Wildhorn Tolcat

We’ve spent quite a bit of time getting to know Wildhorn Outfitters and their array of affordable winter outerwear. From helmets to snow pants, we’ve found their lineup to be serviceable across the board and a sensible investment for 5-10 ski day seasons.

Here we’ll be taking a closer look at their Tolcat gloves, which keep in running with the rest of Wildhorn’s selection of affordable gear. Probably more resorted-oriented, they have touchscreen fingertips and a mixture of synthetics and goat leather.

I tested them in harsher backcountry and found them to be just enough glove to sneak by for a few laps on chilly days and a pretty nice low-profile option on the shoulder ends of the season.

Below we’ll dig into the Tolcat layer by layer and see how they stack up against other gloves we’ve tested over the years.

Our Overall Review

3.5

Things we like:

  • check-mark
    An affordable glove that keeps your hands protected in mild weather
  • check-mark
    Touchscreen compatibility lets you stay in contact without cold hands
  • check-mark
    Lightweight and low profile enough for performing essential tasks

Things we don't like:

  • check-markCertainly not warm enough for colder days or extended skiing
  • check-markCertainly not warm enough for colder days or extended skiing Doesn't hold up to more expensive gloves in terms of waterproofing
  • check-markDurability may become a concern after a few seasons of use or abuse

Where to buy:

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Wildhorn Tolcat

Good in Moderate Conditions

The Tolcat gloves are plenty warm for temperatures at or above freezing. I found them to have a nice balance between insulation and breathability. In early winter and into springtime, I was never uncomfortably cold in the mornings or too warm in the afternoons.

But when things started to dip significantly below freezing, I found the Tolcats lacking the heft required to keep me satisfied during regular alpine skiing, albeit they did alright anytime I happened to be going uphill.

I wasn’t terribly surprised by how they performed in varying temperatures. They’re on the thinner side of things as far as the gloves I usually use are concerned, and this gives them some considerable performance benefits we’ll get into below.

Specs & Features

  • Triple Layer Protection and Insulation
  • Thinsulate Insulation
  • Lightweight and Ergonomic Pre-curved Build
  • Goat Leather Palm
  • Removable Wrist Cuff
  • Touch Screen Compatible
See the complete list of the best Ski Gloves here!
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Impressive Dexterity

The Tolcats may be lacking in the warmth department, but I was more than happy with their range of motion. In the simplest terms, my dexterity was limited by my finger joints before the gloves themselves came into play.

Though they might be a little short on insulation when the temperatures drop, they did better than any other I’ve tested short of ultrathin touring gloves when it came down to using my fingers. They’re one of the few models I’ve tried where you have enough freedom of motion where touchscreen compatibility becomes useful.

I’m not convinced that any of these performance boons were intentional- all the same, they work well enough for me to be impressed. Based on my experience, they’re something I wish I would have had when skiing with groups of dependents. The nimble fingers would have saved me a lot of trouble when it came down to fiddling with other people’s boot buckles, goggles, helmet straps, etc.

The only caveat I’d offer regarding dexterity is that it likely comes at the expense of durability along with warmth. We’ll cover this more extensively in our durability section below, but I doubt that you could expect much more than a couple of seasons of moderate use out of these gloves. Their flexibility, no doubt, would quickly return to haunt them if you were to treat them too roughly.

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Related Reviews

Weather Resistance

We’ve already covered that the Tolcat has limited applicability when it comes to outside temperatures; the same can be said for other weather conditions.

In wet weather, I noticed the shell would soak through surprisingly fast, with water eventually making its way through the insulation as well. I found this to be true on particularly warm days if I happened to spend a lot of time with my hands in the snow as well.

Unless it was spitting rain, the gloves did a decent job of keeping me warm despite any accrued dampness. I’d credit their Thinsulate liner. I’ve had a lot of success with poly-filled goods in the past when things got a little wet.

I had more significant issues with wind. Putting it bluntly, I don’t expect much from my outerwear in terms of wind resistance unless it’s a Gore-Tex shell or uses similar, expensive, and highly engineered materials. Wildhorn’s in-house attempts at emulating this technology fall a little short..

