Thursday, August 7, 2014

#ORInsightLab: Handbrake Gloves Review

(photo from

The Handbrake Gloves, by Outdoor Research, is the product from the #ORInsightLab program I have had the most experience with this summer.  I have been out sport climbing almost every weekend this spring and summer.  These gloves have been through many trials in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Squamish, BC.  I am a huge fan of sport climbing, and I love everything about it except for belaying.  Having the rope directly rubbing back and forth on my hand, wearing away small bits of skin into a "rug burn" is very irritating.  My hands already get enough abuse from the rock and chalk, so minimizing hand damage in any way is always a plus.

Luckily, Outdoor Research wanted our opinion for the #ORInsightLab program!  When I first examined the gloves I thought they might also be used for mixed martial arts cage fighting.  Seriously, these things have some stacked knuckle padding!  The glove consists of very durable cow leather (sorry vegans!) and provides a nice, snug fit.  It allows for a smooth belay descent of the climber while leaving my hands unscathed.  I assumed these gloves would be pretty well worn after using them for about 100 belays, but they still look new with very minimal wear.  I have never worn belay gloves before, but now I have been spoiled and can no longer go back to bare-handing the rope while belaying.

While these Handbrake gloves are rough and tough and can protect my hands during a half-hour hang dog ascent, there is one thing that could make them better.  An improved ventilation system would make them more comfortable on the mid summer climbing sessions.  My hands felt like they were in a sauna and had quite the sweat fest.  But I would rather have sweaty palms instead of torn and destroyed ones, so this was definitely not a deal breaker.

These gloves go with me wherever I take my rope.  They are also about to hit their 4th climbing location this weekend up at Rumney, NH for a great rope-burn free weekend of some sport climbing.  Invest in your hands!  Get the Handbrake Gloves by Outdoor Research.  They are worth it!

Next up for review, the Outdoor Research Dirtbag RV Tech Tee:

The products reviewed in this program were given to me by Outdoor Research in exchange for honest reviews and feedback.  Any and all positive opinions presented by me in the program are my own and were not required to receive products.