Ocun Crack Gloves Lite Review
Jams for rock not toast…
As a climber who is predominantly a Boulderer, and spending the majority of my climbing life in Dorset, Crack Climbing is something that I had previously neglected the importance of learning significantly. I have enjoyed watching the Wide Boyz films and clips from the US on massive splitter cracks from when I started climbing but I had not really properly dabbled in it until two of my local gyms got Crack Volumes in them. It was at this point I knew it was a good time to get practicing and that is when I got stuck in with a pair of the popular Ocun Crack Gloves Lite.
The Ocun Crack Gloves come in two models. The original model “Ocun Crack Gloves” and the updated higher performance model “Ocun Crack Gloves Lite”. The difference between the two gloves comes down to the “Lite” being a little lighter and, most importantly, it featuring Ocuns CAT 1.5 high performance rubber as opposed to Ocuns CAT 1.1 rubber which is a little more durable but not as sticky. For this review I decided I needed all the help I could get at first in using the “Lite” model for the stickier rubber and more natural feeling of the lighter glove. I would personally recommend the same to anyone out of the two options.
A simple design with features from Ocun shoe line.
As you would expect, the Crack Gloves Lite are simple in design. Effectively a single piece Microfibre base with a layer of CAT 1.5 positioned over the top for contact with the rock. Five finger/thumb loops extend which are thin and comfortable around the fingers from new and keep clear of the fingers when used for standard face climbing techniques. A single Velcro strap is then fastened around the wrist to keep them in place. Simple right? Well let’s look into how they perform.
The more unique feature of Ocuns Crack Gloves Lite are that the strap is designed to be tucked underneath the rubber where a velcro strip is hidden from sight and, more importantly, the rock. When secured in place beneath the rubber the velcro strap is well protected from getting caught and undoing whilst in use which could prove pretty serious is the glove were to start coming off involuntarily.
Sticky rubber and long term comfort.
Since having the Crack Gloves Lite they have definitely been a solid performer. This is down to a few details in my eyes which help deliver comfort for longer sessions in the gloves and performance to help you succeed in your crack projects.
First off the microfibre used for the gloves is soft on the skin and, even with the “Lite” being a thinner glove than the original Crack Gloves, gives enough protection for prolonged periods of time in them or on particularly sharp jams. There is a small strip of padding just down from the knuckles too which provides a little bit more padding where you would often get high wear from Hand Jamming. I have been able to wear the Crack Gloves Lite both indoors and outdoors for hours at a time without any problem with comfort though I would say on hotter days that they perhaps increased my hands to sweat. This is no real surprise as it’s a black rubber covering over your hands but it would be interesting if in future versions if Ocun could get a slightly more wicking material to decrease the additional chalking up needed on longer routes.
My one criticism of the glove is that if you are fist jamming then the thumb remains unprotected. They are great on hand jams where the back of your palm is against the rock but when things get a little wider the outer edge of my hand was protected but the thumb remained exposed. When a problem or route used more than a few fist jams I ended up taping my thumb up in a classic Tape Crack Glove style and then put the Ocun Crack Gloves over the top of the tape. This actually was still great but is a bit annoying if you are onsighting a route an may not be sure what types of jams are coming. Still works but may be worth doing as described above when things are wider to save causing unnecessary damage to your thumb.
Overall the performance of the glove is solid with a secure fit from the shape of the glove around my hands and the single velcro strap being easy to adjust to synch the glove on securely whilst also being out the way of any awkward jams. The unsurprising favourite part of the Crack Gloves Lite though is the use of the Ocun CAT 1.5 rubber which can be found on the majority of their shoe line. I am a big fan of the CAT 1.5 rubber and believe it to be one of the stickiest compounds out there. It just holds really well when used on shoes and I’m happy to say this continues into these crack gloves giving confidence in jams.
Minimal wear and consistency.
I have been using the Crack Gloves Lite for approximately 18 months now. This has been with some pretty extensive abuse training on indoor cracks in addition to some decent outdoor mileage on mostly Limestone and they have held up to it well.
The rubber is still in great condition and has stayed stuck to the microfibre across the whole glove. I did wonder if the logo cut out on the rubber was going to get caught and potentially pull away over time but this has not happened at all so far.
The finger loops are all still in place and showing no tears or cuts in addition to the velcro strap still being in good condition. Staying secure and still staying beneath the rubber flap which covers it from abuse has definitely helped here.
With lots of mileage still left in them, the gloves are a winner for durability.
A great option for those wanting to start jamming or to continue up their hard projects.
Having had little experience really delving into crack climbing that seriously until I got these gloves I would say that it actually opens your eyes up to significantly in how you can navigate a route or problem. Once I had built a more solid technique on a variety of different jamming techniques, I was constantly seeing jams which I do not think I would have seen otherwise and likely mad awkward moves where an easily placed hand jam could provide a rest or secure hold to move up from. As mentioned before, there are not many splitter style cracks at my local crags and most of these are very low grade but on many a sea cliff route with horizontal breaks or the occasional deeper vertical crack I regularly use crack techniques with these on.
Ocun have produced a great lightweight product here with the Crack Gloves Lite giving the climber great performance and have also opened my eyes to the world of crack climbing more. Climbing is quite different to a lot of sports as there are countless ways to get your way up a wall and sometimes you need inspiration from a piece of gear like the Ocun Crack Gloves Lite to help you open your eyes to yet another method you may not have utilised in the past. You might use them every session or just every now and again across the whole range of disciplines from Trad to Bouldering. To me this makes them a worthy piece of equipment to own as it may just unlock a route/problem for you or just end up giving you hours of fun going up and down those indoor volumes without skinning yourself alive in the process.
A great product from Ocun.
The latest innovation of our crack gloves. Thin rubber protects the backs of your hands while providing maximum sensitivity and friction when jamming. Less inner cushioning, single piece of microfibre and our stickiest CAT 1.5 rubber make them thinner and lighter. Finger loops are longer which makes gloves more comfortable. The velcro strap tucks out of the way under rubber, so it is protected and will not unfasten on a route. The closure points are reinforced by super strong Dyneema material.
- Material: single piece stretch microfiber stretch + highly sensitive adhesive CAT 1.5 rubber for maximum friction.
• Rubber conceals the reinforced velcro closure preventing unfastening when hard crack climbing.
• The shape of the gloves has been improved by longer finger loops to offer greater comfort.