Sometimes just reading the description of a product you think to your self that will be right on the money. The Hydra range of gloves was just that for me. Now I have had a winter season in the Pro, and an autumn in the Lite, I am pleased to say I was right. These really are as good as it gets for me glove wise, and I have tried a few!
So what are they all about? Well essentially they are both the same glove just with the Pro getting the addition of an OutDry waterproof membrane bonded to the outer fabric. So I'll talk about the gloves as one and highlight any differences the OutDry makes after.
The pairs I have are both under cuff style as is my preference, excluding mitts. You can get a gauntlet versoin called just the Hydra if that's your style. They have the usual goat leather palm and softshell back with Velcro closure. Add to this a very warm pile lining that doesn't break down but rather beds in over use. That's over 100 days so far. The bedding in increases the dexterity and makes the glove feel almost moulded to your hand. The outer windproof and protected from water by Mountain Hardwares Q-Shield treatment and amazingly after this amount of time, water will still bead on the surface. The palm leather is tough yet pliable with a good reinforcement between index finger and thumb excellent when handling ropes a lot. It is considerately patterned with a good pre curve and not too many seams. Then there are good sized and tough webbing loops for pulling on and hanging on a harness. All bar tacked so you aren't going to pull them off in a hurry.
So far so good but a lot of gloves these days seem to have these features. Well I would say for me everything here has been done a little better than any of the others, marginal gains if you will. Put all these together and you have an outstanding piece of kit. The dexterity is fantastic, like no other glove I have had with the same warmth and toughness. Even putting it against other companies super expensive options.
So that Outdry thing? Well essentially you have to think am I encountering cold crisp dry ice and champagne powder or grovelling about in wet snow and puddles a lot......ehumm Scotland ehhumm? The OutDry does stop water soaking through the glove but also does slightly reduce the dexterity. Yet my earlier comments still stand about that one! The Lite will get soaked through if you are doing that sort of thing. However there is the old trick of wring it out and put it back on that works a treat. You also have to be honest with your self about the likely hood of getting water down inside the glove too, How good is your waterproof jacket? Will the sleeves stay over your short cuffs when you are reaching over your head? If that sounds like you then perhaps the Pro would only hinder the wringing out process. Luckily this winters choice of Torsun Jacket has no issues for me on that front.
To sum up, the most effective thing I can say, is that I can't think of anything I would like to change on these gloves. It's the first time I have ever thought that about a glove. They even come in black, I have learn my lesson with other colours on cold but sunny days!
Neil Warren is an instructor at Pure Outdoor in the Peak District.