When you think of snowmobiling apparel, you don’t often consider construction tool companies. But with the heated glove trend on the rise, more and more industries are taking a stab at their own warmed apparel.
New for the 2018-19 season, Milwaukee Tool unveiled its USB Rechargeable Heated Gloves. According to specs, its Gridiron Ripstop polyester is 3x more durable and 25 percent lighter than 12 oz cotton duck material to protect against tearing, while 100 percent leather palms and finger undersides add dexterity and extra durability.
On the upper forearm, a Red Lithium USB battery – claiming up to six hours of runtime during extreme cold – powers the heated coils within the gloves. An extended cuff protects wrists, granted your jacket sleeves can be cinched tight and tucked securely inside. However, if the two overlap or otherwise interfere with each other, an air leak can become noticeable quickly.
The Red Lithium name is not only a clever marketing tag, but also a literal description of the color that the Smartswipe temperature button displays on each glove. Sizes offered are medium, large and XL; we tested an XL and it fit tight to everyone on our team who tried them. Order larger than you usually do.
One glance at the Milwaukee website makes it clear that the gloves aren’t exclusively marketed to snowmobilers, but rather are gloves that will have universal winter appeal, and might happen to be suitable for snowmobiling as well. The “jobsite” is mentioned numerous times throughout their description, and it’s no surprise given the parent company producing the product.
The gloves have design flaws that real sledheads will notice within their first ride. The battery packs held a charge well – a respectable four hours consistently – but their placement felt awkward and bulky on the wrists. One team member complained about the general comfort and flexibility of the gloves, simply stating in his review, “they are clearly not built for snowmobile riding, but would be great for general use or work applications.”
There’s the silver lining – the heat function was clearly felt, and the battery packs themselves were also useful when doubled as a phone charger.
I would recommend the gloves to those who often use utility sleds to accomplish tasks, or to those who are new to the sport and will likely use them for other activities outside. For the sledhead that’s looking to ride 150 miles a day, or ascend to a new peak they’ve never reached – you might be better off sticking to the industry favorites.
Editor’s Note: This review was originally published in the October 2020 issue of Snow Goer. Every issue of Snow Goer magazine includes in-depth sled reports and comparisons, aftermarket gear and accessories reviews, riding destination articles, do-it-yourself repair information, snowmobile technology and more! Subscribe to Snow Goer now to receive issues delivered to your door or your computer for a low cost.