About a year ago, we reviewed the Joe Rocket Windchill gloves. Looking at the Windchill gloves fresh from the wrapper, they appeared to be high quality cold-weather gloves. But the proof of the product, as they say, is how well they perform and hold up in use. Here at Ultimate MotorCycling, we like to provide our readers with news they can use – and long-term reviews can help do that.
In the case of the Joe Rocket Windchill gloves, we put these into services about a year ago. In that time, they have seen service as cold-weather motorcycle riding gloves, which is what they were primarily designed for. But here in the snowy, cold upper Midwest, we do a lot of stuff outdoors in winter that requires good, warm, tough gloves. Snow removal is one of those necessary evils that put gloves to the test.
Using a snowblower, snow shovel, house roof snow rake, snow scoops and other snow removal implements of slow torture not only tests how warm gloves are, but how waterproof, durable and comfortable they are. In addition, snowmobile riding can present some unique challenges for gloves. All this is in addition to regular, routine glove use when driving a car, working on the car or other outdoor chores and day-to-day wear.
I’ve used the Joe Rocket Windchill gloves in all those applications last winter, this winter and during cold weather in between. Admittedly, that may be using the Windchills in some applications not the focus of their design, but I figure that they are not cheap and should be able to take it. Besides, one way to find a product’s weaknesses is to stress it out up to and beyond what it may be expected to handle in normal use. In short, abuse it a little.
First, a little review of the product itself. The Windchill is a gauntlet style glove with both a hook and loop closure wrist retention strap and a toggle and drawcord around the top of the cuff to seal cold drafts out. A leather accordion panel at the wrist assures a nice, snug fit around the wrist, even if the wrist strap is not tightened.
The body of the glove is all drum-dyed cowhide leather with no vents, textile stretch or mesh panels — it is cold weather gear. Leather reinforcements are located across the palm to the base of the thumb and along the edge of the glove up the little finger. High density flexible knuckle protectors are integrated in the back of the glove and articulated FullFlex leather expansion panels at the knuckles of each finger ease finger flexion.
The fingers are pre-curved to further aid grip comfort. Gel panels at the heel of the palm and edge of the little finger are intended to soak up any handlebar vibration. The thumb of the left glove features a neoprene visor wiper.
Inside the leather exterior is a Drytech waterproof midliner and 100g Thinsulate insulation. A plush polyester liner covers the entire interior of the glove, adding to the warm feel and keep all seam stitching from causing friction or pressure on palms or fingers.
Now, a look at how the gloves have performed and held up in use from riding. Visible surface wear in terms of loss of color, surface finish degradation or other signs of wear are nil. One of the key indicators of early glove failure I’ve noticed is when stitching in the palm or inside surfaces of the fingers wears through or starts to unravel allowing seam separation. There is none of that with the Windchills. No seam failures are visible in the fingers or back side of the gloves, either.
Despite heavy snow removal chores and being worn in snowfall and rainfall, the gloves have never allowed my hands to get wet from external water sources, be it snow or rain for that matter. I have found no water intrusion, even at the gloves’ many seams.
The drawcord on each gauntlet and hook and loop retention strap are intact and the hook and loop material still holds as tenaciously as the day the gloves arrived. One of my pet peeves with any product that uses hook and loop closures is the use of cheap materials that quickly lose the ability to hook effectively, leaving you with tabs and flaps that flop around in the wind when they should be holding something closed. I can report the drawcords are intact but I rarely use them since the hook and loop wrist strap does the job alone.
The insulation in the gloves is still uniformly effective with no cold spots in palm or fingers, even on the working surfaces of the gloves applied directly to steel handlebars with no grips (as in my snowblower and snow rake) in sub-zero temperatures. The leather stays soft and pliable, the pre-curved finger design and knuckle flexion panels work well and the plush liner is still intact, making the gloves comfortable for wear and gripping functions for hours at a time—an important feature since maneuvering a snowblower has been an unfortunately large part of the gloves’ service life.
Comfort is further aided by the gel cushioning in the heel of the palm and little finger and that material does help reduce the vibration from the handlebars—which is worse on my old snowblower than most any motorcycle these days.
At a MSRP of $79.99, the Joe Rocket Windchill gloves are not the most expensive cold weather riding gloves you can find, but they aren’t the cheapest, either. After about a year of hard use, they have held up remarkably well and look to have a lot more use left in them. We’ll keep you posted. For more information, visit Joe Rocket.