If you like winter adventures it is important to have the right gear! One of the first things to feel the cold can be the hands especially if you don’t have the right gear to protect yourself. There are a ton of options out there when it comes to keeping your hands warm but it’s hard to tell what will be right for you. I had the chance to review a pair of gloves and mittens from Swany Gloves and wanted to share my thoughts. Here is my review of the Swany X-Calibur glove and Swany Legend mitten.
As a disclaimer I would like to mention that I was sent these two items so that I could write a review of them from Swany. All opinions on this page are my own and based on my own experiences with these gloves/mittens. This review is for general informational purposes. Your experience with the pants may be completely different.
Swany X-Calibur Gloves and Legend Mittens
Before I get into my opinion on the X-Calibur and the Legend, I like to see what Swany is saying directly about their products and to show you the technical information that they provide. Here is information about the X-Calibur and Legend directly from Swanyamerica.com.
|X-Calibur Glove||$185.00 usd|
|Legend Mitten||$140.00 usd|
|X-Calibur||S, M, L, XL|
|Legend||S, M, L, XL|
|X-Calibur||Tri-Plex Alpha Insulation System, Dyna-Therm+ Lining, Dryfinger II W/B Insert|
|Legend||Insuloft-120g, Polygiene Odor Control inner glove|
|X-Calibur||Performance Leather with reinforced digitized leather palm overlay|
|Legend||Smooth Grain LeatherShield with Digitized Leather Reinforced Palm|
|X-Calibur||Dyna-Flex™ Construction, Quick Release Strap, Swany SpeedDraw System, Utility heat pocket with AquaGuard lock-down zipper, Swany hand cuff leash|
|Legend||Toaster Construction, AquaGuard lock-down zipper, quick release strap, Touch Screen compatible inner glove finger tip & thumb|
|Legend||Fixed, thin, non removeable inner glove liner with touchscreen compatible finger and Polygiene odor control|
|X-Calibur||Mens and Ladies Available|
|Legend||Mens and Ladies Available|
*All information from SwanyAmerica.com
What I Liked about the Swany X-Calibur Gloves and Legend Mittens
There is a lot to like about both the Swany X-Calibur and Legend lines. Most important of course is how warm they keep your hands! As a hefty hiker, I have plenty of insulation around my body but the only thing that gets really cold are my hands. I also use my hands a lot to take photos and videos and move in and out of gloves so hand warmth is very important to me. I am very happy with the warmth on both of these but there is so much more to like. Here is a bit of what else I like.
Swany X-Calibur Gloves Warmth
Oh my hands get so cold on those winter hikes and snow shoe adventures. Nothing really makes me more miserable than having cold and painful finger tips. So I am really judgmental when it comes to gloves and keeping me warm. I can say that the X-Calibur have done an excellent job of keeping my hands nice and toasty down to about 20 degrees.
I have hiked in these gloves up above 10,000 feet several times and in temps that fell into the 20’s. My hands stayed comfortable for the entire treks and I even had to take the gloves off at times later in the day when the sun was at full strength. It should be noted that I didn’t even use hand warmers on any of the hikes in the X-Calibur. (Although they do have a nice hand warmer zipped pocket).
3 Step warmth
I think the warmth came to me in 3 ways. First it is that the outer leather shell does a really good job of keeping the wind out and keeping the warmth in. Second is the insulation. The X-Calibur comes with what they call a Tri-Plex Alpha Insulation System and a Dyna-Therm lining. I don’t really know what all that means but I know that my hands stay nice and warm with it! I am also pretty sure that it helps to wick moisture away from my hand helps to trap insulating air between the leather and the liner that works to keep my hands warm. While the science might be above my level the comfort is not.
Finally, when I was sent these gloves they came with an independent liner. I am not sure if this is how they are always sent or if it was just the sample pair I was sent to review. The addition of the liner gives a third layer of protection that keeps my hands comfortable even on the coldest of hikes. Again, I don’t know if the liner comes standard or if it is sold separately but I would recommend getting one. I wear mine all the time and really enjoy them.
