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Black Diamond Guide Review

Black Diamond Guide Glove
Top Pick Award
Price:   $170 List | $127.46 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 6 resellers
Pros:  Super warm, very tough, removable liners help them dry quicker, go-to expedition glove
Cons:  Not very dexterous, super stiff and take a while to break in,
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Black Diamond

Our Verdict

The Black Diamond Guide is our OutdoorGearLab Top Pick for colder weather skiing and snowboarding and it is seriously warm. It was the overall warmest contender we tested making it a excellent option for arctic lift rides, folks whose hands get cold easily, and high altitude mountaineering. Tester Ian Nicholson wore this product all the way to the summit of Denali on a day with a daytime high of -38F and summited during -42F. It features a removable liner making drying them a breeze and the molded EVA foam padding on the knuckles and fingers adds protection and warmth. These gloves are super tough and easily one of the the most durable in our review. The Guide sports a thick goat skin leather covering all the high wear areas and a higher denier nylon covering the Gore-Tex XCR laminate, which means they're built to last. All of this leather, foam, insulation and beefy fabric means they aren't as dexterous as most of the other products we tested. They're also one of the stiffer models we tested especially off the shelf, almost to the point of making us shy away. But after three or four days of use, like a good baseball glove, they broke in nicely.

New Guide Glove Model Available
If you love the Guide Glove, you should check out the Black Diamond Guide Finger Glove. This new version of the Guide Glove provides the dexterity of your index finger, while combining the warmth of a mitten in the same glove. The Guide Finger Gloves retains all the same specifications of the warm Guide Glove, and at the same price point its worth a look.

RELATED REVIEW: The Best Ski Gloves and Mittens for Men

select up to 5 products
Score Product Price Waterproof Material Insulation Type Palm Material
Editors' Choice Award
CZone insert Thermolite and polyester fleece Cowhide and Goatskin Leather
Top Pick Award
Gore-tex PrimaLoft TPU
Top Pick Award
Ventia Enduraloft, 266 g Goatskin Leather
Top Pick Award
Gore-Tex XCR Primaloft 1, Wool & 100g Fleece Goatskin Leather
Gore-tex EnduraLoft: 133g in the pam and 200g
Editors' Choice Award
Shell: Pertex Shield, Liner: BDry 340 g Primaloft Gold and high-loft fleece Goatskin Leather
Gore-Tex EnduraLoft, 265g on back of hand, 133g on palm Goatskin Leather
Triton Polyamide Polyester Fleece Goatskin Leather
Gore-Tex XCR Primaloft Goatskin Leather
Best Buy Award
Hyvent Heatseeker 150g and Polyester Synthetic
Triton Polyamide Polyester Fleece Goatskin Leather
Gore-Tex Primaloft 133 on palm and 170 on the back of the hand Goatskin Leather
Triton Polyamide Polyester Fleece Goatskin Leather
Gore-Text 100g Fleece on palm of the hand and 170g Primaloft on on back Goatskin Leather
Best Buy Award
Gore-tex EnduraLoft (266g) on the back of the hand, polyester fleece palm Synthetic
OutDry 80g Thermal.Q Goatskin leather
eVent microfleece Goatskin leather
Cowhide leather and baked SnoSeal 60g Heat Rac Insulation Goatskin Leather
Ventia Dry EnduraLoft: 333g on back of hand, 200g at palm
Ventia EnduraLoft: 260g on back of hand
Nylon / Poly with DWR High loft synthetic Rubbertec
Cowhide leather and baked SnoSeal 60g Heat Rac polyester Cowhide leather

Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Ian Nicholson
Review Editor

Last Updated:
November 26, 2016


The New Version of the Black Diamond Guide vs. The Older Version

According to Black Diamond, these Guide Gloves are the "warmest professional-grade ski gloves" and offer up a balance of dexterity, durability, and insulation on super cold days. Available in both Black and Natural, the new Guide Gloves still retail for $170, but have a new look.

Check out the side-by-side comparison below, with the new version pictured on the left and the older version shown on the right.
Black Diamond Guide
Black Diamond Guide Glove

Performance Comparison

Check out the chart below to see where the BD Guides landed in our lineup of ski gloves.


We gave our OutdoorGearLab Top Pick award to the Black Diamond Guide for skiing and snowboarding in colder climates. It was straight up the warmest contender in our review, but that warmth comes at a price. Because there is so much insulation in it, that insulation equals bulk and in turn reduces dexterity. In some ways you could almost compare it to a mitten, because it is so warm, but lacks dexterity. It is even warmer than more basic mittens but is more dexterous. It uses a very stiff leather that is super beefy and incredibly durable, but that same stiffness reduces "feel" and dexterity. Though they soften up quite a bit once you get three or four days of use in them, they are still a little stiffer than average and once you have used them ten days or more they feel even better. During our side-by-side comparisons for dexterity the Guide scored below average. They could accomplish simple tasks like buckling boots and unlocking car doors, but started to suffer during our more complex tests like tying shoes and taking a photo with a traditional point-and-shoot camera. We thought they were just barely behind the Hestra Heli and way behind the Arc'teryx Lithic Glove or Hestra Seth Morrison Pro Model when it came to dexterity, though they were warmer than both. The Black Diamond Guide was significantly warmer than all the other competitors we tested.

