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Outdoor Research Capstone Heated Sensor Review

For the coldest conditions on earth
Outdoor Research Capstone Heated Sensor
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Price:  $500 List | $499.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Extremely warm, weather resistant
Cons:  Very expensive, heavy, bulky
Manufacturer:   Outdoor Research
By Jeff Dobronyi ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 11, 2020
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79
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 21
  • Warmth - 25% 10
  • Dexterity - 25% 5
  • Water Resistance - 25% 9
  • Durability - 15% 7
  • Features - 10% 8

Our Verdict

The Outdoor Research Capstone Heated Sensor offers the utmost performance in weather resistance and internal heating on the market. These gloves are massive and burly, almost to a fault. Two heavy batteries per hand make each glove a veritable oven. Despite the bulky size and shape, the fingers are actually surprisingly dexterous and feature touchscreen-compatible leather for pushing larger buttons. They are relatively durable, although long-term battery life might not be that impressive. These are niche gloves for the coldest conditions on earth and will be overkill for most days on the ski slopes. If you live and shred in the coldest climates or want to use these for other cold-weather uses, you might be able to justify the high price.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Arc'teryx Fission SV
Awards Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award  Top Pick Award Top Pick Award 
Price $199 List
Check Price at REI
$276.22 at Backcountry
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$499.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$179 List
Check Price at REI
Check Price at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Warm, water resistant, durable, dexterous, lightweight and packableGreat fit and dexterity, weather resistant, electrical heat works, great glove even when turned offExtremely warm, weather resistantExcellent dexterity and durability, fairly warm, water resistantSuper warm, extremely tough, great weather resistance, removable liners help them dry quicker, our go-to expedition glove
Cons Expensive, lacks some featuresDoesn't get as warm as other heated gloves, expensiveVery expensive, heavy, bulkyExpensive, lacks some nice featuresNot very dexterous, take time to break in, if in between sizes you should consider sizing up
Bottom Line With top-tier performance across the board, this glove is what we recommend to those seeking the best pairAn excellent all-around ski glove with an internal heating elementFor the coldest conditions on earthA weather-resistant and warm glove that retains dexterity, ideal for ski touringFor really cold activities, where giving up some dexterity for some serious warmth is a must, these gloves are hard to beat
Rating Categories Arc'teryx Fission SV Hestra Power Heater... Capstone Heated Sensor Arc'teryx Sabre Black Diamond Guide
Warmth (25%)
7.0
8.0
10.0
7.0
8.0
Dexterity (25%)
8.0
8.0
5.0
9.0
4.0
Water Resistance (25%)
10.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
Durability (15%)
9.0
9.0
7.0
9.0
9.0
Features (10%)
7.0
6.0
8.0
4.0
9.0
Specs Arc'teryx Fission SV Hestra Power Heater... Capstone Heated Sensor Arc'teryx Sabre Black Diamond Guide
Double or Single Glove Single Single Single Single Double
Gaunlet or Cuff? Gauntlet Hybrid Gauntlet Cuff Gauntlet
Palm Material Leather Goat leather Goat leather Leather Goat leather
Waterproof Material Gore-Tex CZone Gore-Tex insert Gore-tex Gore-Tex insert
Insulation Type 133g Primaloft Gold Eco and 200g Primaloft Silver Eco Fiberfill polyester Back of hand: 200 g/m2 PrimaLoft HiLoft Silver
Palm: 133g/m2 EnduraLoft
Primaloft 170g PrimaLoft Gold and 100g boiled wool fleece lining
Nose Wipe? Yes No Yes No Yes

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.

Performance Comparison


Rocking the OR Capstone Heated Sensor on a cold powder day in...
Rocking the OR Capstone Heated Sensor on a cold powder day in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Photo: sam willits

Warmth


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.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Dexterity


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.

Despite the overall bulk of the Capstone, we found the fingers to be...
Despite the overall bulk of the Capstone, we found the fingers to be well-tailored and somewhat useful for most tasks, like opening a zipper.
Photo: Sam Willits

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.

The Capstone is bulky with insulation, a heating element, and 2...
The Capstone is bulky with insulation, a heating element, and 2 batteries per hand. Some testers used the term "Hulk hands" to describe the feeling.
Photo: sam willits

Water Resistance


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.

The Gore-Tex lined Capstone keeps water out and doesn't absorb much...
The Gore-Tex lined Capstone keeps water out and doesn't absorb much water either.
Photo: sam willits

Durability


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.

The Capstone's palm is reinforced with multiple layers of leather in...
The Capstone's palm is reinforced with multiple layers of leather in high-use areas and strong stitching.
Photo: Jeff Rogers

Features


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.

A soft fabric on the outer thumb makes nose wiping much more...
A soft fabric on the outer thumb makes nose wiping much more comfortable.
Photo: sam willits

Value


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.

Conclusion


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.

The OR Capstone keeping our editor warm and dry on a powder day in...
The OR Capstone keeping our editor warm and dry on a powder day in Golden, British Columbia.
Photo: sam willits

Jeff Dobronyi