Over the years I have struggled to find a jack of all trades glove, one which keeps my hands warm and is dexterous enough to accomplish tasks without removing. In the past I have always seemed to compromise between mobility and warmth but now, with the Outdoor Research Lodestar Glove, I have truly found a keeper. Here's why:
Pre-curved shape - Due to the numerous seams in its palm and underside, the Lodestar is well articulated and the hand is naturally in a curled position around, in my case, a ski pole, a dog leash, a shovel or a handlebar. My beef with many other gloves is the fingers are often built like fat sausages, bulky and hard to bend. Not so with the Lodestar - I found it to be very dexterous and my go to glove for activities such as skinning or late fall mountain or winter snow biking. No need to expose my fingers to the elements at the top of a climb as ripping skins or buckling boots is easily accomplished with the gloves on. Likewise gear changes on the bike were very smooth as I could feel the levers though the gloves and my hands were able to curl snugly around the handlebars. I have yet to use it for alpine climbing but you can bet this is the glove I will be using.
Soft but durable materials - The palm and face of the fingers are constructed from a beautiful soft and supple goat leather. Again this helps the articulated nature of the glove and also means that I can feel through the glove. On extremely cold days I have even been able to operate my camera with the gloves on. Due to the softness of the leather, the seams in the palm are barely noticeable, as compared to other gloves where seams are bulky and annoying, if not painful, especially where pressure is applied in one place for a long period of time.
Warm and breathable - The lining of the glove is made of a soft, high pile, micro fleece and kept my hands surprisingly toasty even when skinning in single digit temperatures. In warmer conditions I found the gloves to be breathable and my hands did not get at all sweaty. However, when out on a full day winter adventure I would want include a warmer glove, usually a mitt for me, in my pack.
Pull loops - At first I did not think this feature would be a big deal but the large pull loops on the inside wrist make it very easy to pull on the gloves or hook a carabiner through for carrying on the belt of my pack. The latter meant that I could have them at hand whenever I needed them and not need to find a pocket to stuff them in where they would inevitably fall out.
The Lodestar glove is billed as being ideal for skinning and high alpine climbing. I would not only agree but add that it is a high performer for a multitude of cooler weather activities where mobility and dexterity is high on the list. So there you have it. I have found my jack of all trades glove.