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Arc'teryx Sabre Review

A weather-resistant and warm glove that retains dexterity, ideal for ski touring
Arc'teryx Sabre
Photo: Arc'teryx
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $179 List | Check Price at REI
Pros:  Excellent dexterity and durability, fairly warm, water resistant
Cons:  Expensive, lacks some nice features
Manufacturer:   Arc'teryx
By Jeff Dobronyi ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 3, 2020
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78
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 19
  • Warmth - 25% 7
  • Dexterity - 25% 9
  • Water Resistance - 25% 8
  • Durability - 15% 9
  • Features - 10% 4

Our Verdict

The Arc'teryx Sabre combines high performance in nearly every metric. The result is a versatile and useful product for most days on the mountain, especially in the backcountry setting. It features good warmth due to plenty of synthetic insulation and faux-fur finger linings, great weather resistance due to its Gore-Tex insert, and excellent dexterity, especially considering how warm the glove is. We also have high confidence in the longevity of the glove. Overall, this is a great choice for users who want one glove for most days on the ski hill or for backcountry skiers who need protection from the elements without sacrificing durability.

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Arc'teryx Sabre
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Arc'teryx Sabre
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award 
Price $179 List
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Pros Excellent dexterity and durability, fairly warm, water resistantWarm, water resistant, durable, dexterous, lightweight and packableSuper warm, extremely tough, great weather resistance, removable liners help them dry quicker, our go-to expedition gloveWarm enough, weatherproof, inexpensiveWarmest mitt in our review, bomber shell, nice extra features, nice loop to facilitate drying, good thumb ergonomics
Cons Expensive, lacks some nice featuresExpensive, lacks some featuresNot very dexterous, take time to break in, if in between sizes you should consider sizing upPoor dexterity, slightly tight fit around the knucklesPoor dexterity, liner packs out a little quicker than other options
Bottom Line A weather-resistant and warm glove that retains dexterity, ideal for ski touringWith top-tier performance across the board, this glove is what we recommend to those seeking the best pairFor really cold activities, where giving up some dexterity for some serious warmth is a must, these gloves are hard to beatA warm and fully featured ski glove for a great priceThis contender offers the highest level of warmth yet still allows you to perform basic tasks required of resort skiing
Rating Categories Arc'teryx Sabre Arc'teryx Fission SV Black Diamond Guide Gordini GTX Storm T... Black Diamond Mercu...
Warmth (25%)
7.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
9.0
Dexterity (25%)
9.0
8.0
4.0
4.0
2.0
Water Resistance (25%)
8.0
10.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Durability (15%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
Features (10%)
4.0
7.0
9.0
9.0
10.0
Specs Arc'teryx Sabre Arc'teryx Fission SV Black Diamond Guide Gordini GTX Storm T... Black Diamond Mercu...
Double or Single Glove Single Single Double Single Double
Gaunlet or Cuff? Cuff Gauntlet Gauntlet Gauntlet Gauntlet
Palm Material Leather Leather Goat leather Polyurethane Goatskin Leather
Waterproof Material Gore-tex Gore-Tex Gore-Tex insert Gore-Tex Shell: Pertex Shield, Liner: BDry
Insulation Type Primaloft 133g Primaloft Gold Eco and 200g Primaloft Silver Eco 170g PrimaLoft Gold and 100g boiled wool fleece lining Megaloft 340g Primaloft Gold and high-loft fleece lining
Nose Wipe? No Yes Yes Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

We are impressed by the overall performance of this glove, which comes close to the best options on the market while excelling in dexterity. The simplicity and high performance of this glove lead us to recommend it for primarily backcountry use.

Performance Comparison


The Sabre is a dexterous and comfortable glove for most conditions.
The Sabre is a dexterous and comfortable glove for most conditions.
Photo: sam willits

Warmth


The Arc'teryx Sabre uses plenty of Primaloft synthetic insulation to provide enough warmth for all but the coldest days on the ski hill. We used this glove on the slopes in brutally cold Jackson Hole, where it kept our fingers warm once the temperatures rose above zero Fahrenheit. On the coldest days or during windy winter storms, users might want more insulation. The glove features a furry palm and fingers, which adds a cozy feel, and the insulation design creates a tight fit around the wrist to seal heat into the hand chamber. Insulation through the wrist means the lower forearm is also kept warm when the velcro wrist closure is sealed tight. For a relatively lightweight item, this glove is surprisingly warm.


In the backcountry, these gloves are perfect. They are warm enough for most days and yet aren't so warm that they can't be worn on the skin track. Only the most aerobic users will wish they had a lighter glove during uphill travel. On windy ridgelines, or while booting uphill through deep powder, they keep hands plenty warm.

The Arc'teryx Sabre features plenty of lightweight synthetic...
The Arc'teryx Sabre features plenty of lightweight synthetic insulation that provides warmth for all but the coldest days.
Photo: jeff dobronyi

Dexterity


One of the major benefits of the Arc'teryx Sabre is its dexterity. No other glove provides as much warmth with as much articulation. When gloves add insulation, waterproof membranes, or thick leather, they improve their warmth, water resistance, and durability performance, but all while sacrificing dexterity. These gloves strike the perfect balance between added material and finger mobility, meaning that these gloves will keep your hands reasonably warm and dry while still allowing you to perform fine motor tasks like buckling boots or manipulating zippers.