Swany X-Calibur Gloves Element protection
The thick outer shell of the X-Calibur do a great job of protecting my hands from winters biggest enemy, the wind. There is nothing worse than a cutting wind that penetrates into your hands and leaves you feeling pain down to the bones. I hike a lot in the mountains where the winds can routinely be above 30 mph and you need to have protection from the wind or you are going to be in for a tough time.
The leather in the X-Calibur blocks a majority of the wind that comes its way. The glove also extends down the wrist so you can tuck your layers into it to form an even better seal against the wind and the weather. Any wind that does make it though the shell never seems to get to the hand thanks to the thick insulation.
I have not worn these gloves in a rainstorm but have been in plenty of snow and I can say that the snow has never made it past the shell. I don’t know if it would hold up to a deep soaking in a river or anything like that but against the blowing snow and little ice pellets, it has held up amazingly well. Dry hands are another vitally important part of staying warm on the winter adventures so being protected this well is a very important requirement and the Swany Gloves do a great job at it.
Swany X-Calibur Gloves Thickness with Flexibility
The X-Calibur gloves are nice and thick. The shell is made of premium leather and the palm has another leather overlay. The thick leather is also very flexible. It almost feels like wearing a thick pair of work gloves. Every finger is free to move freely and there is no stiffness in the joints at all. Sometimes you put on a pair of leather gloves and they might as well be made of steel with the loss of movement but this is definitely not the case with Swany, I actually feel like I have the same amount of flexibility that I have when I am just wearing liners but with about a million times the warmth.
The X-Calibur have insulation and a lining under all that leather, plus I usually wear a thin liner as a base layer for extra protection on those cold mountain days. Even with all of that material I still find it really easy to manipulate the fingers, thumb and hand of this glove which is great. There is nothing worse than having a nice thick glove that keeps your fingers stiff. That stiffness can get hard to break in the winter. I always like to have my hands moving and this glove is flexible enough to make that a very easy task.
Swany X-Calibur Hand Cuff Leash
I didn’t realize how much I would absolutely love the Hand Cuff Leash on the X-Calibur glove until I tried it the first time. Holy Cow! This is a game changer for anyone who takes their gloves on and off a lot while outdoors. I do a lot of filming and photography while I am hiking so I am taking my gloves on and off a lot to mess with the small menu’s on my camera or phone. Usually, I just stuff the glove under my armpit and hope it doesn’t fall. The Hand Cuff Leash takes all of that away!
Simply apply the leash around your wrist and when you take your gloves they will dangle down by your side until you are ready to put them back on. The cuff is very flexible and fits over stacks of layers or can be tight enough to fit up against a bare wrist. The gloves are then just waiting with no worries of them falling in the snow, getting blown away in some of the 40-50 mile an hour mountain winds, or of setting them down and walking away accidently (which I have done).
This Hand Cuff Leash is so amazing and it has made my life a whole lot easier!
Swany Legend Mittens Warmth
The Legend by Swany Gloves works a little bit different when it comes to warmth. It has a fixed liner on the inside of the mitten that works as the base layer covered by the thick leather shell. The inner liner wicks moisture away from the hand which keeps your hand dry and warmer. The Legend also incorporates an Insuloft insulation which is a micro poly that traps warm air molecules providing warmth inside the glove.
This mitten is built with what Swany Gloves calls their Toaster technology which I can tell you does keep the hand nice and warm. I really like having the liner inside of the glove. I usually wear a liner anyway and having it affixed to the mitten is nice and you know it is going to fit right. Plus, with the zipper you can get your hand outside of the shell without having to take the shell completely off.
All of this leads up to a very warm mitten. I have found that mittens are typically warmer than gloves so to have a mitten with all the extra technology that Swany incorporates makes for a very comfortable experience when it comes to hand warmth.
Swany Legend Mittens Size
The X-Calibur that I talked about earlier are a big thick glove. The Legend has a bit of a smaller profile. The leather is a little thinner but still provides a great amount of protection. If the X-Calibur is 2x the size of my hand I would say the Legend is 1.5x bigger. This gets important when it comes to packing gear in the pack.
