Best Hiking Gloves of 2020-2021

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Solid hiking gloves are an essential piece of handwear for protecting your hands from the elements when traveling in various climates and environments from alpine to cold winter to hot and sunny summer.

This post is about the best hiking gloves of 2020-2021 with their main features, advantages, disadvantages, technologies used, and everything else you need to know before buying a pair of gloves for your next trip. We reviewed gloves for all budgets, seasons, and styles of travel, and highlighted our top 20 choices. Additionally, a brief summary with all the essentials of each of the contenders on our list is given in a comparison table.

If you need to know what’s the difference between warm gloves and mittens, you can see our post in the FAQ section. If you’re curious about how to choose cold weather gloves and mittens, check out our in-depth post about this topic. By reading it, you will have a chance not only to learn about the different types of gloves and mittens, their main features and use but also how to layer them properly.

Hiker winter gloves snowy mountain
Winter gloves should be an essential part of your gear especially when hiking in the mountain

Photo by Riccardo Chiarini

Quick answer: BEST HIKING GLOVES FOR 2021

1. Arc’teryx Fission SV Gloves                                                  View on Amazon              View on Backcountry

2. Arc’teryx Rho Gloves                                                                View on Amazon              View on REI

3. Black Diamond Guide Gloves                                              View on Amazon              View on REI

4. Columbia Fast Trek Fleece Gloves                                    View on Amazon              View on Backcountry

5. SmartWool Liner Gloves                                                         View on Amazon              View on Backcountry

6. Hestra Army Leather Patrol – 3 Finger                           View on Amazon              View on Backcountry

7. Black Diamond Mercury Mitts                                             View on Amazon              View on REI

8. Hestra Highland Gloves                                                            View on Amazon              View on Backcountry

9. REI Co-op Fleece Gloves                                                          View on REI

10. Minus33 Merino Wool Fingerless Gloves                   View on Amazon

11. Outdoor Research ActiveIce Spectrum Sun              View on Amazon              View on Backcountry

12. Outdoor Research Alti Mittens                                         View on Amazon              View on Backcountry

13. Mountain Hardwear High Exposure Gore-Tex         View on Amazon              View on Backcountry

14. Dakine Leather Titan Gore-Tex Gloves                          View on Amazon              View on Backcountry

15. Marmot Randonnee Gloves                                                  View on Amazon              View on Backcountry

16. The North Face Apex+ Etip Gloves                                  View on Amazon              View on Backcountry

17. Helly Hansen Alpha Warm HT                                            View on Amazon              View on Moosejaw

18. Showa 282 Temres                                                                    View on Amazon

19. Gordini Gore-Tex Storm Trooper                                      View on Amazon              View on Backcountry

20. Sealskinz Waterproof All Weather Sporting              View on Amazon

 

 

Best all-around

#1 Arc’teryx Fission SV Gloves

Arcteryx Fission SV Gloves

Waterproof: Yes

Touchscreen compatible: No

Weight: 220 g (7.8 oz)

Price (MSRP): $199

Waterproof technology: GORE-TEX Active

Face/shell fabric: Fortius 1.0 (84% nylon, 16% elastane); premium goat leather overalys

Lining & insulation: 133 g PrimaLoft Gold and 200 g PrimaLoft Silver; Octa Loft breathable insulation made from 100% polyester

Notable features:

  • With insulated outer layer and GORE-TEX insert to shed snow and water
  • Double layer of premium goat leather reinforcements for added durability
  • Soft, brushed lining provides light insulation

Pros:

  • Fully water and windproof (GORE-TEX weatherproof) gloves designed to provide complete protection from the elements (SV stands for ‘severe weather’)
  • Lightweight but warm PrimaLoft Silver and Gold Insulation and Octa Loft breathable insulation for extra warmth and moisture management respectively; the elasticated back of the wrist self-adjusts to seal warmth in
  • Thoughtful design, high-quality materials and construction; tight stitching; easy on and off
  • Versatile, offer a good balance between dexterity and warmth; the premium goat leather patches on high-use areas offer a secure grip on trekking poles and ice tools

Cons:

  • Expensive but if the price tag fits your wallet, we highly recommend them
  • Not the warmest gloves; we recommend adding glove liners for very cold weather
  • Low profile, lack some features other similar gloves have

Best for: Winter backpacking or skiing

Women’s Version: Unisex

Find the latest price:

Amazon | REI | Backcountry

 

Best lightweight hiking gloves

#2 Arc’teryx Rho Gloves

Arcteryx Rho Gloves

Waterproof: No

Touchscreen compatible: Yes

Weight: 25 g (0.9 oz)

Price (MSRP): $39

Waterproof technology: N/A

Face/shell fabric: Torrent 190 (84% polyester, 16% elastane)

Lining & insulation: No

Notable features:

  • Durable, breathable, and stretchy Torrent 190 fabric
  • Sensor pads on the thumbs and forefingers allow for using touchscreen devices on the go
  • Smooth material for comfortable next-to-skin feel and easy layering

Pros:

  • Lightweight and compact gloves for all your outdoor activities during milder winter or cool spring/autumn days (suitable for cold winter days when worn under another pair of more substantial gloves/mittens)
  • Look and feel very comfortable, have long wrists, plus can be used as a glove or liner (keep in mind that they are designed to work best as liner gloves)
  • Moisture-wicking fabric manages humidity very well and breathes well; the fabric is fairly durable but it’s also very thin
  • Touchscreen friendly design makes them convenient to interact with touchscreen smartphones, tablets, and PCs

Cons:

  • Provide little warmth
  • Not very durable when used as gloves because the fabric is very thin
  • Not for windy weather unless used as liner glove under windproof gloves or mitts (the Arc’teryx Rho can be used as standalone gloves in a light breeze)

Best for: Fast and light hiking or running

Women’s Version: Unisex

Find the latest price:

Amazon | REI

 

Best extreme cold weather gloves

#3 Black Diamond Guide Gloves

Black Diamond Guide Gloves

Waterproof: Yes

Touchscreen compatible: No

Weight: 312 g (11 oz)

Price (MSRP): $170

Waterproof technology: GORE-TEX XCR

Face/shell fabric: Woven nylon shell with 4-way stretch; goat leather palms

Lining & insulation: 170 g PrimaLoft Gold and boiled wool; 100 g fleece palm lining

Notable features:

  • Come with fully waterproof and breathable GORE-TEX with XCR Product Technology inserts
  • The removable liners are crafted from a combination of boiled wool and PrimaLoft One insulation
  • Abrasion-resistant, woven-nylon shells with goat leather palms; molded EVA foam padding on the knuckles

Pros:

  • GORE-TEX XCR ensures excellent weather protection in a wide range of conditions
  • With enough insulation for use in temperatures between -29°C (-20°F) and -12°C (10°F); what’s more, the removable liners are very soft
  • The goat leather palm and palm patch and EVA knuckles provide protection from tear and wear as well as impact-protection respectively
  • Tough and very well-built with attractive design and features including easy to tighten and release elasticized long gauntlet and soft fabric on the thumbs

Cons:

  • Sizing is problematic as these gloves definitely run small
  • Toasty warm while active on cold winter days but not that warm in other instances (if in need of extra warmth only, look for mittens)

Best for: Cold weather skiing/backpacking

Women’s Version: Available -> Amazon | Moosejaw | Backcountry

Find the latest price:

Amazon | REI | Backcountry

 

Best budget buy hiking gloves

#4 Columbia Fast Trek Fleece Gloves

Columbia Fast Trek Fleece Gloves

Waterproof: No

Touchscreen compatible: No

Weight: 80 g (2.8 oz)

Price (MSRP): $20

Waterproof technology: N/A

Face/shell fabric: 100% Polyester microfleece

Lining & insulation: No

Notable features:

  • Soft, warm, and breathable microfleece fabric
  • Elastic at wrist
  • Grip pad

Pros:

  • Breathable, moisture-wicking, and quick-drying fabric that stays relatively warm even when wet
  • Lightweight, soft gloves that provide warmth and comfort for warm and dry days on the trail or in the city
  • Simple design with basic yet useful features
  • Easy to care for and easy to wash and clean because the fleece fabric is hydrophobic

