Rab’s Guide Gloves are popular among winter mountaineers throughout the UK. When receiving the Guide 2 GTX we were obviously eager to see how this new model matched up against our trusted older pairs. Rab’s new partnership with Gore-Tex is the obvious stand out change, plus the use of their warm waterproof technology which claims to be highly insulated, waterproof, windproof, breathable, and guarantees to keep you dry. The basic principle is to carry a minimum of 3 pair of gloves in winter. Our personal choice is to carry a thin liner, a mid-weight pair with improved dexterity, a heavier weight option for instant warmth and protection (this is where the guide gloves usually fit in), and often a fourth pair in the form of a large pair of mitts that can fit over another set of gloves to add further protection. Rab claim the Guide 2 GTX are “engineered to provide the maximum possible warmth and comfort, even when you’re out in cold temperatures for extended periods.” Scottish winters can often be long days out in cold, damp conditions, so fit into this brief and they should make for a perfect fit.

An instantly recognisable difference compared to older models is the size. Weighing in at 254 grams in a size large, the newly updated version appears to be bulked out with more insulation, although this could just be a case of the older version being well worn. Certainly, the cuff is extended and makes the overall glove quite large. The finger length also appears to have been slightly lengthened which much better suits our hand shape and is a great plus.

Packed full of insulation, the Guide 2 GTX uses a mix of Bemberg and PrimaLoft Gold 100g/m2 grip control palm insulation, and PrimaLoft Gold and high pile 60g/m2 insulation to the back of the hand. The insulation being synthetic is an important factor for winter mountaineering as even when wet it keeps its insulating properties. Placing a damp or sweaty hand in and out is easy due to the large opening and the Bemberg fleece liner, which is non removable and stays in place, instantly providing comfort and warmth. Once our hands started to warm up the combination of the pile insulation and Gore-Tex liner efficiently pushed out any moisture from inside with hands remaining dry even in the harshest conditions. The single-handed adjustable cuff also does a decent job of keeping out any unwanted ice and snow, whilst also opening wide to let the gloves vent slightly.

Pittards Armortan leather palm, fingers and nose wipe are very nicely constructed with digital leather reinforcement in key wear areas. The leather can hold moisture and discolour but this didn’t have an effect on performance with the liner keeping any moisture from entering through to the insulation. As with all leather items there is an initial bit of time spent to loosen and become more pliable, but this doesn’t take long. Dexterity is impressive and they are a truly versatile glove to handle most winter jobs apart from finer technical work. Hands feel secure inside the gloves, with very minor movement when handling tools. We had an axe, poles, shovel, or rope in hand for the majority of our trips and the overall grip is solid. The 3D pre-curved construction follows a more natural curve of the hand which limits the amount of fabric that creases up as the hand closes, this is a feature that is adopted by a lot of high end brands and Rab have achieved it well, especially nice when walking with an axe in hand for hours at a time.

A concern with any glove is losing it. Blown off the side of a ridge never to return is disheartening in summer but could be critical in winter. Carrying spare gloves is a must for winter as we explained earlier, and the cost of replacements isn’t cheap. The Guide 2 GTX are a premium item and if you manage to get many years out of a single pair then you can justify this outlay as a long-term investment. One very simple method to keep gloves in place is to have a leash that attaches to your wrist. Rab include this ready fitted which is a great addition. Not only does it help with gloves becoming misplaced, they also let the glove hang from the wrist which can be handy for quick a removal. This could be a fiddly job or just to simply to let the hands breath for a moment whilst working hard.

As with previous versions of the Guide, the build is solid with the stitching holding secure with little signs of wear over the course of a pretty brutal winter season. Our previous models, with a bit of care, lasted many years and is one of the main reasons we have favoured the Guide. There are areas in which a synthetic stretch material has been added which people have commented that this could lessen the lifespan. We’re going to hold out on this one as all the key areas are made of leather, even including the pull areas for when you fit the gloves, so this must have been consideration from Rab. The stretch material does help with movement which is a good balance for a glove of this size. After a full seasons use we are confident that the Rab Guide 2 GTX will be a companion for a long time.

Our Verdict

The Guide glove has seen minor changes over the years but this is most defiantly Rab’s most notable overhaul. They can be considered a very dependable, heavier weight glove that cover most jobs for winter mountaineering. This was always the heart of the Guide and we are happy that Rab have not made too many changes to alter this ethos. They are very easy put on and off, and once your hand is inside, they feel comfortable, warm, and secure. For us, the Guide 2 GTX has an emphasis more towards warmth and protection over dexterity. The inclusion of the Gore-Tex Warm Waterproof Technology and the larger cuff being the key areas that add to this identification.

Trek Scotland is a small family business based in the picturesque village of Tomintoul in the North East region of the Cairngorms National Park. They provide bespoke Mountain Guiding for Single Day Walks and Lightweight Multiday Trekking experiences, including wild camping, in the stunning Cairngorms wilderness and surrounding areas. Whether in the high mountains or lower valleys, their Multiday Treks are equipped with high quality, lightweight camping and trekking gear. They only work with small groups and, whatever your ability, pride themselves on designing your outdoor experience completely to your needs and with professional guidance and expertise. Adventure is waiting...

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