Hands-on Gear Review

Black Diamond Guide - Women's Review

Black Diamond Guide- Women's
By: Stephanie Bennett ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 20, 2014
Price:  $170 List
Pros:  Designed to keep your hand warm in -20F temperature, removable liner
Cons:  Bulky, difficult to get liner back into glove
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond

Our Verdict

Black Diamond (BD) has taken hand warmth, comfort, and safety to a new level with the Guide Glove by designing a glove that will protect your hand if you are skiing trees or scaling a high-altitude peak. Designed with the needs of professional guides in mind, BD created a durable, long-lasting glove with a thick removable liner that will keep your hands warm in extremely cold temperatures. The Guide Glove is rated to function up to -20F and it surpassed all of the gloves we tested for warmth, so it wins our Top Pick Award for an extremely warm pair. These gloves do take a while to break-in, and are stiff and less dexterous compared to some of the other models, but for those with extremely cold hands, they are excellent.


Our Analysis and Test Results

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WIth an incredibly durable outer shell, a leather palm, EVA foam, and a beefy removable liner, the Black Diamond Guide Glove is built for keeping your hands warm for a full day's work in the snow.

Performance Comparison


With a leather palm  the BD Guide Glove provides a decent grip.
With a leather palm, the BD Guide Glove provides a decent grip.

Dexterity


The Black Diamond Guide Glove is built to be used by guides and professionals who find themselves in the outdoors for extended periods of time and constantly need to use their hands. As a result, the BD Guide Glove comes with curved fingers to assist in picking-up objects or obtaining a firm grasp on items. The glove also comes with a leather palm that adds grip when holding accessories such as ski poles and rappel lines. The main issue we found with the glove is that the density of the liner is so thick, it is difficult to fully grab onto an item and ensure it is in your fingers. This thickness adds warmth, but makes the glove lack precision. However, testers were still able to use zippers and change skis or split-boards over from tour to ski/snowboard mode without having to take the glove off.

Warmth


The liner for the Black Diamond Glove is made with Primaloft and sheep's wool. This combination makes the liner incredibly dense, but also incredibly warm. Black Diamond states on their website that the Guide Glove's temperature range is between -20F and 10F. Of all the gloves tested, Black Diamond was the only manufacturer to identify a temperature range for the glove. This allowed us to more accurately determine if the glove really worked well in these set parameters.

Our testers were given an opportunity to test out the -20F temps while skiing on one of the coldest days at Bridger Bowl Ski Area outside of Bozeman, Montana. The temperature at the base was -14F, while the temperature at the mid-way lift was -20F and on the ridge was -26F. After a five minute chair lift ride,each tester's fingertips were starting to get a little cold. After our second round on the chair-lift, most testers were complaining about their fingers becoming excessively cold. We provided the testers with hand-warmers to see what would happen after one additional lap before a warming break. If there was not a designated hand-warmer pocket, each tester placed the hand warmers between the liner and the shell on the back of the hand. With thinner gloves such as the Outdoor Research Arete - Women's, the hand-warmer made more of a difference than in the Guide Glove, we assume because the liner is so dense, that the small amount of heat takes a while to penetrate through to the hand.

We tested this glove another day when the temperatures were hovering around 0F, and the glove was able to perform better. Only a few testers complained of their fingers becoming cold after an hour. Ultimately, the Black Diamond Guide Glove was by far the warmest glove we tested, far surpassing the ability of the other gloves to keep our hands warm.

Taking a minute to dry our hands out while testing gloves up at Washington Pass in the North Cascades of Washington.
Taking a minute to dry our hands out while testing gloves up at Washington Pass in the North Cascades of Washington.

Water Resistance


Designed for durability and comfort, the Black Diamond Guide Glove is outfitted with a waterproof/breathable Gore-Tex insert. This insert is integrated into the liner to allow for waterproof protection even if only wearing the liner without the shell. With this type of construction, the outer shell of the fabric is nylon and not fully waterproof, allowing it soak up and hold water. As a result, the glove became heavy and wet after spending a few days in the moisture rich environment of the Pacific Northwest during our tests. Even though the outer shell became water logged, testers' hands did remain warm and dry due to the Gore-Tex barrier built into the glove's liner. If you are looking for a glove that is fully waterproof, then check out the Arc'teryx Beta AR Glove - Women's that uses a 3-layer Gore-Tex shell.

Features


The Guide Glove comes with quite a few features that are necessary if you find yourself out playing in the winter for any extensive amount of time. It has a nose-wipe, a simple cinching mechanism in the cuff, as well as a removable liner.

With the bonus feather of a nose-wipe on the thumb  the Black Diamond Guide Glove offers extra comfort in tandem with extreme warmth.
With the bonus feather of a nose-wipe on the thumb, the Black Diamond Guide Glove offers extra comfort in tandem with extreme warmth.

One detail we noticed is that when the liner is removed to let it dry or wear on its own, it is incredibly difficult to get the liner to fit back into the glove. For some testers, it took quite a few minutes and a few choice words before they were able to get the liner comfortably back into the glove. A few were never truly successful, and the liner was scrunched up in one or two of the fingers. It would be beneficial for Black Diamond to reassess the density of the liner relative to the size of the shell in the fingers. If it is possible to loosen the fit and add a tad more material, it would allow the liner to fit more cleanly back into the shell.

Best Applications


The Black Diamond Guide Glove is made to be used by someone who has high demands for a glove, will be in very cold conditions, or spending extended periods outside for most of the winter. Designed for durability and longevity, the Guide Glove can be used for any winter sport including snowboarding, skiing, ski mountaineering, ice climbing, snowshoeing, or just shoveling out the car. If you are someone whose hands become cold very easily, or you know you will spend time outside with temperatures hovering around 10F or lower, this is the perfect glove for you. If you do not need as beefy of a glove, check out the Arc'teryx Beta AR or the Outdoor Research Arete.

Value


At $169.95, the Black Diamond Guide Glove is the second most expensive glove we tested, behind the Arc'teryx Beta AR. For the extra protection and durability provided, this is a decent price.

Conclusion


The Black Diamond Guide Glove received our Top Pick Award for extra warmth due to its intentional design to keep your hands warm in very cold conditions. With a liner made from Primaloft and boiled wool, the Guide Glove will keep you warm without compromising your ability to have fun in the snow.

Stephanie Bennett

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