Hands-on Gear Review

Arc'teryx Fission - Women's Review

This Editors' Choice stands out for its fantastic balance of warmth and breathability, perfect for skiing the resort or exploring in the backcountry.
Arc'Teryx Fission - Women's
By: Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 21, 2017
Price:  $179 List  |  $179.00 at MooseJaw
Pros:  Warm, breathable, lightweight, great dexterity, versatile
Cons:  Expensive, limited sizing
Manufacturer:   Arc'Teryx
81
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 9
  • Warmth and Breathability - 25% 7
  • Water Resistance - 25% 9
  • Dexterity - 20% 9
  • Features - 10% 5
  • Durability - 10% 10
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Editors' Choice Award

Our Verdict

The Arc'teryx Fission Glove stole the show this season for its wonderfully lightweight design and soft to the touch inner fabrics. We loved that the Gore-Tex and leather outers kept our hands dry in the nastiest of gnar, while the insulation kept them warm when temperatures dipped down well into the negative degrees. We took these gloves on the steep hillsides of the Telluride Ski Resort as well as into the backcountry of the San Juan mountains. They were thrown in the freezer and dunked underwater to determine their performance limits. In addition, we gave them to friends and skinned uphill in the backcountry to determine if they were, in fact, deserving of an award this season.

We learned through all these experiences that this glove balances a fine blend of warmth and breathability. It also stands out as the most versatile glove tested, performing well both at the resort and in the backcountry. We recommend it for all climates - both dry and wet! As a result, we couldn't help but give the Fission one of our Editors' Choice Awards this season. If you're looking for a glove with similar features to the Fission Glove that could fit a smaller hand, we'd recommend looking at the Gordini Gore-Tex Down III or the Outdoor Research Arete glove. If mittens are more your style, check out our Editors' Choice for Mittens - the Hestra Heli-Mitt - Women's.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

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The Fission Glove by Arc'teryx is our Editors' Choice for winter ski gloves. We love its beautiful craftsmanship and fantastic balance of breathability and warmth. It is quite versatile - perfect for all outdoor winter sports. It was a close race between the Gordini Gore-Tex Down III (our Best Buy Award winner) and this contender, as both gloves are comfortable, cozy, and look good with any outfit. In fact, the Gordini gloves are warmer with a few more added features. However, the Arc'teryx won the show for its balance of warmth, breathability, and dexterity that the Gordini Gore-Tex Down III gloves could not match.

We fell in love with the durable materials and lifetime warranty offered by the Fission gloves. The only major downside is the price and fit. While most all other gloves and mittens in this review feature a 'women's specific fit' the Fission Glove has a unisex fit. Unfortunately, this means that women with very small hands will not fit into a pair of these gloves, but women with medium to large sizes are in the clear. The price tag is much higher than other gloves in this review. However, they do come with a lifetime warranty and feature bomber materials that we'd expect to last for years.

Performance Comparison


The Arc'teryx Fission Glove is our Editor's Choice for winter gloves this season!
The Arc'teryx Fission Glove is our Editor's Choice for winter gloves this season!

Warmth & Breathability


The Fission Glove stands out for its amazingly awesome balance of breathability and warmth. When resort skiing at Telluride resort during a day that dipped into the negatives, our hands were warm all day, even while shivering on an open chair lift high in the air for 15 minutes. Not only does it perform in cold temperature, but on a warm day in the San Juan mountains, we were surprised at how well this glove breathed while hiking uphill.

Heather skins uphill to the top of a mountain in Southwest Colorado.
Heather skins uphill to the top of a mountain in Southwest Colorado.

The warmth comes from its insulation. It is loaded with both PrimaLoft Gold and Silver insulation, making it one of the warmest gloves tested in this review. The Fission features 133g of PrimaLoft Silver insulation on the back of the hand where most heat is lost on cold days. On the palm, there is 100g of PrimaLoft Gold, allowing for less bulk and more dexterity.


