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Arc'teryx Fission SV Review

Easily the most versatile model for conditions, climates, and activities with top-tier performance across the board make this glove our favorite overall.
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $199 List | $199.00 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Versatility, durable palm, lightweight and packable, dexterous, ergonomic shape, freedom of movement
Cons:  Long gauntlet tricky to get under jacket, gauntlet can slowly open, expensive
Manufacturer:   Arc'teryx
By Ian Nicholson and Travis Poulin  ⋅  Jan 17, 2020
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RANKED
#1 of 19
  • Warmth - 25% 6
  • Dexterity - 25% 9
  • Water Resistance - 25% 9
  • Durability - 15% 9
  • Features - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The Arc'teryx Fission SV is not only our favorite model for downhill skiing and snowboarding, but it's also the most versatile in our review. Its versatility was not just for a wide range of climates and conditions in which it performed well but also for its use in various actives besides skiing due to its durability, dexterity, low weight, pack-ability, and freedom of movement. The Fission's stretchy external fabric and super ergonomic design means it's also significantly less stiff than other options that offered a similar level of warmth or weather resistance. Our testing team was a little skeptical of its stretchy external soft shell-looking fabric, but both in real-world use as well as in our side-by-side tests, it easily proved to be incredibly water-resistant and durable.

Reinforcing this glove's prowess, both our men's and women's glove testers found this unisex glove to be the best of the best, earning our Editors' Choice Award across both genders. That said, if you suffer from the coldest of the cold hands, you might want to consider another option, such as a heated glove or mittens.


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Awards Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award  Top Pick Award  
Price $199.00 at REI
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$500.00 at Amazon$169.95 at REI
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Versatility, durable palm, lightweight and packable, dexterous, ergonomic shape, freedom of movementGreat fit and dexterity, weather resistant, electrical heat works, great glove even when turned offExtremely warm, weather resistantSuper warm, extremely tough, great weather resistance, removable liners help them dry quicker, our go-to expedition gloveDexterous for its warmth, inside feels soft and cozy, durable, above average weather resistance
Cons Long gauntlet tricky to get under jacket, gauntlet can slowly open, expensiveDoesn't get as warm as other heated gloves, expensiveVery expensive, heavy, bulkyNot very dexterous, take time to break in, if in between sizes you should consider sizing upExpensive, leather needs to be retreated slightly more than other models
Bottom Line Top-tier performance, coupled with exceptional versatility across a wide range of conditions. Best in Class.Well-built ski gloves that perform even when the heat is turned off.This expensive glove is the warmest we have ever tested.If rugged capabilities and warmth top your list of importance, think about investing in the Guide.Expensive but durable, this leather all-arounder is cozy and provides sound weather resistance.
Rating Categories Arc'teryx Fission SV Hestra Power Heater Glove Capstone Heated Sensor Black Diamond Guide Hestra Army Leather Gore-Tex
Warmth (25%)
10
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6
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8
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10
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8
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6
Dexterity (25%)
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9
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6
Water Resistance (25%)
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9
Durability (15%)
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Specs Arc'teryx Fission SV Hestra Power... Capstone Heated... Black Diamond Guide Hestra Army...
Double or Single Glove Single Single Single Double Single
Gaunlet or Cuff? Gauntlet Hybrid Gauntlet Gauntlet Gauntlet
Palm Material Leather Goat leather Goat leather Goat leather Army Leather (goat leather)
Waterproof Material Gore-Tex CZone Gore-Tex insert Gore-Tex insert HESTRA Triton three-layer polyamide fabric, leather
Insulation Type 133g Primaloft Gold Eco and 200g Primaloft Silver Eco Fiberfill polyester Back of hand: 200 g/m2 PrimaLoft HiLoft Silver
Palm: 133g/m2 EnduraLoft
170g PrimaLoft Gold and 100g boiled wool fleece lining Fiberfill polyester
Nose Wipe? Yes No Yes Yes No

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Fission SV is the highest performing all-around glove in our review. Do note that you can buy other models that might be slightly better at one thing; for example, you can buy a pair that might be slightly warmer, more durable, or more feature-laden, but not by much and no model scores as highly across our comparison categories as the Fission. If we could have only one glove for skiing and snowboarding, we'd scoop up the Fission in a heartbeat. It strikes the absolute best balance between warmth, weather resistance, durability, and dexterity, and is among the very best in each one of those categories.

Performance Comparison


The Fission SV gloves proved to be versatile and dexterous in the backcountry.
The Fission SV gloves proved to be versatile and dexterous in the backcountry.

Warmth


The Fission SV is warm, but not the absolute warmest. Our testers found them just behind some of the warmest gloves we tested. When considering the dexterity of this glove, though, the warmth is off the charts. The balance of just enough warmth for most conditions and activities and the flexible, very dexterous design is what puts this glove on another level.


The Fission SV is an okay option for Northeast or upper Midwest skiers and snowboards who are regularly faced with relatively cold weather. Overall, our review team found this model to be decent down to around 0-10F and could go a little bit below that but weren't as warm as a handful of other models. So while efficient in cold conditions, they are not the best for folks who consistently find themselves faced with arctic temperatures.

The soft-shell construction on the back of the hand was surprisingly tough.
The soft-shell construction on the back of the hand was surprisingly tough.

As far as breathability goes, the Fission's design and overall construction give it the title of being the most breathable glove in our review. As a result, they are also the quickest to dry — a huge plus for hitting the mountains for consecutive days. The Fission excelled in warmth while touring in moderately cold temperatures where the blood was flowing, but some lift rides proved to be chilly, especially in high winds.

