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Black Diamond Guide Gloves – Test and Review

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Updated April 9th, 2024

Black Diamond Guide Gloves Review

Manufacturer and Model: Black Diamond Equipment Guide Gloves
List Price: $179.99


The Black Diamond Guide Gloves are the warmest gloves we have ever tried. Our first impression after pulling these out of the box was “Wow these are thick”. They have heavy insulation, a removable lining, and heavy duty leather palms. They are great for very cold days on the mountain. The downside is that the fingers are stiff and the gloves are on the tight side when it comes to fit. If you want your hands to be warm on cold days, there is no better glove option than the Black Diamond Equipment Guide Gloves.

What we liked:

  • Very warm on very cold days
  • Thick wool insulation inside
  • Removable liners
  • 2 layer goal leather palms
  • Heavy duty stitching and construction
  • Large enough cuffs to easily go over jacket sleeves

What we didn’t like:

  • All that insulation makes the fingers stiff
  • Tight fitting elastic around the wrists
  • No touchscreen material in the fingers
  • Wrist straps not included

Black Diamond Guide Gloves product image


  • Temp Range -20F to 10F
  • Insulation – 170g Primaloft & 100g boiled wool
  • Waterproofing – Goretex
  • Shell Material – Nylon
  • Palm Material – 2 layer goat leather

Black Diamond Guide Gloves Review and Test

Black Diamond provided us a set of guide gloves to try out. We asked what was the warmest set of non-heated gloves they had and they said the Guide Gloves so we requested a set to try out. We were not disappointed by how warm they are.

As with all our reviews, we’ll give you all the good and bad points whether we bought an item or it was given to us to review.

Check out our review of the Black Diamond Solano Heated Gloves for another very warm glove option.

Guide glove holding poles

Features Overview

The guide gloves showed up and I opened them up and was surprised at how heavy and thick they were. These are not your standard ski glove with a little Thinsulate insulation and some layer of generic water proofing. These gloves have heavy duty construction that feels thick and durable. The stitching and construction all look like they are made to stand up to mountain expeditions because they are.

Inside they have 100g thick boiled wool insulation combined with 170g Primaloft. They have a Gore-Tex lining to keep them waterproof. On the outside, you have a stretch nylon shell with 2 layer goat leather palms. They throw in a package of NIKWAX to waterproof the leather palms once they break in.

The lining is removable to make it easier to dry them out. You can wear the shells on days that aren’t as cold.

Guide glove liner

1 – Warmth (9.5/10)

Black Diamond rates the guide gloves for use on -20F to 10F days. I skied with the guide gloves for a week at Powder Mountain Utah in January when the temperature was running 5F to 15F every day. I never felt my hands feel cold. My toes were cold. My face was cold. My legs were cold. My hands were always warm as soon as I put the Guide Gloves on. They are now my gloves to wear every time the temperature is below 20F.

Guide Glove wool insulation
Guide Glove Primaloft insulation

We have several pairs of heated ski gloves that we have been using. I would choose the unheated Guide Gloves over any pair of heated ski gloves I have ever tried. The insulation on the guide gloves is that much better.

The only thing we have tried that is warmer than the Black Diamond Guide Gloves is the Black Diamond Absolute Mitts. The Absoluite Mitts are rated for -40F to -20F temperature range. They are huge and they are heavy. The cuff goes up to almost my elbow. I would want them for standing on the top of Mt Everest but think they are overkill for almost anything else. If you want just the warmest gloves or mittens out there for skiing then the Absolute Mitts are worth a look.

2 – Dexterity (6.0/10)

If there is one downside to the Guide Gloves it is their stiffness. There is a lot of insulation in the guide gloves and it comes at the cost of flexibility. They are not the stiffest gloves we have tried. That title goes to the Outdoor Research Prevail Heated Gloves. The Guide Glove will soften up a bit after being used and get a little more flexible. It’s always going to be a stiff glove just because of how much is stuffed in them.

The Guide Gloves are on the tight side when it comes to fit. The wrist has a built in elastic and you have to squeeze your hands through it. It gets better once they break in a bit. If you want loose feeling gloves order up a size from what you normally wear.

3 – Water Resistance (9.0/10)

These gloves have Goretex and XCR Products inserts to keep them waterproof. We did our running water test for 20 minutes and felt no moisture inside the gloves. I am sure they will handle a wet rainy day at Whitefish.

4 – Construction (9.0/10)

The Guide Gloves have heavy duty feeling construction and stitching. Everything about them feels heavy and tough. The 2 layer leather palms look ready to stand up to any amount of rope tow use. They are the choice of many mountain climbers as well. They look ready to take anything you will throw at them on the mountain without falling apart.

Guide Gloves top
Guide Gloves palm side

5 – Features (8.5/10)

The guide gloves are meant to be a warm glove and they have everything they need to be really warm. They do not have some features you will find on other gloves like zipper vents on the back of the palm or wrist straps. They do have loops for attaching wrist straps if you want to add them. They do not have any finger surfaces that are touch screen compatible. If you want warm gloves then buy these. If you want gloves you can use with your iPhone then they are not for you.

Skiing with guide gloves

Recommendation – Buy or No Buy?

If you want the warmest ski gloves you can buy, then buy the Outdoor Research Guide Gloves. They are the warmest gloves we have tried and I would not want anything else going out on a really cold day. For any ski day 20F and below they are my first choice for ski glove.

Other gloves to consider

Hestra Army Leather Patrol Gauntlet – Hestra is known for making some of the best ski gloves out there. The Army Leather Patrol Gauntlet is their warmest non-heated glove. It has a removable lining with G-Loft fleece insulation. They have no Gore-Tex insert and are not waterproof. Hestra Makes a Gore-Tex Army Gauntlet glove but it has reduced insulation and isn’t as warm.

Swany X-Change Gloves – These are my long time go to ski glove that I used when it’s above 25F outside. They are not as warm as the Guide Gloves. They are very flexible and have zipper vents for when it’s warmer out. They have Triplex- Insulation with a waterproof breathable insert. They stood up to 4 days of rain at Whitefish, Montana last year without water coming through.

Black Diamond Solano Heated Gloves – These gloves have thick PrimaLoft insulation and GORE-TEX inserts along with a 7.4 volt heating system. They are a little less insulated than the Guide Gloves but have electric heat thrown in to make them even warmer. The only downside is the steep extra cost to get heaters compared to the Guide Gloves. See our review of the Black Diamond Solano to learn more.

Doug Ryan Portrait Skiing 200x200

Ryan Craig
Co-Founder & Chief Editor

I am a total gear nerd and love learning how things work and thinking about how they could be improved. Nothing excites me more than trying out new gear. I’d rather spend 3 hours taking my bike apart and learning how to change something than go to a bike shop. These days, I reside in Michigan by the Great Lakes and go skiing, biking, and boating as much as possible. Visit our About Us page and learn more.


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