The North Face Montana FUTURELIGHT Etip Gloves sit near the top of TNF’s ‘Etip’ glove range, around the middle of the outdoor firm’s winter glove range, and are the top snowsports pick in T3's best touchscreen gloves guide.
While they are designed to be used as snowboard or ski gloves, these are actually great all-rounders, being warm, waterproof, breathable and durable. They're also tech-friendly, an increasingly crucial requirement outdoors, whether you're looking to be able to use your phone without freezing your fingers off, or have invested in one of the best GoPros and want to be able to make use of its touchscreen. Read on for our full North Face Montana FUTURELIGHT Etip Glove review.
The North Face Montana FUTURELIGHT Etip Gloves review: design
The North Face Montana FUTURELIGHT Etip Gloves are gauntlet-style gloves with many of the trimmings you’d expect on a full-fat set of mountain gloves, as well as the crucial ‘etip’ overlays on thumb and forefinger for touchscreen operation. Synthetic leather palms add durability and flexibility to a 100% Nylon DryVent 2L shell, which is insulated with a medium-weight fill Heatseeker Eco insulation. The big noise in materials is the FUTURELIGHT insert, TNF’s flagship waterproof membrane designed to be breathable but clag-free.
Build is immediately compelling, neatly finished seams and a curved shape to allow hands to stay in a neutral position both add a premium feel, as does the plush pile lining. An elasticated retainer strap is a nice touch that has prevented many gloves from being lost to the wind, and a generous thumb loop helps with re-donning in awkward conditions, such as when hands are cold and wet, or sweaty.
There’s a ski-style strap on the back of the wrist to allow a good tight closure, as well as a gauntlet skirt elastic closure that can be cinched down to trap warmth. Both useful additions for winter snow sports, but less useful if you need to remove the gloves for any reason.
The North Face Montana FUTURELIGHT Etip Gloves review: comfort and performance
The North Face Montana FUTURELIGHT Etip Gloves are classed as allrounders, and TNF has done a good job of appealing to all species of glove-wearer. Understated black and clean lines mean these wouldn’t excite comment around town in winter, but the facilities are good enough for pretty much any winter adventure, from skiing to mountaineering and everything in between. Warmth-wise they're very much in the midrange, much better insulation than thinner single-layer gloves or indeed cheaper dual-layer gloves, but not quite up to full-winter mountain mitts. However, they’re ideal for more active moments in even very low temperatures, and perfect for hikers and commuters alike.
Dexterity is also midrange, thanks to that thick insulation, but the fingers are flexible enough to allow smartphone use while wearing the gloves, which is pretty reasonable. The ‘etip’ treatment only covers the index and thumb pads, so it’s not entirely seamless, but for walkers snapping a quick selfie on the summit, or more serious navigators operating a GPS, they’re perfectly serviceable, and much better than getting cold hands.
The North Face Montana FUTURELIGHT Etip Gloves review: verdict
Overall, there’s a lot to like here - especially if you’re not a fan of cold hands. The North Face Montana FUTURELIGHT Etip Gloves are certainly warm, and robustly made to stand up to a fair bit of winter use and abuse. The FUTURELIGHT membrane is breathable enough to keep damp hands at bay for a while, and the deep gauntlet cut adds weather protection as well as keeping the wrists insulated.
While the Etip works well enough, the thickness of these gloves does make handling smaller devices a touch tricky, but that’s the tradeoff, and an easy one to make in the depths of winter. For winter snow sports such as skiing and snowboarding these will be absolutely ideal, but equally great for hikers and city-dwellers seeking to banish cold fingers while still keeping in touch with their digital worlds...