Throughout the glove is 100 g of PrimaLoft Silver. Of all the gloves tested, the only glove that is a little warmer is the Gordini Gore-Tex Down III (Our Best Buy award winner), which features 600-fill down. The Gordini provides a little more warmth than the Fission but it is also a bit bulkier. The Fission provides much better breathability, allowing for thermoregulation throughout. The only glove that provided a little more breathability is our Top Pick for Backcountry Adventures, the Outdoor Research Arete.

The insulation is thin and warm  while the liner is easy to slid on and off - even with wet hands.
The insulation is thin and warm, while the liner is easy to slid on and off - even with wet hands.

In addition to great warmth properties, we love that the Arc'teryx Fission features a large cuff with quick-cinch straps that help to retain or release heat when temperatures fluctuate throughout the day. Overall, this is one of the warmest pairs of gloves in the fleet that also had fantastic thermoregulation. It's perfect for the skier who likes to go hard at the resort all day or for the person who seeks out the solace of the backcountry. It's this beautiful balance of breathability and warmth that earned the Fission its place as an Editors' Choice award winner.

Water Resistance


In addition to great warmth, the Fission excels in its ability to wick and repel water. The outer of the glove features a soft shell material primarily made of 85 percent nylon and 16 percent elastane materials. It is fully equipped with a semi-permeable Gore-Tex XCR insert and a leather palm that keeps water droplets from sinking in while allowing water vapor from the inside of the glove to escape. Even though the soft-shell material does not seem completely waterproof, we were really surprised to learn that it didn't seep during both our field and in-home tests.


In this test  we put on each glove  submerged it in water and squeezed our hand into a fist. This test helped us determine which gloves were actually water resistant  and which weren't.
In this test, we put on each glove, submerged it in water and squeezed our hand into a fist. This test helped us determine which gloves were actually water resistant, and which weren't.


During our dunk tests, we submerged the glove underwater and squeezed 100 times. We also weighed the glove before and after to see how much water the glove absorbed. In this particular test, only 3.75 oz of water was absorbed, and no water seeped into the soft-shell material of the glove. In our field tests, we went skiing in cold, wet conditions while the snow fell continuously throughout the day. Our hands stayed warm and the gloves did not saturate. This was our experience throughout the duration of our testing period. As a result, we awarded this glove with one of the highest scores for water resistance. The only glove that was close in comparison is the OR Arete. If you prefer a mitten with great water resistance instead of a glove, check out the Dakine Tundra Mitt - Women's. Overall, the Arc'teryx Fission is a great option for both dry and wet climates in both the backcountry or at the resort.

Here we see that the Arc'teryx glove absorbed very little water after our dunk tests!
Here we see that the Arc'teryx glove absorbed very little water after our dunk tests!

Dexterity


This glove provides great dexterity to perform fine tasks like pulling snacks out of your bag after you get above tree line.
This glove provides great dexterity to perform fine tasks like pulling snacks out of your bag after you get above tree line.

With a proper fit, this glove has great dexterity. The thin insulation in the palm provides more dexterity than those with bulkier insulation like the Gordini Gore-Tex Down III.


We really liked the leather palm that made gripping items like a zipper or ski ticket easier. We found it easy to take skins off and on during backcountry travel. It was easy to do up boots and attach ski lift tickets with gloves on. The only downside of this glove is the limited sizing options.

The cinched wrist provides a more specific fit that provides a little bit more dexterity. That said  this glove has a unisex fit  so it felt a little floppier than other gloves that have a female-specific fit.
The cinched wrist provides a more specific fit that provides a little bit more dexterity. That said, this glove has a unisex fit, so it felt a little floppier than other gloves that have a female-specific fit.

Since it is a unisex glove, the fit is not designed specifically for women, like the Burton Gore-Tex - Women's glove. As a result, the XS will only fit a woman with medium sized hands. We really wish that Arc'teryx developed this 'unisex' glove with a larger range of female sizing options. If you're looking for a glove that will be best for small hands, check out the Outdoor Research Arete or Gordini Gore-Tex Down III glove instead.

