Tuesday, February 15, 2011

OBN Field review - Manzella "Tracker" Gloves - How did they do?

Below you will find the product review for Manzella Tracker Gloves...to view a full review of these gloves including glove description, testing locations, and breakdown of how it rated in five categories – please watch this detailed video.

Recently, we were selected by the Outdoor Blogger Network (http://www.outdoorbloggernetwork.com/) and the “random number generator”, to perform a field review on the Manzella Tracker Gloves. Although I’m still relatively new to the field testing world, I have developed a system to use when reviewing certain products. With apparel (gloves fall into the category for me), I divided the review into five main categories in which to focus. They are as follows:

  1. Quality
  2. Functionality
  3. Comfort
  4. Performance
  5. Price 

Each of the categories receives a grade based on data acquired during the test. These grades are as follows:

  1. Excellent
  2. Good
  3. Moderate
  4. Lacking
  5. Poor

Product Description:

Manzella, Tracker, Warmest - I must admit that I was a little confused trying to figure out exactly what to call this glove. (this is not necessarily a bad thing). In researching Manzella (http://www.manzella.com/),  I discovered they have a vast array of gloves. Gloves are what they do...they are "the glove company".  It is important to understand that this particular glove is under the Sportsman category and of the “Tracker” line. The Tracker is then broken into three insulation levels…. “Warm”, “Warmer”, and “Warmest”. This particular glove is under the Warmest series. The Warmest series is intended to be for those who spend time in the outdoors in EXTREME CONDITIONS, or for those who are “COLD HANDED”. Being that I am based in southeastern NC, what is extreme for me will not be extreme for those in other parts of the country…so we made a decision to take this test on the road, as you will see in the field test locations portion of this review.

Glove components:

Shell: water repellent micro-poly twill                                                                     

Palm and fingertips - synthetic suede

Lining: fleece

Insulation: 100 gram Thinsulate ® X-Static ®

Insert: HydroBlok ®

It also features an exclusive MOC trigger finger in both the right and left hand, as well as an over-the-sleeve cuff.

Field test locations:
1) Magnolia, Delaware

• 19 degrees

• 4 ½ “ of snow

• ½” of ice

• Snow/Canada Goose hunt

2) Ivanhoe, NC

• 23 degrees

• No precipitation

• 5-8 mph wind

• Waterfowl Hunt

Test Results:


The first thing I noticed about these gloves upon pulling them out of the box is that they really are a “good looking pair of gloves”. By this I mean they do not look inexpensive or cheaply made. I began to examine the stitching and the materials list in attempt to find out more about the quality of the craftsmanship. I was impressed with the stitching (for the most part) and was very impressed with the quality of the materials used. I am a fan of Thinsulate and HydroBlok, so right away I knew these gloves were going to receive high marks in this category. I did have one small issue in regards to the stitching. The straps located on the wrist section of the glove are designed to be tightened to help prevent cool air from entering the glove. It truly gives a tight fit. When I tightened the strap on my left hand, I had a slight separation take place in the area where the glove and the strap come together. Although not a big issue right now – it will with worsen with time unless we handle this strap gingerly. (see video for details)

SOLUTION - my suggestion to Manzella is to add a little extra reinforcement where the strap and the glove marry in order to prevent this from happening.



What is functionality in regard to gloves? In this review, it is simply the amount of mobility one may lose when wearing a bulky-style glove opposed to a form-fitting style or bare hands. I must admit to you that I was very surprised during this test. Generally, I am not able to use my hands as I normally would due to not having the necessary flexibility in my fingers. Manzella did a wonderful job of designing the glove with thick insulation without losing the mobility in the hands. These gloves felt more like an extension of my hands than an actual glove.



One of the most important areas in relation to gloves for me is comfort. I must admit that for reasons stated in the previous category and for reasons generally associated with comfort – I truly do not like wearing gloves, and only do so many times out of necessity. This was not the case with the Manzella Tracker. The insulation on the backside and palm of the hands, in combination with the HydroBlok ® insert, placed a water resistant barrier around my hand that was snug. When I tightened the drawstring with the over-the-sleeve cuff and the wrist straps, the glove became one with my hand…this was truly a wonderful thing.