Reinforced goat leather on the palms adds to the toughness.
Reinforced goat leather on the palms adds to the toughness.

Dexterity


The Fission SV proved to be one of the most dexterous contenders in our review. We were blown away by how much we could do without needing to take the gloves off.


All of our testers could easily feel this model's exceptional, ergonomically-focused design. Several review team members also commented on the exceptional dexterity, ability to execute tasks that required fine motor skills, and lack of resistance from the fabric when compared to other models. This lack of resistance and freedom of movement is due to several designs and materials this glove is constructed with. Other notable concepts are the shape of the Fission's fingers and palm, the type and location of insulation used, and the stretchy external fabric. This stretchy outer material allows your hands freedom of movement; coupled with the low-bulk insulation, this is a thick glove that certainly doesn't feel thick. The Fission is also much less stiff feeling than any other model of similar warmth and has absolutely no break-in time.

A great choice for touring or resort skiing.
A great choice for touring or resort skiing.

The only models that came close in this metric were significantly less warm, and the models that were close in warmth were WAY less nimble. The Fission SV performed fantastically in both real-world use and our side-by-side dexterity tests and was one of the most dexterous models in our review. One of the most impressive aspects of the Fission was its ability to cross over into other outdoor activities. For example, gripping an ice tool or adjusting crampons was a breeze with this glove and knot tieing was significantly easier than many competitors.

The Fission SV was impenetrable to water during our submersion test.
The Fission SV was impenetrable to water during our submersion test.

Weather resistance


These gloves use a Gore-Tex ECR insert and an extremely water-resistant, stretchy softshell exterior fabric to keep the user dry. After extensive testing, we found that even though this model's outer softshell material is, at least in theory, not completely waterproof, we were surprised to find how dry our hands stayed while using them over the course of two dozen stormy days in the field. We replicated the same results during our side-by-side in-home tests.


In fact, while testing these gloves on consecutive field days while it rained 1.00" and 2.25" (of water) respectfully, we rotated through several gloves at a rapid pace. During this process, the Fission kept our hands noticeably drier for more prolonged periods and dried the quickest of any of the models in our fleet. In our two-minute bucket-of-water tests, they kept our hands completely dry. What is also impressive is that the exterior, softshell material absorbed no water, which is an attribute that we found to be rare among other models we tested.

Durability


The Fission SV has a leather palm, like many models in our review, that covers up the insides of all the fingers and palm. We have no qualms with the durability of this model.


For added longevity and tear resistance in a high wear area besides just covering the insides of the fingers, Arc'teryx opted to cover all sides of each digit down to the second joint. This model's leather palm has held up exceptionally well and has worn the best of any model in our fleet, despite getting the most use.

While not the warmest of the selection  the Fission offered the best all-around performance. They struck us as built-to-last as well.
While not the warmest of the selection, the Fission offered the best all-around performance. They struck us as built-to-last as well.

Even after extensive use including a fair amount of rope work, the Fission still going strong. The overall weather resistance of this entire glove is holding up exceptionally well; we have to say we didn't expect that of the softshell exterior. There are also fewer seams and potential weak points, which means fewer places fabrics can be pulled apart or snagged.

Features


The Fission SV has a loop on the outside of its index finger which can be used to hang the glove wrist-side-down to ensure it dries quickly.


Our entire review team liked this feature and found ourselves using it at home or on a multi-day ski mountaineering traverse. It is also nice if you are using the Fission as a belay glove on multi-pitch ice climbs as it has a place to clip it to your harness when not in use.

The Fission SV features simple, yet functional wrist leashes. Many testers preferred these over more elaborate and thicker, all elastic webbing style versions. This model features no wrist strap to help lock the glove in place, but some of our testers thought it could use one. Instead, it has an internal elastic band to keep the glove in place and help with overall feel and dexterity.

This design performed well during testing and helped add to the Fission's low weight and packable aspects. While we are quite happy with this model's strapless wrist design for the reasons we just mentioned, we think a true strap might better lock the glove into place and help hold the heat in more efficiently.

The Fission is an extremely versatile glove. It is highly weather resistant and warm enough for resort skiing or snowboarding; what sets it apart is how dexterous it is and how warm and compact it is for its mobility. Tester Ian Nicholson has climbed WI5 in these gloves and all of our review staff loved them for backcountry skiing where their packability and superb dexterity were an asset.
The Fission is an extremely versatile glove. It is highly weather resistant and warm enough for resort skiing or snowboarding; what sets it apart is how dexterous it is and how warm and compact it is for its mobility. Tester Ian Nicholson has climbed WI5 in these gloves and all of our review staff loved them for backcountry skiing where their packability and superb dexterity were an asset.

Value


Arc'Teryx is known to be a pricy brand, but generally well worth the money and that is reflected with the Fission. They were one of the more expensive gloves on our test list but scored high in every category. Versatility is worth a pretty penny to hardcore mountaineers and resort skiers alike and the Fission SV proved to be able to do anything we threw at it.

Conclusion


The Arc'teryx Fission SV is a pretty darn amazing all-around option with few flaws. It scored at the top or near the top in every major way we could think of when comparing each contender. We look for the gloves that can do it all for our Editors' Choice Award and the Fission is the best in the review thanks to their sensational balance of warmth, dexterity, breathability, and water resistance.


Ian Nicholson and Travis Poulin