The North Face Apex+ E-Tip Glove and Montana Mitt Review

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Product name: The North Face Apex+ E-Tip Glove and The North Face Montana Mitt

Basic summary: Two rugged options to protect your hands from the harshest winter elements. The Apex+ E-Tip combines traditional glove styling with ClimateBlock fabric technologies to provide outstanding insulation without excess bulk, and all five fingertips are compatible with smart screens. The Montana Mitt is a two-in one design of separately insulated fingers inside a mitten shell that is waterproof and breathable for maximum protection and insulation.

MSRP:

  • Apex+ E-Tip Glove: $55
  • Montana Mitt: $70

Features:

Apex+ E-Tip Glove:

The North Face Apex+ E-Tip Glove

  • Shell fabric: TNF Apex ClimateBlock with DWR
  • Lining fabric: brushed tricot 100 g Heatseeker fabric
  • Palm fabric: TNF Apex ClimateBlock with UR Powered conductive technology
  • Synthetic suede palm overlay with silicone gripper print
  • Heatseeker insulation provides extra warmth
  • Five-finger UR Powered touchscreen capability
  • Articulated fingers keep hands in their natural, relaxed position
  • Polyurethane tab at cuff for easy on/off

Montana Mitt:

  • Shell fabric: 100% nylon oxford
  • Lining fabric: 100% polyester Sherpa fleece on back of hand, 100% polyester brushed tricot on palm
  • Palm fabric: synthetic leather
  • Insulation: 100 g Heatseeker fabric on palm, 200G Heatseeker on back of hand
  • Waterproof and breathable DryVent fabric insert
  • Removable Wrist Oven leash with strap pocket for handwarmer
  • Articulated fit of interior glove
  • Ladderlock wrist cinch keeps heat in

The North Face Montana Mitt

Deep dive:

It’s a total bummer when cold fingers are the downfall of a great winter’s run. Unfortunately the fingers can be the most difficult part of the body to keep warm, because they’re taking on wind when swinging back and forth, but there’s very little active movement of the fingers themselves to generate their own heat. Many runners also experience diminished circulation to the extremities when running, adding yet another unwanted challenge to cold-weather outings.

If you’re one of those runners who can never seem to keep your fingers warm in the winter, The North Face offers two great options for avoiding the dreaded chilly pain of cold-weather aerobic activities. They are both packed with a number of the company’s patented technologies that combine high performance and comfort while they’re busy protecting you from the cold.

The North Face Apex+ E-Tip Glove

The Apex E-Tip glove is a traditional running glove that uses Apex ClimateBlock, the most protective fabric TNF makes which is virtually waterproof and windproof while also maintaining a comfortable level of breathability. The interior lining uses the company’s proprietary Heatseeker insulation material that is very thin and compressible to allow flexibility, with a great warmth to weight ratio. The combination of these two fabrics provides great weather resistance without excess bulk; we didn’t have any difficulty operating zippers, watch buttons, or headlamps while using the gloves.

In addition to the ClimateBlock layer, each finger of the Apex E-Tip has a covering of UR Powered treatment, a patented technology from a partner company who specializes in cold weather functional accessories. The UR Powered treatment covers the entire surface of the fingers, so you can use touchscreens in the same way you would without gloves on, including rotation and in/out zoom capacities. Gloved fingers are obviously more bulky than naked fingers, so there’s a bit of precision lacking, but if you’re just trying to operate your camera or answer a phone call, it’s no problem with the Apex E-Tip gloves.

The North Face Montana Mitt

The more robust option from TNF is the Montana Mitt, which is primarily designed as a ski mitt but has great crossover utility for aerobic winter sports. Mittens inherently trap more heat from the fingers, but they sacrifice some dexterity in order to do so; that’s the case with the Montana Mitt also, but it’s not as bad as we anticipated. We were still able to operate most of our headlamp buttons and watch functions, but it takes a bit of focus to get your finger placement right. The mitt provides full wrist coverage and has two cinch straps to prevent cold air from intruding at the wrist or forearm. The downside of this is that it’s hard to see your watch when wearing the mitt, even if you wear it over the outside of your jacket.

Weather resistance on the Montana Mitt is provided by a layer of DryVent, TNF’s fully waterproof, windproof and breathable fabric; the outer surface of the fabric repels water, but multi-layer construction allows water vapor to pass through from the inside to the outside. The glove component of the Montana Mitt uses the same Heatseeker fabric used on the Apex E-Tip gloves, at the same 100g thickness on the palm side, but doubled to 200g on the back of the hand. It has the same articulated construction that makes finger range of motion easy inside the mitt. The nylon and synthetic leather outer shell further block wind and retain heat, but are slightly coarse against the skin when it’s time to wipe sweat off your face.

If the fabric construction still isn’t enough to keep your hands warm, the Montana Mitt comes with a removable wrist leash that comes from ski design, but the leash also has a small elastic pouch that is the perfect size for small handwarmer packets (not included) that can heat up the inside of the glove like a furnace. If you choose not to use the leashes, they can be stowed out of the way inside the mitt above the back of the hand, or they can be removed entirely.

Conclusion

For those of us who have difficulty keeping fingers warm in harsh conditions, The North Face Apex E-Tip Glove and Montana Mitt are welcome additions to our winter running wardrobe. The gloves allow more dexterity and smartphone compatibility, but the mitts provide the ultimate protection when conditions are too harsh to worry about fussing with your phone.

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About Author

Donald is a physical therapist, California native, barefoot aficionado, and father of three with more than 25 years of experience in endurance sports. He was a collegiate rower at UCLA, then dabbled in marathons and Ironman-distance triathlons before falling in love with ultras in the early 2000s. His favorite locations to run include Marin County, CA, and the Sierra Nevada mountains, and he loves exploring America's National Parks. When he's not training for ultramarathons, he enjoys hiking or slacklining with his family in Monterey County, CA.

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