Giving Thanks for Kinco Gloves
Cooking Up The Best Gloves $30 Can Buy
Kind of strange reviewing a product that has been around, and fundamentally hasn’t changed for 45 years. But, I think of this as more of a PSA for Kinco Gloves than a gear review. Cold phalanges are the absolute worst, and nothing can end a ski day faster than frozen digits. No one wants to spend an arm and a leg to keep your arms and legs warm. Skiing is expensive; but fun, functional, and quality gear does not have to be.
Pointing You In The Right Direction
Kinco has been making gloves in Portland, Oregon since 1975. They have different glove types for various hands-on activities, from masonry to gardening and everything in between. But we’re here for their winter gear.
They make a handful of options in both glove and mitten varieties. Personally, my go-to model is what they call the “Model 901 -Lined Heavy Duty Premium Grain & Suede Pigskin Driver With Knit Wrist”. No marketing team burning the midnight oil brainstorming clever catchy names for ski industry trade shows here. What you’re getting is all right there in a nutshell.
I first spotted these yellow ish leather mitts on the hands of ski patrol and crusty old timers in the Lake Tahoe area growing up. I didn’t get it then, and honestly, it seems like this practical trend has only started catching on over the last few years. But I learned like everyone else; if these gloves are good enough for those guys and gals, they’re good enough for me.
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Other than the most reasonable price tag around and a history of use by the most hard core skiers, what makes these gloves great? They work. Hands down, the warmest most comfortable gloves I have ever had. That being said, these gloves are not for everyone. They are real leather and that means they will be stiff and clumsy when you first get a pair. But, think of it as oiling up your first mitt from little league, or seasoning that cast-iron pan your grandma left you. With a little time, patience, and tender “glove and care,” you will have something awesome that will last forever.
Hands-On Love for the Gloves
The love for these gloves comes in the form of wax. These are true leather gloves & they need some help in the waterproofing department. Kinco knows that, and includes packets of Nikwax for you to apply.
(*Pro Tip – Do your self a favor and buy a small thing of Sno Seal. It’s another beeswax leather protectant. I find it absorbs easier, and you’ll need more wax for reapplying anyways). The application of the wax might involve some actual oven mitts because, yes, you need to cook your gloves… in an oven.
Sounds weird, but by heating them up, it will open the pores and help the wax soak in easier. You don’t need to bake your Kincos very long or at a super hot temperature. I warm mine up on a foil-lined cookie sheet at about 175F for 3-5 mins. Pull ‘em out, rub wax all over, and keep rubbing them together with your hands inside until all soaked in. Send ‘em back in to the oven for another 3-5 minutes, to help it all soak and lock in the wax. That’s it!
Next steps are just to use them as much as possible. Use them skiing. Wear them to clean your gutters. Put them on for brisk morning walks with your dog…or cat if that’s what you’re into. They will take some time to break in, but I promise they are worth it. Also, repeat the waxing every once in a while. They’ll thank you for it by keeping your hands totally dry in that next après inspired snowball fight.