Brilliantly priced, well-featured gloves ideal for use in the high hills in spring and fall.
Allow for plenty of dexterity
Not fully windproof
No snot chamois
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Forclaz Mountain Trek 500 gloves: first impressions
Before you get to wear them, the the Forclaz Mountain Trek 500s have been put through their paces. Decathlon (who produce Forclaz products) say they test all their gloves in a laboratory on a thermal hand, before then using a test panel of 23 walkers exposed to temperatures ranging from 5°C (41°F) to -20°C (-4°F) and 10 km/h (6mph) winds. Based on this test, the MT500 gloves are rated for warmth at one out of five, with a recommended low temperature of 9°C (48°F) and a limit temperature of 4°C (39°F) - which does make you feel rather sorry for the 23 testers subjected to the -20°C (-4°F) conditions.
However, the brand are clear that these hiking gloves are intended for hiking in the shoulder seasons, and not climbing mountains in winter or ice climbing. Although they are not fully windproof (and definitely not waterproof) they provide decent thermal coverage when you need it, coming out of the treeline and heading towards the summit, when the temperature rapidly drops and the windchill factor becomes a much bigger deal.
• RRP: $12 (US) / £12 (UK)
• Sizes available: XS / S / M / L / XL / 2XL
• Gender specification: Unisex
• Materials: Polyester (85%), Elasthane (15%)
• Colors: Black
• Weight (per glove): 55g / 2oz
Forclaz Mountain Trek 500 gloves: on the trails
Having set out in broad sunlight, we were extremely glad we had these gloves in our pack, as the temperature plummeted.
While these gloves are relatively thin, they were perfect in such autumnal conditions. Dexterity levels proved excellent, so we could still check our digital mapping app on a phone, and take photos – because, unlike some other mitts in our best hiking gloves buying guide you genuinely can operate phones and screens with these gloves on.
On the downside, they are missing a bit of soft material on the top, which is found on many gloves for the purpose of wiping your nose (yeah, gross, but noses run in cold conditions and you need to deal with it).
The Trek 500 gloves are breathable, comfortable and light – so they’re a good option year round, as a throw-in-the-pack-just-in-case back-up, either for stand-alone use or as a base layer for some waterproof gloves or mittens (check out the best running gloves and mittens if you want some for running specifically). They clip together, so you can keep the pair happily married, and boast pull loops that make them easy to put on.
They’re also extremely stretchy, so don’t restrict movement in any way, which made them perfect for scrambling along the rocky terrain found at the peak of the Pillar.
Oh, and the price is exceptionally reasonable.
Here’s where we tested the Forclaz Mountain Trek 500 gloves:
We tested these Forclaz Mountain Trek 500 gloves on the high fells of the Lake District in northern England, specifically during a climb to the peak of the Pillar above Wasdale Head, while doing the Mosedale Horseshoe trek on a very windy and chilly autumn day.
Author of Caving, Canyoning, Coasteering…, a recently released book about all kinds of outdoor adventures around Britain, Pat has spent 20 years pursuing stories involving boots, bikes, boats, beers and bruises. En route he’s canoed Canada’s Yukon River, climbed Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro, skied and mountain biked through the Norwegian Alps, run an ultra across the roof of Mauritius, and set short-lived records for trail-running Australia’s highest peaks and New Zealand’s Great Walks. He’s authored walking guides to Devon and Dorset, and once wrote a whole book about Toilets for Lonely Planet. Follow Pat’s escapades on Strava here and instagram here.