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Chapeau Winter Gloves – review

The Chapeau brand is a few years old now but this is the Devon-based firm's first pair of winter gloves. They have been worth the wait though as they're excellent: warm, water resistance and with a number of well-thought out features.

The Chapeau Winter Gloves combine a windproof and water resistant outer, with a breathable membrane and a Pittards leather palm and that results in a pair of gloves that are impressively impervious to cold and wet weather, while retaining plenty of breathability and enough grip and padding without adding too much bulk.

First up, let’s take a closer look at the outer. The windproof and water resistant fabric is used on the outside of the hand and fingers, and so the part of the glove most exposed to wind and rain. The fabric itself is fairly thin but does an impressive job at blocking cold air and has a light fleecy lining to add a little more warmth, while it also does a good job at keeping water out.

These are winter gloves, as the name suggests, and they perform admirably in typical winter conditions – or, in other words, when it’s cold and wet. It’s difficult to put a figure on how cold as we all retain a different level of warmth, and some people find that their hands are particularly susceptible to the cold, but I’ve worn these gloves down to around zero degrees without feeling a chill once up to speed.

When riding in wet conditions, rain beads up on the surface of the fabric and it takes a prolonged period of persistent rain before any of that dampness begins to work its way in. The gloves aren’t listed as waterproof, just water resistant, and water will eventually work its way in but it’ll take some time before that happens. I rode for 90 mins in persistent and fairly heavy rain, and still had dry, toasty hands.

The gloves also use a number of other materials, not least on the double cuff. A neoprene fabric is used on the outer cuff, and a stretchy Lycra-style fabric is used on the inner cuff. The double cuff is a great feature in itself: the neoprene (fleece-lined on the inside) is stretchy and adds a little warmth and water resistance, and the Lycra cuff provides a close fit on the wrist and extends onto the lower arm, eliminating the possibility of any cold drafts. The care label is also printed on the outside of the inner cuff, meaning there’s nothing in the glove itself to cause irritation.

On to the palm, and Chapeau have used a suede-like fabric in combination with Pittards leather padding on the palm itself, thumb, and fore and middle fingers. The ‘suede’ fabric is soft and supple, and so helps the keep the bulk low, while the Pittards leather is only used where necessary, adding padding and grip in key areas likely to be in contact with the handlebar or controls.

What else is there? A soft fleecy fabric is used on the used on the thumbs to use as snot wipes. Finally on the fabric front, there’s a reflective material on the outside of the little and ring fingers, which is well-placed when you have your hands wrapped over the hoods, or when signalling. There’s also a reflective moustache print on the inside of the fore finger which is likely to stay largely out of sight, but is a fun addition nonetheless.

Conclusion

The Chapeau Winter Gloves get the basics right, being both warm and impressively water resistant, but a number of well-thought out features, including the double cuff, Pittards leather padding and reflective detail help set them apart.

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