Cons:

  • Not good in too cold and high wind conditions
  • Not of great quality but these are the best gloves for this price
  • Too puffy, reduced dexterity

Best for: Casual wear in mild cold weather

Women’s Version: Available -> Amazon

Find the latest price:

AmazonMoosejaw | Backcountry

 

Best liner gloves

#5 SmartWool Liner Gloves

SmartWool Liner Gloves

Waterproof: No

Touchscreen compatible: Yes

Weight: 43 g (1.5 oz)

Price (MSRP): $24

Waterproof technology: N/A

Face/shell fabric: Body: 45% merino wool, 45% acrylic, 9% nylon, 1% elastane; Thumb & index finger tip: 95% polyester, 4% other fiber, 1% elastane

Lining & insulation: No

Notable features:

  • Nice blend of merino wool and acrylic; lightweight knit for ease of movement
  • Knit-in touch screen capability on thumb and index finger
  • Rib-knit cuff finishing for bulk-free fit

Pros:

  • Versatile and functional: great for a multitude of outdoor activities such as hiking, backpacking, running, bike riding, taking photographs, walking around the city, etc.
  • Lightweight; the slim, bulk-free fit makes this glove suitable for use as a glove (in mild winter) or as a liner glove underneath a shell (in colder weather)
  • Allow for excellent manual dexterity; screen-friendly design (work somewhat well with electronics but of course not as well as when without gloves)
  • Very comfy: the soft, cushy material feels great and adds an extra layer of warmth for your hands and fingers

Cons:

  • Weird sizing: the fingers are a little too long, which may make them tough to use on your smartphone
  • Won’t keep your hands warm by themselves in windy, snowy or cold conditions

Best for: Versatility

Women’s Version: Unisex

Find the latest price:

Amazon | REI | Backcountry

 

Best 3-finger gloves

#6 Hestra Army Leather Patrol – 3 Finger Gloves

Hestra Army Leather Patrol 3 Finger

Waterproof: No

Touchscreen compatible: No

Weight: 227 g (8 oz)

Price (MSRP): $140

Waterproof technology: N/A

Face/shell fabric: Goat leather; 97% polyester, 3% spandex

Lining & insulation: G-Loft (polyester) insulation; Bemberg (polyester) lining

Notable features:

  • Durable and proofed goat leather and windproof, water-resistant, and breathable HESTRA 3-layer Dobby Polyester Melange provide flexible protection
  • Removable 3-finger polyester liner with G-Loft insulation
  • Neoprene cuff around the wrist and elastic pull strap with Velcro closure

Pros:

  • Solid, all-around gloves; work very well in dry cold conditions but can be used in wet weather as well (the leather is thoroughly waterproofed; if you need waterproof gloves, you can use waterproof inserts or get the waterproof version of these – Hestra Army Leather Gore-Tex – 3 Finger for around $50 more than the price of these gloves)
  • Slip on and off easily; perfect fit and great comfort as these 3-finger gloves come with external seams to eliminate rubbing and improve comfort
  • Light, breathable, and compressive G-Loft lining with unrivaled warmth to weight ratio and exceptionally high insulating capacity (similar to natural down) for warmth and protection in harsh weather conditions
  • Biodegradable Bemberg lining for low environmental impact

Cons:

  • Not waterproof (yet these are water-resistant and if you use waterproof inserts they can also become waterproof)
  • The exterior leather needs to be re-treated 1-2 times a year to keep its water protection ability

Best for: Powder trips

Women’s Version: Unisex

Find the latest price:

Amazon | CampSaver | Backcountry

 

Best hiking mittens

#7 Black Diamond Mercury Mitts

Black Diamond Mercury Mitts

Waterproof: Yes

Touchscreen compatible: No

Weight: 260 g (9.2 oz)

Price (MSRP): $110

Waterproof technology: BD.dry (Black Diamond’s own 2L waterproof/breathable/windproof solution)

Face/shell fabric: Pertex Shield; Kevlar; goat leather

Lining & insulation: 340 g PrimaLoft Gold insulation and high-loft fleece lining

Notable features:

  • Pertex Shield shell with four-way stretch and Kevlar-reinforced goat leather palms
  • Removable liners with PrimaLoft Gold insulation and split-finger design
  • Waterproof, windproof, and breathable BD.dry inserts

Pros:

  • Provide complete wind and water protection thanks to the durable exterior and windproof, waterproof, and breathable BD.dry inserts
  • For really cold conditions: super warm due to the removable fleece liner with PrimaLoft Gold insulation – these mittens are suitable for very low temperatures (the range is between -29°C (-20°F) and -12°C (10°F)
  • The liner is easily removable to wash and dry; you can wear the liner by itself in warmer climates
  • No fancy features but high-quality craftsmanship and useful features; plenty of dexterity for mittens

Cons:

  • Tend to run small so get a larger size than normal
  • Lack wrist leashes to clip the mitts together when you take them off
  • The liners are not very durable

Best for: Versatility in extreme cold weather (long snowy hikes)

Women’s Version: Available -> Amazon | REI | Backcountry

Find the latest price:

Amazon | REI | Backcountry

 

Best leather gloves

#8 Hestra Highland Gloves

Hestra Highland Gloves

Waterproof: No

Touchscreen compatible: No

Weight: 322 g (11.4 oz)

Price (MSRP): $170

Waterproof technology: N/A

Face/shell fabric: Goat leather; softshell: 92% polyamide, 8% elastane

Lining & insulation: 100% Merino wool lining

Notable features:

  • Durable and impregnated Army-goat leather palms and a 4-way softshell stretch backhand
  • Elastic around the wrist for a better fit
  • Eyelet and carabiner to secure the gloves together when not in use

Pros:

  • Excellent workmanship: crafted from high-quality materials: premium goat leather and Hestra Flextron 4-way stretch softshell fabric
  • Versatile and functional for active outdoor lifestyle in various conditions; the removable liners can be used in very cold weather and removed in not-so-cold conditions
  • Warm and super comfortable removable merino wool lining feels warm even when wet, does not itch, and does not retain odor
  • Classic, stylish look, with external seams for reduced rubbing

Cons:

  • Not for rainy climates
  • Pricey (hate to say it but the “you get what you pay for” saying is valid in this case)

Best for: Backpacking/Versatility

Women’s Version: Unisex

Find the latest price:

Amazon | Moosejaw | Backcountry

 

Best fleece gloves

#9 REI Co-op Fleece Gloves

REI Co-op Fleece Gloves

Waterproof: No

Touchscreen compatible: Yes

Weight: 70 g (2.5 oz)

Price (MSRP): $25

Waterproof technology: N/A

Face/shell fabric: Polartec recycled fleece; synthetic suede

Lining & insulation: No

Notable features:

  • Lightweight and breathable Polartec fleece and durable synthetic suede palms
  • Conductive material at tips of thumbs and index fingers allows for using touchscreen devices without removing your gloves
  • Integrated pull tab allows easy on and off

Pros:

  • Simple design and well made, these gloves are very comfortable crafted from nice and soft material
  • Lightweight, breathable, and quick-drying, the REI Co-op gloves are very compact for easy storage in your jacket pocket or pack; plus they will keep your hands warm when needed
  • Work well in many situations in moderately cold weather
  • The touchscreen feature really works, which is not the case with many other similar models of gloves

Cons:

  • Won’t keep your hands warm in really cold weather when the temperature drops below freezing
  • Will hold up well for some time but definitely not the most durable pair of gloves (especially the seams look like being weak points)
  • Allow to work reasonably well with tools but they are not that good when fine dexterity is required

Best for: General use

Women’s Version: Available -> REI

Find the latest price:

REI

 

Best fingerless gloves for hiking

#10 Minus33 Merino Wool Fingerless Gloves

Minus33 Merino Wool Fingerless Gloves

Waterproof: No

Touchscreen compatible: Yes

Weight: 68 g (2.4 oz)

Price (MSRP): $19

Waterproof technology: N/A

Face/shell fabric: 90% Merino wool, 7% nylon, 3% elastic

Lining & insulation: No

Notable features:

