The changes in seasons from summer to fall bring us romantic notions of colored leaves falling from trees, steaming bowls of soup, and cozy evenings by the fire. Along with changes in the weather, your favorite hiking trails undergo a significant change from their summer form. The weather is colder, the trail a little more muddy and fewer people out and about.
Fall weather hiking brings with it a new set of challenges, most importantly, staying warm and dry. Other than your feet and head, your hands are the most important part of your body to keep warm. Cold hands and fingers make for a miserable hiking experience and finding the best pair of hiking gloves make brisk fall adventures in the wild a little more enjoyable.
What are hiking gloves?
For the uninitiated who have spent their days living under a rock, hiking gloves are a pair of gloves that you wear outdoors to protect your hands from physical damage and hypothermia. They are used during a hike to avoid damage to your fingers, keep your hands warm, and to stay comfortable when kicking back at camp.
Hiking gloves come in all shapes and sizes, but the best hiking gloves are lightweight, breathable, and able to retain enough heat. The reason that you don’t want a normal pair of gloves in place of a pair of cold weather hiking gloves, is the same reason you don’t wear a windbreaker on a winter hike.
Some people prefer gloves without fingertips and others prefer gloves that cover the entire length of the finger. It really just comes down to personal preference, finding the best paid of hiking gloves is about figuring out which gloves fit the best while keeping your hands protected from the elements.
Benefits of hiking gloves
Some people swear by hiking gloves and others consider them an unnecessary addition to hiking gear. While they may not be the “right choice” for everyone, there are a number of reasons to consider adding hiking gloves to your hiking gear.
1. Hiking gloves keep your hands warm
Cold hands are the worst! A quality pair of hiking gloves is going to keep your hands warm on those cold days when can see your breath. They keep your hands warm and dry while protecting you from hypothermia and frostbite.
2. Protect your fingers and palms on challenging scrambles
On more challenging hikes, when a scramble ahead of you, a good pair of hiking gloves protect your fingers from hard surfaces that can easily damage your fingertips. It’s easy to cut a finger or jam a knuckle into the rocks, gloves offer an extra layer of protection when scrambling.
3. Maintain the dexterity of the fingers
One of the biggest drawbacks of wearing gloves is they get in the way of your natural hand movement. A good pair of hiking gloves won’t restrict the motion of your fingers and you may even forget that you have them on. You don’t want to have to take your gloves on and off every single time that you need to grab something out of your backpack or a take a drink of water.
4. Layers, layers, layers
Layers are the single most important trick to maintaining body warmth in cold weather. Having more than one layer gives you the flexibility to adjust as you inevitably heat up during a challenging hike. Gloves give you an extra layer of protection on your hands and the option to take them off if you get too warm.
5. Protect your fingers from frostbite
Frostbite is a serious condition that is caused by exposure to cold weather and it often affects the face, toes, and fingers (source). Frostbite can cause serious long-lasting damage to the affected area. It’s fair to say that hiking gloves are an important part of your cold weather clothing.
What to look for in the best hiking gloves?
Hiking gloves come in a variety of shapes and sizes, however, there are common features to keep your eyes on.
The insulation rating determines how warm your gloves are going to be during the hike. It’s important to consider the insulation rating whenever you’re looking for a pair of gloves. You don’t need extremely thick insulation, however, you do want gloves that are warm enough for any cold weather you may encounter.
Finding a glove that fits your hand comfortably while not slipping off your hand depends on the fit of the glove. Just like a pair of shoes, a pair of gloves should fit your hand without experiencing loose fingers and slippage. Gloves come in standard sizes that range from small to large and you really need to try them on before taking them out. Keep in mind, these days you can return nearly anything if they don’t fit perfectly.
We all know about waterproof ratings and how much they vary. No piece of hiking gear is completely waterproof, but if you plan on using them in rain or snow having a waterproof pair of gloves is a good idea. Take a look at what type of waterproofing rating and make an informed decision, your fingers will thank you later.
An adventurous hike outdoors comes in all forms and the best hikes are full of surprises. The last thing you need is a pair of gloves that won’t last more than a couple hikes. All your hiking gear should be durable and your gloves are no exception. Look for a pair of gloves that are made of durable materials that last for years, you don’t want to have to replace them after the first few uses.
This goes hand in hand with the insulation rating (no pun intended). You want a pair of gloves that keep your hands warm all throughout the day and this is completely dependant on how cold the weather is. How much dexterity are you willing to give up for a warm pair of gloves.
Breathability should be thought of as ventilation and under your control at all times. Too much breathability and you get too cold, too little and your hands begin to sweat. It’s hard to judge the breathability based on the look, wearing the glove outdoors is the best option and reading verified reviews is the second best option.
There are a few different styles to choose from depending on what your needs are. We mainly covered 5 fingered gloves, however, there are also mittens and fingerless options. Most gloves are unisex, that being said, the biggest difference in men’s and women’s gloves isn’t the style, it’s the size.
Hiking gloves are often made of a blend of synthetic materials and they all aim to serve the same purpose. The most important consideration is the type of weather that you expect to encounter. For the most extreme conditions, you want a glove with a synthetic lining and a waterproof outer shell. For a moderate hike, a synthetic blend without the second layer will be fine.
