The Outdoor Research Southback is a great glove for mild conditions in a variety of climates. It could easily be your everyday glove for the resort, and it can handle all but the coldest conditions you encounter.
Warmth: The Outdoor Research Southback are moderately warm gloves. If you’re like me and run warm, you’d probably find them warm enough for temps in the high teens and low twenties, but those of you that run cold may find them a little thin for days below 30. Often times this also depends on your activity levels, and if you’re working hard, the Outdoor Research Southback will feel pretty warm. It’s also important to note that the Outdoor Research Southback has less insulation on the palms and more on the back of the hand. This works great when you have a ski pole in hands, but they may feel a bit colder when you don’t have your palms closed. The Southback isn’t quite as warm as the Ridgeline, and probably more on par with the Arete. All three are decent in the colder weather.
Waterproofing: The Outdoor Research Southback has a highly waterproof Gore-Tex membrane to help ensure that your hands stay dry. While we haven’t been able to test out the Outdoor Research Southback in wet conditions, our previous experience with Gore-Tex has always been positive. There’s no reason for us to beleive that this glove couldn’t handle wet snow or light rain.
Breathability: One of the benefits of less insulation in the palm is that it makes the glove seem slightly more breathable. A wicking Tricot liner does a good job keeping sweat off your skin, and the Gore-Tex membrane does allow moisture to escape pretty well, but I wouldn’t call the Outdoor Research Southback super breathable. Like most moderately insulated gloves, the Southback performs better as a resort glove than a backcountry one, but if you’re working hard at the resort, the Outdoor Research Southback will perform decently well.
Fit: I found the fit of the Outdoor Research Southback to be pretty true to size. All of OR’s gloves seem to feel quite comfortable. They are roomy enough, but still snug in all the right places.
Durability: We haven’t had a chance to test out the Outdoor Research Southback long-term, but in my experience with the Arete and Ridgeline, OR gloves tend to do pretty well as a resort glove. The leather palms of the Outdoor Research Southback will add a bit of extra durability, and protect better against ski edges, and sharp rocks. They still probably won’t hold up as well as a leather “work” glove, but for the average resort rider, the Outdoor Research Southback should last several seasons of mild to moderate abuse.
Other Features: The Outdoor Research Southback has all the features you’ll want in a resort glove. They have a gauntlet style cuff, and adjustable drawcord hem, while the wrist leash helps keep them nearby when you take them off on the lift. They are quite dexterous as well thanks to the reduced insulation in the palm.
There’s nothing fancy about the Outdoor Research Southback, but they are a very solid glove. They are moderately warm, relatively durable, have great dexterity, and a variety of features for the resort.
Size Worn: L (Hand Circumference: 8.5 Inches, Hand Length: 7.5 Inches)
What I look for in a glove: My hands run really warm, so I like a glove that isn’t too hot! I really love gloves that have removable liners so I can use them together on really cold days, or use just the shell, or just the liner. I also really like to have dexterity when skiing. I don’t necessarily need a glove that allows me to use my phone, or other small electronics, but I definitely want to be able to buckle my boots, zip my jacket, etc…