Testing Härkila boots and Clim8 gloves: how did they perform?
Keep warm from your fingers to your toes, as Sporting Gun tests two Härkila products
The unique selling point of these boots is the Uturn lacing system, which makes them a cinch to get on and off. This gives them a number of advantages. For example, if you remove your boots to drive, the quick-release lacing system saves you time fiddling with wet, muddy laces. On a driven shoot you will usually need to remove your boots for lunch and even kicking off a pair of rubber boots can be problematic, but with the Uturn lacing system, one turn and your foot is free.
You might be thinking, “Why aren’t all boots made like this?” Well, lace-up and rubber boots also have advantages. I found the Reidmar boots didn’t offer as much ankle support on rough ground as a lace-up boot. Also, they don’t offer the knee-high waterproofness you get with rubber boots. However, if you are on a driven shoot, you are unlikely to be wading through deep water or walking long distances over rough terrain. And I must add that with a Gore-Tex lining, the Reidmar keeps your feet dry.
That said, I wore them on rough terrain when beating and they performed well. For dog walking, these boots are fantastic. Being easy to get on and off is just one advantage. The lugs of the Vibram sole shed mud easily, preventing them from getting clogged and maintaining grip. On snow, the boots were surefooted.
This boot is part of the new range of boots from Härkila. The Danish company has had a quick-release lace boot before, but this one comes with a two-year warranty. I also noticed the sole seemed to be made of harder material than previous Härkila boots, so they should have longevity. I will report on this when I’ve worn them for another six months.
At £299.99, this isn’t the cheapest boot in the Härkila range, but you can get the Atammik, with the same Uturn lacing system, for around £269.99. This isn’t unreasonable considering this sort of lacing technology doesn’t come cheap. What is more, if the lacing system fails you can have it replaced by an authorised dealer.
All in all, the Reidmar boot has made my life a lot easier because of its impressive quick-lace system. (Read our list of the best shooting boots.)
I’m not a person who feels the cold particularly, but after an hour in a high seat in the winter, my extremities get pretty numb, including my fingers. This isn’t that helpful when you need good control in your index finger to pull the trigger. I’ve tried lots of tricks over the years but after a few months with the Harkila Clim8 HWS gloves I think that I’ve found the solution.
A small 9V battery stored in the cuff of each glove provides warmth for up to two-and-a-half hours, depending on the ambient temperature. The level of warmth is controlled via a Bluetooth Clim8 app on your phone whereby you can choose anything from 20°C to 35°C. What is really clever about the Clim8 is that it turns itself off if you take the gloves off. It also adjusts the temperature down if you are active and start getting hot. If the weather gets colder, the technology turns the heat up.
When you’re wearing the gloves, you can tell what they’re doing and which mode they’re in thanks to the small LEDs on each glove that either glow blue for eco, purple for normal or red for boost. When the gloves are off, the LED also switches off.
The gloves themselves are made from a soft, low-noise and quick-drying tricot fabric, and feature the windproof and waterproof Härkila Weather System (HWS) membrane. Rubberised palms help to provide a good grip on shooting sticks or rifles in wet weather conditions. Inside the gloves is a soft and warm PrimaLoft lining that gives the gloves a luxurious and cosy feeling.
I do have two criticisms, however. First, the LED lights are quite bright, which isn’t helpful if you’re sitting in a high seat waiting for a deer to emerge. You can adjust the brightness of the LEDs using the app, but not quite low enough for my liking. Second, the batteries in the cuffs make the gloves feel a little bulky, but in fairness I’m not sure where else the batteries could be stored.
Overall, I was thoroughly impressed with the Härkila Clim8 HWS gloves. Unlike a lot of other heated garments on the market, they feature some very impressive technology that means you don’t boil when you are active. And like all Härkila products, the ‘build quality’ is superlative. For those occasions when you’re stationary on a peg or in a high seat, these gloves are a must-have.