Stay Warm with Mittens and More, From Oyuki
Last winter, three families tested Oyuki mittens for me. Their reviews were glowing.
Here’s what Kevin said, “These gloves were a game changer for my two-year old. They fit well. The interior of the thumb is white so it was easy to show my son where to put his thumb. The wrist straps are awesome, when he didn’t want to wear the mittens, he was happy with them hanging from his wrists. The clip that holds the two mittens together is substantial and works. No risk of losing a glove when they are clipped together!”
Plus, the mitts have a full zip making them easy to slide onto tiny hands. Available in sizes 2, 4 and 6, in black, blue or raspberry, $35.00.
Oyuki says that the Rippa is an adult mitt in kid’s sizing. A combination of soft-shell fabric and leather, with a Gore-Tex membrane and Primaloft insulation, the mittens are built for cold, snowy weather.
Eryn, whose daughter tested them, shares this: “My daughter is IN LOVE with the mittens. She hasn’t worn mittens for two years. She has absolutely refused. But she has worn only these mittens the last four ski days. She says they are warmer than anything she has worn before. And she says she can still grip her ski poles with them.”
This is a high-performance, full-leather mitten with Gore-Tex lining, Primaloft insulation, a fitted neoprene cuff and wrist loops. It’s a serious mitt for women who seriously want their hands to stay warm.
Here’s what Sarah said: “I like them a lot! They were very warm and much more streamlined then my other mittens. I was able to hold my poles more easily with them. And I got several compliments on how they look! The size large fit perfectly, although I am not a very large person.”
Before ordering be sure to check the sizing guide on the Oyuki website. Available in sizes XS – L, in black and white, $135.00.
Other Oyuki Offerings
Both the Rippa and the Chika are the highest priced mittens in their categories. Oyuki has many more styles of mittens and gloves, including an extensive line for men.
For warmth, check out their neck gaiters, balaclavas, face masks, glove liners, baselayers, beanies and socks.
Please note, prices on the Oyuki website are in Yen, so you’ll have to do a quick conversion. If you spend more than $45.00, international shipping is free. Less than $45.00 and the shipping charge is approximately $9.00.
Connect with Bonx
“This is a great idea, especially for road biking. I’m just not sure it works for skiing.”
We recently tested Bonx Grip, a bluetooth connected personal communication earpiece. It’s a microphone and speaker you wear in your ear to talk to friends and family also wearing Bonx Grip earpieces. It’s not a phone (although you do need your phone to connect via an app) and it’s not a walkie-talkie. Instead its a private way to talk when you’re together, yet apart.
Hence, my husband’s delight in using Bonx Grip while road biking. As he explains, “we can talk and we don’t have to yell.”
Bonx Grip Pros
- Being able to talk to someone when you are separated.
- The speaker is not too loud, so you remain aware of your surroundings.
- The device is well-made and has a lot of options for customizing the fit.
- The required app is intuitive and setting up the device is easy.
- When service is spotty, a message plays telling you service is interrupted. It also tells you when service is restored.
- The external volume and muting controls are helpful.
- It comes with a charger and carrying-case.
Bonx Grip Cons
- Spotty cell service limits the usefulness of Bonx Grip.
- Traffic noise and wind can make it difficult to hear one another.
- There is a broadcasting delay.
- If you don’t like something in your ear, you will not like it.
While we liked it for cycling, we saw some drawbacks for use while skiing and riding, especially as a family.
- Expense, as everyone using it must have a Bonx Grip and a phone.
- The Bonx Grip was a tight fit under my helmet which covers my ears.
- On the chairlift, you’ll want to turn it off. This means remembering to turn it on again when you’re skiing.
- Bonx Grip eats battery. The cold eats battery. Bye-bye battery life.
- Skiing is noisier than you might think. Wind and motion can make hearing via the speaker difficult.
- No cell service, no Bonx Grip service.
The upshot? Great for cyclists, probably great for fishing (you want to be quiet anyway so you won’t be chatty), possibly useful for running and hiking. But if you’re in the backcountry, it may not work.
The Micro Pack from Kulkea
Initially, we were thrown by this minimalist pack from Kulkea. When we unsnapped the clips to open it, we found there was no top-opening, central compartment.
Minds blown, we turned to the hang tag on the pack which clearly explains how to use it. Then it all made sense.
Like other Kulkea packs (the Boot Trekker comes to mind), the Kulkea Micro Pack is compartmentalized to help you stay organized and fit your gear efficiently into the pack. Unlike larger boot packs or day packs, the Micro Pack is all about carrying just what you need. In this case, water, snacks, lip balms, goggles or sunglasses, an extra layer, your keys, wallet and phone.
Here’s a short video that provides an overview.
Here’s our experience (noting that it’s only October, so we weren’t able to ski with it).
It holds more than you imagine. I used the gear I would normally pack to skin up at a resort and it all fit in easily. The pictures tell the story. Fully loaded it weighed less than 5 pounds and was very comfortable.
It works best for one person. but could be used for two people if you focus on the bare essentials: water, snacks, sunscreen, hand warmers. It would be hard to fit in lunch for a family, although if you bring quesadillas and other flat food, it might work!
It’s not just for skiing. We took it hiking with our dog, and carried the dog essentials: leash, bowl, snacks, plastic bags, water. I barely noticed I had the pack on and it was so much better than hand-carrying or stuffing my pockets full of dog gear.
In addition to being really comfortable and useful, I have to highlight two safety features that we appreciate.
First, the whistle. Will we ever use it? Hopefully not. Is it smart to have? Yes, especially if you misplace your ski buddy in the trees.
Second, the pack release buckles on the front. These buckles unsnap quickly and let you free yourself from the pack in seconds. If the pack gets stuck on the chairlift (the odds are very low, but it happens), you can get out of the pack.
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