There’s nothing worse than hiking with cold fingers. Whether you like to hike in the middle of the winter or an early autumn morning, hiking gloves are a worthwhile addition to your hiking wardrobe. You never know when the weather can turn chilly and you don’t want to end up exposed to the elements. The best hiking gloves will keep your hands warm on even the coldest day on the trail.
There is a wide variety of glove styles and warmth levels available on the market. Just like with layering hiking clothing, it’s important to layer your gloves. Most people will opt to carry a lightweight or fleece liner glove and waterproof rain gloves to layer over the liners as needed. For winter hiking it’s best to choose a glove designed for the winter elements.
What Are Hiking Gloves?
Hiking gloves must be designed for hiking and scrambling and should be made of wind and water resistant materials. They should have a sturdy DWR coating to prevent water from seeping through. Most hiking gloves are made either fully or partially of leather, with a reinforced palm to prevent wear and tear on the hands while gripping rocks and branches.
However, some of the best hiking gloves are made of synthetic materials such as Goretex, a waterproof breathable fabric used in high end hiking equipment. Look for a glove with reinforcements on the fingertips for extra protection. Some gloves are purposely built for hiking with a slight stiffness in the material or have a reinforced palm.
Besides the dexterity needed to trek across rocky terrain there are other features included in hiking gloves for comfort. Look for thick padding and cushioned grip so if you need to cling to a rope or grab a hold of a rock your hands and fingers will be well protected. Hiking gloves can help keep the elements out while remaining flexible. They prevent rubbing, blisters, fraying or tears from rough terrain.
What To Look For In A Pair Of Hiking Gloves
When buying hiking gloves style, warmth, and dexterity are all important features. Gloves can also be ideal for keeping your hands warm while taking photos. And don’t forget the waterproof quality when it comes to gloves. Make sure your gloves are warm and waterproof.
Other important considerations include:
Waterproof / Water Resistance: high quality waterproofing is very important when it comes to hiking gloves. You want to be able to wear your gloves in the rain, mud and snows and keep your hands warm and dry. You need a glove that will remain waterproof, even when they get wet.
High Quality Materials: Look for a glove that is made of synthetic materials, or a combination of sturdy materials and high-tech fabrics.
Fit: You want a glove that fits you properly to protect your hands from the elements. Look for a glove that is tight fit without being too tight, and make sure it covers your fingertips.
Warmth: Gloves come in a range of warmth levels for the varying temperatures and seasons you could see on the trails. Some winter gloves are designed for the coldest temperatures, while others are designed for milder weather. In the summer look for a glove that will protect you from the elements, but does not overheat your hands.
Layering: Since Hiking Gloves can be used for their warmth and waterproofing, don’t forget to look for layering options. Some gloves have the option to add liners or waterproof shells over the top of them.
Safety: Because the conditions on the trail can be dangerous, make sure your gloves don’t compromise your safety. Hiking gloves should help protect your hands from painful cuts, abrasions or blisters.
Why Do We Need Hiking Gloves?
Besides the fit, protection and warmth that gloves provide, they also offer extra grip to rocky trails or slippery waterfalls. The extra grip will help you not to lose your footing, keeping you safe and secure on the trail. Look for gloves designed for winter hiking that are comfortable, warm, and repel water from your hands.
There are a variety of gloves designed for all climates and seasons that will help you stay warm and dry on the trail. However, some gloves are not designed well and can decrease your overall dexterity and grip. Make certain the gloves you choose allow for enough grip to scale rocks and handrails without slipping.
It’s also important to have a long enough reach when hiking to stay safe. Gloves can help aid in preventing your hands from becoming bloodied from the sharp rocks and abrasive surfaces you may encounter on a hike. It’s also smart to have gloves that are warm and waterproof and something you could also wear for a snowball fight or a white water rafting trip.
Hiking Gloves Buying Guide
How Do you Layer Your Hiking Gloves?
Conventional wisdom is to layer your hiking gloves as you would your other outerwear. For example:
Base Layers => Mid-Layers => Outer-Layers
The thickness of your base and mid layers will determine how many you need, as each layer can double as a standalone piece. The outer layer should be rain resistant as well as warm, and usually the most waterproof layer is your base layer.
But since gloves don’t have as many layers as thermal tops or bottoms, layering them can be a little trickier. If you are just going out for a day hike look for gloves made with a DWR material to repel water.
Waterproofing can be built in (like a membrane in Gore-Tex) or applied as a coating to the outside of the fabric.
It’s probably a good idea to carry a pair of waterproof gloves in your pack, but for longer hikes you can look for a pair of outer layers that are worn over your base layer. This will help you transition to new layers seamlessly.
This product was recommended by Muhammad Mateen Khan from PureVPN
These best hiking gloves come in a finger-fitting form. Designed for lovers out the outdoors firmly in mind, it has breathable fabric while still providing the essential warmth to keep you toasty as you scale mountains. The touchscreen recognition means you will never fumble trying to get the perfect selfie, while the full-palm grip ensures you will nor slide down mountain faces. They are long-lasting and are sure to protect you wherever you are. Even if you are not a hiker, you can wear them biking, driving, shooting, and just running to the store.
This product was recommended by Mike Miller from Wilderness Times
These gloves are fantastic for hiking because of their versatility. They’re not thick like ski gloves, so you can wear them year-round, or when your blood is pumping from a nice long hike. They also wick sweat easily, which means you won’t have wet hands. Last but not least, this is a product from The North Face, which means one thing…they’ll last forever. I’ve probably had mine for about two years, and they show no sign of slowing down. Well worth every penny.
This product was recommended by Torben Lonne from DIVEIN
Being protected on every aspect should be our primary concern when heading into the wilderness, and that’s why the Smartwool Merino Gloves should be at the top of your hiking gear list. These are an extremely comfortable and efficient pair of gloves that will protect you from the harshest outside colds while giving your hands a gentle treatment. Despite having a knitted-by-grandma appearance, these are modern gloves specially made for the times we are living, as the thumb and index fingers are compatible with touchscreens, giving you the freedom to take those fantastic shots while still being protected from the bitter cold.