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REI Co-op Guide Insulated Mittens Review

The bare bones mittens are a good option if you prioritize warmth at an inexpensive price
rei co-op guide insulated mittens ski gloves women review
Credit: REI
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Price:  $50 List | $49.95 at REI
Pros:  Inexpensive, warm for price, stylish
Cons:  Not very water resistant, not very durable
Manufacturer:   REI
By Jacqueline Kearney ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 6, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
57
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#13 of 15
  • Warmth - 25% 7.0
  • Water Resistance - 25% 6.0
  • Dexterity - 25% 5.0
  • Durability - 15% 5.0
  • Features - 10% 4.0

Our Verdict

If you are someone who tends to run through their mittens frequently, or just prefers a utilitarian option at a bargain price, the REI Co-op Guide Insulated Mittens are a fine choice. This mitten is very warm for the price point and fits in with an understated utilitarian look. We did think it left some room for improvement regarding waterproofing. It starts to become less water-resistant when the oil and wax wear off (which doesn't take long), but when taken care of and maintained with repeated water-resistance treatments, this is a good and inexpensive mitten option. These are an especially economical choice for general winter use outside of skiing.

Editor's Note: We updated the REI Guide Mittens review on December 6, 2022, with alternative purchase recommendations.

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Price $50 List
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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75
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39
Star Rating
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Pros Inexpensive, warm for price, stylishExtremely featured, warm, Gore-tex insert, good dealWarm, versatile, dexterous for a mitt, touchscreen-compatible liners, excellent valueGreat price, breathable, warm, comes with liner gloveIncredibly affordable, durable leather, no-frills design, decent dexterity
Cons Not very water resistant, not very durableCould be more dexterous, stitching located in some high stress areasNot a lot of extra insulationNot fully waterproof, less durable constructionNot super warm, absorbs water, unisex and limited fit, few to no features
Bottom Line The bare bones mittens are a good option if you prioritize warmth at an inexpensive priceThis quality ski glove impressed us with its high-end performance and reasonable priceA mitten that is weather-resistant and dexterous at a reasonable priceA well-priced glove that'll work fine for your ski trips this winterThis pigskin glove is perfect for the penny-pincher looking to explore the mountains in generally dry, warm conditions
Rating Categories REI Co-op Guide Ins... Outdoor Research Wo... Burton Gore-Tex Mitten Dakine Camino Kinco Pigskin Leather
Warmth (25%)
7.0
7.0
8.0
5.0
3.0
Water Resistance (25%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
4.0
3.0
Dexterity (25%)
5.0
7.0
4.0
7.0
6.0
Durability (15%)
5.0
7.0
6.0
5.0
4.0
Features (10%)
4.0
9.0
7.0
9.0
3.0
Specs REI Co-op Guide Ins... Outdoor Research Wo... Burton Gore-Tex Mitten Dakine Camino Kinco Pigskin Leather
Waterproof Material Leather outer Gore-Tex waterproof insert Dry-Ride Two Layer & Gore-Tex Insert Nylon Shell (black part), Hoxton (75% nylon, 25% polyester) DWR treatment, Leather palm (water-resistant) Leather outer
Insulation Type Polyester EnduraLoft 100% Polyester 100g, removable merion wool liner glove ThermaCore Synthetic Insulation 110/350g high loft synthetic HeatKeep Thermal Lining (polyester)
Palm Material Goat leather Water resistant goat leather Leather, Sticky Icy Grip Palm Goat Leather Grain pigskin leather
Inner Glove Material (if applicable) Polyester shearling fleece Merino wool Fleece 150g tricot, 100% polyester n/a
Double or Single Construction? Double Double Double Double Single
Gauntlet or Cuff? Cuff Gauntlet Gauntlet Gauntlet Gauntlet
Special features Nose wipe Touchscreen compatible liner glove, nose wipe, removable leash, glove clip, carabiner loop, cinchable gauntlet Nose wipe, leashes, warmer pockets, wrist cinch Google wipe on thumb, touch screen compatible liners, removable wrist leash None
Fit True to size True to size True to size A little smaller, size up if you're unsure Fits large (unisex sizing)

Our Analysis and Test Results

Our favorite aspect of the REI Guide is that it comes in well below many of its competitors price-wise. This mitten is a step above the basic work gloves many of us continue to use for day-to-day heavy use, and the increase in warmth is worth the small increase in price.

