The Rab Guide lives up to its name by being a durable and dexterous product that was the best rope handling glove we tested. It was just below average in our side-by-side warmth tests but not by much, making it more suitable for warmer blooded skiers and snowboarders, or for when the temperature isn't too cold. We thought they worked well for riding chairs down to 15-20F but our more average blooded skiers felt they weren't warm enough much below that. Even after 25 days of use, the waterproofness on the leather still seams to be going strong. Something that many other leather gloves we tested like the Mountain Hardwear Jalapeno or the Hestra Heli can't say the same for. Unlike a lot of other all leather design options, the Rab Guide needs almost no time at all to break in, but still holds up to abuse in stride.
Rab Guide Gloves Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Durably, super dexterous, awesome freedom of movement and not very stiff for an all leather glove
Cons: Not that warm, water proofing didn't last as long as we would have hoped
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Rab Guide is nearly the most dexterous option in our review and was one of the few contenders to be able to accomplish all of our easy, moderate and most challenging tasks during our side-by-side testing. It could easily buckle boot buckles, tie shoe laces, take pictures, open a car door with keys and we could even write with them on. It was the only one we tested that we thought was as dexterous as our OutdoorGearLab Editors' Choice the Arc'teryx Alpha SV Glove. In fact, it is one of the few "ski and snowboard" models that we would completely recommend for ice climbing or more challenging alpine routes. We thought the Rab Guide was more dexterous than all our other award winners (besides the Arc'teryx Alpha SV) like the Outdoor Research Magnate and Black Diamond Guide.
The Guide's use an eVent liner and a fairly water resistant leather to make them waterproof. While they fared fairly well, we did feel the need to treat them with waterproofing maybe a little bit more regularly than some of the other mostly leather outer designs we tested like the Black Diamond Rebel. They are better for slightly fairer weather skiing in areas like the Sierras or more Southern mountain states with drier snow but without lots of extremely cold temperatures. We thought they were about the same waterproofness as the MH Jalapeno and far better than the FlyLow Gear Tough Guy, but it wasn't quite as water resistant as many others we tested like the OR Magnate or the Arc'teryx Alpha SV.
Warmth and Breathability
The Rab Guide was below average for warmth during our side-by-side comparisons. It is more ideal for warmer (20F +) days of resort skiing and snowboarding or for all day backcountry touring in slightly colder temps. What it might lack in warmth it makes up in versatility. It is extremely breathable and along with the FlyLow Tough Guy (which isn't completely waterproof) is the most breathable model in our review. This is what helps make it so versatile, it is a glove you can ski or hike in. It was warmer than the FlyLow Tough Guy and around the same warmth as the Columbia Air Chamber, though it wasn't quite as warm as other all leather designs like the BD Rebel or the Mountain Hardwear Jalapeno.
The Guides were easily some of the more durable products we tested and toughness is one of its strong points. Even after several days of handling ropes, ski touring and even alpine climbing in them they showed no signs of wearing down. Mentioned earlier, their leather needs to be treated for waterproofness slightly more often than some, the leather itself holds up fantastically and the stitching shows no signs of blowing out. We would consider them among the most durable in our review along with some of our award winners like the OR Magnate Glove, Arc'teryx Alpha SV and the BD Guide. We did think they were more durable than either the Outdoor Research Northback Sensor or Outdoor Research Southback and FlyLow Tough Guy or Black Diamond Squad.
Features and Ease of Use
The Rab Guide is a no frills workhorse and doesn't have many of the features that several other models we tested did. Most people who buy the Guide will want it for its dexterity, durability and versatility, seeing those features as what it has to offer and its "Ease of Use" rather than some more traditional bells and whistles.
Value and The Bottom Line
The Rab Guide is best for people who want a product that they can do a lot of things with. It excels at ice climbing, mountaineering and backcountry touring but also makes a great warmer weather resort ski and snowboard option. It's super tough and is dexterous enough for even the most complex tasks. With the exception of the Black Diamond Squad, it was the least expensive nearly all leather design model we tested that still had a waterproof membrane. It isn't one of the warmer gloves for just riding chairs in colder temps, but for more active pursuits it will excel because of its breathability.
— Ian Nicholson