Five Days of Black Diamond — Day 4 — Gloves

Post by blogger | March 20, 2009      
Backcountry Skiing

BD Impulse gloves.

I’ll finish up our BD push next week, after we get the new Fritschi Eagle bindings activated on a pair of 09/10 Kilowatt skis (he he he). Meanwhile, a brief mention of some excellent gloves.

My hands burn like a furnace. All winter long, I count in just several days the time I wear more than a lightweight form-fitting glove. Mostly, such mitts take the form of thin knit gloves or even leather work gloves. But these choices have their limit. Either they don’t wear well, or they wet through quickly, or they don’t give knuckle protection for skiing or snowmobiling through trees and brush.

Knowing my penchant for thin gloves, my liaison at Black Diamond suggested I try their new Impulse model. They still might be a bit warm for me, but do provide excellent protection and a super ergo fit.

Backcountry Skiing

Impulse gloves are nice and thin, but still have knuckle protection in the form of molded foam.

The backs and cuffs of Impulse gloves are made from Polartec Power Shield softshell (palms are leather), with a light fleece liner. The fingers are pre-curved for your manly grip on an ice tool or snowmobile throttle. The stitching is Kevlar. About the only thing I don’t like is the Velcro cuff closure — something that bothers me no matter what glove it is on. Why? The darned stuff catches on everything (especially other Velcro), and is just one more thing to fiddle with. Whatever happened to basic knit cuffs on gloves? Slip ’em on or off without a thought…

Oh well, pretty good stuff anyway, especially the way BD’s glove designers left just a thin layer of leather under your fingers and palms — like wearing a leather glove on the bottom and a softshell glove on top. Shop for ’em here.


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25 Responses to “Five Days of Black Diamond — Day 4 — Gloves”

  1. Mark March 20th, 2009 9:37 am


    I love knit cuffs! Such a simple and functional design. I don’t know of a “technical” glove that uses one. I can’t stand the gauntlet style usually found so I’m still rocking the $12 work gloves. By the end of a long season in the backcountry all gloves I’ve used get cuts in the palm and forefinger. No sense paying for the technical glove as far as I can see. Maybe I just don’t know what I’m missing.


  2. Colin March 20th, 2009 12:02 pm

    (Lou, I first posted this on the “Dynafit Zzero 4 CF Unboxed” post from 12/8/08, but I didn’t know if you’d see it there, so I’m reposting it here. It’s Black Diamond-related, so sort of fits. :-))


    Two questions:

    1. How does Dynafit break their boot shell sizes? Is a 27.0 and a 27.5 the same shell?

    2. How do these Zzero 4s fit compared to BD boots?

    I’m switching from tele to AT (due to a lower leg injury involving Hammerheads that didn’t release) and fit BD’s Push very well. I’m pretty sure the Factor/Method has a very similar last as the Custom/Push. I’m a 27.5 in the Push and thinking about pulling the trigger on some (very) cheap 27.0 Zzero 4s. But I can’t exactly try them on before I buy them. At the price, I shouldn’t have any trouble getting rid of them if they don’t fit, but I’d rather save myself the trouble.


  3. RobinB March 20th, 2009 12:54 pm

    I’ve always been attracted to the BD glove designs, but try as I might have never been able to give them any money. The problem I find is that their sizing is a shade smaller than some brands, and the XL, isn’t.

  4. Jack March 20th, 2009 3:52 pm

    Count me with Mark, work gloves perform better for me than “ski” or “technical” gloves, and usually cost less.

    Gloves are almost like socks where I live, as I use them most of the year. I’ve tried a lot of different styles, brands and types in about every condition imaginable.

  5. Bar Barrique March 20th, 2009 9:08 pm

    I have used gloves similar to these from BD, and, they are nice, however; once you get them wet, they take forever to dry. If it is cold, they are OK, but, if it is warmer, I like Gore N2s gloves, which dry quickly.