  • Merino wool and stretch nylon
  • Pull-on closure
  • Half-finger

Pros:

  • Half-finger design to keep the dexterity of your fingers; the gloves are easy to work with as they allow for full use of fingers and hands without restricting movement
  • These gloves have the characteristics and properties typical of merino wool (90% content), namely moisture-wicking, antimicrobial, anti-odor, and fire resistance abilities
  • Work well as a standalone but can also be worn as a liner gloves under another set of gloves
  • Good stretch ensures good fit; comfortable for working outside, operating cameras, as well as everyday use

Cons:

  • Edges are easy to get snagged; unravel
  • The material is thin and, hence, the construction won’t withstand extreme wear and tear

Best for: Versatility

Women’s Version: Unisex

Find the latest price:

Amazon

 

Best sun gloves

#11 Outdoor Research ActiveIce Spectrum Sun Gloves

Outdoor Research ActiveIce Spectrum Sun Gloves

Waterproof: No

Touchscreen compatible: Yes

Weight: 19 g (0.7 oz)

Price (MSRP): $25

Waterproof technology: N/A

Face/shell fabric: Polyester (recycled)

Lining & insulation: No

Notable features:

  • ActiveIce fabric technology with xylitol crystals
  • Anti-slip palm print
  • UPF 50+ sun protection

Pros:

  • The ActiveIce fabric technology with xylitol crystals wicks moisture promoting cooling; with UPF 50+ rating for protection from harsh sun exposure
  • These lightweight sun gloves breathe well and dry fast
  • Good length in the fingers, long gauntlets so that your wrists are covered for added protection from sunburn; fit well, comfy, feel light and silky
  • Suitable for various sports and activities (hiking, running, surfing, fishing, driving, etc.) in hot, dry conditions and environments

Cons:

  • The finger openings are a little tight making them difficult to take off
  • The sun gloves come in a few beautiful bright colors but get very dirty very fast
  • The material is very thin, plus the stitching along the seam at the wrist doesn’t seem to be very good, which shortens their life

Best for: Hot summer activities

Women’s Version: Unisex

Find the latest price:

Amazon | REI | Backcountry

 

Best of the rest

#12 Outdoor Research Alti Mittens

Outdoor Research Alti Mitts

Waterproof: Yes

Touchscreen compatible: No

Weight: 364 g (12.8 oz)

Price (MSRP): $199

Waterproof technology: GORE-TEX, 2.5L

Face/shell fabric: Nylon, 40D ripstop; leather

Lining & insulation: 170 g/m2 PrimaLoft Gold insulation in the shell and 340 g/m2 PrimaLoft Gold in the liner

Notable features:

  • Fully seam taped, removable GORE-TEX inserts, and removable liner mittens
  • Pittards Armor-Tan leather on palms, Kevlar stitching
  • PrimaLoft insulation on the backs of the hands and thumbs and stash pockets for hand warmers

Pros:

  • Taped seams and 2.5L GORE-TEX inserts provide full weather protection for your hands in extreme conditions
  • Robust and sturdy: the palms are reinforced with Pittards Armor-Tan abrasion-resistant leather engineered to provide extra durability and resistance against wear from ropes, ice tools, and other contact surfaces
  • Premium PrimaLoft Gold insulation, adjustable SuperCinch Gauntlet, and elastic drawcord with cord lock provide a perfect fit and keep warmth in even in brutal alpine or Arctic conditions (target comfort rating is down
  • Top-notch materials and excellent build quality to enjoy all your cold-weather activities; swapping between liners and shell is easy

Cons:

  • Bulky; limited dexterity (it isn’t surprising because these mittens are designed to endure sub-zero Arctic weather)
  • Don’t have a wrist strap to keep them in place

Best for: Activities in extreme cold environments

Women’s Version: Available -> Amazon | REI | Backcountry

Find the latest price:

Amazon | REI | Backcountry

 

#13 Mountain Hardwear High Exposure Gore-Tex Gloves

Mountain Hardwear High Exposure Gore-Tex Gloves

Waterproof: Yes

Touchscreen compatible: Yes

Weight: 236 g (8.3 oz)

Price (MSRP): $140

Waterproof technology: GORE-TEX, 2L

Face/shell fabric: Goat leather; 330D nylon

Lining & insulation: 133 g/m2 PrimaLoft Gold with Cross Core Technology insulation (back of the hand); 80 g/m2 PrimaLoft Eco with Grip Control (palm); fleece lining

Notable features:

  • Waterproof-breathable GORE-TEX inserts
  • Gore Grip bonds the waterproof breathable membrane to the shell of the glove preventing movement between them
  • Touchscreen-compatible Stimulus technology on thumb and index finger

Pros:

  • Not bulky, they allow for high dexterity so that you could hold ice tools, trekking or ski poles, basically do your job on or off the trail without them get in the way
  • 2L GORE-TEX protection from the elements; can withstand weather + the wrist leashes are super handy for making sure that you don’t lose your gloves
  • PrimaLoft Gold insulation with Cross Core Technology fused with Aerogel (one of the most effective insulation materials) provides warmth (enhanced thermal protection and decreased weight compared to PrimaLoft Gold)
  • Durable leather on palms and fingers ensures excellent grip and protects from wear and tear, while foam-padded knuckles provide extra protection

Cons:

  • May run small, check the sizing chart carefully before buying
  • While they feature first-rate insulation, the quantity isn’t enough to make them reliable in severe winter weather

Best for: Winter backcountry travel

Women’s Version: Available -> Amazon | REI | Backcountry

Find the latest price:

Amazon | REI | Backcountry

 

#14 Dakine Leather Titan Gore-Tex Gloves

Dakine Leather Titan Gore-Tex Gloves

Waterproof: Yes

Touchscreen compatible: Yes

Weight: 99.8 g (3.5 oz)

Price (MSRP): $80

Waterproof technology: GORE-TEX + Gore Warm technology

Face/shell fabric: Polyester; goat leather; fleece (94% polyester, 6% elastane)

Lining & insulation: Insulation material: High loft fill (100% polyester) [110 / 230 g] insulation; Lining fabric: 150 g Tricot (100% polyester)

Notable features:

  • DWR-treated polyester shell reinforced with goat leather
  • External waterproof zippered stash pocket
  • One hand cinch gauntlet for reduced fumbling

Pros:

  • The shells are treated with DWR coating; GORE-TEX inserts with GORE Warm technology add warmth and waterproofing to keep your hands and fingers warm and dry
  • Warm even on very cold winter days with high winds because of the protective water and windproof shell and synthetic insulation
  • The removable Storm liner glove can be used as a glove and it’s also touchscreen compatible
  • Sweet features including screen sensitive thumb and index finger (the liner glove), one-hand-adjustable cinch gauntlet, zippered heat pack pocket on the back, nose wipe thumb panel, removable wrist leash, and goggle squeegee

Cons:

  • A little bulky – average dexterity
  • The leather palms require regular cleaning and maintenance

Best for: Icy conditions

Women’s Version: Available -> Amazon

Find the latest price:

Amazon | Moosejaw | Backcountry

 

#15 Marmot Randonnee Gloves

Marmot Randonnee Gloves

Waterproof: Yes

Touchscreen compatible: No

Weight: 184 g (6.5 oz)

Price (MSRP): $100

Waterproof technology: GORE-TEX

Face/shell fabric: Main fabric: MemBrain 2L 100% nylon; Secondary fabric: Washable digital hairsheep leather 0.5 – 0.6 mm

Lining & insulation: Lining fabric: DriClime 3-Dimentional Wicking Lining; Insulation material: Thermal R

Notable features:

  • Waterproof breathable MemBrain 2L nylon and GORE-TEX waterproof and breathable glove insert provide weather protection
  • Falcon-grip articulation for dexterity and easy gripping
  • Gauntlet quickdraw allows one-handed functionality

Pros:

