Darkfin Black O P S Glove Review
Tough and tactile waterproof glove
I have a difficult relationship with gloves. If I feel the need to put them on then it is either:
– damned cold
– I want/need to protect my hands.
Anybody who knows me knows that I ‘run hot’. -20Celsius is my ideal temperature, and I just start to perspire with any active movement at any higher temperature. Whilst my hands are often the first to get cold, I am usually the last one in a group to put them on. But I always carry them, because maintaining the ability to properly move your fingers, grip objects and have feeling at the tips and palms is often vital to your safety and survival in the outdoors.
These gloves from Darkfin seemed interesting, and promised a lot – “the #1 glove preferred by tough mudders and obstacle racing”. They were waterproof, thin and tough. Hmmm.
If you have ever worn a heavy-duty drysuit then you already sort of know what these gloves feel like – the latex seals at the cuffs of the arm, neck and feet. They are a little thicker than that, but the feel of the inside is similar. The outer is coated with a fine texture for grip, and a large-ish white logo adorns the left glove. They come in a variety of sizes – I went for my usual size and they seemed about right, a little loose but not noticeably so.
There is no seam at the cuff – just a square edge that sits comfortably under a jacket or wetsuit.
Real World Testing
Darkfin claim this is the “Omni Purpose Glove”, so I wanted to try it in as many places as possible. I went for:
- Winter mountaineering
- Mountain Biking
- Car maintenance
- Chopping wood
- Working with chemicals
I think I can safely call that a diverse range of tests.
They are easy to put on over dry hands, but like any latex product they benefit from a dry powder (talc or climbers chalk?) if they are going to be put on wet hands. They fit well in the places they are meant to, and they are tactile enough for fiddly jobs (like changing the brake pads on our truck, for example) without wanting to tear them off in frustration.
They feel most at home holding slippery objects in water, and can grip rough surfaces without fear of tearing them (put any similarity between these and medical disposable latex gloves out of your mind). In cold water they are fine, but they have little insulation value. This was most noticeable on a winter mountaineering trip in Snowdonia – they happily gripped my ice axe, I could don crampons and take photos without worrying and were comfortable BUT they were bloody cold when plunged into snow. Not surprising given how thin they are, and not helped by the fact they have no breathability at all, so a thin layer of sweat had formed inside the glove. I didn’t notice this sweat until I took them off late in the day, and quickly swapped back to my dachsteins…
They are fine. If you need a tough waterproof glove that retains some flexibility and sensitivity for fiddly tasks they are perfect, and the price is about right for the quality of the product. There are a few minor imperfections in the surface but not really noticeable unless you are studying the surface.
They have some limitations in use – very cold weather, working with ropes and very sharp materials are probably beyond their recommended use, but there are plenty of other gloves out there that can be used in those specific cases.
A tough, reliable pair of gloves that do a lot of things very well without costing more than a combo deal at the local cinema.