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Review: Columbia Whirlibird II Glove

These past few months I’ve been trying out a new pair of Columbia gloves provided to me by Appalachian Outdoors, an online snowsports equipment retailer. Let me be clear, I don’t owe Columbia anything with this review; I almost always prefer their equipment over anything else I’ve tried.

Columbia Whirlibird II glove
The Whirlibird II Glove comes a few styles: the one shown here is dark gray with red and black accents (which happened to perfectly match the rest of my ski wear).

Fit and Feel

Jumping into it, the gloves fit… “like a glove” (Ace Venture reference, anyone?). As expected, they have industry-standard sizes including small, medium, large, and extra large. I’m a pretty average-sized guy so medium works well for me. They’re snug and cozy and have adjustable wrist straps to tighten things up a bit (more on that later).

I never wore any glove liners, they’d probably make the hand a bit constricted in there. Besides, with the Omni-Heat Thermal Comfort technology inside (the silver reflective material) my hands were never, and I mean never, cold. I went to the top of the windy T-Bar at Breckenridge, to the bottom of the chilly Rose Bowl at Beaver Creek. On days ranging from 9-29 degrees I was always comfortable. In fact, sometimes they were downright warm and I’d take them off after a run while in the lift line.

Worth mentioning, this is a full five-finger glove, not a mitten, so I naturally felt like I had more dexterity and ability to control buckles, pole straps, etc.

Features

This is a pretty simple glove, no bells and whistles, no secret pouches for warmers, just the necessities: a very warm inner Omni-Heat layer, a tough exterior, a soft palm, and a few straps to tighten things up.

The wrist straps come over the upper part of the glove on the backside. This pulls the material from the inner section (thumb) closer to the rest of the hand to keep your fingers a bit closer together and create a nice “first barrier” pocket of air. The second “pull” or “cinch” is at the very end of the glove and closes the opening where your hand enters. Since the glove is long enough to come over your jacket (at the wrist) this means you avoid getting snow up your sleeve.

I yanked on the wrist “cinch” a few times throughout the season and the fabric holding the two strings together actually came right off. Now the pull is more like two separate cords (that pull from the left and right side of the glove). An unfortunate break on some pretty simple stitching, so worth noting.

The soft palm is great, it’s a bit more grippy. The glove also includes a similar a textured material on the thumb and outside of the index that allows for “nose wiping” which also means “cleaning goggles”, in my book (they call it a “nose wipe” themselves).

Style

The glove comes in pretty standard colors:

  • Men can expect a red and gray (my pair), black and gray, or a blue and yellow (eh?)
  • Women get a choice between a light white and blue or the same black and gray as the men’s (equality in style!)

As mentioned, the glove is long and does not stop at the wrist but actually comes over the sleeve. I think this looks just as good as it works, in practice.

Pricing

These are a great value glove: simple, warm, functional, and stylish. They’re typically retailing for $50 but are actually on sale now at Appalachian Outdoors:

As the season winds down, I’m sure you can find these discounted elsewhere, including on Columbia’s own website.

Conclusion

These gloves are one of my favorite pairs ever owned. They’re functional, very warm, look great, and are a great value. I’d recommend them to anyone.