Living in the south has its benefits, among some drawbacks – excessive heat being primary among them. However, we still get a few months of cold and wet weather, and while I’m very hot natured in general, I have a thing for cold weather gear – good jackets, flannels, wool socks, etc. So when I went through a period of my life when I was traveling to the Philadelphia area for a week every month, I decided to buy a good pair of gloves.
I knew I wanted mittens, as I don’t believe a traditional 5-finger glove will ever produce real warmth. Your body is what’s producing the warmth, so isolating anything from that source is never going to work very well. I settled on these LL Bean Buckskin Chopper Mittens. A tried and true glove, these have been made for over 50 years. They’re not flashy, but they’re warm and functional.
These mittens are constructed in 2 separate, removable layers. The outer layer is a decently thick deerskin hide, stitched together in a no-frills “moccasin” pattern. The inner glove is wool – 100% wool on the outside, 80/20 blend on the inside for durability.
The construction itself is classic, and very smart. Wool is not very durable by itself – so a 100% wool glove would not last very long. Adding 20% nylon on the interior where your hands touch adds durability, and the deerskin outer layer protects the wool from deteriorating over time. The wool gives you warmth and softness, the deerskin gives you protection from wind, snow and rain. One might say the wool and deerskin fit together perfectly…like a glove. I know, I know.
If you don’t have some already, I highly recommend picking up a few pair of leather gloves for all-season outdoor work. I try to always have a pair or two in my truck and garage, and they come in handy often. This pair from Wells Lamont is inexpensive and will serve you well. The leather on the Buckskin Chopper Mittens is very nice – supple and thick. In nearly 5 years of use, it has held up very well (though it could use some conditioning).
Overall, I love these gloves. I don’t get the chance to wear them very often, but when I do I am always pleasantly surprised. The wool interior looks brand new (I think LL Bean actually sells replacements if you burn through the wool), and I actually have quite a bit of range of motion with both layers on. This has been a carry for me in bad weather for many years and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon.