Best Gloves for Hiking Reviewed
Despite their benefits, the reality remains that you cannot use the same hiking gloves you used in winter, for summer. A single pair of hiking gloves cannot do everything. Owning several gloves will give you a chance to fine-tune your hiking experience.
It is also imperative that you keep your hands comfortable because of drastic weather changes. This guide consists of some of the best gloves for hiking in the market. They are versatile and useful for different activities and weather conditions.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
A balance between dexterity and warmth
While hiking, you’ll need your hands for several things. Obviously, a glove that is too small won’t fit you, and one that’s too large will keep sliding off. That is why having an appropriately sized hiking glove is essential.
You don’t want a glove that’s has a tight fit since you will feel as though your fingers are restricted. Moreover, you risk cutting off the circulation to your hands if the wrist is too constricted. As such, your hands will end up feeling numb.
Sharing gloves is not very advisable. A hiking glove might fit your friend, but fail to do so on you. It is also unhygienic to share gloves with others.
In this review, hiking gloves are categorized as extra-large, large, medium, small, and extra-small. When it comes to gloves meant for scrambling, you will find that small sizes are non-existent. After all, it’s not recommended to have kids engaging in such activities. However, it can be a walk in the park for adults using sturdy griping hiking gloves.
Not all sizes are the same. For example, one brand’s large might be medium in another. An excellent way to gauge your size would be to check your hand measurements as per the manufacturer’s guidelines. A good brand will usually have several size options.
Most of the hiking gloves in this list can be adjusted to suit various needs. A rise in temperature will call for a more loose fit. A significant drop in temperature will require you to have a snug fit.
The more the layers, the more the insulation
Layering helps you keep warm and dry. You need to insulate your hands from harsh winter-like conditions. Synthetic materials are better than organic ones because they retain heat longer and dry out faster. Even though wool is efficient at keeping you warm, it takes ages to dry after getting wet.
Use different fabrics to get the perfect mix of properties. The outer layer is usually water resistant or even waterproof. The more robust the materials, the longer your hiking glove will serve you. However, you might find it constrictive to use a harder shell.
The inner layer is typically a soft liner, with heat retention properties. The ideal liner should also have moisture management properties as well. Insulation creates pockets for warm air; thus, your hands remain warmer for longer. Inserts made of polyester make the warmest hiking gloves.
In cases where you don’t need insulation, then natural fibers will work well for you since they are lighter. With less weight, then you can move your fingers effortlessly. Some hiking gloves may not have removable layers, but feature an insulating fill between the outer weatherproof layer and soft inner fabric.
It all depends on your setting
There is a wide range of hiking gloves in the market. Some have five fingers while some are mittens. Aside from the traditional types of gloves, there are also hybrid options that comprise of the glove designs mentioned above. Such models often come in a three-finger design.
Mountain bikers like the three-finger design, since they are warm and functional. They also make the braking process effortless. While on the trail, you want to feel as natural as possible. That is why your hiking gloves shouldn’t hamper your freedom and dexterity.
It can be frustrating when you have to take off your gloves continuously whenever you want to do something. Hiking environments also differ; therefore, no single glove works best for all the different settings. What you can do is use a layering system. In such an arrangement, you can wear each glove on top of the other.
The typical hiker needs two or three different pairs of gloves for extreme environments. For warmth, use a fleece glove on the bottom layer. The fleece glove in direct contact with your skin will provide warmth, and they dry out fast when in contact with sweat. Modern fleece gloves allow you to use your touchscreen devices without taking them off.
The second type of glove should be waterproof for insulation purposes. The main objective of waterproof gloves is to keep your hands as dry as possible in wet conditions. There is a wide array of such hiking gloves, each offering something different. Some waterproof gloves provide more insulation and warmth, while the others offer better grip and dexterity.
The last layer should be the gripping glove. The gloves will help you grasp on to things, and when scaling a steep slope. Griping gloves are useful during the day. At such times, the temperatures are more favorable, and you can explore your horizons.
