A year and a half ago, Morris already wrote a nice review about the Guide Gloves from Black Diamond. Anyway, the new season has started and of course there's a lot going on at Black Diamond. And yes, there is a new glove. With a heating element!
It is all about a 100% waterproof glove from Black Diamond that listens to the name Solano Heated Gloves. The glove has a rechargeable battery that provides extra heating on the coldest days. I don't really get cold hands very quickly, but on the other hand I also wanted to know if this is real progress or mainly marketing.
I have actually been wearing a combination of Hestra’s and Black Diamond Gloves for years. On the warmer days my thin Hestra's and on the colder (and powder days) my Black Diamond Guide Gloves. If you forget about the heating element from the Solano Heated Gloves, they come close to my Guide Gloves in terms of look & feel and quality experience. However, the Guide Gloves are just a little stiffer. You can of course explain this in two ways. The positive part is that the Solano is a bit more comfortable. On the other hand, it may also mean that they may be slightly less sustainable in the long term, but I will update that during the season.
Anyway, the distinguishing part of this glove is of course the heating. The idea is that the inside of the wrist (the part where your veins run) is heated. In this way the body actually gets an impulse to keep itself warm. The elements are therefore in the wrist part of the glove, hidden behind a waterproof zipper. The gloves come with a charger and charging the batteries takes a few hours. On the wrist is also the button with which you set the temperature. There are three options:
The higher the temperature, the shorter the battery life. I mainly had it on 'green'. It was a few degrees below zero and with the green setting it was comfortably warm. The heat feels very natural, not like your gloves have been standing on the stove for 15 minutes or something. So that blood circulation seems to work very well. On 'green', the glove also works a whole day on the mountain. When it is really very cold, it pays to go to the orange or even the red position now and then, but the batteries do not last the whole day then. Disadvantage: if you wear the wrist part of the glove under your jacket, the glove is a bit more difficult to operate. The button is then under your jacket. I always wear my gloves over the sleeve of my jacket, but it is something to keep in mind when you always wear your gloves the other way around. Apart from this "design flaw" (if you would like to call it that), kudos for the designers, because the system works extremely easily, even when the glove is wet, for example.
The answer is simple: yes. Apart from the heating system, this glove consists of top materials (GORE-TEX®, goatskin, etc). The glove is of course completely waterproof and also breathes well thanks to the GORE-TEX®. Furthermore, there is also PrimaLoft® Gold as insulation. At least my hands didn't get cold when the heating was off.
The Solano Heated Gloves are fantastic gloves with an eye for detail, but have a major disadvantage for freeriders. Here it comes: the gloves interfere with your avalanche beacon when it is within 0.5 meters. And that is quite likely. It makes the glove less suitable for freeriders, for whom the Guide Gloves are the better choice. In addition to this interference, with 462 gram weight per pair it's a bit too heavy to take the gloves when yo go touring. Which skiers and snowboarders will love this glove? Especially when it is extremely cold and you stay on the slopes (with your kids). In terms of comfort, this is one of the best gloves on the market. By the way, you have to pay a lot for that, because with € 350.00 the Solano Heated Gloves are not exactly gloves in the budget category.