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Outdoor Research Alti Review

You'll love this glove if you do multi day tours and spend a lot of time in the backcountry.
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $159 List | $149.95 at Amazon
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  WARM, lifetime warranty, basically two gloves in one, super water resistant
Cons:  Not super dexterous, inner glove not as durable
Manufacturer:   Outdoor Research
By Jeff Rogers ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 12, 2018
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84
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 17
  • Warmth - 25% 9
  • Dexterity - 25% 6
  • Water Resistance - 25% 10
  • Durability - 15% 8
  • Features - 10% 9

Our Verdict

The Outdoor Research Alti Glove wins our Top Pick Award for backcountry skiing due to its double glove construction and amazing temperature versatility. Essentially two pairs of gloves, the Alti allows you to wear non-Gore-Tex membrane (breathable and windproof) insulated liners on the way up, and when you are ready to launch on the way down, you can wear the insulated Gore-Tex outer glove for additional warmth and weather protection. This creates a versatile weapon for hand-layering in the backcountry, and will also do well on freezing days on the chair. Our test team was skeptical of the glove's dexterity, but it was able to perform standard tasks without much trouble.

If you frequently tie knots while wearing gloves, we recommend checking out the Arc'teryx Fission, which champions glove dexterity. It's not quite as warm but can complete complex, dexterous tasks all over the mountain without the need to remove them.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award  
Price $149.95 at Amazon
Compare at 3 sellers
$189 List$500.00 at AmazonCheck Price at Amazon
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$174.95 at Backcountry
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Pros WARM, lifetime warranty, basically two gloves in one, super water resistantVersatility, durable palm, lightweight and packable, dexterous, ergonomic shape, freedom of movementVery protective, 6hr battery life on low, durable, super warm when poweredSuper warm, extremely tough, great weather resistance, removable liners help them dry quicker, our go-to expedition gloveWell designed features, tough as nails, dexterous
Cons Not super dexterous, inner glove not as durableLong gauntlet tricky to get under jacket, gauntlet can slowly open, expensivePricey, heavyNot very dexterous, take time to break in, if in between sizes you should consider sizing upNot as warm as other high-end ski gloves
Bottom Line You'll love this glove if you do multi day tours and spend a lot of time in the backcountry.Easily the most versatile model for conditions, climates, and activities with top-tier performance across the board make this glove our favorite overall.The warmest glove in the test when the batteries are charged, a great protective and warm glove.For really cold activities, where giving up some dexterity for some serious warmth is a must, these gloves are hard to beat.This is an excellent day in day out resort glove for skiing in milder climates.
Rating Categories Outdoor Research Alti Arc'teryx Fission Capstone Heated Black Diamond Guide Marmot Ultimate
Warmth (25%)
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
7
Dexterity (25%)
10
0
6
10
0
10
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
8
Water Resistance (25%)
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
Durability (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
10
Features (10%)
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
9
Specs Outdoor Research... Arc'teryx Fission Capstone Heated Black Diamond Guide Marmot Ultimate
Waterproof Material Gor-Tex insert Gore-Tex Gor-Tex insert Gore-Tex insert Gor-Tex insert
Palm Material Alpengrip Leather Goat leather Goat leather Cow-hide leather
Gaunlet or Cuff? Gauntlet Gauntlet Gauntlet Gauntlet Gauntlet
Insulation Type PrimaLoft® HiLoft Silver 100% polyester Primaloft Gold Insulation Eco and primaloft silver eco PrimaLoft® HiLoft Silver 100% polyester PrimaLoft Gold and boiled wool PrimaLoft® Gold
Double or Single Glove double single single double single
Nose Wipe? Yes (thumb) Yes Yes Yes (thumb) Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

Outdoor Research has been designing gloves for a long time. They supply the US military with gloves and have 100s of models to choose from. On the warmer end of the spectrum, and we mean really warm, lies their Alti lineup. They all consist of a Primaloft insulated inner with a Gore-Tex and Primaloft insulated outer in either a glove or a mitten format. These gloves and mittens are designed for pursuing the high peaks of the world and make an extremely warm combo. We are here to take a closer look at the glove version. To sum it up, when low temperatures and a variety of weather conditions are on the table, the Alti glove rises to the occasion providing one of the best inner and outer glove combos on the market, allowing you to wear either or both layers, depending on the circumstances.

Performance Comparison


The dual-layered Alti gloves are certainly warm enough for bitter  white-out days at the resort in New England.
The dual-layered Alti gloves are certainly warm enough for bitter, white-out days at the resort in New England.

Warmth


The Alti glove crushes in our warmth metric thanks to the combination of the inner glove and the heavily insulated outer glove. When you use a thin next to skin liner with this glove combination, you have one of the warmest glove setups available today. Adding to the warmth of the glove is a large, extended gauntlet that allows you to seal in any warmth near the wrist, a major area of heat loss that directly impacts the warmth of your fingers.


Our testers have worn these gloves during a multi-day, sub-zero winter ski mountaineering trip and found that they never had cold hands while in the inner and outer combo. The Black Diamond Guide glove has nearly the same warmth as the Alti in a leather-wrapped package.

