I purchased my first pair of SealSkinz Thermal Liner Gloves in September 2009 from Probikekit (PBK) for a landed cost of AU$11.50 with the intention of using them as a dry weather winter riding glove here in Perth, Western Australia where we have relatively mild winters (no snow for example). This review reflects my usage of the gloves over an approximate four month period, aka the BackpackGearTest.org approach.
SealSkinz indicate on their website that the liners
are specifically designed to be worn with SealSkinz gloves and socks to give an additional layer of insulation. They are made from Merino for extra comfort and wicking performance.
However on the retail packaging they state that
these gloves may be worn by themselves or under SealSkinz waterproof breathable gloves. They will wick away moisture, helping to keep your hands warm and dry.
Therefore it should be noted that my usage maybe at variance with SealSkinzâ€™s stated design usage as I use my gloves as winter riding gloves in combination with my summer gloves, i.e., the summer gloves are worn over the liner gloves.
The gloves are 98% merino wool and 2% lycra.
The liner gloves come in one size, the unambiguous one size fits all. For me I tend to take a large glove and find that liner glove as received fits comfortably. I assume that the lycra in the fibre mix provides a degree of stretch.
- Wash at 40 C
- Do not dry clean
- Do not iron
- Tumble dry cool
- Drip dry
FIELD TESTING (Two months on the bike)
As I received my first pair of these gloves in September 2009 I used them for the reminder of the 2009 spring (September and October) and then I started using them again in the autumn and winter of 2010, approximately from April/May 2010.
In 2009 I found them effective in the cool morning rides (temperatures can drop down to around 1 C) when used in combination with my summer riding gloves and hence I like the â€œlayingâ€ approach that they offer me, i.e., I can just ride with the summer gloves or with the summer gloves in combination with the liners. For me this is a much better approach than using just winter gloves such as my Ground Effect Chipolatas as often I may not need the extra layer of protection (read warmth) on my ride later in the day (e.g., commuting). So I put them away in late 2009, happy with the liners and the concept.
Fast forward to April/May 2010 and I got the gloves out and thought that they felt tighter than I recalled from the previous year. It turns out that they had shrunk. Okay they where tight and a bit uncomfortable, but still wearable so I persisted with them for a month or so, when one glove developed a hole of its own doing just under the thumb.
At this point I contacted SealSkinz in the UK who asked me to return the gloves which I duly did. They advised that they had shrunk because I had washed them at a temperature above 30 C (the packaging says to wash at 40 C), but as I was returning them from Australia they sent me two new pair as a sign of good will. So thanks SealSkinz for your customer service. Canâ€™t complain about that.
In the meantime I had obtained a second pair from Probikekit as I still had faith in the gloves. I had also checked the washing instructions to ensure that I was washing them as instructed or so I thought. I have checked my washing machine and the temperature is set at 30 C so I assume it is washing at this temperature. However, I do tend to soak my riding gear overnight in Napisan or similar before washing. I donâ€™t measure the water temperature but I do ensure that I can put my hand into the water with getting burnt. In this context I washed my new pair of liner gloves and surprise surprise the second pair has shrunk too.
I still have the two new pairs from SealSkinz to wash so will try out washing one pair directly in the washing machine without the soaking to see what happens.
Irrespective of that experiment I think it is fair to say that the SealSkinz thermal liner gloves have a propensity to shrink and one must therefore be very careful when washing them.
In respect to the hole in the glove I am not sure of the cause of this and note that SealSkinz made no comment on same when they sent the replacements. I do not recall catching the glove on anything so the cause will remain a mystery for now.
Riding in the rain: These gloves are not waterproof gloves but they are made of merino wool so some weather resistance could be expected â€¦ you know sheep survive out in the rain just fine and these gloves also survive out in light rain okay. I have them comfortable to ride with on 1.5 hour rides in light showers/misty riding conditions. They don’t tend to get soaked in these conditions. I haven’t tried in a full blown storm but and probably will not as I have SealSkinz Waterproof Breathable Technical Mountain Bike gloves for such conditions.
LONG TERM TESTING (Four months on the bike)
I will update this blog posting in October 2010 with my experiences after four months use.