  6. David March 21st, 2009 12:29 am

    Ditto for a simple knit cuff…

  7. Lou March 21st, 2009 5:31 am

    Bar, exactly. The gloves reviewed are basically leather gloves with a softshell back. Once they’re wet, they’re like any other leather glove. These have a pretty good water repellent treatments, however. I used them yesterday on a steep 14er ski descent in slushy snow and was punching my hands in now and then, and they stayed dry. If we’d gotten out the rope that would have been a different story, as handling a wet rope is a test of any glove and would have easily exceeded the limits of these.

    But man, I wish I could find more gloves with the simple knit cuff.

  8. Mark Worley March 21st, 2009 5:59 am

    For touring I like a super thin glove–also works great for any spring or summer application, but prefer a little more while skiing back down or at the resort. The super light touring glove often lacks protective padding, so it looks like BD’s padded back on the Impulse hits the mark. My biggest gripe on most gloves is the silly synthetic snot wipe on the thumbs. It inevitably seems to wear out leaving a fully functional glove with worn out thumbs.

  9. Pete Sowar March 21st, 2009 7:35 am

    Aren’t you going to show us the Eagle?

  10. Chris March 21st, 2009 7:56 am

    A knit cuff, you’ve got to be kidding! That’s the first thing to get wet and stay wet on a glove.
    Work gloves are an image thing or for people too cheap to buy technical gloves.

  11. Steve March 21st, 2009 10:26 am

    Work gloves convert here. After using $80.00 ski gloves and having them wear through in a couple of season I decided to buy a couple of pairs of insulated work gloves. They are mostly leather with some canvas like material on the back. $13.00 a pair. I then bought a $4.25 can of silicone spray water proofing, used about half of the can on them. They have worked great this year. I’m still on the 1st pair and it looks like I’ll get 2 seasons use and probably more out of these things. Kinco is the brand and I picked them up at a local farm supply store. I don’t care for much of a glove when skinning and these have been o.k. most of the time. But then I use just a liner for that if my hands can’t handle no glove on the way up. As far as the Kincos keeping my hands warm, temps were way below zero and they still kept my hands warm, even on the sled with no hand warmers. I guess I could’ve spent $40.00 for some name brand all leather ski gloves, but now I’m happy I didn’t spend the extra $’s.

  12. Plinko March 21st, 2009 11:22 am

    re: usign work gloves. This is going to very HUGELY based on where you intend to use said gloves. I can get away with it in the Rockies, where even when it storms, its stil dry. Not a chance of pulling that off here in the PNW though. It takes a whole different animal to keep up here. Fully-waterproof is essential. Current offerings aren’t cutting it. When are manufacturers going to wake up and start producing a glove that incoorperates Welded Seam technology? It’s rediculous to pay $100+ for a pair of “technical” gloves that have the dexterity of a cloven-hooved cow! All those seams’ stitching, and the fabric overlaps, seam taping; layer after layer of trash, getting in the way.

  13. Lou March 21st, 2009 3:37 pm

    Eagle will be landing Tuesday or Wednesday. Louie is in town so we’ve been getting it done, so trip reports are required.

  14. Dan March 21st, 2009 4:04 pm

    all I have to say is HESTRA. They make some of the best gloves out there. They have incredible dexterity, have several models with simple knit cuffs (and several with massive gauntlets), and have models with insulation all the way from a warm spring glove to expedition weight. Most of the palms are made of leather so they have great feel and good durability. Black diamond is alright as well.

  15. Randonnee March 21st, 2009 4:20 pm

    The lightweight BD gloves have worked well for me, I had two different types. Somewhat expensive.

    I buy my Gore-Tex winter gauntlet gloves when on sale or clearance- the retail price for brand-name gloves is very high. For some reason, Cabela’s (hunting gear) is able to sell a nice Gore-Tex leather palm gauntlet glove for 1/2 to 1/3 the price of the name brand ski/ mountaineering labels. I have some, they are great.

    For the long spring and summer ski season here in WA I have started using the nitrile work gloves for warm corn days. The knit cuff and knit top of the hand are polyester. The fingers and palm are covered in thin, tough and waterproof nitrile. In corn season my gloves tend to get a wet palm first from picking up skis, poles etc and getting granular snow that melts. The nitrile glove pretty much solved this. And also it is cheap.