Giles takes the Fission gloves for a spin on a climb in Red Rocks to truly test dexterity and its performance as a climbing glove. We found (by the way) that this glove did the best in our climbing tests and is probably the best choice (in this selection) as a winter climbing glove.
Giles takes the Fission gloves for a spin on a climb in Red Rocks to truly test dexterity and its performance as a climbing glove. We found (by the way) that this glove did the best in our climbing tests and is probably the best choice (in this selection) as a winter climbing glove.

Features


Even though this glove doesn't feature touch-screen compatibility or a hand warmer pocket, the features that it does have are functional for any ski glove. This simple glove features a removable wrist leash and adjustable one-pull wrist leash.


If you want a glove that could be used for ski mountaineering  make sure it has a carabiner loop like the Arc'teryx Fission Glove.
If you want a glove that could be used for ski mountaineering, make sure it has a carabiner loop like the Arc'teryx Fission Glove.

The gauntlet is long, fitting well overtop of bulky clothing. We also liked the carabiner loop on the finger, making this a great option for both skiing and climbing in the wintertime. In addition, it is one of the lightest contenders tested, making it a great option for lightweight missions. If you're interested in more features like a nose wipe, hand warmer pocket, or touch-screen compatibility, check out the Burton Gore-Tex - Women's, our top scorer in this metric. Alternatively, if you're looking for a glove that is seriously bare-bones, check out the super simple Kinco Pigskin Leather Gloves which retail for $16.

We love the quick one-pull cinch and release and removable leashes!
We love the quick one-pull cinch and release and removable leashes!

Durability and Construction


Featuring a leather palm, abrasion-resistant fabrics, and fantastic craftsmanship, this glove stands out as the most durable and well crafted. Throughout our testing period, the insulation did not pack out, even after many hours of wear and tear and washes. This glove earned a perfect ten in this category for all the features listed above, including a seamless stitch on the outside of the glove.


This glove has a small stitch pattern that provides better durability than the rest. In addition  some of the seams are seamless  meaning less fly-aways!
This glove has a small stitch pattern that provides better durability than the rest. In addition, some of the seams are seamless, meaning less fly-aways!

We also liked how closely spaced each stitch was, without any flyways. Just impeccable craftsmanship! We also really appreciated the lifetime warranty that accompanies any Arc'teryx product.

The leather palm featured in the Arc'teryx Fission Glove provides great durability.
The leather palm featured in the Arc'teryx Fission Glove provides great durability.

Best Application


With a great balance in all the metrics, this is one of the most versatile gloves tested. Take it with you on cold days, down to the negatives, at the resort, or on mild days in the backcountry. Like the Outdoor Research Arete, this glove is a perfect addition to any skiers wardrobe. Whether you live in wet or dry climates, this glove can do it all! Not only is it great for skiing, but it can be used for most alpine and cold-weather activities.

Take this glove cross country skiing  backcountry skiing  or to the resort. We love its versatility and performance! This is why it is our Editor's Choice for winter gloves this season.
Take this glove cross country skiing, backcountry skiing, or to the resort. We love its versatility and performance! This is why it is our Editor's Choice for winter gloves this season.

Value


With a higher sticker price than most ($179), this is the most expensive glove in this review. That said, we think the price is worth it, especially given the craftsmanship and durability of the glove. If this glove exceeds your budget and you're looking for a glove that is a little more affordable, check out our Best Buy Award winner, the Gordini Gore-Tex Down III for just $90.

Conclusion


The Arc'teryx Fission Glove is our Editors' Choice for gloves because of its fantastic balance of warmth, breathability, and water resistance. In addition, we love its lightweight and comfort provided with soft and cozy materials. Get comfortable on the resort slopes or explore the backcountry with the most versatile gloves tested this season.

Heather is psyched and surprised at how breathable and warm this high-performance single-construct glove performs on the mountain.
Heather is psyched and surprised at how breathable and warm this high-performance single-construct glove performs on the mountain.

Amber King

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Most recent review: February 21, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (5.0)
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5 star: 100%  (1)
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