Outdoor Research Carbide Sensor Review
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Outdoor Research Carbide Sensor
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|Pros||Warm, weather resistance, relatively inexpensive||Dexterous, well-made, water resistant||Warm enough, weatherproof, reasonable price||Incredible warmth, weather resistant, durable, reasonable price||Warm, great features, comfortable, inexpensive|
|Cons||Poor dexterity, touchscreen fingertip not reliable||Not that warm, tight fit, no wrist gauntlet||Poor dexterity, slightly tight fit around the knuckles||Poor dexterity, could have better features||Not dexterous, bulky and cumbersome|
|Bottom Line||These warm and protective gloves lack the versatility to be useful||These dexterous and durable gloves have the best touchscreen-compatible features for using your phone in cold weather||A warm and fully featured ski glove for a great price||These mitts provide extreme warmth and weather resistance at a good price, nailing the two most important aspects of ski mittens||A quality mitten that is super warm, comfortable, and relatively inexpensive|
|Rating Categories||Outdoor Research Ca...||The North Face IL S...||Gordini GTX Storm T...||Black Diamond Mercu...||The North Face Mont...|
|Water Resistance (25%)|
|Specs||Outdoor Research Ca...||The North Face IL S...||Gordini GTX Storm T...||Black Diamond Mercu...||The North Face Mont...|
|Double or Single Glove||Single||Single||Single||Double||Single|
|Gaunlet or Cuff?||Gauntlet||Cuff||Gauntlet||Gauntlet||Gauntlet|
|Palm Material||Goat leather||Goat leather||Polyurethane||Goat leather||Synthetic leather|
|Waterproof Material||Gore-Tex||FUTURELIGHT insert||Gore-Tex||BD.dry||DryVent|
|Insulation Type||130 g/m2 VerticalX polyester Back of hand: 200 g/m2 VerticalX 100% polyester||Heatseeker™ Eco||Megaloft||340 g PrimaLoft Gold, high-loft fleece||Back of hand: 250g Heatseeker Eco
Palm: 160g Heatseeker Eco
Our Analysis and Test Results
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 wouldn't hesitate to reach for these on the coldest days of the winter.
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 well 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.
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.
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.
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.
Should You Buy the Outdoor Research Carbide Sensor?
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.
What Other Ski Gloves Should You Consider?
Both the Rab Khroma Freeride and award-winning Arc'teryx Fission SV offer the same warmth in a glove and more performance across the board, but they cost a lot more. If you want a similar glove but want to save even more money, the Gordini GTX Storm Trooper II is a great choice.
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