The 5 best hiking gloves
Hiking gloves are made for warmth, protection, and cold weather. Find out which hiking gloves are the best fit for your hands.
Fantastic Zone Winter Gloves
These winter gloves are made of single layer 3M insulate with a patented system of microfiber and hollow fibers. The palm of the gloves is suede deerskin that is naturally soft and provides your hand’s with mobility and gives you a layer of protection from abrasions and cuts. The back of the gloves are polar fleece and the wrists have elastic cuffs to keep the warm in and cold out.
The gloves come in 4 different sizes ranging from small to extra large so you shouldn’t have any problems finding a size that fits well, as long as you don’t have Shrek hands. They can be machine or hand washed in warm soapy water and then air dried.
Overall the gloves are soft, comfortable and warm, which is exactly what you want from a pair of hiking gloves. The biggest downside is the lack of water resistance, so if you anticipate wet weather these may not be the best option.
- Very flexible
- Not bulky
- Multiple sizes
- Not water resistant
- Strong smell
- Sizes fit small
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SKYDEERE Winter Glove
SKYDEERE winter gloves are appropriately named considering that the palm of the glove is made of carefully selected deerskin leather. The leather palm of the glove gives you a durable layer to protect your hand from an inadvertent fall or a scramble over rocks. The deerskin leather gives you a premium snug fit that finds a balance of comfort and warmth.
The back of the glove is made of a classic polar fleece fabric that insulates your hand from cold weather. The gloves are lined with 3M Thinsulate insulation which is both lightweight and warm. They come in 5 sizes ranging from small to xx-large, so finding a pair that fits shouldn’t be an issue.
They come with a 90-day guarantee, so if for any reason you’re not happy with the gloves after wearing them, you can return them for a full refund with no questions asked.
- 3M Thinsulate
- 5 sizes
- Durable material
- Sizes run small
- Absorb moisture
- Rare odor reported
- [ Deerskin Suede Palm ] - Premium Genuine Deerskin Leather Suede is naturally soft and flexible, with moderate abrasion resistance. All materials are skin-friendly and moisture-wicking layers inside keep your hands sweat-free
- [ Lining ] - 3M Thinsulate insulation is warm yet lightweight, powerful yet thin. It helps trap hands heat while allowing moisture to escape. Keep the hand temperature to the maximum extent possible
- [ Thermal Polar Fleece Back ] - And the windproof polar fleece back is windproof, comfort and warmth
- [ Size and Fitting ] - Double shirred elastic wrist designed to fit most of the hands, and the Deerskin is also had a good stretch
Columbia Men’s Fast Trek Glove
Columbia’s Fast Trak Gloves are made of soft, durable, and comfortable 250g microfleece. The palm of the gloves has a reinforced palm that prevents abrasions and offers a slip-free grip. The cuff of the wrist has an elastic band that prevents slippage and keep the warm air in and the cold air out. These gloves are durable and designed to handle wear an tear in the fingertips and palms.
They come in 4 sizes and Columbia has a sizing chart that you reference to get the proper fit. Each glove has a clip on the wrist for storing the gloves in an easily accessible location.
Overall, these gloves are a great fit for moderately cold weather and are not necessarily the best fit for extremely cold temperatures.
- Comfortable material
- Snug fit
- Not waterproof
- Can’t wash
- Lack of wind resistance
The North Face Women’s Etip Glove
North Face Women’s Etip Gloves are wildly popular among runners and double as a hiking glove. The fleece knit fabric gives you four-way stretch with Radiametric Articulation (a trademark of North Face) so your fingers can move freely. The palm has a soft shell so if you stumble across an awesome photo you don’t have fumble around and remove your gloves to catch the perfect shot.
The glove has a silicone grip on the palm so you don’t have to worry about your camera/phone slipping out of your hand. The finish of the Etip gloves has a DWR finish so they are able to handle a small amount of water without concern. They come in a variety of colors so you can mix and match to find the perfect match.
They also come with a lifetime warranty so you can rock them all year long with confidence. North Face Etip gloves are a great hiking, running, and outdoor glove.
- Vendor Name: THE NORTH FACE
- Style No: A7LP-A8Q
- Material : Polyester/Elastane
- Descr : W ETIP GLOVE
Mountain Made Outdoor Gloves for Men & Women
These gloves are made of 88% polyester, 6% spandex, and 6% PVC rubber. The blend of synthetic materials gives the glove a comfortable, durable, and warm feel. The palm and fingers of the glove come with a textured grip that aids in maintaining a firm grip on what’s in your hand.
Sizes range from small to extra large, so chances are there’s a glove for you. The middle finger and index finger of the gloves are designed with a conductive pad, so you’ll be able to freely snap phtots.
Overall, Mountain Made Outdoor Gloves are a sporty and budget outdoor glove that provide you with warmth and comfort.
- Fast drying material
- Multiple sizes
- Wind resistant while hiking
- Zipper can break
- Not for extreme cold
- Not waterproof