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Top Recommended Best Hiking Gloves Waterproof

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Most winter hikers carry several pairs of gloves on winter hiking and backpacking trips and switch between as their need for breathability, dexterity, wind resistance, waterproofing, or warmth changes during the day. No one pair of gloves can satisfy all of these needs, so it’s best to carry of collection of different gloves or mittens that you can switch between and actively layer, just like your winter hiking clothes.

What Are Waterproof Hiking Gloves?

Do you wear gloves while hiking in the rain? Probably not, because most common hiking and backpacking gloves offer no waterproof protection. However, these days there are some new breathable outer shells like GoreTex that let you feel the back of the hand like normal with the advantage of keeping your fingers completely dry with no wetness inside the glove. In general, these waterproof hiking gloves work great with a waterproof or water-resistant (not as good) shell on top of them.

Fit

The most important factor, and the one where most hikers mess up their gloves. If you get a pair of gloves that are too loose, the waterproof-breathable membrane – if one is present – will let in air and water. If they’re too tight, you’ll lose dexterity and feel. The ideal glove fits snugly, and should be difficult to put on with only one hand.

In general, the tighter the glove, the livelier the fingertip material will be and the more dexterity you’ll have. However, a super-tight glove will make it hard to do things like tie a mitten on your pack or untie knots. I generally prefer a tight fit in every day use gloves, but I don’t want to lose dexterity these gloves while edging down a granite slab.

Fit in mittens is even more challenging, as even more dexterity is needed to tie liners, mittens, and other gear onto your backpack. Tighter mittens like the Outdoor Research Alti Mitt also need more skills to put on with cold fingers, so your best bet is also to go with a tight fit and work out the kinks with practice.

Construction and Materials

Waterproof outer fabrics only help to a point. Waterproof gloves need to fit snugly to keep water from entering from underneath. A snug fit is also required to prevent cold air from entering. So for the best performance in cold, dry weather, look for gloves that fit snugly like a lightweight climbing glove. These tight-fitting gloves are most comfortable in cool to warm conditions with a light to mid-weight shell on top. As the temps drop, finally get downright chilly, or you’re doing a ton of edging, you can add a glove liner or mittens to your waterproof layer.

Water Resistant vs Waterproof vs Waterproof Breathable

Why do breathable fabrics cost more than waterproof fabrics in the first place? Waterproof fabrics are constructed to be impermeable to water, but every layer of water-proof fabric adds weight, bulk, and cost, at a sacrifice to breathability. In general, water-resistant fabrics will be slightly lighter, less bulky and warmer than truly waterproof fabrics. Water-resistant shells work best in dryer conditions and you shouldn’t worry too much in wetter weather if water wets out. However, in extreme environments like the Arctic or high-elevation mountains, even a small leak can add up to a loss of body heat.

As the market has evolved, new technologies like Gore-Tex have created water-proof membranes that are also breathable, just like breathable fabrics. Breathable fabrics do cost more, but you get a trade-off of reduced weight and bulkiness for added breathability and improved moisture transfer, so you don’t get as wet. Breathable waterproof fabrics work well in all but the most extreme environments, but are more comfortable in dry conditions.

Material

If you’re just looking for new winter hiking gloves to wear around town in the cold, almost any textile will do – wool, polyester, polypropylene, or a combination of these. Try wearing a pair of your old down sweaters or jackets inside your lightweight fleece gloves to keep your hands extra warm and toasty. Fleece gloves are on the order of 1 lb per pair or less, while down gloves are 3 times that, so you won’t notice them in your pack.

If you’re looking for the maximum dexterity and comfort, micro fleece is what you’re looking for. These are similar to the fleece material you see on baby clothes. They’re hand-washable and machine-dryable. So they can be drying on a camp stool while you’re cooking, or while you’re fiddling with the zipper on your backpack. Coated fleece is similar to micro fleece, but feels a little more like slick polyethylene.

Coated fabrics allow heat and moisture to be wicked away from your hand, instead of just trapping the air next to your skin inside a heavier fleece material. They work fine in moderate temperatures, but as it gets really cold, you’re left with leather gloves that have no insulation and offer no warmth. If you’re looking for some of the most comfortable waterproof gloves around, you’re usually looking for coated, or fleece, gloves.

Shell Material

Generally, water-resistant shells are made of a waterproof-breathable material like Gore-Tex, eVent, Polartec WindStopper, or DryVent. These fabrics have pores that allow water vapor, but not liquid water, to pass through. They need a tight fit to keep out cold air and water. However, they can’t be completely impermeable to water vapor if you’re hiking in pouring rain all day, and these breathable shells are not proof against stains, like from chimney soot (see below). They’re best for dry conditions and for mild warmth.

Traditional waterproof shells for hiking are made of polyester, Gore-Tex’s original material. They’re heavier, less breathable, more noticeable, but work well in the heaviest rain and extreme cold. These are not recommended for alpine tours, but they work well in both cold and wet climates. If you’re just looking for a glove to walk the dog, or for some fall weather, a leather glove will do the job.

Shell Thickness

Most waterproof shells are thin (0.1 – 0.5 mm) and pack-out pretty much to nothing. But if you’re looking for a heavier layer for extreme cold and wet climates, you need to look at more of a hybrid glove, such as a mitten with a waterproof shell on the back. These thicker mittens have a semi-loose fit, but offer more coverage, warmth, and durability.

You can also look at the kind of shell material for a clue. Soft shells feel much thinner and more packable than a hard shell, but are not at all waterproof.

Hiking in the winter requires a careful combination of layering to keep you as comfortable as possible. Wearing hard waterproof shells alone will make your hands super cold, but wearing fleece alone will leave you soaked. You need to master both extremes.

Mammut Guide Work Glove

This product was recommended by Noman Asghar from Fan Jackets

Top Recommended Best Hiking Gloves Waterproof

This glove is 100% waterproof that can save your hands from wind, cold and rain in winter. Made with high quality material that will provide you comfort and can last longer than ordinary gloves. Best for riding and hiking.


Dakine Titan Short Glove

This product was recommended by Melanie Musson from ExpertInsuranceReviews

Top Recommended Best Hiking Gloves Waterproof

These versatile gloves come with a waterproof shell and a removable touch screen compatible liner. Depending on the conditions, you may wish to wear only the liner, but if your hike leads you to scramble up wet or snowy terrain, you’ll be able to add the outer shell to protect your hands from moisture and cold. They’re machine washable, which makes cleaning easy even after the muddiest conditions.


Ozero Winter Thermal Gloves

This product was recommended by Christine Wang from The Ski Girl

Top Recommended Best Hiking Gloves Waterproof

These Ozero gloves are a great option for hiking. They are lightweight and flexible so you’ll barely notice they are on your hands but offer plenty of warmth and water protection. A great option for variable conditions.


Mountain Made Outdoor Gloves

This product was recommended by Christine Wang from The Ski Girl

Top Recommended Best Hiking Gloves Waterproof

These are another solid option that work well in colder conditions. The zippered wrist makes for a very close and comfortable fit while the liner stays warm and comfortable.


NICEWIN Winter Cycling Gloves

This product was recommended by Christine Wang from The Ski Girl

Top Recommended Best Hiking Gloves Waterproof

These gloves are designed for cycling but I’ve found they make for a really good hiking glove. They are very water-resistant and have a great fit for just about any active outdoor pursuit.


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