  • Functional gloves suitable for various winter sports and activities that require performance as well as to keep your hands warmer for walks; the falcon-grip articulation allows for easy, non-slip gripping
  • Good design combined with high-quality materials, useful features, and sturdy build
  • Warmth and comfort in below-freezing temperatures: all the components of the Randonnee gloves work together in harmony
  • The GORE-TEX exterior ensures complete waterproof protection for your hands in changing weather conditions

Cons:

  • No leashes to keep the gloves from falling when taken off
  • Decent durability

Best for: Backcountry skiing

Women’s Version: Available -> Amazon | Moosejaw | Backcountry

Find the latest price:

Amazon | Moosejaw | Backcountry

 

#16 The North Face Apex+ Etip Gloves

The North Face Apex+ Etip Gloves

Waterproof: No

Touchscreen compatible: Yes

Weight: 80 g (2.8 oz)

Price (MSRP): $55

Waterproof technology: N/A

Face/shell fabric: WindWall (86% polyester, 14% elastane)

Lining & insulation: Lining: 100% polyester; Insulation material:
100 g Heatseeker Eco

Notable features:

  • Etip is touchscreen-friendly; U|R Powered softshell on palm for five-finger touchscreen capability
  • WindWall shell treated with DWR coating
  • Silicone gripper palm provides a superior grip

Pros:

  • Great touchscreen capabilities: you won’t have to take off the gloves to work with your phone as the Etip technology is great for working with touchscreen devices
  • The Apex+ Etip gloves are wind-resistant thanks to the 100% windproof WindWall shell fabric
  • Nice dexterity allowing a good range of motion for: working with tools, fastening belts, using keys, etc.
  • Suitable for various activities: hiking, cycling, driving, photography as well as for everyday use around town

Cons:

  • Not very warm and definitely not for cold winter weather
  • Because of the lack of elastic wrist, it’s a little tough to get the Apex+ Etip Gloves on and off
  • Run smaller than expected

Best for: Mild to cool weather

Women’s Version: Available -> Amazon | Moosejaw | Backcountry

Find the latest price:

Amazon | Moosejaw | Backcountry

 

#17 Helly Hansen Alpha Warm HT Gloves

Helly Hansen Alpha Warm HT Gloves

Waterproof: Yes

Touchscreen compatible: Yes

Weight: 213 g (7.5 oz)

Price (MSRP): $120

Waterproof technology: Helly Tech Performance

Face/shell fabric: Goat leather; fleece

Lining & insulation: 140g 3M Thinsulate Insulation; microfleece lining

Notable features:

  • Palm leather reinforcement and corrugated leather knuckle protection
  • Windproof, waterproof, and breathable Helly Tech Performance insert
  • Zippered backhand pocket with sturdy YKK Aqua Guard zip

Pros:

  • The wind-, waterproof, and breathable Helly Tech Performance insert combined with the water-repellent goatskin shell provide the needed protection in highly challenging, changing, and unpredictable weather conditions
  • Well made with good quality material; good grip; excellent dexterity – the gloves allow to manipulate small items
  • Warm and dry experience for your hands from the inside thanks to the moisture-wicking fleece lining and Thinsulate insulation
  • Excellent craftsmanship with attention to detail

Cons:

  • Run smaller than other similar products so check the sizing chart to get the right fit for you
  • The waterproofness work well in most situations but should be even better to offer complete protection in extreme conditions
  • You’ll need hand warmers in very cold weather

Best for: Winter backpacking and skiing

Women’s Version: Available -> Amazon | Backcountry

Find the latest price:

Amazon | Moosejaw

 

#18 Showa 282 Temres Gloves

Showa 282 Temres

Waterproof: Yes

Touchscreen compatible: No

Weight: 136 g (4.8 oz)

Price (MSRP): $27

Waterproof technology: Micro-ventilated polyurethane

Face/shell fabric: Nylon

Lining & insulation: Acrylic liner

Notable features:

  • Full double polyurethane (PU) coating
  • Fixed insulated acrylic liner for added warmth
  • Ergonomic fit and seamless liner for comfort

Pros:

  • Their main function of these gloves is to provide protection from liquids in cold conditions and they do it very well: they offer solid cold-weather performance keeping your hands warm and dry
  • Cheap and reliable alternative to more expensive gloves for cold and wet conditions
  • Grippy, awesome dexterity: great for many different activities like hiking, fishing, hunting or work
  • Fit comfortably, easy and quick to take on and off

Cons:

  • Very basic design and features, no cuff tighteners
  • Don’t last very long but still offer decent durability
  • Not very pleasant smell (it goes away after a little use)

Best for: Outdoor cold and wet conditions

Women’s Version: Unisex

Find the latest price:

Amazon

 

#19 Gordini Gore-Tex Storm Trooper Gloves

Gordini Gore-Tex Storm Trooper

Waterproof: Yes

Touchscreen compatible: No

Weight: 265 g (9.3 oz)

Price (MSRP): $70

Waterproof technology: GORE-TEX

Face/shell fabric: Nylon, spandex; goat leather; cowhide

Lining & insulation: Megaloft synthetic insulation

Notable features:

  • Breathable stretch woven shell with goatskin and cowhide accents
  • Waterproof and breathable insert by GORE-TEXT provides protection against snow and rain
  • Textured palm for enhanced grip

Pros:

  • Weatherproof gloves, the Gordini Gore-Tex Storm Trooper offer protection against all the elements thanks to the waterproof breathable inserts by GORE-TEX
  • Enough warmth for most conditions and situations
  • Relatively inexpensive: at less than $70, these gloves are a good buy as they perform in a similar way to some of the more expensive top contenders
  • Nice set of features including textured palm for better grip, gauntlet cuff with drawcords closure and wrist cinch with an easy-to-grasp pull tab, zippered handwarmer pocket on the back of each glove, wrist leashes, and a clip to keep the gloves in place

Cons:

  • Poor dexterity
  • Not for extreme cold

Best for: Hikers and skiers on a budget

Women’s Version: Available -> Amazon | Moosejaw

Find the latest price:

Amazon | Moosejaw | Backcountry

 

#20 Sealskinz Waterproof All Weather Sporting Gloves

Sealskinz Waterproof All-Weather Sporting Gloves

Waterproof: Yes

Touchscreen compatible: Yes

Weight: 153 g (5.4 oz)

Price (MSRP): $80

Waterproof technology: Polyurethane

Face/shell fabric: Outer Layer – 92% polyester, 8% elastane; goat leather; suede

Lining & insulation: 50% Polyester, 50% COOLMAX

Notable features:

  • Fold back index finger and thumb make it easy to operate cameras, phones, guns, etc.
  • 100% goatskin suede palm for added grip
  • Three-layer construction for warmth, durability, and waterproofing

Pros:

  • Suitable for every kind of weather from rain and sleet to snow and freezing wind: provide waterproof protection and extreme breathability + zero liner movement to perform better in comparison to standard multi-layer gloves
  • High dexterity as these gloves are designed with the hunt in mind but can also be used with a camera and all kinds of tools
  • Versatile: great for fishing, hunting, hiking, photographing wildlife, equestrian sports, etc.
  • Nice design and look; high-quality materials

Cons:

  • Snug sizing, you may wish to go a size up (maybe even two sizes up if intending to wearing these with liner gloves)
  • The magnet holding the fingers should be stronger to hold the finger piece well
  • A compass needle can be affected by the finger magnets

Best for: Dexterity in cold wet conditions

Women’s Version: Unisex

Find the latest price:

Amazon

 

 

Table 1: Best hiking gloves – comparison table

PRODUCTDESCRIPTIONPROSCONS
Arcteryx Fission SV Gloves
Arc'teryx Fission SV Gloves

#1 Best hiking gloves



Weight -> 220 g (7.8 oz)
Price -> $199
Waterproof -> Yes
Touchscreen compatible -> No
Lining & insulation -> Yes


-> Fully water and windproof, ideal for severe weather
-> Lightweight but warm premium insulation
-> Thoughtful design, high-quality materials and construction
-> Offer a good balance between dexterity and warmth


-> Expensive
-> Not the warmest gloves
-> Low profile, lack some features other similar gloves have