  16. Kevin March 23rd, 2009 7:47 am

    Kingco’s are my go-to glove here in the midwest (they’re available w/ gauntlets or knit cuffs) and go from shoveling to making wood to skiing. I’ve got a bushel of other brands & styles (BD, mtn hdwr, Marker, REI, …) that I use for specific conditions/activities. Without treatment the Kingco’s take a long time to soak through and with the pigskin palms they (eventually) dry out supple and ready for another beating.

  17. al March 23rd, 2009 8:28 am

    “By the end of a long season in the backcountry all gloves I’ve used get cuts in the palm and forefinger”

    seam grip or aqua seal is your friend , a light application in wear areas BEFORE the glove is trashed can double the life of xc/bike/ski/work gloves

  18. utah ski resort March 23rd, 2009 8:42 am

    Wow – that is great. Seems like the day was hard, yet fun.

  19. Bar Barrique March 23rd, 2009 8:55 pm

    I guess what I was trying to say is that when I go touring; I tend to pack the minimum approach glove, and, the maximum mitt for warmth. I like the in between stuff, and, I use it sometimes, but, I guess I am just lazy when I do my planning.


  20. Lou March 24th, 2009 4:37 am

    Bar, that’s basically the packing technique I use. The lightweight glove most of the time, then a pair of burly gloves stowed in the pack. I’ve found that since my big gloves only get occasional use, I can get away with a pair that is built mostly with a nylon shell and fairly minimal palm protection, that way they’re light and pack small.

    As Plinko said above: “a pair of “technical” gloves that have the dexterity of a cloven-hooved cow! All those seams’ stitching, and the fabric overlaps, seam taping; layer after layer of trash, getting in the way.” Shoot, a pair of those things weighs more than my down jacket!

  21. Sierra Journal March 29th, 2009 8:39 am

    Hey Lou. Great post. I definitely adhere to the less is more philosophy in the backcountry. My hands just get so warm while skinning that a light fleece glove is usually all that is necessary. And even then they often end up on the tops of my poles with my hands bare. Unless it’s really cold and I break out the mitts.

    Inside baseball question: I’ve been getting requests from brands and PR firms to review gear over at Sierra Journal. See here. I went out of my way (prob overboard) to post a clear disclosure that the product was provided for free in return for a review. See here

    Question: how do you deal with this question if at all? And do you, or the community here, find this level of disclosure necessary? Or is it totally overboard? Curious as to everyone’s thoughts…

  22. Lou March 29th, 2009 12:09 pm

    Sierra, even though we do a lot of gear reviews we’re not really a gear review website, we’re just a blog, which is biased opinion by nature. Thus, I don’t feel any big need to tell people what gear we keep and what gets sent back. Besides, some stuff is on long term loan, some short term, some we think we’re keeping then it gets asked for back, and so on. Way too much work to write about all that back office stuff. Our policy here at WildSnow is that we usually only review what we like or are at least neutral on. Way too much junk out there to be spending time doing negative reviews then getting raked over the coals by PR people for doing so. Conversely, so much excellent gear exists I could sit here and keyboard about it 10 hours a day and never finish. Perhaps most importantly, I go on my reputation of giving good information based on vast experience. My readers know that’s what they’re getting, and that’s way more important than printing all sorts of disclosures and such, in my opinion anyhow.

  23. Lou March 29th, 2009 3:46 pm

    For what it’s worth, we do have something brief about gear reviews:

    Kinda meager, but that’s by intent.

  24. Sierra Journal March 29th, 2009 3:29 pm

    Got it thanks for the reply. Good policy. Me thinks I’ll drop the over-the-top disclosure copy from now on and go on rep alone. I do have a policy posted on my About page. That oughta do it. Thanks!

  25. Scott Tucker October 26th, 2010 12:19 pm

    I agree I like these gloves for the thin layer of leather under the fingers and palms. I have used these gloves skiing many times and have never had a problem. Acutally, if I ever have to pull out my Pieps Dsp I have enough dexterity with the gloves to be able to operate the avalanche beacon with the gloves on! There great and I would recommend them to anyone who is thinking about getting them 🙂

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