Like it or not, smart phones and other touch screen electronic devices have become mandatory equipment on the mountain while skiing. It’s not just that you need them to let your significant other or your posse know you are running late; your smart phone is also your camera, video camera, compass and on-mountain computer. In short, it has become a tool for everything from assessing conditions, to snapping photos, to looking at NFL scores while you sit on the chairlift.
There’s just one problem. Touch screens don’t work when you’re wearing ski gloves. Some glove manufacturers have tried raised bumps or other features that can engage the screen, but none of those work as well as bare skin—except TouchTec™ leather. Instead of adding something to the leather that will simulate the touch of skin on a screen, TouchTec™ employs a nanotechnology process, which, at its most basic, can be described as microscopic “robots” within the leather of the glove that give it the feel of skin when in contact with a touch screen. And it doesn’t just work in the fingertips—any part of the leather will react with a touch screen.
The end result is a glove that you can keep wearing that works just like your bare hand on your touch-screen device. The technology has been used in fashion gloves since 2009, but Outdoor Research is the first company to put TouchTec™ in the type of gloves you need when out on an alpine climb or skiing. These gloves give you all the protection of our best models along with the touch screen compatibility for, say, tapping out a text from the backcountry or even just operating an ATM on a frigid night.
We put TouchTec™ into several different gloves to cover a range of activities. The Sensor™ is a light, 100-weight Radiant Fleece™ glove with TouchTec™ on the palm and fingers. It serves well on its own for cold-weather hikes or spring skiing, but it also makes an excellent liner—in brutal conditions remove your heavier outer glove and you can still operate your smart phone without exposing your skin.
Another glove using TouchTec® is part of our Sidecountry line; The Ambit Gloves™ put TouchTec™ into a high-performance ski-and-snowboard handwear. Seam-taped and waterproof/breathable thanks to the Outdoor Research proprietary Ventia Dry™ fabric, they feature EnduraLoft™ insulation on the back of the hand and thumb, and TouchTec™ leather on the front. And since TouchTec™ is an application, that leather still has all the properties you would want in a ski glove, giving you solid grip on your ski poles when you are not busy checking email on your smart phone.