When it’s so cold even the thermometer has frozen over, gloves like the Black Diamond Absolute Mitts are essential part of your kit. These are the perfect mitt if you have cold hands or like to be out in cold weather.

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The Verdict

Ultra-warm, relatively light weight, and 100% waterproof, the Black Diamond Absolute Mitts are an excellent and comfortable pair of mitts for extremely cold weather. Whether you’re skiing, snowshoeing, winter camping or just out shoveling, reach for these mitts. While we don’t use them every day, when we need them, we are very, very glad we have them.


The Black Diamond Absolute Mitts are Black Diamond’s warmest mitts. They’re 100% waterproof thanks to a Gore-Tex liner, and packed full of PrimaLoft insulation. Somehow, they’re also some of the most dexterous, comfortable mitts we’ve ever tried. We also think these are the best mitts if you have cold hands.

We love wearing them on super cold days in the mountains and were thrilled to rock them during this winter’s Polar Vortex while in town.

When to use

This depends on the user. If you have chronically cold hands, then these will become your go-to mitts each winter. If you run a bit warmer, then you’ll bring out these mitts when the temperature drops well below freezing and the wind is biting. Black Diamond says they’re best between -40C and -28C (-40F to -20F).

These are great mitts if you have cold hands, however they’re probably a bit too warm for most people for “milder” days. Buy these knowing you won’t need them every day, but when you do need them, you’ll be very happy you have them!

Weight: 424g (15 oz) per pair
Black Diamond Absolute Mitts with wrist loops
Black Diamond Absolute Mitts with wrist loops


  • Incredibly Warm. The Absolute Mitts are up there with some of the warmest gloves we’ve ever tried. These mitts have PrimaLoft Insulation and ready for temps down to -40C. They’re too warm for many spring days on the slopes.
  • Tough But Comfortable. 4-way stretch, abrasion-resistant nylon, waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex, supple leather palms.
  • Light and Packable. They’re not the lightest mitts ever made, but they are light enough to stash in your bag in case your hands get really cold out there. Very little bulk for this warm a glove. These are always in our pack when ski touring on very cold days. We usually put them on at breaks and descents, points when our hands usually get pretty chilly.
  • High Quality. These mitts are classic Black Diamond quality, which means that these mitts will last a long time and are nearly indestructible.


  • Too Much Mitt? If you have cold hands, then these are the mitts for you. For others, this may be too much mitts, and the Mercury Mitts may be a better option. The Mercury Mitts also come in a dedicated Women’s version, which the Powder Mitts don’t.
  • A bit Heavy. If you are into superlight gear, then the Super Light Mitts are only 284g, a savings of 140g. The only downside to the Super Light Mitts is they don’t feel as durable as these Absolute Mitts.

These are tough, waterproof mitts

These mitts are tough and durable, inside and out. The exterior shell is a woven, 4-way stretch nylon; it’s abrasion-resistant and tough, and we feel confident that it can hold up to anything. The palm is goat leather, and it’s super nice. Supple and soft. We love the way it feels. The leather is smooth but grippy enough for grabbing onto objects, and for holding onto ski poles quite firmly.

The thumb is reinforced and the stitching on the palm is all Kevlar. Nice touches that don’t affect performance but reinforce just how durable these gloves.

The removable liner has a separate index finger, as well as the separate thumb and main finger pouch. We don’t see any real benefit to this, but it doesn’t hurt either. The different cutouts don’t get in the way of each other, and while this may not seem as warm as a 4-finger pouch, we haven’t noticed any different. If there were one, it would be miniscule.

And yes, they are waterproof, thanks to a Gore-Tex insert with “XCR Product Technology”; a fancy way of saying they’re breathable and comfortable. We haven’t noticed much in the way of sweaty hands, so they must work.

The gauntlets are the perfect length and they have a single cinch-buckle to help keep snow out.

Dual layer, high-tech insulation

There are insulated gloves, and then there are the Absolute mitts – which have two very heavy layers of insulation. The outer shell rocks 340G of PrimaLoft Kodenshi, while the inner shell boasts 200g Kodenshi.

Kodenshi is insulation from Japanese brand GOLDWIN that uses microscopic ceramic particles bonded to fibers to literally reflect body heat.

Compare the insulation on these Absolute Mitts to any other ski glove and you’ll see how warm they are. BD’s very popular Guide gloves, which are also very warm, have a mere 170g of PrimaLoft Gold and another 100g of fleece lining. The Absolute Mitts are so much warmer!

The Absolute Mitts reliably keep our hands toasty in subzero temperatures and in winds that would rip right through lighter gloves. -10C to –20C is a cakewalk, and you could likely rock them in temps down to a brain-chilling -40C as advertised, without a problem.

You might want to throw a thin liner underneath when it does get that cold just in case (we do), especially if you need to use your fingers.

Black Diamond Absolute Mitts will keep your hands warm on your winter hikes
Black Diamond Absolute Mitts will keep your hands warm on your winter hikes

Lightweight packability

Weight may not matter for constant wear, but if you’re packing your gloves – the lighter and more packable the better.

The Absolute Mitts are not the lightest mitts, that’s the Super Light Mitts, however we think the Absolute Mitt scores well for weight when you factor in function and durability. We stash them in our pack for cold days, and actually always have them in our trunk when driving in case of emergencies. We’ve carried them around on warmer days when we didn’t need them right away but thought we might when we got higher up and are always glad they’re there.

Final Verdict

They may not be cheap, but the Black Diamond Absolute Mitts are easily some of the best and possibly the warmest gloves we’ve ever worn. They’re tough, they’re waterproof, they keep your hand super-warm and they are still dexterous enough to use comfortably with ski poles or climbing tools. At 15 ounces and not-at-all-bulky, they’re light and packable just in case you need them on a cold day.

What’s not to love?