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Outdoor Research Carbide Sensor Review

These warm and protective gloves lack the versatility to be useful
Outdoor Research Carbide Sensor
Credit: Outdoor Research
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Price:  $115 List | $68.97 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Warm, weather resistance, relatively inexpensive
Cons:  Poor dexterity, touchscreen fingertip not reliable
Manufacturer:   Outdoor Research
By Jeff Dobronyi ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 6, 2021
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
63
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#15 of 22
  • Warmth - 25% 7.0
  • Dexterity - 25% 5.0
  • Water Resistance - 25% 7.0
  • Durability - 15% 6.0
  • Features - 10% 6.0

Our Verdict

The Outdoor Research Carbide Sensor Glove is a warm and waterproof glove that packs lots of synthetic insulation into the back of the hand. These gloves kept our testers warm on cold days on the hill, and are great for skiers who spend time in cold winter climates. A Gore-Tex membrane keeps the water out, and the supple goat leather palm is comfortable and durable. The glove also has enough features to be useful. The major downside is that the glove doesn't have much dexterity, as the palm and fingers are packed with insulation. We had a hard time performing most detailed tasks in these gloves, so they aren't great for professionals or other users who need to use their hands a lot.

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Warm, weather resistance, relatively inexpensiveWARM, lifetime warranty, basically two gloves in one, super water resistantWarm enough, weatherproof, inexpensiveIncredible warmth, weather resistant, durableGreat features, comfortable
Cons Poor dexterity, touchscreen fingertip not reliableNot super dexterous, inner glove not as durablePoor dexterity, slightly tight fit around the knucklesPoor dexterity, could have better featuresNot warm for a mitten, could be more weather resistant
Bottom Line These warm and protective gloves lack the versatility to be usefulThe ideal glove for multi-day ski tours and spending a lot of time in the backcountryA warm and fully featured ski glove for a great priceThese mitts provide extreme warmth and weather resistance at a good price, nailing the two most important aspects of ski mittensAn affordable mitten that sacrifices some warmth for increased dexterity
Rating Categories Outdoor Research Ca... Outdoor Research Alti Gordini GTX Storm T... Black Diamond Mercu... The North Face Mont...
Warmth (25%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
5.0
Dexterity (25%)
5.0
4.0
4.0
2.0
4.0
Water Resistance (25%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Durability (15%)
6.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Features (10%)
6.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
Specs Outdoor Research Ca... Outdoor Research Alti Gordini GTX Storm T... Black Diamond Mercu... The North Face Mont...
Double or Single Glove Single Double Single Double Single
Gaunlet or Cuff? Gauntlet Gauntlet Gauntlet Gauntlet Gauntlet
Palm Material Goat leather Alpengrip Polyurethane Goat leather Synthetic leather
Waterproof Material Gore-Tex Gore-Tex insert Gore-Tex BD.dry Futurelight
Insulation Type 130 g/m2 VerticalX polyester Back of hand: 200 g/m2 VerticalX 100% polyester Back of hand: 200 g/m2 PrimaLoft HiLoft Silver
Removable liner back of hand: 100 g/m2 PrimaLoft Active insulation
Removable liner palm: 60 g/m2 PrimaLoft Gold
Megaloft 340 g PrimaLoft Gold, high-loft fleece Back of hand: 200g Heatseeker Eco
Palm: 100g Heatseeker Eco
Nose Wipe? Yes Yes Yes yes No

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


Outdoor Research Carbide Sensor ski gloves - the carbide sensor gloves provide warmth of cold winter days, like...
The Carbide Sensor gloves provide warmth of cold winter days, like this one in Jackson Hole.
Credit: Morgan McGlashon

Warmth


Warmth is the clear priority of the Carbide glove. It packs tons of synthetic insulation into the wrist and the back of the hand. The inner lining is made with synthetic fleece, which is comfortable against the skin and keeps the hands cozy. While not as warm as the heated gloves in our review, this glove is one of the warmest non-heated options. We don't hesitate to reach for these on the coldest days of the winter.

