I have been using the The North Face Apex+ Etip gloves since November of 2019. Since then they have become my go to gloves for the widest variety of temperatures. I have pairs that are meant for colder or warmer weather but The North Face Apex+ Etip gloves go on almost every hike that needs gloves.
I purchased my pair of The North Face Apex+ Etip gloves from REI on a slight sale for $45. Normal retail is $55 but when I last checked REI was running a great sale on the 2019 version I have for $26. My pair is black but for 2020 they are only available in a heather grey. I went with a men’s size small and they fit true to size given I have small hands. After I got my pair the other half of this site liked them so much that she also got an identical pair and she likes them almost as much.
Overview The North Face Apex+ Etip gloves are a softshell style fleece glove made of polyester with an elastane soft shell with a DWR coating applied. The North Face doesn’t provide temperature ratings for their gloves but instead uses a progressive scale of “Cool to Cold to Very Cold”. The Apex+ Etip gloves are at the warmer end of the “Cold” range. I have found them to be comfortable in temperatures of around 32 degrees F up to the low 40’s. The other half has found them comfortable from the mid 20’s up to about 38-40. I should have prefaced this section to say I tend to have colder hands than most people and these temperature ranges are for while actively hiking. I have seen several online reviews where people complained these gloves are cold. I personally don’t see it but maybe if you are just sitting still in the cold weather and not moving.
Fit wise I find The North Face Apex+ Etip gloves to be comfortable to wear and I’ve had them on for hikes upwards of 4-5 hours. The fingers have a natural position that is comfortable. Some gloves can have too much finger curl or too little which can’t be felt at first but after a long period of wear can tire the hands especially when holding items like trekking poles. These aren’t the thinnest gloves out there but neither are they the thickest. I feel like they fit comfortably in a middle area which is reasonable for the temperature range that they are functional in. With the natural finger position and the thickness The North Face Apex+ Etip gloves are pretty dexterous. I can put on crampons with them on and work carabiners but I would have problems doing any complex rope work.
The palm is covered with silicone gripper dots which provides a solid grip for trekking poles. However, there is no additional grip on the fingers due to the Etip material. I had no issues on minor scrambling sections but took The North Face Apex+ Etip gloves off to climb sections on our scramble up Cabezon Peak because I wanted more grip. The cuff extends nicely down the wrist so that the gloves can be tucked down into a shell but there is not any sort on bungee to tighten up the cuff. One little feature I really like on The North Face Apex+ Etip gloves is the little clip that holds the gloves together. Instead of the more traditional ring and clip they use a little button system. It doesn’t seem like much but I find it easier to use and a nice little touch.
A few online reviews by customers also mentioned that The North Face Apex+ Etip gloves are not very waterproof. I’ve seen no issues even with snowy hikes. That being said I didn’t exactly just play around in the snow with them and at the end of the day they are only softshell gloves. But they definitely handled getting some snow on them or sticking my hands down into the snow for short climbs over obstacles. I can definitely not see them lasting very long in rain or wet conditions though. The North Face does claim the Apex+ Etip gloves are windproof and they definitely seem to be. Trust me, New Mexico can be a very windy place. Weight wise on my scale The North Face Apex+ Etip gloves come out to 102 grams.
Etip The North Face calls the screen compatible feature of the Apex+ Etip gloves; Etip. This is also one of the best features of these gloves. They are 100% compatible with touchscreens and that includes all of the fingers and the thumb. I have had absolutely zero issues using my phone with The North Face Apex+ Etip gloves and this feature was part of why I chose them. I don’t need to work as hard to keep my hands warm if i’m not taking my gloves off every time I need to check the GPS or take a picture. It might not seem like much but it really does make a difference.
My only slight gripe, and I mean slight, with the Etip system is that although the thumb pad area is phone compatible the side is not. So monitors like pinch to zoom don’t really work using the thumb and index finger. It is actually easier to zoom using the index and middle fingers.
Pros: Warm when moving Windproof Etip works really well Good Dexterity Clip that holds gloves together
Cons: Wish side of thumb was Etip too
Summary: For a person who can be pretty finicky about gloves I found a lot to like about The North Face Apex+ Etip gloves. They fit true to size, are comfortable, are compatible with my iPhone, and work in a really nice temperature range for me of 32ish to 45ish. Because of these features they come along on every hike with temperatures below 45 degrees. I know this is a rather short summary but I really haven’t used another pair of gloves that I liked as much for under $50.