Warm and Comfy but could have been better
I got to use my Hestra Heli gloves (purchased 4 years back) on my winter trip to Ladakh this year. I was in Ladakh from 14-Feb to 31-March 2015. Having used the gloves for some 6 weeks in extreme cold conditions, i believe that i can finally write a proper review for them.
The Hestra Heli attempts to combine the warmth of a mitten with the dexterity of a regular glove. The outer has regular fingers for the thumb and the forefinger. While the remaining 3 fingers are joined together to make a mitten like glove.
What is strange is that the inner liner has a regular 5 finger design. Ideally the inner and outer should have used the same 3 finger semi-mitten design. The whole idea of mittens is to keep the fingers together for extra warmth. By separating the fingers in the liner i believe that the overall effectiveness of the glove is reduced.
I spent 6 very cold weeks in Ladakh and the gloves managed to keep my hands and fingers warm for most of the time. The inner material feels so soft and warm that the entire glove has a very luxurious feel to it.
What they do not do so well is to quickly warm already cold fingers. Since i was operating my camera and other delicate instruments, i had to take off my gloves more than a few times and my fingers would get really cold. And they took a very long time to become warm again. I believe that if Hestra had used a 3 - finger design for liner then it would have been much more effective in warming my already cold fingers.
This model of the Hestra Heli is not waterproof. And these gloves are meant to be used more in snow than in the rain, so waterproofness is not a very important for this glove. There is also a Goretex version available for those who value this feature.
Before i left for the trip, i liberally applied the waterproofing wax substances on the gloves. I wore the gloves constantly even while doing some really wet chores, like cleaning my vessels using the dry snow (dry snow is just as effective as wet mud in cleaning vessels), digging and scooping out the snow for pitching tents and to collect snow for melting water. I did all this and never once did the moisture seep into the inner lining of the glove. So i’am very happy with its water repelling properties.
The 3 finger design is very helpful and gives you some degree of dexterity while handling stuff. For instance, I can turn on my DLSR and shoot pictures with the gloves on. But to change settings in the camera, i needed to hit some really small buttons and these gloves were not up to the task.
My wish is for inner lining of this glove to have seamless finger tips. That would have helped improve the dexterity of the gloves.
Overall I'am very happy with these gloves. They are warm and comfortable and helped me survive the winter in Ladakh.
My wish list for an updated version of these gloves would be to change the inner liner to a 3-finger design matching the mitten style design of the outer layer. And have seamless fingertips in both the inner and outer layers for improved dexterity.
I would definitely recommend this gloves to a friend.