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Outdoor Research Highcamp Review

This model delivers in all the right places from the backcountry to the resort.
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Price:  $95 List | $94.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Warm, fairly dexterous, good price, comes with liners
Cons:  Moderately durable, lower end materials throughout
Manufacturer:   Outdoor Research
By Jeff Rogers ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 12, 2018
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61
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#13 of 19
  • Warmth - 25% 5
  • Dexterity - 25% 5
  • Water Resistance - 25% 7
  • Durability - 15% 6
  • Features - 10% 9

Our Verdict

A vast majority of skiers these days do not want to spend a lot on a pair of gloves. It's a sad fact of life that many of us won't get out on the skis 50+ days a year, and just do not need to spend such an inordinate amount of money on top of the line gear, and definitely don't want to spend money getting two separate pairs of gloves. Enter the Outdoor Research Highcamp. This is one of the best bargain gloves on the market and includes a variety of excellent features which result in the glove batting better than the price range would detail. Overall, we loved the glove for the resort (for its warmth) and backcountry skiing (due to its removable liner and insulated shell design), and expect the durability to be at such a level that all but the most hardcore of users will get years of enjoyment out of this high-value glove. It's a quiver of one glove for ski tours and chair laps at a great price.


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Star Rating
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Pros Warm, fairly dexterous, good price, comes with linersVersatility, durable palm, lightweight and packable, dexterous, ergonomic shape, freedom of movementGreat fit and dexterity, weather resistant, electrical heat works, great glove even when turned offSuper warm, extremely tough, great weather resistance, removable liners help them dry quicker, our go-to expedition gloveDexterous for its warmth, inside feels soft and cozy, durable, above average weather resistance
Cons Moderately durable, lower end materials throughoutLong gauntlet tricky to get under jacket, gauntlet can slowly open, expensiveDoesn't get as warm as other heated gloves, expensiveNot very dexterous, take time to break in, if in between sizes you should consider sizing upExpensive, leather needs to be retreated slightly more than other models
Bottom Line If you seek a highly versatile price-point glove this is one of your best options.Top-tier performance, coupled with exceptional versatility across a wide range of conditions. Best in Class.Well-built ski gloves that perform even when the heat is turned off.If rugged capabilities and warmth top your list of importance, think about investing in the Guide.Expensive but durable, this leather all-arounder is cozy and provides sound weather resistance.
Rating Categories Outdoor Research Highcamp Arc'teryx Fission SV Hestra Power Heater Glove Black Diamond Guide Hestra Army Leather Gore-Tex
Warmth (25%)
10
0
5
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
6
Dexterity (25%)
10
0
5
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
4
10
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6
Water Resistance (25%)
10
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7
10
0
9
10
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8
10
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9
10
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9
Durability (15%)
10
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6
10
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9
10
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9
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9
10
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9
Features (10%)
10
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9
10
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7
10
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6
10
0
9
10
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8
Specs Outdoor Research... Arc'teryx Fission SV Hestra Power... Black Diamond Guide Hestra Army...
Double or Single Glove Double Single Single Double Single
Gaunlet or Cuff? Gauntlet Gauntlet Hybrid Gauntlet Gauntlet
Palm Material Goat leather Leather Goat leather Goat leather Army Leather (goat leather)
Waterproof Material Ventia insert 100% nylon shell Gore-Tex CZone Gore-Tex insert HESTRA Triton three-layer polyamide fabric, leather
Insulation Type Shell: 130g Vertical X
Lining: RadiantFleece
133g Primaloft Gold Eco and 200g Primaloft Silver Eco Fiberfill polyester 170g PrimaLoft Gold and 100g boiled wool fleece lining Fiberfill polyester
Nose Wipe? Yes Yes No Yes No

Our Analysis and Test Results

A bargain can be hard to come by in the glove industry. Too often are the cheaper gloves on the market of low build quality or generally not warm and waterproof. It is also very rare to see any pricepoint gloves have all the necessary features to excel on the chairlift as well as the skin track. The Highcamp is an exception.

Performance Comparison


We loved the Highcamp for backcountry tours. Here  it finds itself in the bowl at Tuckerman Ravine.
We loved the Highcamp for backcountry tours. Here, it finds itself in the bowl at Tuckerman Ravine.

Warmth


The OR Highcamp receives high marks in warmth due to its heavily insulated outer glove paired with an extended length liner which swallowed up all of the testers' wrists. The outer glove itself is where most of the insulation lies, and kept testers warm in single digits temperatures while skiing in New Hampshire. The cuff design is not as large and enveloping as the other offerings in this review, so it did lose some points due to this issue.


