DR Power Equipment – Professional Grade Elkskin Gloves

[easyreview title=”DR Power Equipment – Professional Grade Elkskin Gloves” cat2title=”Apparel” cat2detail=”This is a progressive review of these gloves starting 12/9/2011; the star review will be filled in when the review is complete. ” ]

Those of you who have been following the farm blog regularly may have noticed that I Tweet about the farm, too. Recently, thanks to a fellow Twitter-er (@NeoHomesteading), I found out that DR Power Equipment was looking for folks to review some professional grade gloves for them. I responded quickly – over the past couple of winters, I’ve been challenged to find gloves that meet my winter needs here on the farm, and so I was anxious to see how these would measure up against the pairs that have already gone to the wayside.

When I read the description on DR’s website, I grew even more excited about giving these gloves a try. These are made from elk hide – which was touted as tougher than calf hide, but also, quite soft. I’m listenin’. I did a little looking and found that Elk Farming is a relatively new enterprise here in the U.S. – having gained popularity since around 1990 or so. These are grass-fed animals and provide not only the hide, but also, venison, antlers, and antler velvet – so they are, from the sounds of things to me, a sustainable type of “cattle” to raise. That’s important to us here, and so I was really pleased to see that.

I also smiled when I saw that these are made by a small company in Oregon – we are supporters of small business, as well as any domestic manufacturing that still takes place here in the U.S. So that was another positive point in my mind.

In determining how to measure the quality and performance of these gloves, I thought about some of the complaints I’ve had about the previous gloves I’ve had, which include:

  • Not warm enough
  • If they are warm enough, they do not provide enough tactile movement – just too bulky
  • Not water resistant/water-proof
  • Not durable – splits in the leather or hide, etc.

So these were some of the criteria by which I wanted to judge these gloves, and I was thrilled to receive them last Friday. I’ve been using them for a week now, and here are my thoughts so far:

Wow. These are toasty. I attribute this in part to the Thinsulate® lining, which really does its job well, but I have had gloves with the same lining in the past which haven’t been quite as effective. I am going to credit the elk hide for providing a great barrier, working in conjunction with that insulating lining.

Tactile Movement
I’ll admit, I was a little concerned when I first took the gloves out of the box, because they seemed like they might be a little bulky. As I mentioned earlier, this has been an issue in the past with other gloves, so I was keen to discover how well these might do in this regard. Here are a few tests I ran them through:

  1. The Duck Feeding Test – These gloves came out “Duck Approved.” When I feed the ducks at night, I am trying to manage two 10-pound poultry feeders and my large metal flashlight – the duck enclosure/coop area is not well-lit, and especially since Daylight Savings Time ended, it is imperative that I have light while going over there. With all of the rain we’ve had, there is quite a bit of mud to contend with too, and ducks are great at making it even more slippery. Normally I’ve been trying to carry the feeders with the flashlight sort of tucked under one of my arms, all while not dropping anything or slipping. It’s been challenging to keep my balance. I figured I’d try holding the flashlight and the feeder handle in one hand instead – and because of the “grippiness” of the elk hide – it was a great success! It made this job much easier. I wasn’t able to do this with prior gloves, as either the flashlight would slip out of my hand, or the feeder handle – in either case, causing quite a bit of trouble for me.
  2. The Coop Window Closing Test – We have several windows on our chicken coop – they are on hinges so that we can close these during inclement weather. Given the chaotic weather we’ve had recently, this has often meant opening these windows during the day, since it was warm outside, and then closing them at night when the temperatures race downward. The windows are kept secured shut with a hook and eye closure – the kind where the hook has a little sliding sleeve to insure that it holds in place once latched. This requires quite a bit of fine tactile movement, and so closing these has not been possible with gloves in the past. I tried it last night, and I was pretty surprised to see that I could manage to get that done with the gloves on! I’m not going to say that I had the same tactile sensation/precision that I would with my bare hands – but this is the first time that I’ve ever been capable of keeping my hands warm and protected while shutting up the coop for the night. That’s pretty thrilling, in my book.
  3. The Egg Handling Test – Our chickens produce about 30 eggs every day, and the ducks are currently laying around 10 each morning. I gather these eggs throughout the day. Past gloves have left me disappointed and upset when I couldn’t pick up and hold the egg properly and they’d often drop and break. Again, I think the elk hide is to be credited here, because it gave me some grip, and also let me feel that I had a good grasp on the egg. I’m pleased to report there were no egg casualties as a result of this test.
  4. Adding Air To Tires Test – 1/3/2012 – I’m really happy to report that I can air up my truck tires while keeping my hands all toasty warm inside my gloves. I can even unscrew the stems and replace them, along with operating the pressure gauge and inflator – which, in weather like we are seeing today (17 degrees F) is pretty darn important!

Water Resistance
I’m not sure if it’s a function of the elk hide, but I’m presuming it must be – these gloves really don’t leave me with “soakers.” Now, mind you, I’m not dipping my hands into the duck puddles with them, but I am touching things that are damp or slightly wet – and it’s not getting through to my hand. That’s quite a welcome change from my past experiences!

This one is difficult for me to judge right now, given that I’ve only had these for a week. I’ll be doing a progressive review of these gloves, meaning,  if you check back periodically, you’ll see some updates here regarding my continued experience with the gloves. For now, I can say that they seem very well constructed, and I have high hopes for their durability over time.
1/3/2012 – I washed the gloves yesterday as I had managed to get them pretty mucked up over the past week. They came out beautifully! I did not tumble dry, just put them on one of our heat registers. So the durability is proving to be excellent.

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