“Designed By Adventure.” At Outdoor Research, our products have been designed by adventure for more than 30 years, with features and fabrics imagined, tested and perfected in the wild. And like our products, our lives and the lives of our customers are sculpted by the experiences we have in the natural, unpredictable environments we love. We, too, are Designed By Adventure.
In a perfect world, every day in the mountains would start with six-inches of fresh cold smoke, sunny skies and temps hovering around 30 degrees — cold enough to keep the powder fresh, but not so cold as to chill our hands and fingers on the snow.
But as we’re all too aware, beggars can’t be choosers; If we want to get after it, we’re gonna do it in all kinds of conditions, including bitterly, brutally cold days.
To combat bone-chilling cold weather — whether ski touring or alpine climbing — Outdoor Research is releasing ALTIHeat™ Heated Gloves. ALTIHeat is a battery-powered heating technology that takes even the most grueling cold weather in stride.
Below: The ALTIHeat Stormtracker Heated Gloves in action on the ice
“The name ‘ALTIHeat’ was inspired by our legendary Alti Mitts™ and Alti Gloves™,” says Outdoor Research Glove Product Manager Meghan Martens.
The inspiration for the heated glove technology itself was easy.
“We wanted to make a glove that could provide heat beyond what down or synthetic insulation alone was capable of,” says Martens. “And we wanted our heated glove to be infinitely better than anything else on the market.”
And we succeeded.
Below: The ALTIHeat Lucent Heated Gloves
Available in three different gloves, ALTIHeat heating technology is functionally superior to and warmer than any other heated glove in the outdoor market. The ALTIHeat heating element has a surface area twice as large as any competitor technology and, at 5.5 watts per hand, the system is 61 percent more powerful.
The ALTIHeat heating element is powered by rechargeable, replaceable batteries. There are three different heat settings (low, medium, high), and the batteries last 2.5 hours when set on high, and 8 hours when set on low.
This technology was designed by the needs of adventure, and built to provide ultimate warmth in the mountains even in the most dismal conditions. Which is why ALTIHeat prototypes were rigorously tested to ensure every aspect of the heated gloves was just right.
Below: ALTIHeat Gloves put to work in a whiteout
It was a huge undertaking.
“I worked on this project over two years,” says Martens. “It was the longest and most intense project of my career to date. The most important step was finding the right [heating element]; We were determined to find hardware that would allow us to make the best heated gloves without making the gloves themselves bulky or stiff.”
Once the partnership with the perfect heating element supplier was secured, we tested the ALTIHeat heated gloves in the field and in the lab. Outdoor Research even hired forensic engineer — and passionate outdoorsman — Paul Moore to test the gloves.
“We’d go to the lab to watch Paul test the gloves in a cold chamber,” says Martens. “The tests involved sitting for hours with his hands in this thing that looked like a microwave, but it was freezing inside.” This was a cold immersion, the first of three lab-based tests.
Next was a water submersion, which tested how the gloves functioned when fully submerged. This was not only a test of functionality, but of safety; ALTIHeat is an electronic, battery powered technology with electrical elements within the glove, and it was crucial that it functioned safely in all weather conditions and environments.
The last test was a basic electrical safety and construction assessment. When the gloves passed this final test, Outdoor Research took them into the field, where they were evaluated, used, and abused by Ambassadors and guides.
Below: Testing ALTIHeat Gloves in the field
“I tested the gloves in the winter on Mt. Rainier,” says Austin Shannon, an International Mountain Guides (IMG) alpine guide. “It was extremely wet and cold, and I did a great deal of skiing and digging with the gloves on. But no matter the environment or conditions, they stood up to the test.”
Shannon, who first fell in love with the mountains in his hometown of Bend, Oregon, has been working as a mountain guide for IMG for seven years.
“ALTIHeat is a great technology that I would use from Mt. Rainier to Mt. Everest, and anywhere in between,” he says.
Martens was also awed by the warmth of the ALTIHeat gloves, especially in January 2014, when she went splitboarding on Mount Rainier.
“It was below ten degrees up there. I wore the heated mitts, and I didn’t even notice the cold,” she says.
So what’s so unique about the heating system?
ALTIHeat heating technology is built using a flexible heating element that’s incorporated into our ALTIHeat gloves. The beauty of ALTIHeat is this flexibility. The flexibile construction means better tactility and comfort, and it also allows us to cover more surface area within the glove — twice as much as the nearest competitor — with the heating element extending from the palm all the way through the fingers.
Outdoor Research currently offers three heated gloves with ALTIHeat technology. The first two are the Lucent Heated Gloves™ and the Lucent Heated Mitts™, styles Martens calls, “bomber for skiing.”
Both are made with waterproof and breathable GORE-TEX® and filled with warm, breathable and water-resistant Enduraloft™ insulation. Both the Lucent Heated Glove and Lucent Heated Mitt have a warm and comfortable-against-the-skin fleece palm lining, molded EVA padding on the back of hand, and abrasion-resistant goat leather palms.
The third pair of gloves, the Stormtracker Heated Gloves™, are heated gloves designed specifically for alpine climbing, ski touring or ice climbing. Based on the wildly popular and renowned Stormtracker Gloves™ — a favorite of Outdoor Research Alpine Climbing Ambassadors — the Stormtracker Heated Gloves are completely unique in the outdoor market.
Below: The ALTIHeat Stormtracker Heated Gloves
Made with weather-resistant, windproof GORE® WINDSTOPPER® and durable yet tactile leather palms, guides, like Shannon, especially like the Stormtracker Heated Gloves because they’re dexterous enough to use ice climbing while still remaining incredibly warm.
Though the journey to design the best heated glove for our adventures was long, the result was worth it. Outdoor Research ALTIHeat Heated Gloves provide a vastly superior technology for outdoorspeople in need of augmented warmth in serious cold. They were ingeniously engineered in the lab, then rigorously tested in the field.
They’re truly Designed By Adventure.