Gear Review: Kast Gloves, On And Off The Water

Kast is a relatively new player in the technical fishing apparel game. They claim the idea for the company was conceived on the banks of the Salmon River in Idaho during a brutal winter steelhead trip, and their mission is to create the best extreme-weather fishing wearables on the market. They make some very snazzy jackets, but I've yet to try one. I was far more interested in their gloves, which started generating a baby buzz on the Interwebs not long after they became available. Several of my fishing cronies—some in the steelhead scene, some in the hardwater scene, and some in the muskie scene—would randomly pop off a text or email: "You try those Kast glove yet, dude? They look sweet." Looks, of course, can be deceiving, but the real money was supposedly that Kast gloves are submersible, waterproof, highly breathable, and didn't completely kill your ability to feel lines and detect strikes. So I put a few pairs to the test, both fishing and in more true-life situations that get in the way of fishing.

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Let it be known for the record that I hate fishing with gloves on. I hate it. But sometimes Mother Nature just makes it too unbearable to expose your digits. I have grappled with finding the right gloves over the years; thin gives you sensitivity but lacks warmth, warmth often comes with a thicker glove that mars all hopes of feeling a bite. Can I say that Kast gloves are the perfect happy medium, letting me feel every sniff of an 8-inch trout? Well, no, but they're pretty darn close. I field-tested both the Steelhead Glove (left) and MX Pro Glove (right).

Of the two, I liked the MX Pro on the water. True to the hype, they are fully submersible and the light fleece lining kept my hands warm, even after the dunk. The material in these gloves is a hair thinner than the Steelhead Gloves, which definitely made feeling the line and casting easier. Both gloves also feature rubberized fingers that provide excellent grip. Most impressive, both styles were super breathable, so my hands stayed warm without sweating.

I also gave each pair of gloves a shake at the old snow thrower during some recent nastiness. Now, I know what you're thinking: Who cares, that's not a fishing application. To which I say, anyone who has blown snow on a windy day understands how wet and sweaty you can get by the time the chore is complete. In a way, using these gloves for this task is, in my opinion, a better test of dependability than casting on a trout stream. I'll tell you what, all the features—from the water-resistance, to the palm grips, to the breathability—that make these great fishing gloves, make them awesome all-around winter gloves for anyone doing more than stepping outside to get the mail.

In closing praise, all Kast gloves feature a soft nose wipe on the thumbs...which is gross, but I do it, you do it, Kast knows we do it, so they're letting us do it without rubbing our snout's raw. The Steelhead Gloves and MX Pro Gloves aren't the cheapest ($80 and $75, respectively), but if you're into good gear you can trust to perform, they're worth the investment.