Performance Comparison


rei co-op guide insulated mittens ski gloves women review - a utilitarian and basic mitten, just a step above a basic work glove.
A utilitarian and basic mitten, just a step above a basic work glove.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Warmth


While this mitten does not feature very heavy insulation, a large degree of warmth comes from the fact that it is a mitten. The REI Guide does a good job of circulating existing heat from hands inside the mitten. We did like the pile lining on the inside of this model. We found that the pile helped to wick moisture away from hands and keep them both dry and warm. On very cold days, however, we did still find ourselves balling our hands into fists inside these mittens to warm up our fingers on the chairlift.

rei co-op guide insulated mittens ski gloves women review - soft pile insulation helps to warm up cold hands and the air around...
Soft pile insulation helps to warm up cold hands and the air around them.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Water Resistance


The overall water resistance of the REI Guide Mitten comes from an included water-resistant treatment that needs to be applied to the leather. Without this treatment, we found that water seeps through the seams of this mitten and the leather itself begins to absorb water. This also begins to happen as the treatment wears off and is due to be reapplied. This mitten requires more maintenance than most other mittens we have tested.

rei co-op guide insulated mittens ski gloves women review - leather's water resistance is best right after a conditioning...
Leather's water resistance is best right after a conditioning treatment.
Credit: Jackie Kearney

Dexterity


We found that we had a fairly good ability to adjust gear, zip zippers, and handle ropes with the Guide Mitten compared to other mittens. The nature of having four fingers in one pocket still hinders dexterity compared to gloves, of course. The lack of heavy insulation, however, allows for some individual motion and the use of fingers.

rei co-op guide insulated mittens ski gloves women review - the thin insulation of these mittens makes them surprisingly...
The thin insulation of these mittens makes them surprisingly dexterous for a full mitt design.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Durability


We believe the durability of the Guide Mitten is just so-so, and largely dependent on the maintenance of the leather. The fabric construction of the mitten in the woven cuff and wrist backer is susceptible to tearing and catching.

The double-stitched goat leather construction of the main body of the mitten appears solid. The supple nature of goat leather leads us to believe that it may begin to wear thin in the highest-use areas. That said, a major factor in the health of the leather is protecting it from moisture, and diligent water-resistance treatment will significantly improve the durability of this product.

rei co-op guide insulated mittens ski gloves women review - double stitched pads in high use areas increase durability, but we...
Double stitched pads in high use areas increase durability, but we have concerns about the soft leather wearing through at the edges over time.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Features


The work-style Guide Mitten is relatively sparse on features. It does feature a suede-textured nose wipe, which is always appreciated. We do wish these mitts had at least a leash, however, as we do find ourselves taking mittens off more often than gloves due to the decreased dexterity.

rei co-op guide insulated mittens ski gloves women review - these mittens have minimal features, sparsely utilitarian in style.
These mittens have minimal features, sparsely utilitarian in style.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Should You Buy the REI Co-op Guide Mittens?


These mittens are a great consideration for the wallet-savvy skier. Spending just a little more than you would on a hardware store pair of gloves will get you significantly warmer and hardier mittens. Moreover, if you want a pair of general-use winter mittens that might occasionally see some ski use, these mittens are ideal and well-priced for that functionality.

What Other Women's Ski Gloves Should You Consider?


If you're seeing the pinnacle of warmth for your cold-weather ski adventures, the Black Diamond Mercury Mitts are our top recommendation. Not only are they super warm, but they are also waterproof and the long gauntlets help to seal out the elements on windy or stormy days. Our other mitten recommendation is the Burton Gore-Tex Mitten, a high-value option that still performs well without breaking the bank. Either option will keep you warmer than the Gide Mittens, though arguably not as stylish.

rei co-op guide insulated mittens ski gloves women review - the rei guide mitten is a utilitarian mitt for those who don't want...
The REI Guide Mitten is a utilitarian mitt for those who don't want to break the bank on this piece of gear.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Jacqueline Kearney
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