Size: Medium (7.5 – 8.5 in. / 19 – 21.5 cm)
Weight: 233 g (pair)
Warmth Rating from Dakine: 5 out of 5
Reviewer Hand Size:
• Circumference around knuckles: 8 ¾”
• Wrist crease to middle finger tip: 8 ½”
- Gore Tex Waterproof / Breathable insert enabled with Xtrafit Product Technology
- DWR coated Drum Dyed Leather Palm
- Combination DWR coated Leather / 4-way stretch soft shell outer shell
- 225g Primaloft insulation
- 400g Pile / 360g Wool lining
- Stretch to fit cuff closure
- Pre-curved fingers
- Molded foam padding over knuckles
Test Locations: Alta Ski Area, Wasatch Backcountry, Park City Mountain Resort
Days Tested: 13
Dakine makes a bunch of gloves ranging in warmth and protection. The Commander glove is near the top of Dakine’s line, offering a great deal of protection from the elements, thanks to Primaloft and Wool insulation, Gore-Tex waterproof / breathable laminate, and a (mostly) leather shell. The Commander also offers knuckle protection with well placed molded foam, for when you find yourself punching the ground on botched landings, bouncing off trees, or fighting off yeti attacks.
Sizing / Fit
According to the Dakine sizing guide, I squeak into the “large” range of measurements. But after trying on a few Dakine gloves (including the Excursion and Impreza, reviews of which are coming soon), I decided to go with medium. I’ve been very happy with this sizing choice in the Excursion and Impreza, and mostly happy with the choice in the Commander.
My only issue with the sizing of the Commander is that the seam at the wrist crease (where the leather palm stops and the material switches to the 4-way stretch soft-shell for the wrist cuff) didn’t quite make it down to my wrist crease. This leads to the sensation that the glove is a touch short, although all other areas of the glove seem to fit perfectly.
With continued use, the material has softened up a significantly, and to a point to where I barely notice the seam anymore. But because I’d felt a discrepancy in sizing, I decided to take a quick measurement of the three models and found that the length of the Commander from the tip of middle finger to the wrist-crease seam was ~1/4” shorter than the Impreza, and ~3/8” shorter than the Excursion. Although this is a very small difference, it was just enough initially to notice a bit of pressure at the base of the palm.
As I mentioned, other than the wrist-seam location, the remainder of the glove fits absolutely perfect. There is just enough dead air space for warmth, yet the gloves are not bulky in any way.
I’m still a little on the fence over whether I prefer the ‘slip on, stretch-to-fit’ wrist cuff of the Commander to a traditional draw cord or Velcro cuff closure. I do love the super low profile of this type of cuff because I always run my glove inside my shell. However, with damp hands, either from sweat or from sticking my bare hands in the snow, the smaller cuff opening can make putting the glove on a little more difficult.
Compared to other brands of gloves I use, including Black Diamond, Burton, Sirrus, and Scott, the fit of the Commander feels very similar in a medium, other than at the wrist seam. Given that, if you have long fingers, you may prefer the size Dakine recommends (again, for me, that would be a large), otherwise you may wish to size down if you like a snug fit.
For the amount of protection the Commander offers, the glove provides an exceptional amount of dexterity. Because it is largely leather and has padding covering the knuckles and fingers, the glove did feel a little stiff at first, but it has worn in very well. I can easily control zippers and buttons on outerwear, load and unload gear from packs, and install and remove ski skins while touring, all without ever needing to remove the gloves.
The use of Gore-Tex Xtrafit Technology in the Commander was immediately noticeable to me here, and I think this technology is undoubtedly what gives the glove its precise feel.
Xtrafit is simply a thin bonding tape used between the outer, insulation, and lining layers to provide a “close-fitting…glove with a single layer feel,” a claim that I agree with 100 percent. I could easily feel this while closing a zipper—there was no slipping between the layers of the glove, so I didn’t have to squeeze so tightly with my fingers. The same feeling was noticeable when holding onto a ski pole, messing with my goggles, or adjusting buckles. There was always a very accurate, secure, and direct connection to any object.
Dakine doesn’t bother with the traditional temperature range rating system that a lot of companies use for their products. Instead, they use a 1-5 scale, with a 5 signifying the warmest gloves they offer.
The Commander is a 5-rated glove that uses a 225g Primaloft insulation layer along with a 360g non-removable wool liner.
My hands don’t typically get very cold skiing, and if they do, it’s usually just my fingers. Although I haven’t been able to test the Commander in truly cold weather (under 10 degrees F / -12 degrees C), I have been very impressed with the gloves down to that temperature, with my hands and fingers staying at least as warm as they typically do in my trusty Black Diamond Patrol glove, if not a touch warmer.
I have also noticed while touring that if I do take my gloves off for a period of time, when I place my hands back in the Commander, it is quite easy to warm the glove and my fingers back up quickly.