I’ve already mentioned that these gloves don’t cut it when it comes to freezing temperatures combined with wind, and you have a recipe for discomfort. Even with a glove liner, I’d be hesitant to wear these anywhere too exposed where you can reasonably expect to be buffeted by the occasional gust.

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Durability and Materials

The Tolcat uses similar materials as some of the best gloves we’ve tested. Yet true to the pattern we’ve seen from Wildhorn thus far, the difference is in the details.

Starting with the positives, the Tolcat glove is comfortable. The flexibility that such a sparse amount of insulation totally negates the claustrophobic feel that bulkier gloves can sometimes have. Coupled with a plush liner, I’ve been able to spend whole days perfectly happy with my hands- weather permitting.

Now to the drawbacks. Wildhorn gear invariably looks slick, but its feeling differs significantly from top performers that I’ve tried out. Polyester and goat leather are excellent starting materials to make a pair of gloves. But the grade of each of these materials counts.

It’s also helpful to include nylon and other, more waterproof components as well as more material period to improve wintertime effectiveness. Similarly, the way you put the glove together is important too.

Uninspiring single stitching and rarely reinforced seams around the fingers are a recipe for failure around some critical points on the glove. The tips of your fingers may stay intact, but that won’t do you much good if snow is finding its way through splits in the sides.

Overall, the Tolcat gloves are indicative of Wildhorn’s general quality. They’re a budget brand, and you get what you pay for. It works well enough to get by but cuts some corners as far as quality assurance is concerned.

Features

Triple Layer Protection and Insulation

In addition to the polyester shell, the Tolcat gloves employ three distinct layers in their build to make them warm and waterproof enough to qualify for use on the ski slope.

First among these is the Thinsulate layer just underneath the shell. A long-trusted down alternative, Thinsulate has been used in outdoor gear for a few decades now and is among other top performing synthetic loft insulation when it comes to keeping you warm regardless of weather conditions.

Beneath the insulation, their in-house Hydro-Tex layer provides the bulk of the waterproofing and breathability. This material emulates Gore-Tex in build and purpose but doesn’t meet the same standards under scrutiny.

Finally, the liner is a soft polyester, maybe my favorite thing about the glove. Even compared to some of the plush designer liners I’ve tried in other gloves, I thought the Tolcat was impressively comfortable next-to-skin.

Pre-Curved Build

By no means a groundbreaking development, the Tolcat has a gently curved build to help it fit the natural, relaxed position of your hand. This would be a more significant issue for a more robust glove and didn’t have much of an impact on the Tolcat’s very pliable build.

Removable Wrist Cuff

A removable wrist cuff is most often an excellent addition to high-quality gloves that we test out. They’re usually unremarkable, and this holds true in the instance of the Tolcat. They’re a nice thing to have when you need to get a hold of something small and can save you the trouble of dropping your gloves off of the lift.

In terms of grievances, I thought that the straps around the cuffs could have been a little longer to prevent them from getting in the way. But the bigger issue is the cuff isn’t removable by any means I can figure out. This may be different in newer models of the Tolcat, but as far as I can tell, the leash is stitched into the fabric of the glove.

Goat Leather Palm

High-grade leather goes a long way towards keeping your gear in good shape for seasons on end. Wildhorn doesn’t include the specific details about the goat leather they use in their Tolcat’s palm, but it feels awfully thin compared to other leather body models.

Additionally, the leather is employed pretty sparingly. It’s mainly restricted to the palm sides of the gloves and around the topsides of the fingertips. It would be nice to have a little reinforcement around the sides where the stitching seems weakest. I’m not convinced that the use of leather as it stands makes much of a difference in durability.

Touchscreen Compatibility

The thin goat leather fingertips seem more geared towards touchscreen use than they do durability, combined with the high degree of dexterity in the Tolcat, and I’ve been pleased with how they were able to operate my phone.

Don’t get me wrong; you’re still wearing ski gloves at the end of the day. You won’t be able to craft intricate texts, but it’s a nice luxury to keep your gloves on while you answer a phone call and have enough finger movement to fiddle around.

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Who’s it For?