The gloves will help you gain better control over your tools. They are also useful in helping you handle the terrain better. Your hands will also be less prone to injury when you wear them while on a treacherous outdoor setting.
Find a decent solution to for moisture management
The outer layer of your hiking gloves, also called the shell, should be breathable and waterproof. The shell will take the brunt of the weather; however, a small puncture on its surface might hamper the gloves usability. For this reason, it needs to be sturdy and durable.
An exceptional waterproof shell should protect your hands from physical harm, and if possible shield you from the wind as well. Some shells can be effortlessly separated from the lining glove. In that way, you can choose a different lining, after the durable shell continues to serve you through many trails.
A good lining should wick moisture away as well as retain heat. Even if the lining becomes wet, water shouldn’t penetrate it easily. The lining materials are usually less durable than the shell. Therefore, a filling that works separately from the shell is easy to replace and clean. Use one pair inside your tent where it’s warmer, and add the other for when you are outdoors.
The more the layers you have, the less you’ll be able to move your fingers. Your ability to grasp and grab objects efficiently will reduce with additional layers. On the other hand, you won’t be mobile that much in icy conditions. Therefore, it’s up to you to find the right balance.
Most hikers use an outer layer for water resistance, having an inner layer for moisture wicking and warmth. For extreme conditions, some use up to three layers, to keep their hands warm in harsh environments.
All modern features are meant to make your hike bearable
Gone are the days where a typical glove could pass off as a hiking glove. You could opt to stack many ordinary gloves like back in the days, but you won’t get the same benefits as current options. These products are now updated to meet the needs of current users. Some have removable layers, carabineer loops, nose wipes, zippered pockets, palm grips, single-pull adjustability, heating systems, wrist cords, and clips.
Nowadays, hiking gloves have a ton of useful features. Most people now have smartphones. It is not practical to have to remove your hiking gloves all the time, especially in extremely cold environments. Luckily, most of the hiking gloves in this review have touchscreen capability, ensuring continuous use of your phone.
Some outer shells are made of fabric enabling you to use your smartphone. Others have silicone palms to ensure your phone does not slip off easily. In the future, there might be even more enhanced features, thanks to technological advancements.
Top 10 Picks
1. Black Diamond Mercury Mitts
You can use these Mitts all year round. They are lightweight, functional, and sturdy, thanks to their Kevlar stitching. The hiking gloves also have a high-quality fleece lining and goat leather palms.
The inserts help wick away moisture as well as prevent water from penetrating the gloves. The Velcro attached inserts are removable, making them quick and easy to replace. Their shell is also 92% nylon; therefore, liquid cannot penetrate easily. In essence, your hands will stay dry under unforgiving wet conditions.
Their 8 percent spandex composition, gives them a somewhat tight and snug grip. These Black Diamond Mitts gloves for hiking are also surprisingly flexible, considering that they have multiple layers. They also have a four-way stretch fabric that promotes natural mobility.
The gloves’ leather palms help improve your grip, in case you are lifting something like logs or skis, or simply scrambling through rough terrain. Next time you plan to face winter-like conditions, you should definitely consider purchasing a pair for yourself. They are available in five different sizes, accommodating even the youngest one in the household, with an X-small size.
2. Outdoor Research PL400
OR’s fleece lined hiking gloves guarantee your comfort thanks to its wide range of features. They are so warm, despite being very thin. What makes them stand out is that they are touch screen compatible. With a pad on the index finger and thumb, you can control your droid or iPhone without having to take them off.
Furthermore, the silicone grip dots and padding on palms assist in grabbing and holding on to objects. Polyester blends enable them to dry quickly and wick moisture as fast. As usual, it’s hard to fault Outdoor Research, since they have so many excellent and practical designs.
These hiking gloves are available four sizes, suitable for everyone, from kids to adults. You can also choose from three different colors, namely; black, charcoal heather, and coyote. They are ideal companions for long days on the trail. Their stretchiness gives the user a more technical fit.