Arcteryx Rho Gloves
Arc'teryx Rho Gloves

#2 Best lightweight hiking gloves



Weight -> 25 g (0.9 oz)
Price -> $39
Waterproof -> No
Touchscreen compatible -> Yes
Lining & insulation -> No


-> Lightweight and compact gloves for milder winter days
-> Look and feel very comfortable - can be used as a glove or liner
-> Moisture-wicking fabric manages humidity very well
-> Touchscreen friendly design


-> Provide little warmth
-> Not very durable when used as gloves
-> Not for windy weather unless used as liner glove

Black Diamond Guide Gloves
Black Diamond Guide Gloves

#3 Best extreme cold weather gloves



Weight -> 312 g (11 oz)
Price -> $170
Waterproof -> Yes
Touchscreen compatible -> No
Lining & insulation -> Yes


-> Excellent weather protection in a wide range of conditions
-> With enough insulation for use in low temperatures
-> The reinforcements provide protection from tear and wear
-> Tough and very well-built with attractive design and features


-> The gloves definitely run small
-> Warm while active but not that warm in other instances

Columbia Fast Trek Fleece Gloves
Columbia Fast Trek Fleece Gloves

#4 Best budget buy hiking gloves



Weight -> 80 g (2.8 oz)
Price -> $20
Waterproof -> No
Touchscreen compatible -> No
Lining & insulation -> No


-> Breathable, moisture-wicking, and quick-drying fabric
-> Lightweight, soft gloves
-> Simple design with basic yet useful features
-> Easy to care for and easy to wash and clean


-> Not good in too cold and high wind conditions
-> Not of great quality but these are the best gloves for this price
-> Reduced dexterity

SmartWool Liner Gloves
SmartWool Liner Gloves

#5 Best liner gloves



Weight -> 43 g (1.5 oz)
Price -> $24
Waterproof -> No
Touchscreen compatible -> Yes
Lining & insulation -> No


-> Versatile and functional
-> Lightweight
-> Allow for excellent manual dexterity
-> Very comfy: soft, cushy material


-> Weird sizing
-> Won't keep your hands warm by themselves in windy, snowy or cold conditions

Hestra Army Leather Patrol 3 Finger
Hestra Army Leather Patrol 3-Finger Gloves

#6 Best 3-finger gloves



Weight -> 227 g (8 oz)
Price -> $140
Waterproof -> No
Touchscreen compatible -> No
Lining & insulation -> Yes


-> Solid, all-around gloves; work very well in dry cold conditions but can be used in wet weather as well
-> Slip on and off easily
-> Light, breathable, and compressive G-Loft lining
-> Low environmental impact


-> Not waterproof (yet these are water-resistant)
-> The exterior leather needs to be re-treated 1-2 times a year to keep its water protection ability

Black Diamond Mercury Mitts
Black Diamond Mercury Mitts

#7 Best hiking mittens


Weight -> 260 g (9.2 oz)
Price -> $110
Waterproof -> Yes
Touchscreen compatible -> No
Lining & insulation -> Yes


-> With windproof, waterproof, and breathable BD.dry inserts
-> Suitable for really cold conditions
-> The liner is easily removable to wash and dry
-> No fancy features but high-quality craftsmanship and useful features


-> Tend to run small; get a larger size than normal
-> Lack wrist leashes to clip the mitts together when you take them off
-> The liners are not very durable

Hestra Highland Gloves
Hestra Highland Gloves

#8 Best leather gloves



Weight -> 322 g (11.4 oz)
Price -> $170
Waterproof -> No
Touchscreen compatible -> No
Lining & insulation -> Yes


->Excellent workmanship
-> Versatile and functional for active outdoor lifestyle in various conditions
-> Warm and super comfortable removable merino wool lining
-> Classic, stylish look


-> Not for rainy climates
-> Pricey

REI Co-op Fleece Gloves
REI Co-op Fleece Gloves

#9 Best fleece gloves



Weight -> 70 g (2.5 oz)
Price -> $25
Waterproof -> No
Touchscreen compatible -> Yes
Lining & insulation -> No


-> Simple design and well made
-> Lightweight, breathable, and quick-drying; very compact
-> Work well in many situations in moderately cold weather
-> The touchscreen feature really works


-> Won't keep your hands warm in really cold weather
-> Not the most durable pair of gloves
-> Not that good when fine dexterity is required

Minus33 Merino Wool Fingerless Gloves
Minus33 Merino Wool Fingerless Gloves

#10 Best fingerless gloves for hiking



Weight -> 68 g (2.4 oz)
Price -> $19
Waterproof -> No
Touchscreen compatible -> Yes
Lining & insulation -> No


-> Half-finger design to keep the dexterity of your fingers
-> Have the characteristics and properties typical of merino wool
-> Work well as a standalone but can also be worn as a liner gloves
-> Good stretch and good fit; comfortable


-> Edges are easy to get snagged
-> Can't withstand extreme wear and tear

Outdoor Research ActiveIce Spectrum Sun Gloves
OR ActiveIce Spectrum Sun Gloves

#11 Best sun gloves



Weight -> 19 g (0.7 oz)
Price -> $25
Waterproof -> No
Touchscreen compatible -> Yes
Lining & insulation -> No


-> With UPF 50+ rating for protection from harsh sun exposure
-> Breathe well and dry fast
-> Good length in the fingers, long gauntlets
-> Suitable for various sports and activities


-> The finger openings are a little tight making them difficult to take off
-> Get very dirty very fast
-> The material is very thin

Outdoor Research Alti Mitts
OR Alti Mittens

#12



Weight -> 364 g (12.8 oz)
Price -> $199
Waterproof -> Yes
Touchscreen compatible -> No
Lining & insulation -> Yes


-> Provide full weather protection for your hands in extreme conditions
-> Robust and sturdy
-> Perfect fit and warmth
-> Top-notch materials and excellent build quality


-> Bulky; limited dexterity
-> Don't have a wrist strap to keep them in place

Mountain Hardwear High Exposure Gore-Tex Gloves
Mountain Hardwear High Exposure Gore-Tex

#13



Weight -> 236 g (8.3 oz)
Price -> $140
Waterproof -> Yes
Touchscreen compatible -> Yes
Lining & insulation -> Yes


-> Not bulky, they allow for high dexterity
-> 2L GORE-TEX protection from the elements
-> Provide lots of warmth
-> Durable leather on palms and fingers


-> May run small, check the sizing chart carefully before buying
-> Can't rely on them in severe winter weather

Dakine Leather Titan Gore-Tex Gloves
Dakine Leather Titan Gore-Tex

#14



Weight -> 99.8 g (3.5 oz)
Price -> $80
Waterproof -> Yes
Touchscreen compatible -> Yes
Lining & insulation -> Yes


-> Waterproof
-> Warm even on very cold winter days with high winds
-> The removable liner can be used as a glove and is also touchscreen compatible
-> Useful features


-> A little bulky - average dexterity
-> The leather palms require regular cleaning and maintenance

Marmot Randonnee Gloves
Marmot Randonnee Gloves

#15



Weight -> 184 g (6.5 oz)
Price -> $100
Waterproof -> Yes
Touchscreen compatible -> No
Lining & insulation -> Yes


-> Functional gloves with non-slip palms
-> Good design combined with high-quality materials, useful features, and sturdy build
-> Warmth and comfort in below-freezing temperatures
-> Complete waterproof protection in changing weather conditions


-> No leashes to keep the gloves from falling when taken off
-> Decent durability

The North Face Apex+ Etip Gloves
TNF Apex+ Etip Gloves

#16



Weight -> 80 g (2.8 oz)
Price -> $55
Waterproof -> No
Touchscreen compatible -> Yes
Lining & insulation -> Yes


-> Great touchscreen capabilities
-> Wind-resistant
-> Nice dexterity allowing a good range of motion
-> Suitable for various activities


-> Not very warm
-> It's a little tough to get them on and off
-> Run smaller than expected

Helly Hansen Alpha Warm HT Gloves
Helly Hansen Alpha Warm HT

#17



Weight -> 213 g (7.5 oz)
Price -> $120
Waterproof -> Yes
Touchscreen compatible -> Yes
Lining & insulation -> Yes


