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Cold, snow, sleet, and ice are normal conditions for my winter bike commute to work here in Minnesota. With the elements being so unfriendly, I am excited to try commuting with a pair of gaiters for added warmth. With that direction in mind, I was excited to try the Hillsound Armadillo LT gaiters. For those who aren’t familiar with a pair of gaiters, they cover your shin and calf, below the knee, and above the ankle. Splash-proof protection works in combination with your winter boots to extend your leg. They are designed to keep snow, slush, and debris off your legs and dripping into your boot.
I am wearing the Hillsound Armadillo LT Gaiter for the first time.
A gaiters construction
The Armadillo LT gaiter’s upper is constructed out of Flexia, a three-layer material designed to stretch, be waterproof, conform to your leg and stay in place. The lower section is made of dense nylon, which is extremely tough. The zippers are waterproof, and the straps and clips seem to be more than tough enough for their job. Even though these gaiters exude durability, they are remarkably lightweight.
High-quality buckles, zippers, and straps are standard.
A full-length zipper makes for an easy fit.
I have to admit that I have never tried riding with a gaiter. Whereas my point of reference is small, I spend a lot of time on my bike in the cold. For the frigid weather, my riding boot of choice is the 45NRTH Wölvhammer, built with gaiters in mind. The Hillsound Armadillo LT gaiter paired with them easily. Thanks to the full-length zipper, I got my riding gear and boots on, then fashioned the gaiter into place with relative ease. That ease comes from the stretch that the upper material offers and the easily adjustable lower Velcro strap and upper buckle strap.
Warmth on the bike
The addition of a waterproof layer was immediately apparent when I left my house. We had gotten a fresh coating of wet snow overnight, and the salt trucks were out in force. Thanks to the slush created, my legs were immediately doused in slop but stayed dry and warm. This is a far cry from a week prior when I rode home without the benefit of gaiters. This time, I buzzed along my usual route to work and noticed that my legs were warmer than normal. Also, when looking down at my legs (not something I recommend), I saw all the sludge my tires were kicking up and bouncing off the gaiters. When I reached the office, my legs were dry and comfortable, and the gaiter was still doing a good job repelling moisture.
Snow and slush are no match for the Hillsound Armadillo LT Gaiter.
With my first foray into gaiters, I want to see where they are best used. I know that hikers and snowshoeing fans love them for their warmth and protection; now, after trying them, I am fascinated to see how they will help from a cycling perspective. Right now, I will reach for them whenever the weather is cold and wet. While I am sold on their benefit for wet conditions, I look forward to blocking the wind chill when temps get colder. Stay tuned for more information on my adventures with the Hillsound Armadillo LT gaiter.
Now that I have had over a month of cold weather under my belt, I feel comfortable talking about the Sealskinz Halo Winter Glove. The onset of Minnesota’s winter is probably colder than most peoples harsh winter months, so I feel that this mid-term review is probably a great indicator for 90 percent of America ’s riding needs.
The pros of the Sealskinz winter glove so far
I think we all agree, the major selling feature for any winter glove is warmth and this glove has that in spades. I have ridden well into the mid-teens and never once wanted for more insulation. Considering these gloves are a full five finger glove and lightweight, the fact that they are warm is unparalleled. Overall the gloves breath well, fit well and have a great amount of flexibility. I like the large Velcro flap that acts as the wrist closure and the palm material’s tacky grip on the bar.
The cons to date
The lighting system is one of the selling features for these gloves, but sadly it didn’t perform as stated. While the lights are bright their position on the glove doesn’t lend to amazing visibility. However, they do offer a really cool look when signaling your turns. Sadly, for me, one of the blinkers didn’t start well and didn’t last long. The bracket that holds the battery was loose from the factory and led to intermittent function. I was able to readjust the bracket (read bent) and the light functioned well. Unfortunately, maybe due to my work the wires broke free from the switch.
The wiring broke free on my Halo light (red circle). Luckily the part is replaceable
More Sealskinz info coming
With the lighting system aside, these gloves have been amazing. Considering that the Sealskinz Glove is known for warmth and not electronics, this makes sense. I’m planning on riding these gloves right up until they can’t insulate anymore. So far they have done a better job than any of the dozen or so gloves I have sitting at home. I also hope to see how long the palm material stays grippy. That palm is starting to show some signs of wear, but overall, they are well intact.