Outdoor Research Carbide Sensor ski gloves - the interior of the carbide features a cozy synthetic fleece lining.
The interior of the Carbide features a cozy synthetic fleece lining.
Credit: Jackie Kearney

Dexterity


Unfortunately, the Carbide suffers from a lack of dexterity. Most warm gloves have too much insulation to allow the fingers much flexibility and autonomy, but in this case, we can also tell that the palm and fingers are not tailored to provide an ergonomic, contoured fit. Chalk it up to the comparatively low price, or the massive amount of insulation, but however you look at it, using your fingers while wearing these gloves is barely better than using mittens. We couldn't perform many fine motor tasks, and even grasping the front zipper of a jacket is challenging.

Outdoor Research Carbide Sensor ski gloves - it's tough to use the carbide glove for tasks that require fine...
It's tough to use the Carbide glove for tasks that require fine dexterity, because the fingertips are so thickly packed with insulation.
Credit: Jackie Kearney

Water Resistance


This glove provides generally good water resistance, with some minor caveats. The fingers, palm, and back of the hand have a leather exterior, which resists water but eventually soaks through, and the nose wipe pad is made from a soft chamois-feeling material that readily absorbs water. A Gore-Tex lining ensured that no liquid water got to the inside of the glove in our submersion test, but the leather and nose wipe fabrics emerged soaking and heavy. The softshell material that surrounds the wrist and gauntlet was more water resistant, and didn't absorb water in our test. The glove features a large wrist gauntlet with a drawstring cord that fits over bulky jacket sleeves, so we have no complaints there.

Outdoor Research Carbide Sensor ski gloves - the carbide has gauntlets that fit over most ski jacket sleeves.
The Carbide has gauntlets that fit over most ski jacket sleeves.
Credit: Jackie Kearney

Durability


While the Carbide performed dauntlessly in our test period as far as durability is concerned, we have some long-term concerns. First, the leather palm feels thin and seems like it will wear out quickly. Second, since the fingertips aren't dexterous, we had to squeeze items with a lot of force to hold them securely, which will increase wear in the long term. And third, there is a sewn seam that connects two panels of leather in the webbing between the thumb and forefinger. In our experience, this is one of the first places that leather gloves wear out, and the stitches in this location are susceptible to wearing out and opening a cavity in the glove's exterior. Other gloves avoid this problem by using one large cut of leather for the entire inside of the hand, adding additional patches of leather to reinforce this weak point, or both.

Outdoor Research Carbide Sensor ski gloves - the leather palms are soft and thin, and the seam between the thumb...
The leather palms are soft and thin, and the seam between the thumb and forefinger is a long-term vulnerability.
Credit: Jackie Kearney

Features


The Carbide has some useful features, but they could be better. The wrist cinch strap is elastic and stretches easily, which makes it comfortable against the wrist, but it's also difficult to achieve a tight fit. The gauntlets are large enough for most jackets, but they could be a little wider to make it easier to pull them over jacket sleeves. There's a small plastic clip to keep the pair together, wrist leashes, and a small pull loop to help get the gloves all the way on. The nose wipe patch is large, but the material isn't much more comfortable to wipe your nose with than regular softshell fabric, and the water resistance sacrifice is regrettable. Finally, the touchscreen-compatible fingertips only seemed to work about half the time in our testing. This is common amongst gloves that we've tested that claim to work with touch screens, but nonetheless, it isn't ideal.

Outdoor Research Carbide Sensor ski gloves - the large nose wipe patches aren't that much softer than other...
The large nose wipe patches aren't that much softer than other fabrics, and they absorb a lot of water, even when brand new.
Credit: Jackie Kearney

Value


For such a warm glove, the Carbide Sensor is relatively affordable. To find significantly better performance in the warmth metric, you'd have to spend a lot more money for a battery-heated glove or switch to bulky mittens. So if warmth is your key concern and you're shopping on a budget, these are a good value and worth a look. But if you want good performance across the board, there are better values on the market.

Conclusion


The Outdoor Research Carbide Sensor is a warm glove that comes at a decent price. It doesn't excel in any performance attribute compared to other gloves on the market, but it delivers as much warmth as a glove could hope to achieve without the use of battery-powered heating. For users in the coldest climates who want a warm glove without breaking the bank, these are an excellent option. But if you want a generally warm glove that also has good dexterity, features, and better water resistance, we'd recommend looking elsewhere.

Jeff Dobronyi
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