-> Provide protection in highly challenging, changing, and unpredictable weather conditions
-> Well made with good quality material; good grip and dexterity
-> Warm and dry experience for your hands
-> Excellent craftsmanship with attention to detail


-> Run smaller than other similar products
-> Work well in most situations but can't offer complete protection in extreme conditions
-> You'll need hand warmers in very cold weather

Showa 282 Temres
Showa 282 Temres

#18



Weight -> 136 g (4.8 oz)
Price -> $27
Waterproof -> Yes
Touchscreen compatible -> No
Lining & insulation -> Yes


-> Offer solid wet and cold-weather performance
-> Cheap and reliable alternative to more expensive gloves
-> Grippy, awesome dexterity
-> Fit comfortably, easy and are quick to take on and off


-> Very basic design and features, no cuff tighteners
-> Don't last very long, offer decent durability
-> Not very pleasant smell initially

Gordini Gore-Tex Storm Trooper
Gordini Gore-Tex Storm Trooper

#19



Weight -> 265 g (9.3 oz)
Price -> $70
Waterproof -> Yes
Touchscreen compatible -> No
Lining & insulation -> Yes


-> Offer protection against all the elements
-> Enough warmth for most conditions and situations
-> Relatively inexpensive
-> Nice set of features


-> Poor dexterity
-> Not for extreme cold

Sealskinz Waterproof All-Weather Sporting Gloves
Sealskinz Waterproof All-Weather

#20



Weight -> 153 g (5.4 oz)
Price -> $80
Waterproof -> Yes
Touchscreen compatible -> Yes
Lining & insulation -> Yes


-> Suitable for every kind of weather
-> High dexterity
-> Versatile
-> Nice design and look; high-quality materials


-> Snug sizing, you may wish to go a size or even two sizes up
-> Need stronger magnet to hold the finger piece well
-> A compass needle can be affected by the finger magnets

 

Hiking gloves buying advice or what to consider

Materials

Plenty of natural and synthetic materials are used for making gloves for hiking. The most widely used materials are the following:

Leather

Leather gloves and mittens are classic for outdoor use, especially for cold weather conditions and environments. Leather has many good properties and qualities which have made it a preferred material for the glove industry: it is soft and provides a comfortable fit, remains flexible no matter how low the temperature is, it’s robust, breathable, offers good grip (among the main reasons why it’s often on the palms of high-quality full finger gloves), and is also puncture and abrasion-resistant. Keep in mind that each kind of leather is unique and what’s true/typical for one may not be true for another type of skin as its properties vary depending on the animal. For example, some kinds of leather are softer (better for the feel) while others are stiffer (and usually more robust). The wear and tear of the gloves are also deeply affected by leather thickness.

Leather has also some bad points. It is not waterproof (unless it’s with good impregnation, which is the case with the Hestra Army Leather Patrol) and when wet it is slow to dry. Wet leather also loses its natural oils as water dries, which makes it dry reducing the lifespan. Moreover, wet leather can get softer or harder as the main factor for this is the temperature. High temperatures make wet leather softer while low temperatures make it harder.

Synthetic leather

A cheaper option than genuine goatskin, deerskin, cowhide or pigskin, faux leather is used mainly in inexpensive models. Another advantage other than the lower price is that the synthetic leather comes in various types depending on the required properties (water-resistance, abrasion-resistance, breathability, etc.) so that you can choose the kind of faux leather that would suit your needs best.

Synthetics

Man-made materials such as polyester fleece – a soft, warm, and moisture-wicking fabric that’s often used for liner gloves and gloves suitable for spring/autumn and mild winter weather – have good insulative, breathability, stretch, and protective properties making them an excellent choice for:

  • Outer gloves/glove shells (nylon, polyester, elastane, even Kevlar and waterproof breathable fabrics such as Pertex Shield) – the first layer of protection for your hands should be reasonably durable and weather-resistant.
  • Lining (Bemberg, DriClime, COOLMAX, fleece, tricot, acrylic) – is key. It should be light, soft, warm, and most importantly – breathable and moisture-wicking. The moisture-wicking lining allows for better moisture management and thus dry hands.
  • Insulation (PrimaLoft, Thinsulate, G-Loft, Octa Loft, Thermolite, Megaloft, Quallofil, polyester hollow fibers) – there’s a multitude of synthetic materials engineered to keep warmth in as PrimaLoft, G-Loft, and 3M Thinsulate are among the best materials for proper thermal insulation.
  • Inserts with waterproof and breathable function (GORE-TEX, Helly Tech, Czone, BD.dry) – for complete protection from the elements in a wide range of conditions including challenging and unpredictable weather conditions.
  • Reinforcements intended to provide better hand protection and grip (PVC, PU, EVA, rubber, silicone, neoprene) – reinforcements from synthetic materials with various functions are used on the palm and glove back.
Fleece glove in forest
Fleece gloves are a good choice for intermediate seasons and mild winter days

Photo by Linus Schütz

Natural fibers

Wool, down, silk, and cotton are among the most popular natural fibers for gloves.

While cotton is not the most popular fiber for gloves and hiking apparel in general (if you don’t know why it is so – see our article cotton and polyester where we explain why cotton is not a good option for activewear and high-intensity activities), modified cotton can be found in glove linings. Take Bemberg (used in the Hestra Army Leather Patrol – 3 Finger), for example. It is a biodegradable and compostable cupro fiber produced by the Japanese company Asahi Kasei Corporation. Bemberg is expensive lining material that controls moisture and believe it or not, it’s derived from regenerated cellulose fiber made from cotton.

Silk is another popular choice for glove lining. While relatively expensive, it has low weight, excellent moisture-management abilities, and offers thermal protection.

Down is a very light, warm, compact, and comfortable natural fiber whose main function is to trap air and provide insane insulation. The most expensive man-made fibers try to resemble the characteristics and properties of down. The downside of down is its ability to absorb a great deal of moisture. Moreover, once wet, down is slow to dry. Don’t worry. Nowadays gloves with down fill are predominantly weather-resistant to keep both down and your hands dry.

Wool and especially merino wool is among the most traditional fibers for gloves, socks, hats and headwear, and outdoor apparel that stays close to the body. Merino wool is pricey and isn’t very resilient (blends with certain other fibers are more resilient) but these drawbacks are nothing compared to merino’s advantages over its opponents. What’s so special about this fiber? Merino wool is a lightweight, inherently odor-resistant, and anti-microbial fiber that stays soft, relatively warm, and breathable even when wet. What’s more, it has great moisture management abilities, dries relatively fast, and provides better insulation than regular wool when wet. All these make it preferred for glove liners. It’s no coincidence that a merino blend (SmartWool Liner Gloves) is on top of our list for liners. Merino can also be used in more substantial gloves for cold weather. The Hestra Highland Gloves are excellent gloves with 100% merino wool lining.

Style

While many different styles of gloves exist, basically, there are three main types of gloves for hiking. The factor that distinguishes one type from the other is the number of fingers. Mittens’ job is to provide excellent protection on the coldest days. That’s why they’re usually quite bulky due to the extra insulation inside. They insulate all of your fingers together so that they can share warmth. Mitts come with a single main compartment and no other fingers except for the thumb. Classic gloves come with five separate fingers. They can’t keep your hands as warm as an equivalent pair of mittens but preserve some fine finger dexterity so that you could hold and work with tools, trekking poles, ski poles, etc. A three-finger glove is a compromise or hybrid between glove and mitten. It may look kind of strange to some but the design allows for some dexterity (better than mitten but not as good as a classic glove) and it’s also warmer than a 5-finger glove.

Some companies make men’s and women’s versions (Black Diamond Guide, Black Diamond MercuryOutdoor Research Alti Mittens, Marmot Randonnee, etc.), while others prefer to avoid making men and women-specific gloves and rely on unisex designs. It seems that such a policy does more harm to women than men since the majority of unisex gloves often fit more like men’s gloves.

