Black Diamond Solano Heated gloves
Black Diamond Solano Heated gloves
After recently suffering from some very painful frostnip on my hands while nordic skiing, I started thinking about something I never thought I’d consider: battery-powered heated gloves.
Prior to the unfortunate frostnip episode, I had spent years outdoors doing winter activities such as skiing, biking (commuting and fat) and snowshoeing without doing any damage to my hands.
During all those years, the only upgrade I ever made was to make the switch to leather mittens that, until this season, had kept my hands toasty warm.
To my dismay, I soon came to realize that no combination of liners and mittens could keep my hands warm. With some reluctance and a lot of encouragement from friends, I knew it was time to try heated gloves.
I decided to try Black Diamond Solano heated gloves (MSRP $399.95) heated gloves; one of the few offerings that had size XS available so late in the season (I had wanted mittens, but they were unavailable).
With limited ski days remaining, I was excited to try them.
Constructed from a goat leather shell and 200 g PrimaLoft® Gold on back of hand and 100 g PrimaLoft® Gold Insulation Eco with Grip Control on palm, the Solanos promised comfort on cold, blustery days on the mountain.
Although bulky in appearance, they did fit my small hands well (although not a perfect fit). Once installed, the batteries weren’t too bulky and did not add too much weight.
I’m not sure what I was expecting from my first pair of heated gloves. I guess I was thinking they would be toasty, warm ovens of heat enveloping my hands.
The battery-powered warmth provided was good, but was nowhere near my expectations of mini ovens of mobile heat. Overall, as just a winter glove, I thought they provided great coverage while effectively withstanding water and cold elements.
After the initial charge (which seemed to take forever), the batteries charged up fairly quickly between uses.
Fixed fleece lining kept my hands toasty warm, even without using the batteries.
The heating element wraps around the wrist to ensure a better distribution of warmth, which was noticeable.
I liked the 3-colored Black Diamond symbol button that indicated level of warmth (green for light, yellow for medium, red for heavy) and the placement on the lower out facing portion of the glove. My partner’s heated gloves are a different brand whose heat settings are not as easy to see or adjust.
The Solano’s convenient carrying case and battery pack they arrive with makes it easy to keep what you need in one place while traveling.
The heat remained mostly on my palms, so my extremities did not receive any heat when the batteries were on.
The gloves do their job and offer protection from the elements, but bulky enough that I really couldn’t do anything that required dexterity.
Sometimes the warmth level button didn’t stay on the setting that I had chosen. I’d look down, and noticed it had gone from green to red, or shut off entirely.
Even on the high warmth setting (it felt like most of the heat was concentrated in the center), my hands just felt warm, not toasty. However, the warmth was enough to keep my hands at an even temp and not feel the cold.
On its highest setting, the battery power lasted a few hours. Much like monitoring a cell phone to conserve precious juice, I felt the need to monitor the battery usage on the Solanos throughout the day.
Made from high-quality materials, the Solanos are constructed well. But, some work needs to be done on the most important function of the battery-powered gloves- keeping your hands warm.
For the high asking price, it is vital that the Solanos improve upon its heating element making it more reliable and with more of an equal heating distribution for next season.
Dr. Of Stoke
Freelance writer, bicyclist, outdoor recreation enthusiast, social justice advocate, and mom to her furbaby, Utah the Adventure Dog.
A Colorado native, Kate considers the outdoors her mother ship. She brings her passion for bicycling, the environment, and issues of diversity to her writing. Her primary outdoor recreation activities are mountain biking, fat biking, snowshoeing, camping, peak bagging Colorado’s 14ers, road cycling, and Nordic skiing. After suffering two major knee injuries within four years, Kate hopes to return to alpine skiing next season.
Kate earned a bachelor’s degree in History from Colorado State University and later an MSEd and Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Purdue University. In addition to her education, Kate’s background serving on the Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Committee and experience working for non-profits and bicycle sales well position her to bring depth and understanding to the complex changes currently taking place in the outdoor recreation industry.
We also heard she has a (slight) obsession for blue heelers.