Outdoor Research Capstone Heated Sensor Review
Cons: Very expensive, heavy, bulky
Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
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Our Analysis and Test Results
These gloves stood above the rest for warmth and weather protection, but lose versatility and dexterity in the process. Everyday skiers should look for lighter model that will be appropriate for a wide range of temperatures and that have more dexterity.
If you are searching for the warmest gloves, look no further. Each hand uses two dual-cell rechargeable lithium-ion batteries to produce more heat than you'll ever need. Even on the lowest setting with one battery per hand, these gloves are warm enough for most conditions you'll encounter on the ski slopes. They are warm enough to be used for even colder activities like snowmobiling, ice fishing, on-snow coaching, or outdoor winter sporting events. The batteries last 6 hours on the lowest setting, and about 4 hours on the lowest setting if you only use one battery per hand. There is a high, medium, and low setting, like most heated gloves we've tested.
Even without the heating element turned on, these gloves kept our hands warm in temperatures down to zero degrees Fahrenheit in Jackson Hole and British Columbia. Synthetic insulation throughout the entire glove is strategically placed to keep the hand and fingers toasty in any conditions. These would be great gloves for cold mountaineering trips to the highest mountains on earth.
With so much insulation and a powerful heating element, we didn't expect the Capstone to deliver too much in the way of dexterity. We were somewhat surprised to find that the fingers are tailored enough to perform most basic tasks. They can open a zipper, remove a phone, and push a larger button. But don't expect to be able to type text messages.
The glove is generally bulky with the heating element, insulation, and two batteries per hand, impeding some range of motion in the wrist. Furthermore, the battery weight is definitely noticeable when raising your gloved hands. Some testers felt like they had "Hulk Hands" when wearing these gloves.
With a Gore-Tex membrane, leather outer fabric, and large gauntlet cuffs, these gloves effectively seal out all water from entering the glove. During wet, snowy days on the slopes in British Columbia, these gloves were used to wipe the water off the chairlift seat and to clean wet snow off the car at the end of the day, and never did we feel like water penetration was an issue.
We have had no problems with this glove's durability throughout our testing period. After a bit of breaking in, the palm leather has become softer, but there are no signs of any broken stitching. Extra layers of leather are stitched onto the palm to prevent holes in high-use areas. Many online reviewers have mentioned that the battery life is questionable, claiming the need to replace the batteries every season (extra batteries are sold separately). Outdoor Research has an excellent warranty program, and they should replace any product that shows premature durability issues. In our experiences with their warranty program, they have provided excellent service on multiple occasions.
This glove is loaded with features that make your day on the hill easy. Wrist leashes are included and are easily removable if you don't want to use them. The gloves clip together for easy hanging, and for preventing glove separation during travel. There is a velcro wrist cinch, elastic gauntlet cuff closure, easy-to-grasp gauntlet release button, and two battery pockets that could be used for other small items. The back of the palm and knuckles are padded, and there is a softer fabric on the outer thumb for comfortable nose wiping. It's also touchscreen compatible, although a lack of dexterity holds them back from being all that usable with a phone.
This glove is extremely expensive, and few users will be able to justify the cost. For pure skiing purposes, other gloves in our review are less expensive and just as useful. If you need the warmest heated glove on the market for skiing and other cold-weather activities, you might be able to justify the high price tag. But for most skiers, these gloves are too expensive for what you get.
The Capstone Heated Sensor is a niche product that provides the most warmth we have found in a heated glove. For most skiers looking to keep their hands warm on first chair and during fierce storms, this glove is overkill, but for users who need a glove to keep frostbite at bay during the coldest days of the winter in arctic climates, this is a well-constructed and relatively dexterous option.
— Jeff Dobronyi