Weather protection

The main requirement for (hiking) gloves is to protect the hands of the user from the elements. In this respect, they are very similar to hardshell jackets. The challenges of cold and wet weather make it difficult to compensate for the heat loss unless your gloves can offer a good balance between thermal insulation and waterproofness to protect the user from the elements. Thus quality hiking gloves for sports and pursuits usually offer extra wind and water protection. This is all the more so for gloves intended for use in the mountain where sudden weather changes are a common occurrence.

Of course, there are many great models whose intended use does not demand that they are waterproof. Great examples are two of our top choices – best leather gloves (Hestra Highland) and best 3-finger gloves (Hestra Army Leather Patrol). The Hestra Highland Gloves are top-notch gloves crafted from high-quality materials like goat leather and merino wool. They’re functional and versatile but not waterproof. Is it a problem? Yes, if you wear them in rainy conditions, it can be a huge problem. But these gloves are intended for a year-round active lifestyle and not for prolonged use in wet conditions where the leather will get soaked. For use in light mixed conditions, we recommend the water-resistant Hestra Army Leather Patrol – 3 Finger as a better option than the Highland. They will keep your hands warm and can be used safely in most conditions. It is true that they work best in dry cold conditions but they can be used in wet conditions too. However, if you need complete protection from water, we recommend the waterproof version of these gloves (same name, so Hestra Army Leather Gore-Tex – 3 Finger). They can be purchased for around $50 more than the price of the non-waterproof version. Or you can use waterproof inserts with your Hestra gloves. They will do the job of making your gloves waterproof.

Snow sport mittens
Practicing snow sports in very cold conditions require wearing solid mittens to keep your hands warm and dry

Photo by Karsten Winegeart

As we hinted above, waterproof hiking gloves usually come with removable waterproof inserts. Different technologies are used but the most popular inserts/membranes are GORE-TEX. Many manufacturers of hiking gloves use their products to enhance the waterproofness of their own gloves and mittens. The top-rated Arc’teryx Fission SV Gloves utilize GORE-TEX inserts just like the Outdoor Research Alti Mittens. Some manufacturers make their own waterproof breathable membranes and prefer to use their own waterproof breathable inserts. Such companies are Helly Hansen (the Alpha Warm HT Gloves use the Helly Tech Performance – Helly Hansen’s second-best waterproof breathable technology – for protection from the elements) and Black Diamond (they use both their own inserts and inserts made by GORE-TEXT as the Mercury Mittens come with inserts utilizing the BD.dry technology while the Guide Gloves come with inserts using the GORE-TEX XCR technology).

Thermal insulation

Cold winter days require solid lining and insulation capable of keeping your hands warm when the temperature drops below freezing especially in the presence of strong wind. If you are a more experienced outdoorsy person, you’ve probably noticed that the weight and bulkiness of insulation materials nowadays are much lower than they were before. Quality hiking gloves for cold weather have insulation from synthetic or natural material or a mixture between these two. Vapor barrier liners can also be very useful in very cold weather.

As we highlighted in the ‘materials section’ above, there are a lot of materials used by the glove manufacturers to make their gloves provide warmth in cold weather. Some of them such as PrimaLoft are getting closer to the best natural insulators (still not there). Some claim that PrimaLoft Gold and PrimaLoft Black – the most advanced PrimaLoft insulation – have as high warmth to weight ratio as 450-550 and 550-fill-power down respectively (the lowest fill power of down is 450; the fill power of the most highly-rated down available on the market is around 900-1000). PrimaLoft Gold insulation is featured in the Arc’teryx Fission SV and four other designs in our top 20 of the best hiking gloves including the Black Diamond Guide and Mountain Hardwear High Exposure Gore-Tex. Each one of these five gloves and mittens models is wind and waterproof and has enough high-quality insulation to work sufficiently well in cold to very cold weather.

3M Thinsulate is another premium material designed to provide warmth with less bulk. It’s featured in the Helly Hansen Alpha Warm HT gloves designed to provide the needed protection in unpredictable weather conditions. G-Loft is featured in the Hestra Army Leather Patrol – 3 Finger. It’s another synthetic material trying to mimic the properties and qualities of natural down and according to the company behind this fiber:

“[G-LOFT] combines the benefits of natural down with the ruggedness of a synthetic fibre.”

The G-Loft fiber is practically modified polyester that dries fast (one of the most typical characteristics of polyester) and due to the ‘memory effect’, the G-Loft fiber always returns to its airy original shape. The hollow fiber retains air to provide optimum thermal insulation. Additionally, the clustering of the fibers within the insulating layer – typical of natural down – helps to retain the trapped air inside ensuring great insulation in all directions. The quantity and/or quality of insulation in cheaper hiking gloves is lower. Some glove manufacturers produce their own thermal insulation. The North Face Apex+ Etip and Marmot Randonnee are examples of this as they utilize the North Face’s and Marmot’s proprietary Heatseeker Eco (70% post-consumer recycled polyester) and Thermal R (polyester) respectively.

Note that quality down is still better than synthetic thermal insulation as its weight to warmth ratio is higher than the best man-made insulation.

Weight and packability

We’ve reviewed gloves weighing from 19 g (0.7 oz) for the ultralight sun gloves Outdoor Research ActiveIce Spectrum Sun to 364 g (12.8 oz) for the heaviest model – Outdoor Research Alti Mittens. There are eight models below 100g (3.5 oz) and nine heavier than 200 g (7.1 oz). Among them, three weigh more than 300 g (10.6 oz). The weight of the rest is between 100 and 200 g.  Obviously, there’s a huge difference between the lightest and heaviest designs but the explanation is simple – it is due to the materials used as well as the available features, insulation, and expected use. Normally, hiking gloves for winter and extreme cold have much more features and insulation that add weight, whereas summer and hot weather gloves are super lightweight due to the simplicity of the construction and to having a minimum amount of features and layers.

Graph 1 and Graph 2 below show the weight of each of the 20 models in our review. The average weight is 169 g (or approximately 6 oz) as Sealskinz Waterproof All Weather Sporting Gloves and Marmot Randonnee are closest to that number.

The graphs show that among the lightest designs you’ll find liners, sun gloves, half finger gloves, and fleece gloves i.e. gloves that don’t need to have any insulation. More solid models of hiking gloves for cold weather begin with Marmot Randonnee weighing nearly 200 g. Best gloves for extreme weather Black Diamond Guide come at 312 g (11 oz), which makes them the third heaviest design here. Best mitts, Black Diamond Mercury and Outdoor Research Alti offer complete weather protection and have extra insulation to provide warmth in very cold environments, which inevitably leads to a higher weight.

The top-ranked Arc’teryx Fission SV are well-balanced high-performance gloves that weigh a mere 220 g (7.8 oz). This streamlined construction has lightweight premium insulation inside and all the other necessary features to meet the challenges of severe weather.

Compactness or packability (the opposite of bulkiness) is an important characteristic especially when the available space in your backpack is limited. Two of the best lightweight designs – the Arc’teryx Rho and SmartWool Liner – are also extremely packable and can be stored in a pocket easily. This can never happen with bulkier models such as the Outdoor Research Alti.

Graph 1: Weight comparison between hiking gloves designs (in grams)

Hiking gloves weight comparison

Graph 2: Weight comparison between hiking gloves designs (in ounces) 

Hiking gloves weight in ounces - comparison

Features

The following technical features of hiking gloves can be of use if utilized properly:

  • Cuffs – elastic cuffs and gauntlet cuffs are used to seal warmth in. One-hand adjustable wrist straps are very useful in the cold and when traveling in challenging weather. Long gauntlet cuffs provide extra forearm and wrist protection and are easily operated especially when coming with adjustable wrist straps. They are used primarily in gloves for snow sports and extreme weather conditions.
  • Hand warmers – many solid winter gloves especially those for extreme cold weather have stash pockets on the back for chemical inserts called ‘hand warmers’. They can usually generate heat for up to 8-10 hours.
  • Touchscreen compatibility – one of those features that are getting more and more popular, touchscreen-friendly design makes gloves usable with touchscreen phones and devices. While this feature seemed exotic a few years back, we now know that there’s nothing difficult in making a pair of gloves touchscreen-compatible. Just put some sensor pads on the forefingers (and thumbs if you want to have more options for operating your touchscreen device) and voila. It’s a typical feature of liner gloves.
  • Grippy palms – hard-wearing outdoor gloves rely on reinforced grippy palms for 1) increasing the lifespan and 2) secure grip on tools. There are also models such as the Outdoor Research ActiveIce that don’t have reinforced palms but moisture-wicking technology with xylitol crystals that promotes cooling.
  • Leashes – used to keep the gloves from falling when taken off. This is a super useful feature for extreme environments.
  • Carabiner loops – are used to secure the gloves together and clip them to something – such as a backpack – when they are not in use. The Hestra Highland and Hestra Army Leather Patrol – 3 Finger Gloves come with carabiner loops and carabiner.