The Sabre's high performance in this category adds even more utility in the backcountry, where users have to perform a wide variety of tasks without removing their gloves, and need a product that will keep them warm and dry while being easily manipulated. For backcountry skiers and riders, this is the dexterous yet warm glove you've been waiting for.

The Sabre features well-tailored fingers that handle fine motor...
The Sabre features well-tailored fingers that handle fine motor tasks with ease.
Photo: jeff dobronyi

Water Resistance


The Sabre is a generally water-resistant glove, thanks to Arc'teryx's notably impervious leather and a Gore-tex membrane insert. The back of the fingers and back of the palm are made with a water-resistant softshell fabric that easily repels water and snow. Our testers reported dry hands every time they wore these gloves, even on wet powder days. In our sink test, we held our gloved hands under the faucet for 5 minutes, and our hands remained dry.


One notable omission here is the lack of a major wrist gauntlet. The cuff is shorter than other top-of-the-line glove options, and instead of a drawstring closure, Arc'teryx uses a simple velcro closure. This means that the glove is best worn under the jacket cuff, and it won't provide much additional weather resistance than the jacket you pair it with. For users in wet winter climates, or where rain is regularly encountered, a glove with a full wrist gauntlet will provide more protection. But for users in cold, dry climates who like to wear their gloves under their jacket cuffs, these provide enough water resistance.

The leather that Arc'teryx uses on their glove palms is highly...
The leather that Arc'teryx uses on their glove palms is highly water-resistant, and a Gore-Tex insert ensures that no moisture penetrates the glove.
Photo: jeff dobronyi

Durability


Arc'teryx is known for the durability of their products. Our testers have reviewed dozens of their offerings over the years, and these gloves are in line with our expectations. Specifically, these gloves have tightly sewn seams that don't show any space when pulled apart. Stitching failure is one of the prevalent ski glove issues we see, and these gloves won't face that problem any time soon. The glove's leather is also somehow more resistant to wear than other leathers. Our lead tester is an avalanche forecaster and mountain guide, and uses these gloves daily while shoveling out snow pits, using ropes, and of course, skiing. He hasn't seen any wear and tear on the leather palm after weeks of use. We are confident in our assessment that these gloves have excellent durability.


One weak point that could be an issue is the use of velcro for the wrist gauntlet closure. Velcro uses tiny hooks on one side and tiny loops of fabric on the other. When pressed together, the hundreds of hooks each grab one loop, and when pulled apart, the hooks rip out the loops, breaking them in the process. There are enough loops for thousands of uses, but eventually, the velcro will lose its fastening power as the velcro loops get used up. This is most often a problem in wrist closures, both on gloves and jackets, because we take our gloves on and off so many times each day. After a couple of seasons of heavy use, this may become a problem. Usually, manufacturers will replace the velcro at little to no cost, but it's worth mentioning.

The Sabre's palm leather is supple and dexterous, yet highly durable...
The Sabre's palm leather is supple and dexterous, yet highly durable and resistant to wear. We've found this combination to be rare, but this glove nails it.
Photo: jeff dobronyi

Features


The Arc'teryx Sabre AR glove is light on features. We have come to love our chemical handwarmer pockets, nose wipes, and removable liners, and this glove has none of them. The gauntlet is short and can only be worn one way: under the cuff. Experienced users will not be daunted by the features set on this glove, but beginners who have a hard time regulating their hand warmth and fastening their jacket cuffs may wish these gloves had more useful features.


Still, these gloves have everything you need, including a lightweight plastic clip to keep the pair together, low-profile and removable shock cord wrist straps, and small loops on the back of the ring fingers for hanging the gloves to dry with the opening facing down. And while we don't measure the weight of gloves in our reviews, these gloves are strikingly lightweight, especially compared to the behemoth weight of the heated gloves on the market these days. While some features may be missing, these gloves get the job done and are plenty easy to use for experienced skiers and riders.

The Sabre's cuff closure is simple and short, which is fine for...
The Sabre's cuff closure is simple and short, which is fine for advanced users and skiers in dry climates.
Photo: jeff dobronyi

Value


These gloves are expensive. Still, this glove's overall high performance in nearly every metric, combined with the fine tailoring and long lifespan that we have come to expect from Arc'teryx, makes this glove worth the price for discerning users. Beginners or occasional skiers won't be able to justify spending this much on a pair of ski gloves. But for ski town locals, expert skiers, and backcountry skiers who need a glove that can perform day-in and day-out without question, these gloves are worth the price.

Conclusion


The Sabre is a relatively warm, water-resistant, and durable glove that provides excellent dexterity but doesn't include many of the helpful features we've come to expect in a ski glove. And for the price, it may not seem like you get that much. However, for discerning users like hardcore inbounds riders and backcountry skiers who like a perfectly tailored fit and need the utmost dexterity, this glove is a great choice.

Testing the Sabre on an early-season backcountry powder day in...
Testing the Sabre on an early-season backcountry powder day in Jackson Hole, the environment where these gloves soar.
Photo: jeff dobronyi

Jeff Dobronyi