There are only a few manufacturers for crack climbing gloves and Black Diamond is one of the newest companies to enter this market. The Black Diamond crack gloves are a great option for any trad climber who wants to save a lot of tape. In this review we will look into the specifications of these gloves and how they compare to their competion.
Black Diamond crack gloves -Specifications, pros and cons
- Weight: 32.8 g (1.16 oz)
- Materials: Synthetic suede and rubber
- 3D patterning for a comfortable fit
- Hypalon closure with a thin strap for lower profile
- Lighter and softer feel
- Thumb has some protection as well
- The 3D patterning design fits many people quite well
- Not bulky
- Sizing issues: many people have used the measurements, but ended up with a pair that is too small anyways.
- some people have problems with the gloves breaking
Why you should consider using the Black diamond crack gloves
You can save a lot of time when using crack gloves instead of tape. When I get to the crag I usually spend 15 to 45 minutes for a warm up. If I would take 5-15 minutes after this for taping my hands it would take a lot of time and also I might end up having to warm up again.
The black diamond gloves also keep your hands a little bit warmer while also protecting them from the rock surface and especially from sharp crystals biting into the tender back of the hand.
Using crack gloves is more ecological as you wont have to use so much tape. Tape can also get stuck more easily and you are likely to leave more trash behind if your taped gloves come apart during a climb. I personally really dislike people who leave any trash at the crag and quite often this trash is little pieces (or even worse big piles) of tape. You will also save a bunch of money as an added bonus as you wont have to buy so much tape.
Proper crack climbing gloves wont come apart as easily as tape. Of course there are cases when for example one of the finger loops has broken on the first climb. It is therefore important to check the return policies and costs of the store you are using.
Tape gloves are a pain to take of sometimes and they don’t have a easy velcro to put them back on. So if you want to climb a few cracks and then have some lunch you might want to take your gloves off for the break. This is a lot easier with the black diamond crack gloves than with tape gloves. Also if you switch between sport and trad routes its likely you don’t want to be taped up for all for them.
Why do so many people still prefer tape?
I guess a lot of people consider taping to be more traditional and are therefore against gloves. This is understandable as it is in fact trad climbing. Many of these people are quickly converted after trying on some crack gloves. Here are some arguments that are common for tape gloves though:
You can tape exactly the way you want to. You can use a lot of tape for extra protection or you can only use the bare minimum for a thin crack. You can even know the route and tape for that exact occasion.
Saving the cost of the gloves if you rarely climb cracks. In this case though it is likely that your hands will hurt even more and to be honest all the crack gloves in the market are so affordable that you quickly save the cost in tape.
black diamond crack gloves Vs Ocun Crack Gloves
The Black Diamond crack glove is thinner, which makes it more like a tape glove and you can fit your hands into smaller cracks. The thinner material is also less durable. The ocun crack gloves don’t have protection for the thumb so the BD crack gloves are better for jams such as ‘teacupping’ jams.
The BD crack gloves are made with white and because of this they can stay cooler when climbing in the sun. They are also more like the tape gloves in appearance if that is important to you.
Unlike the ocun crack gloves, they don’t have a hiding spot for the velcro. This can cause the velcro to come open when jamming the hand into the crack or when removing it. On the other hand BD has tried to make the velcro as thin as possible to avoid it snatching.
Black Diamond Crack Gloves vs Outdoor Research Splitter Gloves
Outdoor research splitter gloves are a common option to the BD crack gloves, especially in North America. The Or Splitter gloves are a bit bulkier than the black diamond gloves.
Especially the older versions of the OR splitter gloves have had issues with the laminates coming apart, but there seems to have been some development to the right direction.
What people are saying about the Black diamond crack gloves
We tested the gloves and asked around for peoples opinions and searched for customer reviews and this is what we found are the publics opinions about the BD crack gloves:
Comfy!: A lot of people found these gloves to be comfortable, especially when they had the right size.
Sizing issues: Many people tell that they have followed the sizing guide, but still ended up getting a size too small. It might be a good idea to go size up if you are between sizes with all crack gloves, but especially with these ones.
Coming apart: Unfortunately many climbers have had issues with the glove breaking. Especially with the finger loops or the stitching.
Extra protection needed: Many people reported that they used some tape along with the gloves to help protect areas that they found were left unprotected by the BD gloves.
Conclusions on the black diamond crack gloves
If you are a trad climber and climb any hand cracks or wider I would recommend crack gloves. The black diamond gloves are a great option and I like to use them for smaller cracks, especially when the rock quality is smoother. For cracks with more sharp crystals and for laps on easier routes I prefer the ocun crack gloves. You can read more about the Ocun crack gloves here: https://mrclimb.com/ocun-crack-gloves/
Remember that with all crack gloves, but especially these: if you are between sizes or if you have larger hands it might be a good idea to go up in size.