GEAR REVIEW – Outdoor Research Capstone Heated Gloves – Unisex ($500)
Seven months ago, I was in an accident that severed my radial artery and nerves to my thumb. My surgeon told me that snow sports were now a no-go for me; because my thumb couldn’t keep warm enough, which would in-turn risk me losing it. I was crushed. I find happiness in recreating outside both in adverse and fair weather conditions. Hello skiing, I am looking at you specifically.
As my husband can attest, I don’t take being told “no” very well. I find a way to massage it into a caveated yes. So, I applied the same grit and determination that led me to survive a horrific accident to adapt to my new normal. I was determined to find a way to recreate outside, even if it was below freezing.
Enter, the Capstone Heated Gloves. Marketed as Outdoor Research’s “warmest heated gloves with 2x heat output”, I figured these were my best chance to keep my hand warm so I could toss powder all season long without killing what’s left of my thumb (#goals). I’ve squeezed in 200k of white vert this season with these gloves, and here are my thoughts.
The Capstone heated gloves have made it possible for me to play outside, both in bounds at the resort and backcountry (continue reading for further discussion on backcountry use), in winter temps and I am forever grateful. I’ve tested these in temps as low as -2F and still have a thumb (hey, it was a knee deep powder day). Customizable heat settings (low, medium, and high) offer the perfect temperature setting for any user and a Gore-tex insert keeps my hands dry, wicking moisture away, while also preventing the elements from seeping in. These gloves are a game changer.
The battery life is exactly as one would expect for a Li-ion battery and varies depending on the temperature setting you choose. Using two batteries per glove; High gets you about two hours, medium gets you about four and a half hours, and Low gets you about six hours (in Colorado testing environment with temps consistently below 30F). For me, this is a worthy payoff to have toasty hands (and keep my thumb intact), I just carry a spare set of batteries in my inner chest pocket and swap out between runs when the heat runs out. Another option is to use one battery per glove, instead of two. Long story short, there are a ton of ways to make these bad boys last all day, even if you don’t want to buy a spare set of batteries.
For backcountry users, the nature of this gloves’ heating (electrical), may cause interference with avalanche transceivers. This is similar to interference caused by cell phones, GPS devices, radios, and metal. In the field, I experienced interference in ‘Search’ mode with the glove on until my transceiver was approximately 30cm away from the glove, and zero interference with the glove turned off. I haven’t tried burying the gloves while turned on with a transceiver in ‘Send’ mode to see how it effects searching efforts; however, Black Diamond (who also manufactures Li-ion heated gloves), warns users “Electronically heated gloves interfere with avalanche beacon reception. Turn gloves off while searching. If you are buried with gloves turned on, the search beacon will see interference when it is within a 1/2 meter radius of the gloves.” This is important to know and make your partners aware, should you choose to enter avalanche terrain while using these gloves.
As part of the #ORInsightLab crew of dedicated testers for Outdoor Research, I was provided the Capstone Heated Gloves for the purpose of this review. For fit, my hand length and circumference are both 7.5″ and the Medium fits me just right (size chart). The gloves fit very true to the size chart.Buy Yours
Bottom Line – Cold hands on a powder day?! These are the gloves.
- Waterproof – hands have stayed toasty and dry in near freezing conditions (wet snow)
- Breathable – no sweaty hands, thank you Gore-tex insert
- Windproof – Skied on days with windchill in the sub zero F range and had problems with my nose freezing, but couldn’t feel it in my hands
- Quick Drying – Amazing for back to back days on the slopes
- Soft and Tactile Leather Palm – nice for gripping poles
- Molded EVA Foam Knuckles
- Nose-Wipe on Thumb – perfect for wiping your snotsicles without rubbing your nose dry
- Removable Leash – No more dropped gloves off the chair lift when you take your insta-selfie-gram-stories
- ALTIHeat™ Battery-Powered Heat Technology with Rechargeable Lithium Ion Batteries – Gloves Can Operate with one or two batteries. Charger (provided with gloves) can charge all four batteries at the same time.
- Customizable Heat Settings – High, Medium, and Low let you pick the heat that’s right for you.
- Locking Zippered Compartment for Batteries – nice touch to secure batteries away from skin and weather elements.
- Pull-On Loop – clutch for people with limited dexterity (yours truly).
- Glove Clip – keeps the gloves together when you’re not using them.
- SuperCinch Gauntlet™ with Adjustable Wrist Cinch – allows for the perfect fit every time and keeps the outside where it belongs, outside.
- Pre-Curved Construction – no bulk in palm when riding or holding poles.
- Battery life – this is more the nature of Li-Ion batteries than the gloves, but it would be nice to have rechargeable batteries last all day on high setting. One can dream, right?!
- Battery life declination in extreme conditions – in the field, I have experienced a 25-40% loss of battery life while using in extremely cold temperatures with wind chill. The worst I experienced was 1.5 hour battery life on ‘high’ setting in 5F with 20-30mph winds (brrrrrrrrr).