Sealskinz Winter Hat, Belgian Style Cycling Hat and Activity Gloves

We’ve been using Sealskinz product for the past year, as part of our ‘Gear for a Year’ Challenge, and had become fans of the brand. But would their new hats and gloves carry on the high standards we’d become used to? Here’s what we reckon…

First we’ll list the 3 different bits of kit, and what Sealskinz has to say about it;

Winter Hat

£27.95

Setting the standard for waterproofing your head in cold conditions.

• Totally waterproof, windproof and breathable

• Durable Ripstop outer shell fabric

• Fully welded and taped seams

• Flexible, adjustable peak keeps rain and/or sun out of eyes

• Drop down ear flaps

• Micro fleece lining for warmth and moisture control

• Elasticated size adjuster

THERMAL RATING 4

Belgium Style Cycling Hat

Waterproof, breathable membrane. Classic style seven panel hat with ribbed ear band, the ultimate cold and wet weather training hat.

Activity Gloves

£40.00

Great performance, all season gloves featuring good insulation and a stretch back for a closer fit and increased flexibility.

• Anatomic design

• Pre-curved box finger construction

• 3D ‘natural feel’ providing flexibility

• Stretch backs for close fit

• Goatskin leather palms – soft and supple providing better grip

• Silicone contact point mapping on index finger

• Reflective piping on back

• Extended stretch cuffs with soft closures to customise fit

THERMAL RATING 4

We Say - For the first stage of the review, I took the gloves outside, where the grass was still frosty and the temperature about 5 degrees. I squatted and put my palms face down into the frost. Stayed there for 5 minutes. My fingers weren’t very cold when I stopped, so the gloves had insulated me well, and my skin definitely wasn’t wet either. I found the gloves comfy, fitting very well, and I could see that the silicone contact point on the inside of the index finger would come in handy for when I was using my camera on a really cold day, as it would add that extra bit of grip and feeling that would make operating the controls easier.

Next up I took the gloves indoors, got a bowl of water and stuck my hands in it. I already knew that Sealskinz kit is waterproof but I thought I’d give these a test (I was testing Sealskinz socks by immersing them in water at the same time so I thought, why not give the gloves a go as well). I kept them there, underwater, for 5 minutes. I could see the water rolling off the material as I moved my hands around. When I pulled them out and took the gloves off, my hands were still dry, as I thought they would be. So, that was the waterproof quality of the gloves tested; and they’d passed with flying colours.

The final test for the gloves was to see how the fared on a very cold day. It was minus one when I wore them out; they kept my fingers warm for about 90 minutes and allowed me to operate my camera as normal. Great feeling through the goatskin leather, I must say, I could play about with my camera exposures and ISO readings with no accuracy issues. After 90 minutes my fingers did get cold though, and I often had to bunch them up into my palms to get warm again until I stopped playing with the camera and was ready to move on and generate some more heat. An added bonus which Sealskinz don’t mention is that whilst the majority of the glove is either goatskin leather (the palms) or a tougher nylon (the back) the bit on the back of the thumb is very soft, tailor made for wiping your runny nose on. Whenever I’m out on a very cold day my nose runs, I can’t be the only one I’m sure, so this feature will be pleasing to many.

Now to the hats. I wore them out on a very rainy, cold day at first, they each got about 90 minutes test. It wasn’t a fierce storm that day, just regular, steady rainfall. Neither hat let in the rain during this time, but, I kind of knew that would be the case anyway. I didn’t have to really do that test, or tip a bucket of water over my head, to check that they was waterproof. I already know that all Sealskinz product is, up to a certain extent (after about 3 hours out in torrential rain, they generally start to let water in). The real test I was intersted in came the next day, when it was freezing cold and windy. First up I tried the Winter Hat.

It felt comfy enough as I pulled it on, was quite snug actually, covering my ears and back of neck nicely. It looked ok, and kept me warm enough for 90 minutes (I guess the outside temperature, with wind chill factored in, was minus 2). After that I checked out the Belgian Hat, but that didn’t keep the wind out as good as the Winter Hat does, so I swopped back for the Winter Hat again for the hour long walk back home.

So, to the Belgian Style Cycling Hat. I don’t cycle much but I do walk, and run, and that’s what I would be using this hat for. Pulling it on straight after the Winter Hat, I felt that whilst it didn’t keep the wind off me as much, it was much more cosy feeling. Probably due to the knitted-style, soft material. It didn’t cover quite as much of my neck as the Winter Hat, thats why I felt the wind more, but I immediately knew that it would be a far more effective running hat. And so it proved to be. I wore it on a 10km run later that same day and it kept me warm, even though the wind was howling off the sea, and I didn’t overheat, or sweat much, which you can sometimes do if you’re running a long way with such a hat on. It’s not actually going to take the place of my other Sealskinz running hat though, as that is so brilliant, but I imagine this one is perfect for cyclists (so I’m going to pass it on to my brother in law, he cycles a lot).

I like the moveable peak of the cap, it easily flipped down or up, really handy if you’re moving fast and turn into the sun, or away from it, and want to either shield your eyes or open up your field of vision.

Summary - Because we’ve been using Sealskinz product for the past year, as part of our ‘Gear for a Year’ Challenge, we already know it lasts well when used for a long period of time and that it’s waterproof. In these latest tests these products have all proved themselves useful in different ways; the Activity Gloves look great, were warm and allowed me to operate the camera well whilst wearing them, the Belgian Style hat was cosy and good for running (would be even better for cycling, I think) and the Winter Hat was, well, very suitable for a very cold winters day. All in all this new Sealskinz gear is very good stuff, and it’ll keep you dry and warm, for sure. Well worth checking out.

To find out more about Sealskinz and to see their full range of clothing please check their website out

www.sealskinz.com

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