Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: $140
Pros: One of the Warmer single Gloves, Dexterous, Very durable, highly water resistant
Cons: Velcro wrist strap could be better
Best Uses: Resort Skiing and Snowboarding, Backcountry skiing and Snowboarding, Alpine climbing and Mountaineering
The Outdoor Research Magnate was our OutdoorGearLab Top Pick for more moderate temperatures because it scored high in every category of our criteria for evaluation. Though it was a tough call between the Magnate and the Black Diamond Rebel; we felt the Magnate edged out the Rebel because it was a little warmer and had a few nicer features. The Outdoor Research Magnate has been discontinued; however, the Black Diamond Guide, $170, is around a similar price range and wins our Top Pick Award. For a cheaper glove, consider the Outdoor Research Southback, $85; the Southback wins our Best Buy Award.
Over all it was one of the more dexterous models we tested with excellent freedom of movement and "feel" due to its green "flex" zones. There is also far less break in time compared with most other all leather competitors and it feels far less stiff right of the shelf. It was one of the top performers in waterproofness with a Gore-Tex insert and very water resistant leather. The Magnate was surprisingly warm especially considering its single design construction, using a cozy fleece lining and thick primaloft insulation. We also though it had a number of features that made it easier to use like its pull strap and Velcro closure system.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Outdoor Research Magnate was our third highest rated contender for dexterity behind only our OutdoorGearLab Editor's Choice the Arc'teryx Alpha SV Glove and the Rab Guide Gloves. We did think it scored significantly above our other OutdoorGearLab Top Pick the Black Diamond Guide, though the Guide was a fair amount warmer. The green areas on the back are actually flex zones that gave our hand more freedom of movement and less resistance for our fingers, increasing over all "feel". It was effective at accomplishing even more moderately complex tasks like taking photos with a traditional point-and-shoot camera and tying shoe laces. We could even write to some extent with a pen on paper. Like many contestants in our review, Outdoor Research put significantly thinner primaloft on the inside (133g) of the palm compared with the outside (266g). We thought it had around the same dexterity as the Mountain Hardwear Jalapeno and the Black Diamond Rebel and better dexterity than the Black Diamond Legend, Black Diamond Squad or Outdoor Research Southback.
The Magnate uses a Gore-Text liner with a very water resistant goatskin leather for its outer layer which helped make it one of our top scorers in waterproofness. While several competitors did well, the Outdoor Research Magnate did near the top. It wasn't quite as water resistant as our OutdoorGearLab Editors choice the Arc'teryx Alpha SV, but it wasn't far behind. We thought our cold weather Top Pick the Black Diamond Guide preformed very similarly to the Magnate and even after several days of use the palms stayed dry. We were a little concerned that the DWR (Durable Water Repellent, i.e., the waterproof finish) wouldn't last on the green "stretch zones" but like the rest of the glove after several days of touring they still are beading up great. We also thought the leather proved to hold its water repellency longer than either the Outdoor Research Northback Sensor or the Southbacks. Because of its stellar water resistance we would easily recommend the Magnate for even the wettest Pacific Northwest storms for skiing or snowboarding in and out of bounds.
Warmth and Breathability
The Magnate was likely the warmest single glove in our review, however it wasn't nearly as warm as any of the double layer challengers including our OutdoorGearLab Editors Choice the Arc'tercx Alpha SV, the Black Diamond Guide or the Hestra Heli. It was likely the warmest of the single designs we reviewed. The Magnate uses 265 grams of Primaloft insulation in the back of hand and 133 grams on the palm. This is some of the most of any of the products in our review. We felt that the Black Diamond Legend was nearly as warm even though it only had an equal 133g of Primaloft on the palm and slightly less (170g) on the back. We think that because it has more padding and a thicker shell, this is likely what made up the difference in grams of insulation. We thought it was warmer than the Mountain Hardwear Jalapeno, the BD Rebel or the Outdoor Research Northback. We also thought it breathed well, especially for such a warm all leather design. It was above average in breathability and you could easily boot pack in them and if the temps. were low enough you could tour in them.
The Outdoor Research Magnate is covered in goatskin leather that is very durable and should last most skiers and snowboards several seasons, even with heavy use. We didn't see any abnormal wear and tear during our testing but we wonder how the green "stretch zones" will hold up after a few seasons of abuse. It received our highest score in overall durability and is around the same toughness as the BD Rebel, Legend and Guides. We did think think it was more long lasting than either the OR Northback or Southback, but not by lots.
Features and Useability
The Magnate is designed for the end of the jacket to be pulled over the cuff of the gloves versus the more common gauntlet style which goes over the jacket. This system while taking more effort, is awesome for wet climates like the Pacific Northwest where water might run down your jacket into your gloves. We really like the pull strap near the cuff. At first this didn't seam like a big deal, but after using this product for several days we decided we love this little feature and wished more manufacturers included it. The Velcro strap that tightens around your wrist is just okay and not as good as other models we looked at. It just didn't get as small and thus was harder to pull your jacket over. This is one of the few very small things we didn't like about the Magnate.
The Outdoor Research Magnate run pretty middle of the road hand width wise. They do however run a little wider than other Outdoor Research models like the Northback Sensor and the Southbacks. They weren't quite as wide as several Black Diamond contenders like the Squad or the Guide. We did think they are around the same width as the BD Rebel though. Because it is mostly leather in its construction we did think it stretched a fair bit and really broke into the shape of our hand after a few days of use.
Value and The Bottom Line
The Outdoor Research Magnate is our OutdoorGearLab Top Pick for more moderate temperature resort skiing and snowboarding. With that said we also think it makes an awesome backcountry ski touring option that is versatile enough that it can even cross over into some alpine climbing and general mountaineering applications. It received our Top Pick award but the Black Diamond Rebel was very close in the running. The Magante only just barely edging the Rebel out because it was a little warmer and had nicer features, though they were very similar in durability and dexterity.
The Outdoor Research Arete - Women's, $90, has a waterproof Gore-Tex on the outer shell and a removable liner that can be worn independently. The Arete put up a formidable challenge, scoring the highest in dexterity and features, and winning our Best Buy Award.
The Outdoor Research Southback gloves are a solid and price pointed product that is our OutdoorGearLab Best Buy award winner. They are very durable, very dexterous and scored as well as many of the other more expensive options in the warmth and waterproofness categories; all this while costing a below average $85. This glove is also available for women, the Outdoor Research Southback - Women's.
— Ian Nicholson
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Most recent review: October 23, 2014
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