Black Diamond Guide Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Super warm, extremely tough, great weather resistance, removable liners help them dry quicker, our go-to expedition glove
Cons: Not very dexterous, take time to break in, if in between sizes you should consider sizing up
Manufacturer: Black Diamond
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Our Analysis and Test Results
From December Days and slow chair-lifts rides in New England to the Summits of some of the highest and coldest mountains in the world the Black Diamond Guide Glove is our Top Pick for cold temps. While some mittens are warmer, many aren't; the Guide Glove just plain packs in a lot of insulation. As a result, it is a pretty darn stiff glove and needs a little bit longer than most to break in its insulation and burly exterior leather.
This contender is among the very warmest models in our review. The heated glove options we tested run hotter when powered, but are not even close to being as warm when the batteries run out. Tester Ian Nicholson used the Guide gloves to summit both Denali and Aconcagua in -42F and -25F temperatures, respectively. The liner is the warmest of any model we tested and uses a combination of Primaloft One insulation on the outer portion of its liner and boiled wool on the inside. The wool on the back of your hand is super nice on cold days and feels warm and fuzzy all day. The wool provides noticeable wicking, making your hands feel warmer, and to a limited extent, provides some temperature regulation. This is our top pick for people with Raynaud's syndrome who prefer gloves over mittens.
The palm side of the liner sports 100 grams of fleece, which also wicks moisture and dries more quickly than wool, eliminating clammy hands. Though super efficient at insulating, all this bulk means they are less dexterous.
The Guide is one of the warmest gloves currently available, but that warmth comes at a price. Because there is so much insulation in this glove, that insulation equals bulk, reducing dexterity. In some ways, you could almost compare this model to a mitten, because it is so warm but lacks dexterity. It is even warmer than some mittens but is most often still more dexterous. It uses a very stiff leather that is super beefy and incredibly durable, but that stiffness reduces "feel" and dexterity.
The newest version features a stretchier exterior with less overall leather; while this does allow the leather to break in, they are still mega stiff at first. However, while they do soften up quite a bit once you get four or five days of use in them, they are still a little stiffer than average. Once you have used them ten days or more, you're golden. During our side-by-side comparisons for dexterity, the Guide scored below average. We could accomplish simple tasks, like buckling boots and unlocking car doors, but started to suffer during our more complex tests, like tying shoes and taking a photo with a traditional point-and-shoot camera.
Black Diamond uses a Gore-Tex insert, a highly water-resistant leather, and a robust nylon shell for waterproofing. While several models did well in both our real-world tests and our side-by-side comparisons using a bucket of water, we found that it was one of the more water resistant designs we tested. It compares to the other top scores in the review.
The Guide features a goatskin leather palm, with that same leather on the inside of the fingers and parts of the back of the hand. They also have a small piece of EVA foam padding in the middle of the back of the hand. A stretchy woven nylon shell covers the remainder of the glove with a Gore-Tex insert inside. The construction allows them to be tough enough to last for even the harshest user; overall, we found this glove to offer some of the best durability out of gloves in our fleet. We used this model well over 70 days, and it's still holding up well; however, it certainly isn't as warm as it once was, as the insulation has slowly packed out.
It's likely that using any of the gloves in this review over 60 days would lead to them packing out and losing a significant amount of insulation and warmth. Regardless, the Guide is one of the toughest contestants in our review.
The Guide has a well designed removable liner that is secured with Velcro straps that never came out when we didn't want it to. The straps cinch nicely with one gloved hand but are harder to loosen. The nose wipe on the thumb is comfortable and effective. Other than that, it is a relatively simple but user-friendly product.
This is one of the more expensive models in our review but is pretty close in price to its two closest competitors. While this glove is expensive, it's an exceptional option if you're going on a super cold adventure.
Heading out for an epic in arctic conditions? The Black Diamond Guide has long been a favorite among mountaineers and guides battling cold conditions, and we understand why. It's a dependable glove that will last a lot of adventures, keeping fingers warm and dry on some of the world's more demanding peaks. They're probably overkill for most resort skiers in maritime climates of the US.
— Ian Nicholson and Jeff Rogers