I first heard of Possumdown when reading about the often mentioned Possumdown gloves + MLD event rain mitts combo. It's been recommended by many hikers, including Andrew Skurka, and claimed to be good for four season use. That made me curious so I of course had to try them out.
I haven't had the chance to try the MLD rain mitts, but the Possumdown gloves have been used during the winter, mostly as an everyday glove to and from work etc. The short story is that I find them warm, but with some serious durability issues when worn alone. I've been forced to repair some of the fingertips with some zig zags, and that has been sufficient, but new ones keep appearing. So, not something you would want to choose for a long thru-hike.
On the positive side - these are warm, light and comfortable gloves! They're quite affordable too. I got my pair via ebay for 22.95 dollars including shipping to Norway, and I didn't have to pay customs either since the amount was below 35 dollars.
Possumdown is actually a blend of NZ possum fur and merino wool. The thing is that the Possum was brought to New Zealand by settlers for economic reasons - they wanted to start a fur industry. Unfortunately they multiplied at such a rate things got out of hand and the trees and wildlife started to suffer. Nowadays they're seen as a national pest. I remember reading on the label that I was helping to preserve the NZ wildlife by buying the gloves. I've got mixed emotions about that since I care a lot about animals - I know it's probably wise to try to reduce its numbers, but it is sad to see animals hunted solely for their fur, and by sometimes cruel means (traps etc.).
Well, back to the review. Merino wool is well known for its ability to be warm even when wet, and for resisting bacterial growth. Possum fur is even warmer since the fibres are hollow and retain more warmth. The gloves I've got has 10% nylon as well. I remember being a bit surprised that they weren't 100% possum fur, but when you study the gloves closely you'll see that the possum fur is very fluffy while being a bit stiff. I don't think it would work well, something they probably quickly found out and created the blend "Possumdown". Below is a closeup picture of possumdown that I found at backpackinglight.com.
So, to conclude this short review of the Possumdown gloves:
- relatively affordable
- a bit short on the wrist (the model I bought)
- poor durability / abrasion resistance
Wish I had more time to write a more comprehensive review, but there you have it.
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