The Black Diamond Squad is a solid, price pointed product that gets the job done. It runs a little wider than the noticeably narrower Outdoor Research Southback. The Southback has a little more durable palm and is slightly more dextrous and they are around the same warmth. Comparing it to other mostly leather competitors we didn't think that the Squad was nearly as tough, though it was far more durable than the Columbia Air Chamber or the DaKine Scout which are only $35 less. Its middle of the road in warmth and for most average warmth running skiers and snowboarders it will work down to around 15F.
Black Diamond Squad Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Fits wider hands, pretty durable, good price
Cons: Not as dexterious as some gloves we tested
Manufacturer: Black Diamond
Our Analysis and Test Results
The 2016 Black Diamond Squad vs. The Older Version
Retailing for $10 more than last year's model, the new Black Diamond Squad Gloves are quite snazzy. Black Diamond has targeted aggressive inbounds skiers with these gloves, though the over-the-cuff design with four-way stretch shells (and PrimaLoft Gold Insulation on the back of the hand and palm) can be worn by anyone. BD reports that these gloves are waterproof and are complete with GORE-TEX inserts. The newer Squad Gloves are available in either Black (pictured below on the left) or Denim. The older version is pictured on the right.
We thought the Squad were very average in its overall dexterity and while it could accomplish easy and moderatly difficult tasks effectively like zipping jackets, buckling boots, unlocking cars and barely tying shoes, it struggled with more complex tasks like writing and it could barely take a photo with our test camera during our side-by-side comparisons. We thought it didn't do quite as well as our OutdoorGearLab Top Pick the Outdoor Research Magnate, nor some of the other top performers like the OutdoorGearLab Editors' Choice the Arc'teryx Alpha SV Glove.
The Black Diamond Squad was among the most waterproof gloves we tested both in real world application and in our side-by-side bucket of water comparison. The Squad along with the Outdoor Research Southback were the only options we looked at under $100 to use a Gore-Tex insert instead of a proprietary waterproof breathable insert. This combined with it's well treated goatskin leather palm and backing made it one of the most water resistant contenders under $100. While it did great, we didn't think it was quite as water resistant as the Outdoor Research Magnate, the Black Diamond Guide or the Arc'teryx Alpha SV. It did perform very similar to the Outdoor Research Northback Sensor and the OR Southback and was more water resistant than the Hestra Heli, Columbia Air Chamber or the DaKine Scout.
Warmth and Breathability
This glove uses 170 grams PrimaLoft One insulation on the back of hand and 100 g fleece on the palm for insulation. It was average to maybe just barely below average in our warmth tests. We think most users would be comfortable resort skiing and snowboarding down to around 10-15F but not much below. We did find it quite comparable but maybe not quite as warm as the similarly priced OR Southback and was very comparable though maybe a touch warmer than the Mountain Hardwear Jalapeno. We didn't think it was quite as warm as the Black Diamond Legend or the DaKine Scout. We also didn't think it was even close to as warm as any of our double layer designs.
The Squad is mostly covered in a durable goatskin leather with reinforcements on the higher wear areas of the palm and on the back of two fingers. It's a little above average in overall toughness but it isn't quite as durable as some of the other mostly leather designs, With that being said, it was far more durable than the Columbia Air Chamber or the DaKine Scout and a little more durable than the Southback.
The Black Diamond Squad is a fairly no frills option but it still has many of the more common basic features like a soft and effective nose wipe on the back of the thumb and an easy one handed cinch on the gauntlet. Unlike a lot of other competitors we thought this gauntlet cinch was as easy to loosen one handed as well as tighten.
Value and The Bottom Line
The Squad is a great value for skiers and snowboarders with wider hands and overall we think the Squad is a solid product for both riding chairs in the resort and days touring in the backcountry.
— Ian Nicholson