The Zenta LT glove is what Arc’teryx call a: “Waterproof, breathable, low profile glove. Ideal for high-output activities in cold conditions.” So, how was it for me?
Value for money ****
I generally get cold hands (and feet) so I’m always interested in testing out gloves to try and find the right combination of warmth, dexterity and durability. I’ve used the Zenta LT for a lot of different things. Scottish winter climbing, alpine climbing/mountaineering, ice-fall climbing and Scottish and alpine skiing.
The first thing I’d say about them is that they’re warm. I’ve used the Zenta LT’s in temps down to minus 18 Centigrade and I generally don’t get cold hands in these if I’m moving. In fact I actually find them too warm in Spring through to Autumn (weather extremes dependent of course) and for really high output stuff like skinning uphill on skis or easy mountaineering ground where I’m moving quick. That said, I’m more than glad of them when stood around belaying in the cold on north faces or Scottish mixed horrors in late Autumn to early Spring. And they’re great on ground up to alpine D grade, or if there’s lots of fresh snow and you’re plunging your hands into it or clearing.
The gloves are insulated with a brushed fleece (unlike the Zenta AR which uses 200g of Primaloft) and this is very warm and cosy on the hands whilst being low profile enough to maintain reasonable dexterity. It also wicks moisture away from the hands and through the Gore-tex XCR liner and outer fabric, quite effectively. Moving on to the outer fabric I have to say that the Zenta LT gloves are tough! The Burly™ double weave (50% nylon, 43% polyester, 7% spandex, 275 g/m². A hard-wearing, durable, stretch woven fabric with a smooth outer face and a soft inner face that is comfortable next to the skin) is proving to be pretty indestructible, even after many rounds with Cairngorm and alpine granite, and the Lezanova leather palm and fingers, are totally bombproof!
I think one key thing that adds to the durability of these gloves (and also warrants the hefty £115 price tag) is that Arc’teryx have not scrimped on the leather. The palm is fully covered and the finger tips are seamless and wrapped. Whilst also maximising dexterity so you can climb, ski or faff with taking skins on and off or place protection, the Zentas are tough and don’t fall apart as soon as you scrape a bit of snow off a ledge.
The following video talks about the Arc’teryx design philosophy for their glove range. It relates to the Alpha SV glove but many of the key principles here apply to the Zenta or any of their other gloves.
Ok then, so the Zenta LT is a warm glove, it’s well made, fairly dexterous and waterproof. It’s also durable. So, what is the fit like?
When Arc’teryx first brought out their glove range a LOT was made of the fit and how good it was and how it was superior to many other brands. Well, I’ve already talked about the seamless finger tips for increased dexterity and the stretchy outer fabric delivering super mobility and flexibility in the hand and cuff area. But if you hold up an Arc’teryx Zenta LT glove (or any of their technical gloves) what do you notice? What you should notice is that it’s anatomically shaped (shaped like your hand!), lie it on it’s back and it doesn’t lie flat. The fingers and thumb are pre-curved, like the natural position your hand sits in whilst relaxed. A lot of thought has been put into this and when you try a pair on, you can really tell! There is no excess fabric, or floppy thumbs. Or even baggy palms or wrist areas.
So what else can I say about the Zenta LT?
The Gore-tex XCR liner has kept the glove (and more importantly my hands), dry for the duration of the time I have used them. The only time I get damp hands, and this is inevitable) is during high output activities such as slogging up a non technical peak or skinning on skis or leading a more difficult pitch pitch. And I would normally wear a lighter glove such as the Venta SV for these activities anyway, unless it was really cold . One down-side for me (and it’s really a suitability issue relating to what I just said) is that I don’t find the Zenta LT dexterous enough for my liking when leading steep and technical ice and mixed ground. However I do find them absolutely perfect for general mountaineering, belaying and skiing. And this just proves that it’s really pretty much impossible to find one glove that is perfect for everything. The Zenta LT does come close though.
The Zenta LT is not a gauntlet glove. It has a slim fitting cuff to reduce layering bulk and I found this worked best layered under my jacket cuff, rather than over. It does work the other way too, but I found that with these gloves it was tricky to get it to stay one way or another and if you want full storm protection you’d be better with the Zenta AR gauntlet. To strike a compromise I found that wearing a baselayer with thumb loops, then any potential cold spots in the wrist area could be alleviated.
A couple of nice features that I’d like to mention to finish off are the leather tabs on the wrists to help with getting them on. You can also attach bungee retainers to these to stop you dropping them. The karabiner loops on the finger ends are also a useful touch and mean that you can clip the gloves to your harness, upside down and hopefully they won’t fill up with snow when you’re climbing!
The Zenta LT is a great all round waterproof and breathable mountain glove, perfect for skiing, mountaineering and climbing. It is dexterous but perhaps not quite dexterous enough for harder technical leads. It is well made and fits superbly. The shorter cuff may put some people off, but then go for the Zenta AR instead. Not the perfect glove, but not far off. Worth the £115 price tag for fit and quality alone. Nice job Arc’teryx!
Reviewed by Kevin Avery
- You can find out more about the Zenta LT gloves and where to buy them at the Arc’teryx website