SealSkinz Windproof Skull Cap
SealSkinz Highland Gloves
SealSkinz Windproof Skull Cap
SealSkinz Highland Gloves
Cost: Skull Cap: $30; Gloves: $85
Sizes: Skull Cap – S/M –L/XL; Gloves – S – XXL (men’s & women’s versions)
How Obtained: Samples from company
Availability: Online, retail
RBR Sponsor: No
Tested: 30+ hours
SealSkinz Winter Accessories Have You Covered
I always love the confused and sometimes shocked look on people’s faces when I talk about SealSkinz products. If you’ve never heard of the brand, then you conjure up images of seal pups. I quickly assure whomever I’m talking with, no animals were ever harmed in the making of these products. I go on to tell them that the brand is known for their waterproof products that keep you warm and dry…just like a seal’s skin. “Ahhhh,” they always say with a smile.
I received a couple of products from SealSkinz to test during my Chicago winter rides. I never hesitated to take them out on cold, windy days, if previous experiences with SealSkinz were any indication, I’d be warm and dry. These two products did not disappoint.
Let’s start at the top
Normally, I don’t ride with a skull cap because I get too warm and end up with a soaking wet head of hair on a freezing cold day. But this wasn’t the case with the SealSkinz windproof and breathable skull cap. I never overheated on any of my rides. It is lightweight, thin, and close-fitting so I could easily wear it under my road helmet. The lining is micro-fleece, breathable and has a SealSkinz Thermal Rating of 2 out of 5. The company recommends it for cool conditions year-round.
The only issue I had with the skull cap was when it was really windy or at high speeds, there’d be a howling noise. My guess is it was due to the perforations by the ear which are designed to help with hearing, but it seemed counterproductive.
Now for the hands
When riding in the winter, my hands are the first thing to get cold. I was very impressed with the Highland gloves because they are fully waterproof, breathable and windproof. I tested all of these features. After a sloppy fat tire ride, I took out the hose on a 36-degree F day and rinsed off my bike. The gloves got water all over them, but my hands stayed perfectly dry and warm. On several other test rides I had a blustery north wind. The windproof feature worked great. I never felt any cold air passing through the fabric.
With Climashield insulation and a thermal rating of 5 out of 5, I would suggest wearing these gloves in temps under 45 degrees F. Over 45 degrees they were too warm, and my hands got very sweaty, but it was a great way to test another key feature.
SealSkinz uses anti-slip technology to eliminate liner movement when you pull your hands out of the gloves. This is one of my pet peeves when riding in the winter. I take my gloves off to take pictures, adjust something on my bike, or for numerous other reasons. With other brands of gloves and mittens, the liner comes out with your hand or gets all twisted inside. I never had an issue with the Highland gloves; the liner stayed put every time.
The Highland is a cycling-specific design available in a five-fingered glove (which I tested) in women’s and men’s sizing, or as a unisex lobster claw mitten. The women-specific fit is slimmer around the wrist and palm and has a longer finger profile. Both styles have reflective detailing for more visibility in low light, gel pressure point pads on the palms, and suede wiper on the thumb (definitely gave that a workout on my cold winter rides).
The only issue I had was that initially the glove was a bit stiff and I had problems shifting on my road bike. But once I wore and washed the gloves a couple of times they became much more pliable, making it easier to shift.
The SealSkinz skull cap and Highland gloves did not disappoint. I enjoyed a number of chilly, windy winter rides thanks to these fine products. The windproof, waterproof and breathable materials made for more comfortable rides. I’ve even found myself using the gloves for hikes and errands. I’d recommend checking out the full line of SealSkinz products. Their attention to detail and unique durable fabrics definitely help you endure cold, wet, windy weather.
Dave Minden says
In my experience waterproofing in gloves needs to be tested by soaking over time. Even the best ‘waterproof’ gloves I’ve had are only good for about 20 minutes of rain, especially the soaking kind. They may still be warm, but often when soaked they get cold, too. Neoprene does stay dry, but is always stiff and never really as warm as fleece. Compromise is really what happens at the 30-45 degree wet riding!
Robert Brandenburg says
Do the gloves work with a Garmin or phone touchscreen?
Hi Dave. I’ve ridden in the rain and snow with the gloves too. So far no issue with my hands being wet. They are not neoprene hence they do breathe.
Hi Robert. The gloves do work with my Garmin 1000 as it is a touch screen. But they do not work with a phone. Garmin and phone use different technology. I actually have changed my Garmin screen from a drop of sweat falling on it during a ride.
Andrew Kundrat says
When I ride in very cold temperatures, I wish I had a well designed Balaclava head cover with a strip that would cover my nose and cheek area, with out any material over my nostrils and mouth (so I can clear them without having to pull down the parts covering the nose and mouth). I often wish manufacturers of cold weather head gear would have a Velcro attachable piece like this to use for very cold days as that is typically the first area of skin discomfort that limits my ability to ride in the cold. (Finger and toe discomfort comes much later.)