Like most Wildhorn gear we’ve tested, the Tolcat gloves are in the strictest sense entry-level gear. Though we were happy with their dexterity and all-day comfort, the bottom line is that they can’t compete with better-built, more expensive options for heavy use..

In mild weather, where conditions are decidedly dry, and you’re able to keep your hands out of the snow, the Tolcat glove is a good budget option for a quick trip to the mountains. If you need something cheap for a spring break trip to Colorado, I think that the whole Wildhorn setup is a reasonable way to go.

However, if you’re a frequent skier or headed to the mountain in the middle of winter, I’d encourage you to look towards options that will keep you more comfortable and better protected in the long run.

The Competition

While we might want a little bit more out of the Tolcat before we trust it to take care of our hands for the next few ski seasons, there are plenty of other options out there that hold up much better for a similar price.

The Gordini Stormtrooper series is a beloved budget option that has been dutifully serving frugal skiers for years. Though it might be a bit bulkier than the Tolcat, it’s altogether a much more robust glove that holds up in proper winter temperatures.

Similarly, Kinco work gloves may not have the slick look of Wildhorn gear, but they have a bit of a cult following around hard riding resort dwellers and industry professionals. Their leather build puts the Tolcats to shame, and they have an altogether much more impressive construction. Not to mention they can be half the price depending on the model you opt for.

Finally, if you’ve decided that budget gloves aren’t for you and are interested in investing in something genuinely luxurious for your hands, take a look at our buyer’s guide for side-by-side comparisons of our favorites.

Our Overall Review

3.5

Things we like:

  • check-mark
    An affordable glove that keeps your hands protected in mild weather
  • check-mark
    Touchscreen compatibility lets you stay in contact without cold hands
  • check-mark
    Lightweight and low profile enough for performing essential tasks

Things we don't like:

  • check-markCertainly not warm enough for colder days or extended skiing
  • check-markCertainly not warm enough for colder days or extended skiing Doesn't hold up to more expensive gloves in terms of waterproofing
  • check-markDurability may become a concern after a few seasons of use or abuse
FAQ

Frequently asked questions

What are the best ski gloves?

There are an overwhelming number of ski gloves on today’s market, and picking the right one for you is no easy task. Fortunately our ski glove guide has all the details you need thin the pack, and detailed looks at some of our favorites. In the meantime, here’s a shortlist of our top performers.
Best ski gloves:

How to clean Hestra gloves?

Hestra gloves all have their own set of best practices depending on your model of choice. As a rule, you should avoid washing leather gloves, and at best, spot treat them with a wet towel. Synthetic removable liners can be machine washed while wool ones need to be washed by hand.

For an in-depth look at one of our favorite Hestra models, take a look at our review of the Army Leather Extreme Mitt. Otherwise check out our best ski gloves page for the top of the industry across all categories.

How to apply Hestra leather glove balm?

Hestra’s leather conditioning balm is a great way to keep your gloves looking and working great throughout the seasons.

Using it is easy: while wearing one of your gloves, use a polish rag to apply a conservative coat to all leather surfaces of the glove. Be sure to pay attention to high-use areas. After your gloves have an acceptable coat, leave them up to dry somewhere room temperature.

For an in-depth look at one of our favorite Hestra models, take a look at our review of the Army Leather Extreme Mitt. Otherwise check out our best ski gloves page for the top of the industry across all categories.

Are Hestra gloves worth it?

There’s no doubt that Hestra makes some of the best performing gloves on the market, but does their on-snow performance justify the price tag? The answer largely depends on your purpose and your budget. People who spend upwards of 30 days a year on the slope may easily justify the cost, but others might be better off with something more affordable.

To see how our favorite options from Hestra stack up against the rest of the industry, take a look at our best of glove page. Our review of the Army Leather Extreme Mitt gives an honest overview of Hestra warmest mitten.

Where are Hestra gloves made?

Hestra’s design and testing takes place in their namesake village of Hestra, Sweden. Meanwhile, most of their manufacturing is done in their factories in China and Hungary.

To see how our favorite options from Hestra stack up against the rest of the industry, take a look at our best of glove page. Our review of the Army Leather Extreme Mitt gives an honest overview of Hestra warmest mitten.

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