Hestra Heli & XCR Gloves – REVIEW

D’Arcy McLeish | | Gear ReviewGear Review
The Heli Glove in Black. Removable liner, draw strings... Photo - evo.com
The Heli Glove in Black. Removable liner, draw strings… Pick up a pair of Hestra Heli gloves at evo.com

I work as a ski patroller, and finding a glove that can withstand the abuse of the job, keep my hands warm and dry and actually last the season is difficult. While not perfect, Hestra has a couple of gloves on offer that come pretty close. Understand that no glove is going to do everything, and the debate between leather and synthetics can be a long one. I choose leather. Sure, it’s a little high maintenance and requires constant treatment with wax to keep it waterproof, but if you take care of them, leather gloves are durable and tough.

I’ve used two different Hestra gloves over the last few years, both gauntlet gloves from their Army Leather line. The Heli Glove, which was designed by heli ski guides and has been their bestseller for years, and the Hestra XCR Glove, which is essentially the same thing but with non-removable liner and a Gore-Tex membrane between the leather and lining.

Hestra Heli glove dissected.
Hestra Heli glove dissected.

Heli Glove – Impressions

I have to say, while this glove has proven durable and when taken care, fairly waterproof and warm, the removable liner is a pain. Sure, it’s easier to dry and allows me to run a light glove without the liner on those warmer days, but I find that if it does get wet, I’ve now removed its usefulness for the full day. Once it’s broken in, it offers really good dexterity for a glove of its thickness and size.  The stitching is burly and strong and this glove has proven to be one of the better choices out there for a beefy winter ski glove that can put up with just about everything you can throw at it.

My favourite Hestra Glove - The XCR. Pricey, but worth it. Photo - evo.com
My favourite Hestra Glove – The XCR. Pricey, but worth it.  Pick up a pair of Hestra XCR gloves at evo.com

XCR Glove – Impressions

After using the heli glove for a couple of seasons, I decided to try the XCR glove and see the difference. This glove is a little more expensive because it offers the Gore Tex membrane but to me the extra cost is absolutely worth it. It’s a little warmer than the heli glove and once broken in offers the same level of dexterity. Like the Heli Glove, it requires treatment on a regular basis with glove wax to maintain the leather’s waterproofness but here is the kicker: Even when it’s soaked through completely, your hands stay warm and dry. The XCR wind and waterproof membrane keep the liner and your hands toasty on even the wettest of west coast  days. Yes, it’s a bit of a mission to dry it out at the end of the day, but these gloves have withstood 150 days of work, multiple days being soaked and my hands have almost always been dry and warm. Like the Heli Glove, the stitching is bomber and withstood everything from pulling rope, dealing with sharp ski edges and manhandling todoggans day in and day out.

Hestra Heli glove
Hestra Heli glove in red.

VERDICT:

The Hestra Heli Glove has long been the choice of snow professionals spending their days heli guiding and working in the mountain environment. And don’t get me wrong, compared to a lot of what’s on offer out there, the Heli Glove delivers. But to choose between Hestra’s bestsellers and their XCR gloves, I choose the XCR.  Sure, they’re a little pricey, but they’re totally worth the extra cost, especially if you are like me and prefer to have one glove to do it all.  The Hestra XCR offers a good compromise between warmth, durability, waterproofness and dexterity. It will keep your hands happy no matter what you’re doing. Both models come in various styles from short versions without a gauntlet to mitts.

Both the Heli and XCR gloves come in 3 finger and mitten options.
Both the Heli and XCR gloves come in 3 finger and mitten options.

BY THE NUMBERS:

**HESTRA HELI GLOVE**

Shell Material – Hestra Triton / Polyamide Fabric

Insulation – Quallofill/Fiberfill Insulation

Lining – Removable Bemberg/Polyester Lining

Palm – Proofed Army Leather – Goat leather palm

Features:

Handcuff – An elastic band that wraps around the wrist and attaches to the glove. They act as a safety line when you take off your gloves.

Specs:

Glove Warmth: Warmest

Material: Leather, Polyester

Insulation: Synthetic

Cuff Style: Over the Cuff

Warranty: Limited Lifetime

Hestra Heli glove in actions...I swear. photo: Brian Schott
Hestra Heli glove in actions in Revelstoke…  I swear.  photo: Brian Schott

BY THE NUMBERS:

**HESTRA XCR GLOVE**

Shell Material

Impregnated Goat Leather and Flextron Softshell Fabric – No, not goats that have been knocked up, but the leather’s been treated with a water-resistant and flexible polymer before construction. Flextron Softshell fabric is waterproof and breathable.

Membrane – GORE-TEX® XCR waterproof breathable insert

Insulation – Soft fiberfill insulation

Lining – Bemberg/polyester lining

Features:

Eagle Grip – Hestra’s own pre-curved finger construction makes gripping your poles a done deal.

Hestra Handcuff – Elastic fabric cuff to secure glove to wrist and lock out snow

Snap Hook – Small carabiner to attach gloves to each other

Snow Lock – Wrist closure to keep snow out and heat in

Specs:

Glove Warmth: Warmest

Material: Goatskin, GORE-TEX®, Polyester

Insulation: Synthetic

Cuff Style: Over the Cuff

Warranty: Limited Lifetime


Related Articles

6 thoughts on “Hestra Heli & XCR Gloves – REVIEW

  1. gloves are like shoes. they last longer if you don’t wear them every day in a row. so last year I started using a set of three gloves: storm gloves (goretex), super warm gloves (leather insulated warmest), and daily gloves (leather). It took a while and some dough to acquire them all, but now they will outlast three gloves in succession, and precisely suit the purpose for which they were intended. for example: why wear a big, long, multi-featured expensive gore-tex storm glove on a cool dry day?

    anyone suggest the best leather treatments, and comment on whether the chemical can touch your goggle lenses after soaked in?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    0 (0 votes)
    1. Sno-seal – its basically bees wax that waterproofs and softens leather. Its been around since the 30’s so nothing harsh in it. It darkens leather so spot treat if you are worried about it and warm leather before applying. Check the shoe dept of your sporting goods store….it sells out fast this time of year. 8oz can is about $7. I use the Kinco 901 gloves and some sno-seal….leather ski gloves under $25

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      0 (0 votes)
  2. No thanks. I’ll buy 10 pair of Kinco gloves instead. I own the 3 finger Heli and prefer my sno sealed Kinco at a fraction of the cost.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    0 (0 votes)
  3. I had the Heli version, and they lasted 2 years before the stitching started coming apart, and thats skiing just 40-50 days per years. The best glove I have found is the Flylow’s baked leather gloves. A bit more than Kincos, but a WHOLE lot more dexderity, and better fit. Kincos fit like a work glove, which they are, but give you no dexderity for skiing.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    0 (0 votes)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.