Dexterity


This is the main weakness of the Alti gloves. The price you pay for being the warmth is a lack of dexterity. Couple that with a less than elegant construction of the palm pieces and stitching, and the glove can feel somewhat restrictive at times. The gap between the thumb and the palm restricts some movement, and the more dexterous tasks require the glove to be removed and dangled from its wrist leash.


This is to be expected from a glove this warm, but if you are looking for a more dexterous option, the Black Diamond Guide is a hair more dexterous after a longer break-in period, while the Arc'teryx Fission dominates this metric alongside the Hestra Fall Line. These two are capable of handling more complicated finger movements. All this said, most tasks you find yourself doing during a normal ski day like buckling boots and manipulating zippers are doable with this glove on. Forget about tying a shoelace or opening a granola bar though.

A king of dexterity  the Alti is not  but it is still more nimble than a pair of mittens.
A king of dexterity, the Alti is not, but it is still more nimble than a pair of mittens.

Weather Resistance


Another competition-leading performance area for the Alti. This is mainly because the Alti glove is a purely synthetic glove. No leather or any other natural materials are used in its construction. This means that the specific materials that construct the various parts of the glove, PrimaLoft insulation, AlpenGrip(r) palm material, and nylon back of the hand are all extremely water resistant inherently. The synthetic shell never needs waterproofing treatment, unlike leather-based gloves, which require such maintenance periodically. To add to the weather resistance, the gauntlet is large enough to swallow even the loftiest of down garments and provides an excellent seal from the elements.


Testers often found themselves reaching for just the shells of these gloves when snow caves needed to be dug or walls needed to be constructed to fortify camps. We quickly realized that this insulated gore tex "shell" of a glove had a variety of use cases where it excelled versus other gloves, and weather resistance was a main factor in this. After moving slowly while dragging sleds on Denali, the tester would remove the insulation of the glove and dry it inside his jacket while constructing camp with the outer. Brilliant.

The Alti gloves palm is extremely weather resistant  and new for this year  a bit more contoured for dexterity.
The Alti gloves palm is extremely weather resistant, and new for this year, a bit more contoured for dexterity.

Durability


With the use of synthetic materials throughout, the Alti does not benefit from a hard wearing reinforced leather palm, and it is slightly less durable because of this. The Alti glove gains added weather resistance due to the synthetic palm but loses long-term wear resistance by forgoing the use of leather construction. As the glove wears, the palm will thin and flake off in spots, but this is only after years of abuse.


The synthetic palm is extremely tough and tactile and has no problem holding onto ice tools or ski edges. We were impressed at how little wear they showed after a few full days working with snow tools in them. The best part about these gloves is their "infinite warranty" from outdoor research, so if you do run into a problem with your gloves, you know Outdoor Research will make you happy. Kudos to them for one of the best warranties in the industry. All that said, the Alti gloves are durable on the whole. Other offerings such as the Hestra Army Leather Gore-Tex Glove will be more durable over time.

Features


The Alti glove has a variety of standard features that are well executed. The large gauntlet has a one hand adjustable cinch and release, so you can easily take them on or off and fully seal up the forearm area. The fingers include a dongle to attach the outer glove to your harness. The cinch located on the top of the wrist had a double stitched pull tab to aid in the tightening around your hand. Another bonus not found on any other glove is the cinch on the INNER glove's wrist. This allows the inner glove to be a true second set of gloves, unlike the Black Diamond Guide which has a more fragile and less fully thought out inner glove.


We found the removable inner liner to be executed best on the Alti in comparison to the competition. Breathable, windproof, cinch-able, these liners make ski touring even dreamier (if that's possible?). They can also be used as driving gloves on your way to your pre-dawn laps in the backcountry.

The inner glove of the Alti proved to be a great glove on its own. Having a double glove design is a feature we love  especially in the backcountry.
The inner glove of the Alti proved to be a great glove on its own. Having a double glove design is a feature we love, especially in the backcountry.

Breathable and windproof  perfect for the skin track.
Breathable and windproof, perfect for the skin track.

Best Applications


The best use case for this glove is backcountry use. While it makes a fine resort glove, it really shines when you encounter a variety of conditions throughout your trip (glacier travel) and can take advantage of using the inner alone or the outer alone, then combine them for a summit push. At the resort, they are still great since they are some of the warmest gloves out there, but suffer from low dexterity, which can be missed when you are fiddling with the flask or your phone in your ski jacket pocket. If your ski climates are warmer, and you do not need as much warmth, the Outdoor Research Highcamp Glove does a great job in the backcountry with its liner and outer combo and only cost $90.

With the outer glove on the inner  this became one of the warmest (gauntlet can cinch easily over a jacket  much better than displayed here) and most protective gloves in the review. It did lack dexterity.
With the outer glove on the inner, this became one of the warmest (gauntlet can cinch easily over a jacket, much better than displayed here) and most protective gloves in the review. It did lack dexterity.

Value


At $159, these are an excellent value for the warmth and capability they provide. In essence, this is two pairs of gloves. They come with an excellent warranty as well, so we believe this is a very fair price.

The palm of the Alti doesn't inspire as much burly durability as some of its full-leather competition like the BD Guide.

Conclusion


If you find yourself planning different objectives to keep skiing interesting, the Alti gloves will certainly fit the bill. They are at home in the backcountry and are a super warm glove to use during the coldest of resort days. The only thing that holds them back is mediocre dexterity.


Jeff Rogers