Fit, dexterity, and comfort

Well-fitting or ill-fitting gloves can make or break the whole experience. Goot fit is among the key components of hiking gloves performance plus it could be a crucial factor for the perceived comfort. Hence, it’s important to find the correct size. Too tight gloves can be a huge problem as they will reduce dexterity and what’s more, they can restrict blood circulation – the main factor causing your hands to be cold. Keep in mind that hiking gloves with some minor exceptions do not stretch over time. This means that you can’t rely on them to fit well over time. Too loose gloves aren’t a much better option either as they negatively impact the fit, comfort, and dexterity.

Our research shows that most models in our top 20 fit as expected but still there are some like the two models by Black Diamond (Guide and Mercury) and Mountain Hardwear High Exposure Gore-Tex that run small. Another interesting case is the Sealskinz Wateroroof All Weather Sporting Gloves. These sports gloves are ideal for those who need functional and reliable gloves for every kind of weather. They come with fold back index finger and thumb allowing for operating cameras and other devices and tools. The problem is that the Sealskinz Waterproof All Weather Sporting gloves run a size or two down. Keep this in mind before buying this model by Sealskinz.

For some activities ‘fit is king’. Can you imagine climbing or skiing with ill-fitting gloves? No way! Another reason causing the good fit to play a major role in having a comfortable experience on the trail is the fact that it allows for proper layering when needed. Note that depending on the thickness and size of the inner layer of your layered system, you may need to go a size up.

Hikers wearing mittens carry snowshoes
Hiking gloves and mittens should fit your hands well

Bulkiness makes mobility more difficult hampering dexterity. For activities at below-freezing temperatures, warmth is more important than dexterity. That’s why, in spite of the decreased dexterity, we’d prefer wearing mittens in such conditions. On the other side, for those who’d need to do a lot of things with their hands, dexterity can be of prime importance. Then, gloves should be preferred.

Durability

Another important factor to consider before buying hiking gloves, durability is one of the things that can prolong or reduce the expected lifetime of your gloves.

Many lighter gloves sacrifice durability for low weight. Such gloves are lightweight because they’re either intended for use as liners or they’re engineered for high performance (utilizing thin and/or lightweight fabrics). People usually realize this after buying some cool lightweight gloves and wearing them a couple of times. So, don’t expect a pair of gloves that weighs as much as a candy bar to last for more than a season or two of occasional use. It just won’t happen. On top of our most ‘lightweight list’ are gloves such as the Outdoor Research ActiveIce Spectrum Sun Gloves, Arc’teryx Rho, and SmartWool Liner. Each of these three designs is functional and comfortable but, unsurprisingly, none of them is among the most hard-wearing gloves. The same is valid for the REI Co-op Fleece Gloves and especially for the Minus33 Merino Wool Fingerless. Of these two, the former is crafted from fleece whose durability is reasonable, whereas the latter is made from thin and light merino blend plus its half-finger design makes things worse as it unravels at the edges.

The type of fabric used, its thickness, potential reinforcements, and the stitching are key elements for making a pair of gloves or mittens hold up well even in the harshest conditions. Heavy-duty durable constructions are either made from leather or have some structural reinforcement (typically leather palms, EVA, PVC or rubber knuckles, etc.). Using Kevlar thread is also very popular as it’s one of the strongest threads on the market and has good abrasion-resistance and a very little stretch. Kevlar stitching is used in the Black Diamond Mercury and the Outdoor Research Alti. Both of these mitten designs have a durable goat leather exterior reinforced with Kevlar thread. This provides extra durability and resistance against wear and tear from contact surfaces – ropes, trekking poles, ski poles, and other tools used by backpackers and mountaineers. Generally, models made to withstand harsh environments and conditions are expected to be much more reliable regarding their durability than those for use in milder climates.

Price

The bar graph below (Graph 3) shows the price range of the best hiking gloves on our list. The price tags of the gloves in our review vary from $19 to $199 or the price of the cheapest design is more than 10 times as low as the price of the most expensive gloves. The average price is nearly $91 (at $100 Marmot Randonnee cost several bucks more than the average). It’s worth mentioning that nine of the twenty glove models or nearly half cost $100 and above, whereas the rest are cheaper. Seven of them cost below $50 including the best budget option – Columbia Fast Trek Fleece whose $20 price is the second-lowest, a mere dollar above the price of the most affordable Minus33 Merino Fingerless. Don’t be fooled by the price. These fleece gloves by Columbia have a very good price:quality ratio thanks to the basic design, few but useful features, warm fleece fabric, and affordable price. What we don’t like about the Fast Trek Fleece Gloves is that they are too puffy limiting dexterity. So, we prefer Arc’teryx Rho when what’s important are sensitivity and fine dexterity.

Although the price of gloves available on the market ranges a lot, good, solid hiking gloves cost top dollar. The all-around winner Arc’teryx Fission SV is a good example. These gloves cost $199 but they are worth every penny. They have all the important things for such type of gloves – nice design, solid construction, high-quality materials, versatility, lightweight but warm insulation, and can provide complete protection from the elements. The Outdoor Research Alti have the same price tag, which isn’t surprising given that they’re suitable for 8000-meter peaks and Arctic conditions. Buying a design that costs 150-200 definitely requires proper consideration. If you can afford it and you think that the desired pair of gloves is worth it, go for it. If you’re not sure, it’s probably better to do further research or just to pass on it.

There’s one a bit unusual choice in our review – Showa 282 Temres. These gloves can be a very good addition to your gear for hikes in wet and cold weather than appears at first sight. Yes, Showa 282 Temres are not the most durable gloves and do not have the most appealing look but other than that they’re highly waterproof and windproof, fit comfortably, have grippy palms, and have enough dexterity to work well during various activities. In addition, these gloves cost no more than $27.

Graph 3: Hiking gloves price comparison (US dollars)

Hiking gloves price - comparison

Conclusion

Having a pair of good hiking gloves on your hands or in your pack is a must when traveling in cold environments. They are essential for providing the needed defense against harsh mountain or winter weather. In our minds, the Arc’teryx Fission SV are the best all-around hiking gloves. With great design, materials, and premium lightweight insulation, these versatile gloves provide complete protection from the elements even in severe weather conditions. There’s a number of designs that work well in extreme cold and high mountain weather conditions where temperatures drop quickly and can reach sub-zero, especially with the wind chill factor. We were favorably impressed by a few designs for arctic conditions. However, two models stand out – Black Diamond Guide and Black Diamond Mercury – our favorite extreme cold gloves and mittens respectively.

Lightweight hiking gloves that can be used as gloves or liner gloves such as the Arc’teryx Rho and compact liners like the SmartWool Liner Gloves are indispensable for your outdoor activities in all kinds of weather. Fingerless gloves are a good option in milder weather and when more dexterity is needed. The Minus33 Merino Wool Fingerless are among the best designs in this category. Wearing sun gloves is recommended for protection from harsh sun exposure during summer outdoor pursuits. The ActiveIce fabric technology with xylitol crystals and the UPF 50+ rating are two of the main reasons for the Outdoor Research ActiveIce Spectrum Sun Gloves to be our top recommendation for sun gloves.

In this guide, we discussed some of the best designs available on the market for hiking and backpacking gloves. We also tried to include everything else that could be of use to help you choose the right pair for your needs.

Which are your favorite hiking gloves? And why? You can make your recommendations and suggestions in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you.

 

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