These are warm and lightweight, breathable fleece gloves. They are suitable for mildly cold days, but not on snowy like conditions. They wick moisture from your hands, leaving them dry and warm.
Even though they are not usable in extremely wet conditions, you can use them as inner liners, since the fabric used is quite thin, yet so warm. The brushed material on the outside of the hiking gloves enables larger waterproof gloves to slide over them effortlessly.
Overall, the PL400 does an excellent job of keeping your hands warm. You can tend to your phone and stroll through tough terrain easily.
3. FREETOO Tactical Gloves
The FREETOO gloves for hiking are designed, with the military in mind. You can confidently scramble through the toughest of terrains when you have them on. They have a sturdy and abrasion resistant outer shell, while still enabling dexterity. You can shoot, archer, hunt, train, or hold onto ropes with these Tactical Gloves.
The hiking gloves consist of spandex and elastic materials, which provide an excellent fit. Great fitting gloves are essential for your safety when climbing and holding on to surfaces during the hike. The dual synthetic leather palms provide a superior grip. The Velcro straps securing them around your wrist can be adjusted for a customizable fit.
The odor free and breathable design ensures your hands are clean, comfortable, and fresh at all times. They also have a reinforced palm, double stitching, and knuckle padding, that shelters your hands from falling debris. The reinforced knuckles also make the FREETOO tactical hiking gloves suitable for mountain biking. They will shield you from twigs and shrubs that you will hit with your hands on the trail.
They are available in seven different color options, which can match well with your other gear. You can also choose from four different sizes: able to serve most adults comfortably. The gloves are useful in cold or hot weather, but they won’t be sufficient in winter.
Army men go through some of the toughest terrains, taking on different activities. As such, it is not an exaggeration to say that the gloves are ideal for numerous applications. The manufacturer gives a 3-month warranty: which is unique since the product is for occasional usage.
4. Columbia Fast Trek
These gloves are meant to keep your hands warm while being functional. Losing a glove is a common occurrence while on the trail. With the Fast Trek alternative, that will no longer be a problem for you. You can clip the gloves onto your backpack or clothing when you’re not wearing them.
Columbia is a big brand, which has to satisfy a large market. Because of this, they have six different sizes, whereas most have three to five size options. The abrasion resistant palm improves their durability, despite its soft materials.
Even though it’s not waterproof, its polyester fabric dries out quite fast after getting wet. Alternatively, you could layer the Columbia Fast Trek under a waterproof glove to solve the waterproof issue. These hiking gloves are also sweat-absorbent, so your hands should stay warm and dry if used in proper environments.
The Columbia Fast Trek breathe freely and are super light. Your hands could never be more appreciative. They stretch well in all directions, and the five-finger design improves mobility. The gloves also have an elastic wrist for a reliable and comforting fit. You can purchase them in either graphite or collegiate navy colors.
5. Mountain Made Outdoor Gloves
This brand has a large pool of skilled mountaineers who act as advisers. For this reason, you can be confident that the gloves were made with professionals and hiking enthusiasts in mind. You can use these hiking gloves for many activities like shooting, cycling, riding, and even driving. You can as well use your smartphone if need be.
The level of warmth they provide surpasses expectations. With wind stop technology and a multidirectional fit, you can do almost anything using these gloves. They are not only meant for hiking, but they also look fashionable enough to be used for casual activities.
These hiking gloves are available in four sizes, and the anti-slip zip design lets you adjust the fitting and comfort. The zipper helps you adjust the grip level and the warmth levels in one go. The anti-bacterial fleecing and breathable materials help eliminate foul smells from microorganisms.
The gloves also have a full palm rubber grip, to help you get a handle on things. They provide a remarkable fit, such that you would forget that you have them on. Some users even claim that they feel like a second skin. You’ll wonder how you managed without them.
The manufacturer is also confident in their hiking gloves that they offer a one-year warranty.
