone screen – with little to no pressure, allowing the user to accurately tap, type and swipe.  OR is able to achieve this functionality through the use of their trademarked Sensor leather, which on these gloves is integrated into the thumb and forefinger. While typically I no longer review gloves that don’t have conductivity in all five fingers, I make an exception for niche products like backcountry gear, where necessary functionality can nearly always be accomplished with just two. On the model I tried out, my finger tip was at least a quarter of an inch from the tip of the glove and it still worked flawlessly.  As I don’t have the newest iPhone yet, I’m not sure what this would mean for 3D touch functionality.

Construction

Outdoor Research has a history of excellent construction and the OR Olympus Sensor touchscreen gloves are no exception.  As with every model that I’ve tried from this company, the stitching is robust, the materials are thoughtfully chosen, and the workmanship is exceptional. For this type of glove, where there’s a good chance you’re going to be miles from the closest shelter and the consequences of faulty equipment is serious… or worse, it’s imperative that they not fail.  Without question, these perform.

Additionally, like all of OR’s gloves, these benefit from their ‘Infinite Guarantee’. This means that they are guaranteed forever.  Which is a long time.  Especially, as Woody Allen once noted, towards the end.

Warmth  and Dexterity

The Olympus Sensors, are rated from 10F/-12C down to -20F/-29C.  This is similar to, for example, the Outdoor Research Northback Sensor gloves, though these felt a little bit warmer to me.  That said, to wear these gloves at the lower end of this range I would need some liners given my hands get colder faster than a lot of people (not to mention the fact that -20F is insanely cold).  I wore mine at the top of a mountain when it was 0F/-17C and my fingers did begin to feel it.

With incredible warmth comes less flexibility.  That’s simply the way it goes. However, given the amount of insulation and material these gloves pack in, they are still completely functional for what they are intended.  I was able to use all of the zippers and buttons on my jackets and shell pants and had no problem operating the levers, ratchets and clips on my splitboard, helmet and poles. I also did some downhill snow biking and was able to operate the brakes with no problem.  With regard to dexterity when using a touchscreen device, they are also fit for purpose.  This means you can make calls, easily type a text or email, locate yourself on your favorite GPS app, and zoom in and out to see how far it is to the summit or base of the couloir.

Design

The design of these gloves is exceptional and OR clearly put a lot of thought into each piece to make them not only nice to look at (they are the coolest gloves I’ve seen from OR), but incredibly functional. It’s important that all of the parts and the adjustment features be designed large enough to be easily manipulated by less nimble gloved fingers and these fit the bill.

In addition to being windproof and waterproof, these gloves are adjustable at the wrist and end of the gauntlet cuff to ensure that snow stays where snow belongs. The inclusion of large, though unobtrusive pull loops, wrist leashes, and even a nose wipe pad on the backside of each thumb are also nice.  Particularly cool is the extra padding on the knuckles and top of the hand for added protection when hands might need to bat a tree limb out of the way or lean on rough terrain.  While there are ample places to attach the gloves to a carabiner for skinning uphill, all of those spots appear to be toward the wrist and gauntlet.  For that reason, I wish they had included a finger carabiner loop like on the OR Highcamp gloves with touchscreen liners so that you could have the openings facing down while attached to avoid precipitation from getting in.

I have only two criticisms of these gloves.  First, it would be great if they had  a little bit of extra grip on the palms.  Second, I’d like to see full five-finger conductivity.

While OR has started to incorporate grip in some of its models like the PL 400 Sensor Gloves and PL 400 Sensor Mitts (as well as the liners for the Highcamp mitts) it’s not yet found its way to many of their higher end models.  Since they are made specifically to be handling slick little touchscreen devices like smartphones and GPS trackers (both of which are easily dropped into deep powder), a bit of silicon on the palms would go an incredibly long way to avoid frantic digging through the snow for vital lost electronics.

With regard to five-finger conductivity, while it’s not a necessity at this point in order to use the most relevant functionality for backcountry sport, it’s not clear why they wouldn’t include functionality in all of the fingers in the event that this changes in the future.  After all, these gloves are guaranteed for life and technology moves fast.

Finally, I’m not sure why, but there is not a women’s version of these gloves.  It’s a shame, as I know some women who love backcountry snow sports and would love a pair of these!

Overall Value and Conclusion

The Outdoor Research Olympus Sensor touchscreen gloves are extremely warm, rugged, and exceptionally well constructed gloves that are great for some serious backcountry action.  While you certainly could use these for hitting the regular slopes, there are some less expensive gloves, also from OR, with fewer bells and whistles that would certainly suffice.  On the other hand, these look pretty damn cool, so nobody is going to fault you for going for some lift cred.

Specs

Materials

Shell 1

  • 90% nylon
  • 10% elastane

Palm

  • 100% goat leather

Thumb and Index Finger

  • 100% touchscreen compatible Sensor (TM) leather

Lining 1: Face

  • 40% wool
  • 35% acrylic
  • 25% polyester

Lining 1: Back

  • 100% polyester

Lining 2

  • 100% nylon

Insulation

  • 100% polyester

Insert

  • 100% ePTFE (a proprietary polymer from Gore)

Styles

  • One style

Sizing

  • Extra Small
  • Small
  • Medium
  • Large
  • Extra Large

Gender

  • unisex

Washing

  • Machine wash cold, separately;
  • Powdered detergent;
  • Do not bleach;
  • Do not use fabric softener
  • Drip dry;
  • Do not machine dry;
  • Do not dry clean.

About Outdoor Research

Outdoor Research (OR) began in the early 1980s in Seattle, Washington. Today, as outdoor enthusiasts who practice what they preach, OR focuses on creating functional products for ‘human powered adventure’, much of which is informed by their legion of “Lab Rats” (users who give product feedback), who send their suggestions directly to their product development department.  I reached out to OR with a number of questions and found their staff/PR team to be open and responsive.  This company has a good soul, a positive message, and they care about what they do.

Beyond creating wonderful products in niche areas, OR stands behind their work with OR’s Infinite Guarantee.     Yes, that’s right, it’s guaranteed forever.

Conclusion Rating
Conductivity
4 stars
Construction
5 stars
Warmth
5 stars
Dexterity
4 stars
Design
4 stars
Overall Value
4 stars

Tags : ,,,,,,,