Overall the glove proved to be plenty warm for backcountry skiing, our testers skinned up 4000ft of vertical in the liner and threw on the outer portion for the descent. We recommend a second set of liners if you routinely have sweaty hands.

Dexeterity


Dexterity is not a huge asset to the Outdoor Research Highcamp Gloves and it received a middle of the road score here. This is due to the lower cost construction methods of the palm. Instead of creating multiple layers to shape the palm to the user's hand, the glove uses a rather thin leather palm that is one piece. Surprisingly, this did not restrict movement to a degree which severely hindered the glove, and allowed us to do basic tasks such as buckling and unbuckling a ski boot, removing and donning goggles, as well as grabbing and extending our season passes for the lift attendant to scan — all normal duties of a resort skiing day.


In the backcountry, the outer was easy enough to take off exposing the extremely tight-fitting and dexterous liner glove, which was able to do the most dexterous of tasks with ease. The included wrist leashes add security when removing the outer gloves.

Again  the highcamp feels right at home digging pits and assessing avalanche terrain in the backcountry.
Again, the highcamp feels right at home digging pits and assessing avalanche terrain in the backcountry.

Water Resistance


Having a heavily insulated outer glove and a thin liner as an inner glove, the Highcamp has the advantage of being able to separate the inner to dry. This is important and increases the gloves' overall weather resistance, especially in multi-day ski scenarios. What turned out to be a negative of this glove was the thickness of the insulation in the outer. When the glove soaked up water after extended use in rainy conditions, it was quite hard to dry out.


The initial weather resistance of this glove is decent. It does not need leather treatment to restore the waterproofness of the palm. As the testing went on, the DWR on the back of the glove finally gave out and the softshell type of outer did a decent job of repelling frozen precipitation while skiing.

The large gauntlet cuffs allow testers to stay warm and dry while playing in the snow. Here tester Jeff Rogers digs a pit to test the gloves weather resistance.
The large gauntlet cuffs allow testers to stay warm and dry while playing in the snow. Here tester Jeff Rogers digs a pit to test the gloves weather resistance.

Durability


Durability on these gloves was also a middle of the road score. Gloves in this price range lack significant reinforcements and thick leather palms like some of the other more expensive gloves in our test. So with that said, this glove will not last as long as its more expensive counterparts.


Within gloves of the same price range, the Highcamp does a great job of being durable for multiple seasons of use. The biggest failure we saw was the thumb splitting from the palm of the glove over long-term use. This is most likely due to a tight-fitting palm and a high wear area at the seam because of this. When a glove doesn't have multiple panels to make up the palm, certain sacrifices need to be made and the thumb range of motion decreases due to this. Again, all Outdoor Research gloves have an amazing warranty and this should be factored into any buying decision.

Features


At this price point, it is rare to find a fully insulated outer glove come WITH an excellent fitting thin liner as well. This is a huge feature and should not be overlooked if you intend to do any backcountry skiing. The rest of the glove has decent features including a nice wrist closure to snug the glove onto your hand tightly. The biggest drawback to this glove is the poorly executed gauntlet which remains just a touch too small to fit over most ski jackets and will not even come close to a heavily insulated puffy jackets sleeve.


The appearance of finger-mounted loops to aid in storing the glove in a vertically oriented position allowed you to stow the outers of the glove on your harness while you make the long skin in for the approach of a climb. This style of mounting prevents snow from entering the cuff, a problem often realized by clipping the gloves by their gauntlets to your harness.

Our splitboarders spend more time with "gloves on snow" than our skiers. Our tester Alex Calder was a big fan of the highcamp's weather resistance and double glove functionality. Here he is pictured about to drop into tuckerman ravine.
Our splitboarders spend more time with "gloves on snow" than our skiers. Our tester Alex Calder was a big fan of the highcamp's weather resistance and double glove functionality. Here he is pictured about to drop into tuckerman ravine.

Value


This glove didn't take our Best Buy Award, but for skiers who both hit the resorts and the backcountry, this might be your personal top budget option. You get a heavily insulated glove and a great fitting liner backed with a lifetime warranty.

The Highcamp  high on mt Washington  is an excellent backcountry touring glove.
The Highcamp, high on mt Washington, is an excellent backcountry touring glove.

Conclusion


The Outdoor Research Highcamp is one of the best values of any of the gloves we tested because it is so versatile with its dual layers, making it essentially a 3-in-1 pair. It is not perfect in every category and suffers from some minor setbacks due to cheaper materials being used in the construction of the glove. But this thing is less than 100 bucks! A great value ski glove that will surely be an upgrade from the average department store special.


Jeff Rogers