The Legend takes up a smaller profile in the pack and can fit better in a jacket pocket than the X-Calibur and it might be a better option for some. I know now that we are getting into spring, I like to keep the legend in my hiking jacket pocket because one day I might be in the foothills where it is 45 degrees and sunny and the next day I might be in the mountains where it is 15 and windy and I want to be able to always have the Legend with me to protect my hands.
Swany Legend Mittens Element Protection
The leather in the Legend may be a touch thinner but it still does a really nice job of protecting from the wind. While being naturally strong against wind I think the design of this mitten also really helps. The wind seems fly around the mitten almost like there are some aerodynamics in play. I admit, I know very little about aerodynamics and have not taken the gloves into a wind tunnel. But I have taken them out in the mountains and meadows with heavy winter winds whipping around and it just felt like the wind was diverted by the flatter profile of the mitten.
I haven’t been in a good snow storm with the Legend yet but I have been hiking around in the snow. I used them to clear a rock to sit on and had no problem with any moisture leaking through at all. Plus, with the moisture wicking liner my hands have always felt dry inside the mittens even on days when they were sweating a bit.
Swany Legend Mittens Finger Zipper
One of the coolest features of the Swany Legend Mittens is the full finger zipper. Since there is an attached and fixed inner liner to the mitten you don’t want to have to take your hand out if you need to use a finger. So if you are looking to use your phone you don’t want to have to take the glove off completely.
With the full finger zipper you can unzip the shell and keep your finger in the liner to reach out. This way your hand stays in the relative warmth of the liner and you can keep your other fingers inside the shell to avoid the wind. I really like this feature and have used it a bunch to keep my hand warm when I need to mess with small buttons on my camera.
I will say that I have a bit of a problem with the touchscreen section of the glove but I think that has more to do with the fact that I have a wide hand and shorter fingers so the material bunches up at the finger tip. This impacts the effectiveness of the touchscreen material. I have a bit more on that below.
What I Didn’t Like
While I liked almost everything about the Swany Gloves, they will take my blogger card away if I don’t find something that I don’t like. For me, the only thing I had issues with was the touch screen capabilities on the Legend liner when you unzip the finger release.
Most of this could be the way my hand is. I have a wide hand that needs a large glove to fit the hand portion but my fingers aren’t terribly long. Because of that I get some extra material at the end of the finger tips which could be the cause of the issues with the touch screens. The touchscreen material works if I can line it up just perfectly on my hand but I found it hard to get it consistently lined up to work every time.
The only other thing I can mention is that when I am hiking I usually have a lot of layers on and sometimes, depending on what I am wearing, it is hard to get the wrist of the glove or mitten to fit over the clothing layers. This doesn’t happen every time but on the really cold days where I have the thicker jackets it gets harder to get the gloves and jacket to fit together.
Two little things that may just be related to my hand size and width but I wanted to mention them.
Video Review of the Swany Gloves
I have also put together a quick video review of the Swany Gloves. If you prefer videos feel free to give that a watch and if you enjoy it, please subscribe to my YouTube channel. It is free to subscribe and you will be the first to know when new outdoor content is available.
Wrap up of Swany Gloves (which do I prefer?)
I really liked both of the lines from Swany Gloves that I tested. The Legend are a really nice mitten. They keep me warm and dry and have the flexibility to unzip and reveal the inner liner. The X-Calibur is really nice and warm glove with the durability and flexibility of a work glove. I don’t think you could go wrong with either. If you are more into mittens give the Legend a try. More of a glove person? X-Calibur will work out great.
As for the Fatman Favorite, I like them both. I do wear the X-Calibur a bit more. They are in my winter mountain pack and that is where I have been going a lot lately. I keep the Legend with me for all of the other hikes that I do. That is mostly because I bring smaller packs to lower elevation hikes and the Legend has a bit of a smaller profile. I have been very happy with both and feel comfortable with both in any situation.
I would recommend either one of these and it will probably just come down to your preference to glove or mitten. The only other tie breaker for me is that the X-Calibur is a little more flexible. Either one should be a great choice though!
More from the Fat Man
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