Ski Gloves: Flylow vs Kinco

      6 Comments on Ski Gloves: Flylow vs Kinco

Cheap ski gloves are getting more and more popular these days and not just for fashion statement reasons. They are practical, affordable, more durable than they seem and give skiers great dexterity. I used to buy 70 to 100 dollar gloves and they would usually last a year, maybe 2 if I were lucky. Marmot, Black Diamond, Mountain Hardwear North Face, Hestra, Swany – it didn’t really matter. A moderately large problem I had with some of these gloves, outside the lack of longevity, was the insulation bunching up when you removed your glove, making it brain damaging trying to put your hand back in. Kinco work gloves and Flylow Ridge and Tough Guy gloves avoid this problem by more consistent stitching throughout the whole glove.

Kinco gloves are the most popular brand out there because of their price. You can buy a pair for 11$ and squeeze 2 seasons out of them, taping up as necessary – or just start with a fresh pair. They are so cheap, it doesn’t matter. Flylow has recently joined this market with their own versions of the leather work glove – the Tough Guy (50% leather) and the Ridge (100% leather). I just wanted to do a quick analysis of the two and highlight the benefits of both.

Warmth

Flylow

I’ve used both the Flylow Tough Guy glove and its cousin from Kinco – the 1927kw model. They are essentially the exact same glove in appearance. Neither company goes in to much detail about the technological advantages, but from experience alone, I noticed the Flylow glove had a shorter break in period, as well as some snow sealant encrusted upon all the leather parts of the glove. The Kinco appeared to have slightly more insulation. I’ve noticed that due to its slight advantage in warmth (meaning more insulation), it takes longer to “pack out”, where the Flylow packs out in a season. The exterior on the Kinco wears away quicker though, so its a wash. The Tough Guy retails for $30 and the 1927kw retails anywhere from $11 on a clearance site (+ shipping and handling) to $17 at an Ace Hardware. Overall – I give the nod to Flylow’s Tough Guy gloves, but I can’t ignore the price point on the 1927’s.

Waterproof

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Flylow has been known to lather their leather ski gloves with a generous amount of Snow Sealant. The Ridge glove is flylow’s all leather glove with Sno-Seal waterproofing and “HeatRac” insulation. Kinco’s designated ski glove – the 901 model – is their all leather with additional “HeatKeep” thermal lining (more so than most of their other gloves) and a pre-treated waterproofing solution called REVIVEX, which is similar to Nikwax, except you simply spray it on the fabric instead of wash it in. I’m not gonna get in to the science of all this, but from the outside looking in, it seems layers of snow sealant would last longer and work more effectively than an $8 bottle of spray on waterproofing agent. I could be wrong though. Overall – I give the nod to Flylow Ridge Gloves.

Mitts

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This is the one area where there is a clear cut winner. I first used the Flylow Mitts years ago and am unaware of any improvements they may have made in recent years, but the Kinco Ski Mitt (model 901T) has been a god send for inbounds skiing this season in Colorado. They have plenty of insulation, so much so that it doesn’t really matter if they are waterproof or not, since no amount of moisture could penetrate all the way to your hands anyway. They take a day to break in and then they take on the feeling of a broken in glove. My hands haven’t gotten chilly once and they have a comfortable 5-finger lining in the interior, as opposed to Flylow, which is basically a leather shell with no finger compartments. My Flylow mitt have been used primarily for scraping the ice off my car and backyard chores when its cold out. The leather palm on the Kinco has been sewn with reinforced leather patches for extra abrasion protection. Overall – this is a no brainer. Nod goes to Kinco Ski Mitts.

Final Thoughts

You can’t go wrong with either brand. Flylow gloves are basically a Kinco manufactured glove with their own customizations (that’s Flylow’s business model and they do a great job at it). Kinco still holds their own and if you want to completely avoid cold hands on the chair lift, get the Kinco Ski Mitt 901T and your troubles will be over. Flylow has snow sealant and tends to be more waterproof and Kinco’s all have HeatKeep insulation and tend to be warmer. For more information on these different technologies – try googling brands like Revivex, Nikwax, Sno-Seal, HeatKeep and HeatRac and see what other people’s take are on the matter.

Our friend Marc Barella’s pride and joy.

6 thoughts on “Ski Gloves: Flylow vs Kinco

  1. Alan

    I agree that the cheaper “work style” gloves are the way to go. Seems like nothing is really made to last that long these days so thanks for the suggestions. I’ll probably pick up a pair of the mitts for next season.

    1. Ben

      Agreed! I’ve got a pair and they’ve lasted a season with another season of life looking likely. I think I’m gonna need to grab some mitts too.
       
      Thanks for laying it all out there, Brian!

  2. Dillon

    Great write-up Miller. My rookie pair of Kinkos, purchased about 45 minutes after arriving home from our Cottonwood trek last fall, are easily the cheapest (cost) and most durable gloves I own. Heck, I even wear them around LoHi-psterville. One of the best gear purchases to date. Thanks for the recommendation Brian and Ben!

  3. Brian Post author

    Alan – thanks for the comments. Mitts are the way to go, no more bone chilling lift rides.
     
    Sarnelli – The perfect glove to use to clear your windshield in LoHi-psterville. Although they might’ve found a more obscure glove that nobody has heard of. Kincos are way too mainstream these days. Glad you like them regardless.

  4. G

    How many days did you have in these gloves before coming to this conclusion? I’ve had several pair of both and refuse to give Flylow another dollar. Their gloves barely last a 40day season, and as somebody who spends 150+ days on snow a year, the Kincos have remained where other gloves have come and gone. Flylow treats and bakes their gloves out of the factory so the leather is more supple and waterproof than the bare kincos, but if you sno-seal and bake the Kincos, you’ve got a two-season glove for $20. As somebody who has put both of these gloves through the wringer, the proof is in the pudding. And kincos are full of pudding

    1. Brian

      G – Thanks for the feedback. This review was based on the 2 main cheap leather gloves on the market. The level of detail I went in to each one was bordering on satire, given the pricepoint – I was mainly just trying to promote leather gloves in general rather than blowing money on brand name, I wasn’t really trying to promote one over the other. In the conclusion, I basically admitted it was a toss up.
       
      As for “skiing 150 days a year”, I can’t speak to that as I’ve never logged that many in a given season, nor kept count. I know snow is present year round, but from a logical/realistic standpoint, the “season” is December to June, 6 months, or 180 days. I unfortunately don’t have the PTO to ski 150 of those 180 days. I also prefer to ski on snow, preferably enough snow to cover most obstacles. But that’s just my personal preference.

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