Of the five categories, the one most important to the outdoorsman is the glove’s overall performance with the task at hand. “Is this glove going to help or hinder me when I am in the field?” For the applications in which I used the glove (water fowling), time is very important. If we lose seconds... we lose the shot. It is with this mindset that I made my opinion of this particular glove.

One of the first features I noticed upon sliding the glove on was the exclusive MOC trigger finger that is on both the right and left hand. HALLELUJAH and GOOD JOB MANZELLA! Most of us who hunt and are in a situation requiring the use of “bulky-style” gloves, understand the frustration associated with a trigger finger that is not comfortable. I generally take a knife or scissors and remove a portion of the trigger finger of the glove from the knuckle up exposing my index finger to the elements. This MOC trigger finger allowed me the comfort needed for shooting and the protection from the elements that was required. Again, good job on this Manzella.

There were two minor issues in the area of performance:

1) About three hours into the goose hunt in Delaware, I began to notice the tips of three fingers (middle, ring, and "little") were becoming a little cool. I must admit that my hands, as a whole, were the warmest that they have been on any cold weather hunt I can remember. However, I did not expect the coolness to take place due to the intended use rating (extreme conditions or cold handed individuals) of the gloves.

2) The excess insulation over the thumb created a “flap” that would become hung-up when re-loading my shotgun. The ¼- ½ inch over- hang repeatedly would position itself between my shell and the gun causing me to have to look away from birds and use my index finger to position the shell in place.


1) Add a little extra 100 gram Thinsulate X-Static ® to the tips of the fingers without losing mobility – again it would not take much.

2) Remove the excess “flap” of insulation over the thumb without sacrificing warmth.

 PERFORMANCE = GOOD (Trigger finger was VERY redeeming!)


In order to determine the rating for price, I looked through catalogs, online stores, and brick/mortar locations comparing gloves that are similar in caliber to the Manzella Tracker (Warmest). I also looked at the grade I had given the gloves in the previous four categories. I then compiled this data to determine the final grade in regard to price.

I discovered 23 pairs of gloves that are very “similar” to this particular pair. They ranged in price from $19.99 to $51.00. Therefore, the gloves of similar design are being offered at a median price of $30.00. The Manzella Tracker (Warmest) is available for $35.00 on their website (www.manzella.com).

Based on the comparison of features and the other four categories, we did give this price a “GOOD”. If Manzella were to address the three MINOR issues that we experienced (strap separation, fingertips, and excess insulation over thumb) this would definitely be elevated to an “EXCELLENT.”


OVERALL RATING:                                 

Based on the tests we performed in each category, I give the MANZELLA a final rating of GOOD. Remember that my scale is EXCELLENT, GOOD, MODERATE, LACKING, and POOR. A good rating should be interpreted as “Above Average”. This glove definitely fits the above average bill. I was asked to give an unbiased honest assessment of this product. If asked whether or not I would purchase this glove knowing what I now do – yes, I would – and I would recommend that you consider Manzella if you are looking for a good hunting glove - http://www.manzella.com/. I would like you to note that it is difficult to receive an “EXCELLENT” with the criteria I use….this glove received two EXCELLENT out of five  grades and nothing less than a GOOD.

Disclaimer…in conjunction with OBN, r.b. wright was provided the products in this review free of charge in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion of this product. At the time of this review there was no relationship between Manzella and r.b. wright outdoors other than that arranged through a random number generator via OBN.

Thanks to OBN for what you do, and to Manzella for the opportunity to review your product.

Thank you for taking the time to read this review. If you see something in this review that I did not cover or have additional questions regarding this review, do not hesitate to leave a comment or e-mail me at rb@rbwrightoutdoors.com and I will do my best to answer.

r.b. wright

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