GEAR REVIEW – Outdoor Research Warrant Gloves (unisex) – $150.
Since first swinging into the sport of ice climbing, I have been on a constant search for the perfect ice climbing glove. I’ve tried somewhere around 20 different types of ice climbing specific gloves and been disappointed by most.
What makes a perfect ice climbing glove? Here in lies the problem for outdoor soft goods manufacturers. Everyone has a different wish list for their perfect glove, yet there are some common features amongst avid ice climbers. The perfect ice climbing glove is one where dexterity is not detrimentally sacrificed for warmth, and vice versa. The stitching must be beefed up to take a beating with rope handling and continual ice tool gripping. Anything beyond these features is just a bonus, but those features are key; if an ice climbing glove fails in dexterity, warmth or construction it is essentially useless.
As part of the winter #ORInsightLab crew of dedicated testers for Outdoor Research, I was provided a pair of the Warrant Gloves to test. The Outdoor Research warrant gloves’ intended use is for ice and mixed climbing in temperatures ranging from -20°F to 10°F (-28° to -12°C). For reference, my hand circumference and length is 7.5″ and I tested the Warrant Glove in a size S (size chart).
Bottom Line – The Warrant proved to be an incredibly well thought out glove, excelling at steep ice routes and moderate mixed moves up to M6.
- Waterproof – climbing predominately on Colorado ice inevitably means variable conditions. I’ve climbed my share of frozen popsicles in these gloves where the upper pitches were soaked beyond belief, and I was impressed that the gloves did not soak through.
- Warmth – rated -20-10°F, the Warrant gloves keep your hands happy and warm in sub-freezing temps making them a great alpine climbing glove as well as for ice cragging in cold temps. Anything warmer than 20°F and your hands will be sweating.
- Palmar fabric – the palms are constructed of Pittards® leather and wraps around the thumb and index finger to enhance the “stickiness” of your grip on wet tools and screws. Gone are the days where each route involves a celebratory screw drop.
- Impact Protection – outfitted with compression-molded padding on the back of the hand and fingers, the Warrant glove provides a bit of protection from the inevitable knuckle wack when hooking over cauliflower florets.
- Carabiner Loop – on the back side of the Warrant glove is a carabiner loop which is also useful in pulling the gloves on your hands, a small detail that is much appreciated and overlooked by competitors.
- Sizing options – because the Warrant is a unisex glove, the sizing options (S,M,L,XL) are limited for the ladies. I have a rather large hand for a woman, and the small fit on the larger side providing a looser fit than what I like for technical ice and mixed climbing. An XS size option or even a women’s specific version, reducing the width of fabric in fingers and glove overall, would be terrific.
- Pre-curved construction – the Warrant glove is pre-curved to a moderate grip. I would have liked it to be a more aggressive fit, thereby eliminating fabric buildup in the thumb and index finger areas when gripping tools or placing ice screws. There was no fabric bunching in the palm while gripping, which was excellent.