Black Diamond Mont Blanc gloves long term review

Much though I hate to admit it, you need gloves.  I have good circulation and am well acquainted with just how cold I can get without it really being a problem, so I try to do without gloves as often as possible, but too often it is just too cold.  Handwear comes with inherent dexterity problems, and because of this my favorite gloves have always been those which give the most protection with the least material and bulk.

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Since September of 2014 my favorite gloves have been the Mont Blancs, from Black Diamond. With a light high-stretch material on the palms and under the fingers, and a windproof laminate fabric on the tops, I’ve been able to wear the Mont Blancs well down into single digits (F) provided the wind isn’t too crazy, and circumstances allow my hands to stay dry.  The main caveats are their slow dry time, which can be problematic in the backcountry, and a fit which does not suit those with wider hands.

My surviving original pair is at top right above, with a brand new pair at top left, and some Dynafit DNA gloves at bottom.  My old gloves are still functional, though enough of the texture has worn off the fingers that grip is compromised.  The fit of the new gloves is a fair bit roomier, especially when it comes to length, as is shown below (old glove at left, new one at right).  The stretch cuff has also been lengthened.

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Glove fit is tricky.  Ideally palm width and especially finger width will be adequate, but no more.  Just as with footwear, gloves which are too tight can actually make you colder.  A big reason I’ve liked the Mont Blancs is that they fit me so well.  On first fitting the new ones seems like they’ll do just fine, with the extra finger room being not needed for me, but not excessive either.  The palm texture on the new version has a different pattern, but the fabric seems functionally identical.

It is also worth mentioning the Dynafit gloves, and comparing them to the Mont Blancs.  Both gloves are around 2 oz a pair, and both have a similar intended purpose.  As opposed to the Mont Blancs, the DNAs take the more conventional approach of having a thicker, less stretchy material on the palm and under the fingers.  This would seem to provide more durability, at the expense of less windproofing.  The DNA gloves do have a more secure grip, though that is a largely theoretical distinction, and are quite a bit less warm than the Mont Blancs in the wind.  The DNAs have a big burly elastic cuff, which feels more secure on the hand, but exacerbates the problem the Mont Blancs already have, namely a slow drying suite of materials.

The Mont Blancs are also noteably cheaper, $25 MSRP compared to $40.

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I use gloves like these the vast majority of the time.  They are good for mountain biking, great for skiing, and even nice for hunting (I can shoot both a rifle and a longbow with them on).  Most of the time I just take two pairs, and a set of light shell mittens if it gets cold.  Hardface fleece gloves are a good alternative for multiday stuff, being about as warm, fairly dextrous, and much faster drying.  I’d still like to see the Mont Blancs in a color other than black.  My original two pairs of Mont Blancs were still functional until a few months ago, when one right glove jumped ship somewhere in the Bob.

If these gloves fit they remain a good option.

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5 thoughts on “Black Diamond Mont Blanc gloves long term review

  1. Wow, I must have really stubby fingers and a fat palm. I just checked the pattern, and I have the old style in medium, but all the fingers are too long…my main complaint. The palms are stretched tight though.

    I agree with you on their versatility though. I’ve worn them down into the upper 20’s while hiking with good wind and been comfortable. And there main advantage is they are thin enough to offer a lot of dexterity.

    Unfortunately, the fit off just enough that I usually hesitate to wear them.

    Any recommendations for the mentioned hardfaced fleece gloves? There’s a dizzying array of options.

  2. I have stubby fingers and a wide palm — more a paddle or a digging tool than a hand. Because I commuted by bike (and had done so in the last 30 years) in crappy weather I have more experience than I’d like to with gloves.

    First off, in any place where the coldest is around -5C one can do without gloves, provided they never use gloves and let the season progressively toughen up their hands. I know this for a fact because when I was a teen I lost my gloves, and did not replace them for at least a year. In this time I went through a full winter and due to the gradual adaptation given by the slow seasonal change, I could cycle get below freezing without gloves — with the -5C minumum caveat. Snow and rain were no issue. I do remember being pretty surprised and happy by the situation.

    Cannot quite remember why I started using gloves again, but I did (I would have ended up there at some point regardless, I needed mitts in Finland anyway), and getting something waterproof then became my enduring passion — wet gloves at 2C mean a lot of pain at some point (for some reason, adapted wet hands at the same temp are no problem). I am now in leather gloves, because I can bake in enough snow seal, or other grease, to make them waterproof. Never found synthetic gloves that can take abuse and 45 minutes of severe rain and doppler effect. Reproofing them often prevents issues, and it is fast and easy. I accept is very old skool, and heavy, but I am 20 years older than the kid who cycled in winter gloveless (thus less keen to try and see of I can acclimate again), so there.

  3. If your fingers are shaped like that you may really like Truck Brand gloves. They fit me perfectly, and I like the prices.

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