Warmth and Breathability

The Black Diamond Guide is the warmest in our review. Tester Ian Nicholson used them to summit both Denali and Aconcagua in -42F and -25F temperatures, respectively. Its thick beefy shell and compression molded EVA foam added hand protection and insulation. The Guide's liner is the warmest of any model we tested; it uses a combination of Primaloft One insulation on the outer part of the liner and boiled wool on the inside. The wool on the back of your hand is super nice on cold days and feels warm and fuzzy all day. The wool also provides noticeably but not above average breathability and temperature regulation. The palm side of the liner sports 100g of fleece that wicks moisture and dries quickly to eliminate annoying clammy hand issues. Though super effective at insulating, all this bulk again means they are a little less dexterous. The Guide was warmer (but not a lot warmer) than our next warmest challengers the Hestra Heli and Outdoor Research Olympus Sensor, which were both a little warmer than our OutdoorGearLab Editors' Choice, the Hestra Seth Morrison Pro Model.


The Guide features a goatskin leather palm, with that same leather on the inside of the fingers and on parts of the back of the hand. They also sport EVA foam padding and a beefy nylon covering the Gore-Tex insert. All this makes them tough enough for even the harshest user and offering well above average durability. We have used this model well over 60 days and it's still doing pretty well but it certainly wasn't as warm as it once was. That said its likely that using all of these gloves over 60 days would lead to them packing out and loosing a significant amount of insulation as well. Regardless, the Guide might be the toughest contestant in our review. The only other option that might be close to being as tough are the Black Diamond Legend, the Black Diamond Rebel, or the Outdoor Research Magnate.

Water Resistance

Black Diamond uses a Gore-Tex insert, a very water resistant leather and a beefy nylon shell for waterproofing. While several models did well in both our real world tests and our side-by-side comparisons using a bucket of water, we did think it was one of the more water resistant designs we tested. It wasn't quite as waterproof as our OutdoorGearLab Top Pick, the Arc'teryx Lithic Glove but it wasn't far off and was either better or quite comparable with all the other top scores in the review like the Outdoor Research Magnate and the Black Diamond Rebel. We did think it was significantly more waterproof than the similarly warm, Hestra Heli which uses a leather palm with no seam tape or waterproof insert underneath. Even when the Hestra Heli's leather palm was freshly treated it wasn't quite as water resistant. That said, for cold snowy climates were you are likely facing the wet of snow, using either of these contenders worked great. The Guide is significantly warmer and more water resistant than the double layer but much cheaper than the DaKine Scout.

Features and Ease of Use

The Guide has a well designed liner that is secured with Velcro strips that never came out when we didn't want it to. It cinches nicely with one gloved hand but is harder to loosen. The nose wipe on the thumb is comfortable and effective. Other than that, it is a relatively simple but user friendly product.


Most people size up from there normal size when they buy these gloves. This is mainly because of all the warmth and insulation and climbers going to higher altitudes who might want to add a thin polypro or wool liner underneath should go up one size but not two. Despite most people sizing up, the Guide, like other Black Diamond gloves, run slightly on the wider side compared with others we tested.

Value and The Bottom Line

This solid and super warm glove make it a killer option for resort bound New England and Upper Mountain West skiers and snowboarders. It's also a great choice for folks who simply get cold easily and don't want the cumbersome feel of mittens. Besides colder weather resort riding it excels at high altitude mountaineering and is one of the two favorite choices along with the Outdoor Research Alti, among climbers venturing into arctic temperatures. The Guide also works great as an ice climbing belay option. It is the the second most expensive model in our review, though it is still $130 less and noticeably warmer than one of Top picks the Arc'teryx Lithic glove and warmer than our Editors' Choice the Hestra Seth Morrison Pro Model. If you're looking for a warm glove for resort skiing and snowboarding but don't want to spend the money, you could look at the Hestra Heli - but it isn't quite as warm, or as waterproof.

Other Versions

Black Diamond Squad Glove
Black Diamond Squad
  • Cost - $100
  • Great quality, simple design
  • Ideal for in-bounds skiing

Black Diamond Legend Ski glove
Black Diamond Legend
  • Cost - $130
  • All leather, durable construction
  • Warm, under the cuff design
Ian Nicholson

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews

Most recent review: November 26, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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100% of 1 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 50%  (1)
4 star: 50%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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   Nov 14, 2013 - 04:57pm
stw63 · Climber · New England
excellent glove. expensive, but comparable in price to similar products from top-flight vendors. I love that the insulation extends up into the gauntlet a bit. Many other gauntlet gloves (including other gloves from BD) cheap out on that and do not have any insulation past the wrist seal. That usually results in a cold spot at the wrists (since most jackets also don't have as much insulation at the wrist/cuff/seal area).

my only gripe is the fit. The thumb is too short for me. and i don't have weird abnormally long thumbs. since the thumb box is too short, the insulation gets compressed and the tip my thumb freezes even though the rest of my hand is nicely warm.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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