OR Capstone Updates
The latest Capstone Heated glove has a larger button than the previous version, with a more visible LED light. The charge times are also now 40% faster than they used to be. Compare the updated model (left) to the model we tested (right). Faster charging and easier use sound like good updates to us, and we're glad the updates didn't come with a more expensive price.
The assessments below refer to the previous Capstone Heated glove. However, we're linking to the updated version above.
Hands-On Review of the Original Capstone Heated
The Capstone glove at the summit of Mt. Snow on a cold winter day. You can clearly see the padding on the fingers as well as the large gauntlet cuff.
If you are reading this glove review, chances are your main concern with hand layering is warmth. The idea of a heated glove has been poorly executed in the past, and we are happy to announce that is not the case here. The Capstone achieves strong and even heat in each finger, placing the warmth directly along the highly vascular area of the back of the hand and putting a fair amount of insulation on the palm where heat conducts away at a rapid rate while holding ski poles.
As soon as you click on the gloves and they enter the default red-colored mode known as "high," you start to feel them working. Fifteen seconds or so pass, and the entire glove gives your hand a sensation of warmth and about a minute in you are forced to turn the glove down or off to prevent your hands from sweating. Yes, it happens that fast and with that much heat! The lead tester preferred to only "spot heat" his hands with these gloves, only putting them on high for a few minutes each time his hands got cold, and then reducing to low or off modes. Our female testers enjoyed using them on low continuously. When the batteries die, this glove offers only average warmth. Be sure to have them fully charged before heading up the mountain.
The Capstone has a large gauntlet and allows us to easily activate the on/off button
The Capstone Heated are truly waterproof in both the submersion test and in the real world during resort testing. Even when fully submerged for a few minutes in our bucket testing, and then frozen overnight in a freezer, the gloves came out, were turned on, warmed up and thawed out, and were wearable. We wanted to make sure the gloves were weather resistant, and that the electronics were water resistant too. From all our tests, the Capstone proved to be just that.
These gloves performed well in all areas of weather resistance except they do take quite a while to dry out after the outer layer becomes wet. This is due to the amount of material involved in making the glove and pocket to hold the batteries; it just takes a longer time to dry out fully.
For a glove of this size and weight, we did not expect much dexterity from this contender. However, simple tasks such as buckling a boot or opening a zipper with a zipper pull were manageable. You won't be tying knots in rope with this glove or writing a letter, but you can surely operate all your normal tasks during a day of skiing at the resort. We found the dexterity was enough to get by, but we often took this glove off to do many tasks using the included wrist leashes.
Something unique to heated gloves is the presence of an electronic system on board, For this, you need an interface to go through the modes and toggle the glove on and off. The button and interface of the glove are straightforward and easy to operate. You simply hold the button down for a few seconds and the glove defaults into high mode, which is ideal since it results in the glove heating as quickly as possible. One difficult task is switching the batteries while keeping your gloves on. These are located under the wrists in small pouches with a simple wire plug attachment. This is another benefit to the glove — removable, interchangeable batteries. We would have hated to see a design where the batteries are part of the glove.
The capstone was always asked for in the group of testers, here we see tester Josh Webb using all of the features of the glove except for the touchscreen capability. The wrist closure, gauntlet cinch, and heating element are all being used.
When you invest $500 into a pair of heated gloves, you want them to last year after year with constant use. Throughout a ski season, these gloves are wearing very well. The stitching is accurate and well laid out. There are reinforcements throughout the palm of the glove and on the back of the knuckles.
These have had leather stitched in for more durability on high flex and wear areas. The gloves alsofeel like a tank. They seem very protective and durable in design. Outdoor Research also has a lifetime warranty. We've used this warranty to replace other gloves in the past, and the process was painless — within a few days, new gloves were on our doorstep.
Here you can see the location of the battery and the palm reinforcements.
The biggest weakness with this glove is likely the electronics, and more specifically, the battery. While we haven't had any issues, there are plenty of consumer comments online regarding the need to replace the battery pack every year or so. This obviously depends on how often you use them, but if you're investing in this pair of gloves, it's good to be prepared to purchase batteries down the road.
One thing you can count on with a flagship heated glove is features. The Capstone has almost every feature you can imagine except for a goggle wipe. The glove has beefy wrist leashes, reinforced palm, a wide, tight-sealing gauntlet, padding on the back of the hand, a velcro wrist tightener, a nose-friendly thumb, touchscreen capability and of course, three different modes of heat. It is loaded with features, and with that comes a high price and weight.
We found that the heated glove battery life is quite different from the claimed battery life, equating roughly to 6hrs on low, 2hrs on medium and a single hour on high (we would bet that these numbers will change relative to ambient temperature). This may be a negative to some, but it is plenty of battery power to keep your hands warm, or to warm them up when they get cold. Each tester that used this glove never drained the battery to empty over a day of skiing, and that is what matters most. The batteries are removable and rechargeable via a plug-in wall charger. This means you are able to swap out batteries if you do end up running out.
The touchscreen capability of this glove also works well. We were able to use this to manipulate an iPhone 6s in a LifeProof case while riding the chairlift. This is a great luxury as it allows you still to use the heating feature of the glove while doing whatever it is you need to do on your phone, whether it's taking a picture of the kids skiing or shooting a text message to your buddies. While doing it all, your hand can stay in what one tester called "a toasty heaven."
This glove is very expensive, no way around it. We believe the price is quite high for what you get, and that this glove is not a bargain by any means. You are simply paying for the best-heated glove on the market, and the price reflects that. No other glove we've come across has the same feature layout executed so well, so think of the high price being for the best-of-breed heated glove.
The Outdoor Research Capstone Heated glove is the flagship of Outdoor Research's heated glove lineup, and it shows. Each detail on the glove has been thoroughly analyzed and thought out. The glove is warmer and backed by a lifetime warranty. If you can swallow the price tag, this is the heated glove to buy.