6. Marmot Spring Glove
The Marmot brand has been in business since the seventies. They are well above the competition in terms of quality. The spring gloves are breathable, lightweight, and suitable for all seasons and terrains. They are also surprisingly warm, considering how light and thin they are.
The soft shell on the back of the hand provides excellent flexibility and stretchiness. Some reinforcement and padding across the knuckles, adds to the durability of the product. They also feature a soft nose wipe fabric on top of the thumb.
They provide a snug fit, and you can also secure them using Velcro straps. These gloves also have waterproof leather material on the gripping surface. They are excellent for grasping tools and equipment like ski poles.
When the hiking gloves are not in use, you can clip them together, so that they are not separated or lost. Some gloves will come and go, but this pair will last longer. You should have nothing to worry about as long as they don’t get lost. They come in five different sizes and two different colors.
7. Pearl Izumi Thermal
It would be hard not to like these gloves if you take all their features into account. Their P.R.O thermal fabric ensures optimal insulation, quick dry time, moisture transfer, and odor resistance. Synthetic leather is also strategically laced in high wear zones, to maintain the hiking gloves’ durability.
The silicone-screening palm provides an excellent grip. The top of the thumb also has soft fleece, which you can use to wipe the sweat off during the hike. You will also find it easy to swipe through your smartphone with the Pearl Izumi Thermal gloves for hiking.
Even though these gloves for hiking are not the warmest, you can also use them as inner liners, since they have excellent moisture wicking properties and the fabric is thin. They guarantee that your hands will stay dry regardless of how strenuous the activity is.
8. Perfect Curve Glove
These hiking gloves are an ideal choice if you plan to go out for a hike in icy and wet conditions. They are waterproof, and the design makes them suitable for kayaking and similar activities. The glued stitching, seamless palms, neoprene material, are among the features that alleviate any chances of water penetration.
The pre-curved fingers and seamless palms minimize fatigue. They also come with pro straps that help lock your cuff tightly. The close-fitting lock guarantees that moisture does not drip from your elbow to your hands. The outer fabric also offers excellent grip so that you can have better control of your equipment and tools.
Do not take these gloves for hiking lightly because of the neoprene fabric, especially since they are quite robust. You can even ride a mountain bike in snowy conditions while clutching tightly onto the handlebars.
You can choose from six different sizes, so you have to be keener when making your pick. Size is more critical when it comes to these hiking gloves since they are not stretchy like others are.
9. Carhartt W.P. Waterproof
These Carhartt alternatives were designed with the extremes in mind. If you are planning to hike higher up the mountains, then you have to add these pair to your gear. These hiking gloves are your ticket to the top. Given that they can breeze through the coldest of hiking conditions, they will also manage to withstand winter conditions.
They feature a removable inner liner, which you can switch out. The outer shell is 100% polyester, which makes them waterproof. The reinforced polyethylene palm will not rip easily while offering a reliable grip. The hiking gloves also have fast drying technology, which leaves you dry and comfortable after a sweaty workout.
The wrist cuffs are elasticized to offer a secure fit. They will also shield you from cold air and moisture. The gloves also have a pull-on closure mechanism that enables you to get a more customized fit. The glove design allows your fingers to touch, making them warmer as you continue wearing them.
The Carhartt gloves for hiking are also available in four sizes and three different colors.
10. OZERO Winter
These waterproof hiking gloves will take you through the toughest of habitats. They have non-slip silica gel particles, which improve your grip on the items you hold. The gloves also allow you to use your droids and iPhones, without encountering any lags.
However, you shouldn’t place them in water for too long, since the stitching holes can let in moisture. If you use them correctly, you will enjoy the benefits of the warm, moisture-wicking fleece fabric inside. The hiking gloves are available in three different sizes. The only downside is that there are no versions for kids.
OZERO provides a 90-day return policy. Therefore, if you are still skeptical, you can get a pair and test it out. If you are not happy or satisfied, you can return it to the manufacturer and get a replacement or a full refund. Thus, the entire purchase is risk-free.