Staying warm in cold weather is essential for maximum creativity. The warmer you are, the longer you can stay out in the cold, maximizing on compositions and conditions. It’s important that you’re able to keep your fingers nimble and warm as your hands, along with your feet and the back of your neck, are where you lose the most body heat. Vallerret have a range of photography gloves designed to solve this problem and keep you going for longer.
Since their Kickstarter launch in 2015, Vallerret have been producing photography gloves based out of their headquarters in Norway. As a cold-weather photographer and northern lights specialist, these gloves solved a lot of problems for me. I previously had the original Markhof, and they were awesome, so when Vallerret asked me to review the latest model, the Markhof Pro V3, the answer was always going to be yes.
The key feature of these gloves, which sets them apart from others, is the ability to reveal the thumb and forefinger. The modern-day requirement for your fingertips comes largely from touchscreen tech, but it’s often also important that you can correctly operate dials and buttons with maximum dexterity. The solution in Vallerret gloves is a flap that opens, locking it in place with magnets. Here’s what it looks like:
You can see from this that it’s only your fingertip that gets cold, but you’re totally in control. The most important thing about this clever design is that in order to use the fiddly controls or touch screens, you don’t need to take the whole glove off. This means that the warmth you build up inside the glove stays there. Perfect!
Vallerret Markhof Pro V3: Waterproofing
With that detail covered, let’s look at the rest of the glove in more detail. This photo shows me shooting waves crashing over the rocks in Lofoten, Norway, during a rainstorm with 60mph+ winds. I was using the Sony A7SIII, Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM lens.
The Markhof Pro V3 kept my hands warm and dry. The suede area on the back of the thumb is designed as a wipe, which can get saturated in rain. Aside from this the glove is constructed from materials that excel at repelling water. There’s a laminated membrane, genuine goat leather, and other DWR materials to help waterproof the gloves. I’ve since learned that DWR stands for Durable Water Resistant, so I’ve added it to my thesaurus when it comes to shopping for waterproof clothing! It essentially means the materials are hydrophobic, which is ideal in winter.
Vallerret Markhof Pro V3: Warmth
The gloves are marketed as ‘mid-winter’ gloves. There are other, much thicker gloves designed for deep winter, but for everyday, normal winter use, these are ideal. The most concerning factor is the gap where the finger flaps meet, but I’ve found these do their job just great. There’s no cold incursion here. The wrist is sealed with a nice extended cuff, which helps to keep your wrists warm and form a seal with a jacket.
The internals of the glove include a 100% merino wool layer. This natural material is ideal, and you’d find it in many cold-weather clothes. Working together with this is a 3M Thinsulate layer. This adds some extra warmth to help protect your hands. In shooting ice caves, glaciers, mountain peaks, and aurora at night, I’ve never had cold hands with these gloves.
It’s important that these tick more boxes for us as photographers if they’re going to stand out. Vallerret seems to have put a lot of thought into other factors when they designed these gloves. On the palm and fingers, there is a grippy surface. It’s some kind of rubbery plastic, and it’s non-slip, even when it’s covered in snow. The cool thing about this grip is that it’s actually a print, and you can see a photographer in it.
On the back of the glove, there’s a pocket that you can use to store a microfibre cloth or a spare memory card, but it’s also the ideal size for a hand warmer. Inside this pocket, Vallerret have put a tripod key. Add this all to the finger flaps, which Vallerret calls Flip-Tech, and it’s clear to see there’s been a lot of thought about what photographers need.
Vallerret Markhof Pro V3: Style
So many boxes have been ticked with this glove that style is something I’m going to briefly focus on. The materials look and feel good. Bear with me a second, but I’m going to make a comparison to Apple. A lot of us photographers and creatives choose Apple products because the style resonates with us. The clean, nicely designed surfaces speak to us. Vallerret achieve something similar in the style they’ve achieved in their gloves. Not only do they do their job well, but they’re also good-looking. They’re even formed to curve to the shape of our hands, giving us a snug and comfortable fit. Add this to what I’ve mentioned about the non-slip grip design, and there are a lot of boxes ticked in the design of these winter photography gloves.
I opened by saying that I’ve used previous models of Vallerret photography gloves, and I’ll continue to use them. Vallerret photography gloves solve a big problem for cold-weather photographers. I no longer have to worry about removing my gloves, and losing warmth in order to change settings. They’re warm, comfortable, and functional. As they say in Norway, there’s no such thing as bad weather – only bad clothing. They’re well-priced at $84.95, and an extremely valuable asset in my arsenal.