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Black Diamond Guide Lobster Mitt

Black Diamond Guide Lobster Mitt, Blister Gear ReviewBlack Diamond Guide Lobster Mitt

Size: Large

Weight per pair (From BD): 320g

Temperature Range (From BD): -20/10°F

  • 100% waterproof and breathable GORE-TEX with XCR Product Technology insert stays with removable liner
  • Abrasion-resistant, woven nylon shell with 4-way stretch
  • Removable liner features 142 g PrimaLoft One and boiled wool
  • 100 g fleece palm lining
  • Goat leather palm and palm patch
  • Molded EVA foam padding on knuckles for impact protection

Test Locations: Taos Ski Valley, Snowbird, Northstar-at-Tahoe, Jackson Hole

Days Tested: ~20

MSRP $170

Many riders have a hard time deciding between gloves and mittens, as both have their advantages and disadvantages. Gloves are more dexterous, but that dexterity can be difficult to maintain across four digits when using leather or other thick, durable waterproof materials and insulation. Gloves are also much harder to insulate, and often leave fingers cold. Mittens are warm, but are often bulky and need to be removed for pretty much any task more complicated than strapping in.

The “lobster” or “trigger” mitt design seeks to provide the benefits of both styles: warmth and dexterity. There are two variations on this design, one with the first and second fingers together (think Mister Spock), and one with just the forefinger isolated, which is the design Black Diamond uses.

Sizing

I wore a size large in the Guide mitt, and didn’t find BD’s sizing to be unusual. I wear a large in Burton, Celtek, and Dakine gloves, and the Guide’s sizing was basically the same: finger length was comparable, and my palm area was snug without it being too tight.

Warmth / Breathability

My hands tend to get pretty cold, so I almost always use an additional pair of thin liners with my other mitts and gloves. I happened to receive the Guide Lobster Mitt right before a cold snap hit the Wasatch, and I was impressed when after a few days in sub-zero wind chill, it became clear that these were the warmest gloves I’d ever used. I’ve had the Burton Gore Mitten, Burton Leather Glove, Celtek Faded glove, and Dakine Mustang glove among others in the past, and none of them provided even close to the warmth offered by the Guide.

With boiled wool on top of the hand and synthetic insulation on the palm side of the removable liner (all the insulation and everything except for the outer shell is removable by Velcro), the Guide mitt kept my hands warm, period. The dual-insulation design is also ingenious in that the thinner synthetic insulation on the palm side allows for more feel and dexterity, while the (much) thicker wool section on top stays warm but out of the way of the palm.

The lobster design was also everything I hoped it would be—it kept my hands warmer than traditional gloves, while allowing for more dexterity. My forefingers were definitely colder than the fingers in the mitten, but not to the extent that it was uncomfortable in cold conditions.

Jed Doane, Black Diamond Guide Lobster Mitt, Blister Gear Review

Jed Doane in the Black Diamond Guide Lobster Mitt, Taos Ski Valley.

With so much insulation, however, the Guide mitt isn’t designed for 20–30+ degree days. During warmer days and on hikes, I definitely noticed my hands starting to sweat (which isn’t surprising). The liner, however, did an excellent job of wicking away sweat and keeping the gloves from getting soggy over the course of a day, and I was pleased with the breathability of the GORE-TEX XCR.

The liners are removable for easy drying, but I never had any issues with wet gloves after a night at room temperature. I also haven’t noticed any residual smell from sweaty hands (wool is naturally antimicrobial and a great defense against sweat stink, so not a surprise). That said, the best test will be to smell these gloves in a few years to see how the wool holds up.

 

4 Comments

  1. max January 22, 2013 Reply

    Gore XCR?? That membrane is nearly 2 generations old. BD, how about an update?

    • Of course, Hestra is also still using XCR in their Gore glove. So my questions are (1) how steep of a price bump would we see with an update and (2) exactly how much of a performance gain would you actually get? I have no idea, but my hunch is that (1) = a lot, and (2) = not enough to justify (1). But again, that’s sheer speculation.

  2. Jay January 28, 2013 Reply

    Hey, First off, amazing job with all your reviews. I send all my friends here. I also bought a TNF Enzo based upon your great review. I really appreciate your in-depth analysis.

    Here’s my question: My hands are always cold. I have used Hestra Heli 3 fingers, TNF Meru mitt, and others all with handwarmers and cannot keep my hands warm though colorado winters. I am fine with a mitten or a 3 finger. Do you have any recommendations?

    -Jay

    • Hey Jay,

      First off, thanks for the support. We really appreciate you spreading the word to your friends.

      As far as your cold hands are concerned, have you ever tried using an additional pair of liner gloves? There are many different weights out there and I’ve found putting on a pair under my mitts makes a pretty significant warmth difference. My hands are almost always really warm, and sometimes hot, in the BD Guide- that said, I haven’t had the chronic issue with cold hands that it sounds like you’ve experienced. My guess is that if find a thicker pair of additional liners and size the Guide Mitt or another wool/heavily insulated glove according to your hand with the liners on, you should be good to go.

      Thanks!
      Jed

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