The Black Diamond Guide is seriously warm. It is one of the warmest gloves we tested, making it an excellent option for arctic lift rides, folks whose hands get cold easily, and high-altitude mountaineering. Tester Ian Nicholson has climbed Denali 7 times overall in them. This glove features a removable liner, making drying them a breeze. They have a stretchy shell that is reinforced with goat leather (obviously not stretchy in places where it is reinforced) and a Gore-Tex insert for weather protection. They are super tough and easily one of the most durable in our review, but all of the leather, insulation and relatively strong shell fabric decrease their dexterity.Editor's note: We updated this review with additional glove comparisons and purchase recommendations on December 1, 2022.
Black Diamond Guide Review
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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Black Diamond Guide
$179.95 at REI
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|Pros||Super warm, extremely tough, great weather resistance, removable liners help them dry quicker, our go-to expedition glove||Warm, water resistant, durable, dexterous, lightweight and packable||Dexterous, well-made, water resistant||Warm enough, weatherproof, reasonable price||Incredible warmth, weather resistant, durable, reasonable price|
|Cons||Not very dexterous, take time to break in, if in between sizes you should consider sizing up||Expensive, lacks some features||Not that warm, tight fit, no wrist gauntlet||Poor dexterity, slightly tight fit around the knuckles||Poor dexterity, could have better features|
|Bottom Line||For really cold activities, where giving up some dexterity for some serious warmth is a must, these gloves are hard to beat||With top-tier performance across the board, this glove is what we recommend to those seeking the best pair||These dexterous and durable gloves have the best touchscreen-compatible features for using your phone in cold weather||A warm and fully featured ski glove for a great price||These mitts provide extreme warmth and weather resistance at a good price, nailing the two most important aspects of ski mittens|
|Rating Categories||Black Diamond Guide||Arc'teryx Fission SV||The North Face IL S...||Gordini GTX Storm T...||Black Diamond Mercu...|
|Water Resistance (25%)|
|Specs||Black Diamond Guide||Arc'teryx Fission SV||The North Face IL S...||Gordini GTX Storm T...||Black Diamond Mercu...|
|Double or Single Glove||Double||Single||Single||Single||Double|
|Gaunlet or Cuff?||Gauntlet||Gauntlet||Cuff||Gauntlet||Gauntlet|
|Palm Material||Goat leather||Leather||Goat leather||Polyurethane||Goat leather|
|Waterproof Material||Gore-Tex insert||Gore-Tex||FUTURELIGHT insert||Gore-Tex||BD.dry|
|Insulation Type||170g PrimaLoft Gold and 100g boiled wool fleece lining||133g Primaloft Gold Eco and 200g Primaloft Silver Eco||Heatseeker™ Eco||Megaloft||340 g PrimaLoft Gold, high-loft fleece|
Our Analysis and Test Results
From December days and slow chair-lift rides in New England to the summits of some of the highest and coldest mountains in the world, the Black Diamond Guide Glove is excellent in 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 a potential option 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. 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.
Black Diamond uses a Gore-Tex insert, 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.
Should You Buy the Black Diamond Guide?
While this glove is expensive, it's an exceptional option if you're going on a super cold adventure. There are other good options on the market that provide a little more dexterity without sacrificing too much in the way of warmth, so unless you are headed out on an expedition or spend every day outside in very cold temperatures, these gloves are probably overkill.
What other Ski Gloves Should You Consider?
These gloves provide the ultimate in warmth and weather protection, with the major caveat that their durability is laughable. If you need good warmth and weather resistance, but still need to complete detailed tasks with your fingers, our Editors' Choice Arc'teryx Fission SV and similar Rab Khroma Freeride both strike a nice balance between protection and usability. If you absolutely need the warmth, we'd recommend the Outdoor Research Prevail Heated as the best electrically-heated glove. And if you are looking for a good glove at a fraction of the price of the rest of these recommendations, the Gordini GTX Storm Trooper II is a good option.
— Ian Nicholson and Jeff Rogers
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