Many of us tend to think of wind and waterproof jackets and pants as our only defense against rain, snow, sleet and wind. But putting on a pair of rain mitts when temperatures plummet is another great piece of gear. They take up next to no space in your pack, weigh almost nothing, and most importantly, help your body preserve its energy by keeping you warm and dry.
After months of sunny hiking weather, I finally got a chance to test out my Ultralight Rain Mitts by High Tail Designs on a bikepacking trip along the coastlines of Quebec’s spectacular Gaspé Peninsula.
The wind kicked up off the Gulf of Saint Lawrence as the rain fell sideways from the sky. I knew my merino liner gloves wouldn't last long before getting totally soaked.
I reached into the top pocket of my bike’s frame bag, took out these amazing little rain mitts, pulled them over my hands and cinched the drawcord closed — while still pedaling my bike!
As I cruised down the coast, my hands stayed warm, dry and comfortable, even as the precipitation picked up. Instead of being cold for kilometers on end, I was at the perfect temperature. No need to awkwardly try to slip my hands in the sleeves of my rain jacket.
I was able to easily shift gears on my bike and navigate the touchscreen on my GPS navigation device, all while donning my rain mitts!
I was amazed!
As soon as the rain passed, I gave my mitts a good shake and tucked them under a bungee strap near the front of my handlebar harness. In just a few kilometers, they were dry.
For the next two weeks, the weather went back and forth from sun to torrential downpour, and each time it rained, I would reach for my High Tail Designs Ultralight Mitts.
After hundreds of kilometers spent shifting gears, grabbing brakes and gripping my bars, the palms still look as good as new — and the fun rabbit print on the top still puts a smile on my face.
The Dyneema face fabric is starting to get its famous creased look from being folded, rolled and stuffed in my bike bags. Now they really feel like mine.
I've worn the rain mitts both with liners and without, and while they are slightly stiff at first, and a bit less comfortable on bare hands, they still perform great when liners aren't necessary.
Since Dyneema isn't breathable, my hands have definitely gotten sweaty while riding for extended periods of time with the mitts on, but once I'm warmed up to the point of perspiration, I no longer need to wear them.
Because of how lightweight, compact, fun and functional these rain mitts are, they have quickly become a staple piece of adventure gear for me.
Pros of the Ultralight Rain Mitts by High Tail Designs
- Ultralight weight
- Highly water resistant
- Fully taped seams
- Well constructed
- Keeps hands warm and dry
- Super compact
- Durable palm fabric
- Easy, one handed cord closure
- Great size for layering
- Made in USA
- Fun designs and colorways
- Not breathable
- A bit expensive
- Sm/Md: ~ 11.4" x 7.4"
- Lg/Xl: ~ 12.2" x 7.5"
- Sm/Md: 1.07 oz / 30 grams
- Lg/Xl: 1.21 oz / 34 grams
- Sublimated 2.92 oz/sqyd Dyneema Hybrid Fabric
- Sublimated 1.0 oz/sqyd Dyneema Composite Fabric
- 3M 9485pc Dyneema Tape
- 1/8" Shock Cord
- 1/2" Firm Nylon Grosgrain Ribbon
- 2mm Spectra Glove Pull
- Cord Toggle
- Cord Pull
Cost: $78 USD
Cold weather conditions can kick up anytime, even in environments where we least expect it. It's best to plan for that to occur. Putting a pair of rain mitts in your pack is an easy and lightweight way to give yourself peace of mind on trail.
Ali Becker is a freelance adventure writer and narrative storyteller who shares compelling conversations about personal transformations, overcoming limitations, wellness education and adventurous situations. You can follow her rambling adventures on social at @thisisalibecker.