SkiTech review: Kombi ski gloves and mittens

A review of Kombi ski gloves

While ski technology has dramatically improved over the years, there's one area that still leaves me cold: gloves. I have very poor circulation in my hands, resulting in freezing hands unless I wear mittens.

Kombi iRip Glove

I like the added control that gloves give me, however, so I was excited to try out three different gloves from Kombi Sports. Of the different brands we reviewed, Kombi's gloves may well go farthest in seriously pushing the envelope in technology and design.

The Kombi gloves also include nice touches like the nose wipe (Sounds funny until you're on the slopes and then you discover what a necessity this little bit of fabric technology is...) and a generally lightweight feel without offering lightweight protection from the cold.

Take the Kombi iRip, for example. This is one of the absolute coolest gloves I have ever seen...or heard. The Kombi iRip lets you control your iPod from your glove. It's completely wireless so that you don't have to fumble for your iPod on the chairlift...only to watch it topple into the snow.

It works with a wide range of iPods, though I couldn't get it to work with my iPod Video. (It worked flawlessly with every other iPod we tried, however, so I'm blaming my iPod on this one.) You simply plug the wireless transmitter into your iPod, tuck it away, and go. There is nothing like slamming the moguls to Jane's Addiction ("Mountain Song," anyone?), turning it up on the way down without anything more than nudging the iRip's "joystick."

Very, very cool.

The Kombi iRip kept the other three reviewers toasty warm...but left my fingers a little cold. Remember, though, that I'm a bit of an anomaly here so unless you have a history of freezing fingers this glove should be plenty warm for you. It's made of stretch nylon with X-Loft insulation, a Waterguard waterproof membrane, and Accu-Dri lining (meaning, the lining wicks moisture away from your hands which keeps you dry...and keeps the glove from smelling). This glove is worth its price ($150).

Kombi Freeform Glove

Though less flashy, the Kombi Freeform Glove (MSRP: $100) has some interesting tricks up its sleeve. Two, to be exact. That is, two sleeves.

The Kombi Freeform features Gore's 2-in-1 technology and includes two chambers. (Meaning: You can slide your hand into one of two chambers.) One chamber isn't as warm but gives you an incredible grip. The other is fully insulated and kept even my circulation-poor hands toasty warm. (The other reviewers even found the minimally insulated "grip" chamber plenty warm.) This is the perfect glove to use throughout the season: use the "grip" chamber for Spring skiing and the insulated chamber through the colder months.

Beyond this, the Kombi Freeform features a textured nylon shell with leather reinforcement and the lining is Accu-Dri (no-stink and wicks moisture away). Though polar bear warm it is doesn't feel at all bulky.

Kombi Phoenix Mitten

The last glove we reviewed was actually not a glove at all: it's the Kombi Phoenix Mitten (MSRP: $80). As noted above, I've worn mittens for years but this one was different: it's very lightweight, making it easy to grip, yet super warm (due to a Goose Down insulation and a GoreTex lining).

I loved the little touches to this one, as well. The hidden pocket that lets you put in handwarmers (though I can't imagine needing one). The super-soft fleece cuff. And, of course, that ever-useful nosewipe fabric on the thumb.

I had never worn Kombi gloves or mittens before now. They are exceptional. Each of the gloves or mittens we reviewed were distinct from the others we reviewed from the other brands, reflecting innovative thinking in what a glove should be. I'd highly recommend any of these three models.

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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