I have a love hate relationship with gloves. I'm picky when it comes to gloves. I want good tactile feel, there's specific features I really like to see and basically I generally end up buying insanely expensive gloves.
A few seasons ago I got a set of Arc'teryx Beta AR gloves ($250CAD) AND a set of Arc'teryx Alpha SV gloves ($300). They had all my favourite features (removable liners, gauntlet that fits over my jacket, 3-ply waterproof breathable construction) and had absolutely the best dexterity of any heavy duty gloves I've ever had. I could tie knots with minimal fuss which is my usual measure.
There was a problem though. My ultra expensive gloves absolutely disintegrated. I've honestly never seen anything like it. I got less than a season's use out of each set before they started falling apart. I switch back and forth between pairs so measuring 'seasons use' is tricky, but I'd say they were pretty shot after the equivalent of about two seasons of use.
I decided that as much as I loved the fancy gloves, this was an addiction I couldn't afford to continue, so I started looking around at alternatives from a few different companies and I've spend the season trying a few different options.
The pair that ended up being my favourite sorta surprised me. I kinda love the Kinco 1927KW gloves (affiliate link, feel free to use this non-affiliate link instead). They violate almost ever rule I have about gloves. Also, they're ridiculously inexpensive. They're $27. That makes them 9% of the cost of my expensive mountaineering gloves. That's right, I could buy 11 pairs Kinco 1927KW gloves for the price of one set of fancy ones.
I like those economics.
Also turns out that maybe that has something to do with the number of ski patrollers and other hard working mountain professionals you see wearing them. I started crowing about these amazing gloves I'd found and my ski patroller buddy Kyle just blankly looked at me and held up the beat to shit pair he's been rocking for ages.
Cheap doesn't mean awesome though so let's look at what really matters.
I'm normally right between a medium and a large for glove sizing and I normally size down to trade dexterity for warmth. The Kinco 1927KW gloves fit a little large so the fit on a set of medium gloves is pretty perfect for me.
Okay, this is a mixed bag to be honest. Either these work for you, or you're going to hate them.
The Kinco 1927KW gloves use a combination of goat skin and cotton based fabric. That fabric means they're awesome for touring below tree line because they actually breathe really well. Above tree line or when skiing fast, you're going to feel the wind cut through them. It's never really bothered me, but if your hands get cold super easily, might be a deal breaker.
The other issue with the cotton back is that it isn't waterproof. Fine for a single day of touring, but when doing a five day trip with Chilko Basecamps, we got absolutely pummeled with snow and my gloves were soaked by the end of the second day. Long story short, they're not a great expedition gloves. I ended up buying a second pair so I can swap back and forth when doing hut-based trips, but if you're spending a week in a tent, once they're wet, they're staying wet.
I normally like gloves with big gauntlets that fit over my jacket, here the jacket fits over the snug knit cuff. I thought I would hate it, but I don't, it's just different. The pro is that I can actually get to my watch more easily. The con is that in windy conditions I need to snug the velcro wrist closure on my jacket down. Not the end of the world, just different than my usual system.
The final issue I've had is that when the gloves are brand new, they sorta suck. These gloves reward abuse. They don't have fancy articulated fingers so when they're new and stiff, the feel and dexterity isn't great. That said, after a bit of use they mold to your hands pretty well, the leather softens up and they become super, super comfortable.
Warmth wise, they're my version of perfect - a bit to warm on the way up (mitigated by that great breathability) and then not quite warm enough on the way down. The result is that I wear them all day, every day.
With respect to dexterity, what can I say - they just can't touch my super expensive mountaineering gloves. For ice climbing or dexterity intensive work I'm still using purpose built stuff, but for skiing? These are perfect. Pole feel is solid, you can work the buckles on your boots and I can even take photos on my SLR.
I used one set almost all season as my go to pair. They're discolored from waterproofing and getting dirty, but other than that they're pretty much new. The insulation has stayed warm despite being soaked and dried. The leather has only a couple of minor skuffs in it and they are more comfortable than when the season started.
I've treated them a few times with Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather which definitely helps keep the leather from saturating and I'm hoping extends their useful life at the same time.
The Dirtbag Bottom Line
Twenty seven dollars.
Why did you even read this? Just go order a set.
They don't have the gauntlets I like, they don't have removable liners and they aren't even totally waterproof - but what they are is warm, comfortable, durable as hell and even have solid dexterity. They do what you need a ski glove to do for day missions and you can get two sets to get you through the weekend for less than one set of just about any other glove out there. This is the best gear discovery I've made in ages and I'm downright embarrassed it took me this long to drink the Kinco koolaide.
Grumpy, cantankerous, wildly opinionated and so much more! Getting really tired on skis is what makes me happy.