Black Diamond Guide - Women's Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Super warm, removable liner, durable construction, weather resistant liner
Cons: Bulky, difficult to get liner back into glove, expensive
Manufacturer: Black Diamond
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Black Diamond Guide is designed with professional guides in mind. This super warm glove will stand up for years and seasons of wear and tear, whether you're working the ski lift or shredding the gnar.
As one of the warmest gloves tested, we are impressed with the ability of it to keep our hands warm on cold chairlifts and nasty winter weather. Designed with professionals that work in the snow in mind, Black Diamond has made a push to offer a specific range of warmth between -20F to 10F. While we can't verify that these gloves will keep you warm in these specific temps (everybody's biology is different), we will say that they are still our go-to if we know the temps are going to dip into the single digits… but not the negative digits.
The liner that insulates the glove is stacked with 170-grams of PrimaLoft Gold insulation. Most of the insulation is stacked behind the hand and around the cuff to help keep warmth and heat inside. The medium-sized cuff fits over a jacket nicely, locking in warmth when needed. In addition, the 100-gram fleece lining does a good job wicking away moisture. We also really like the water-resistant shell of the liner that can function on its own, but doesn't offer much in the way of features to allow it to do so. This is a nice option if the temps warm-up and you don't need the added warmth and weather protection from the shell. Overall, this is one of the warmest gloves tested, but be wary of companies that make specific temperature range claims, as everybody requires something a little different to stay warm in cold weather.
We took it out during the polar vortex of winter in Canada and found that our hands stayed warm at around 10F. However, when it dipped colder, we found ourselves switching it out for a warmer pair of mitts. That said, if you're in search of a warm glove option, this is a great go-to, but we wouldn't completely rely on the temperature range recommendations set out by Black Diamond.
After many tests at home and putting this glove through the wringer, we learn that the overall design is fairly waterproof, but the shell is only water-resistant. Designed with nylon and leather-based shell, it does a great job of wicking away moisture from the surface. However, after hours of building snowmen and playing in the snow, the outer becomes saturated. When testing in the Pacific Northwest, we found the shell got wet after a huge day in the humid climate. What came to the rescue is the built-in Gore-Tex liner that kept our hands dry, even when the shell saturated. As a result, we'd recommend it for all types of climatic conditions, but it's important to note that the shell isn't 100% waterproof.
The Black Diamond Guide is designed for, you guessed it, guides who do more than simply hold onto ski poles throughout a day in the mountains. Guides and professionals need to use their hands for hours on end in the mountains. These gloves downward curving fingers help grasp objects more easily, which also helps when picking up items and tools. The leather palm adds friction that synthetic palms typically don't have, so ski poles and rappel lines are more manageable to hold onto.
The main issue we found 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 results in a lack of precision. Our testers were still able to use zippers and change skis from tour to ski/snowboard mode without having to take the glove off. However, when it came to finer tasks, we found ourselves wanting to rip off our gloves. Overall, while dexterity is decent for its basic purpose, it's not awesome like thinner contenders.
Outfitted with all the necessary features, the Guide has everything you need. A carabiner loop on the finger makes it easy to take off and clip onto a harness or pack without losing it on the trail.
The cuff is naturally tapered around the wrist for a more precise fit. The cinch cords allow you to retain heat or release it easily with a single pull.
The layered leather on the back of the palm is a nice cushioned pad to punch away ice on ice climbs. In addition, it has a double-glove construction that is supposed to make it more versatile.
However, because the inner liner is so hard to put back in once it is out, we found ourselves treating this glove-like a single construction design. Specifically, once the liner was pulled out, and because the insulation is so thick, it is hard to arrange the fingers of the liner to match with the fingers of the shell. The liner bunches and simply doesn't go back the way it started. This took so much time and frustration to put back together, that we simply opted to keep the glove intact. As a result, even though it should be more versatile, it functionally isn't because of poor construction in this regard. Aside from that, we appreciate all the necessary and key features this glove offers.
Outfitted with a goat leather palm and exterior, there is additional durability where it's needed most. This product protects against everyday abrasion, and according to online reviews, it lasted some users up to 8 years! Based on our assessments, we believe that it can continue to perform in this way. The craftsmanship is spot on, and all the key pressure points of the glove are reinforced. We didn't notice any durability issues in our testing period. It will last you for years.
This glove is expensive but works well when it performs. It offers good heat and durable shell construction. Unfortunately, the liner will pack out after a season of heavy use (100 days/year) and the liners can't be replaced. Keeping that in mind, there are other options with replaceable liners or those that offer a more durable option. However, you're going to be hard-pressed to find one with a shell that is as durable and water-resistant.
The women's Black Diamond Guide is designed to tackle cold weather all day long. Wear it while snowboarding, skiing, or working at the ski hill. It'll keep you warm and comfortable for many years to come.
— Amber King