I’m a huge fan of spending time outdoors and regardless of the time of year, you can find me exploring any nearby hiking trails and trying to photograph the best that nature has to offer.
During the fall, winter, and early spring, it’s important to stay warm, and this means keeping everything warm from your feet and legs all the way up to your fingers and head.
If you’re like me, then you hate spending the day hiking with cold and aching fingers because you forgot to wear gloves or you didn’t bring the best hiking gloves along that you could.
Hiking gloves are something you definitely need to consider picking up, especially if you’re spending a lot of time outdoors outside of the warmer summer months when you don’t need much gear to enjoy yourself.
As the seasons begin to change, it’s hard to predict how cold it might get when you’re out on the trails.
To avoid having your hands completely exposed to the elements, it’s smart to pack some dedicated gloves in your daypack just in case.
These days, it’s possible to choose from a wide range of different styles of gloves that offer varying levels of warmth, depending on what you’re looking for.
Similar to when you layer your hiking clothes depending on the weather, you also need to be layering your gloves, especially as the weather starts to get much colder.
For this purpose, many hikers carry an inner liner glove, that’s lightweight and typically made from a warm material, such as fleece or wool.
On the outside, they usually wear a waterproof rain glove or something else that helps to keep the moisture and cold air out.
For those of you planning on spending most of your time winter hiking, it’s a good idea to try to find a glove that’s designed for the colder elements and that’s well suited for keeping your hands and fingers warm while still offering a decent range of mobility.
The Best Hiking Gloves
Factors to Consider
If you’re in the market for the best gloves for hiking, here are a few different factors that you want to consider when you’re looking at the different options available.
As you probably already know, gloves are available in a wide range of different materials that offer different levels of warmth.
When you’re looking for a lightweight or base layer glove, fleece is a great material to go with and it’s a good choice for the spring and fall when it’s not that cold yet.
You also want to keep your eyes out for gloves that are made using waterproof or water resistant materials because this is going to keep your hands and fingers dry if it happens to be snowing or raining when you’re outdoors.
Most winter hiking gloves are designed using a system that features three layer insulation help to keep you warmth that your body gives off trapped inside the glove.
The outer shell on these gloves is typically waterproof, offers plenty of weather protection against the outer elements, and is also breathable so your hands don’t overheat when you’re wearing them.
Depending on the glove, there might be an interior lining that further helps to keep your hands dry by wicking away any moisture so that it doesn’t get uncomfortable or stuffy.
There are also different styles where you can remove the interior liner, and this is a great choice if you’re going to be hiking across different seasons, but it’s more of an additional feature rather than something mandatory.
There are also a wide range of different styles to choose from when it comes to gloves made for hiking.
Some of the most common include mitten style or just your classic five finger design.
For warmth, mittens are the ideal choice, but they aren’t that great when it comes to functionality and versatility when your hand is inside.
There are also three finger gloves, known as lobster gloves, and a lot of people prefer these for cross-country skiing or winter hiking if you’re going to be using trekking poles.
One more thing that I want to mention is that you should keep in mind that many of the different gloves available are made to be unisex in size.
However, each brand is different so make sure to check the features online when it comes to proper sizing.
Unfortunately for women, there aren’t as many “women-sized” gloves available, although there are a few companies offering them if that’s something you’re looking for specifically.
Gloves aren’t really a piece of hiking gear that come packed with features, but there are some that you can look out for if you want something a little extra.
Some of the more common features include things like:
- Goggle wipe for clearing snow/debris from your goggles
- Removable layers for warmth and comfort
- Single-pull adjustment system for a better fit
- Carabiner loops to keep better track of your gloves
- Touch-screen compatibility so you can still use your smartphone
If one of these features is important to you, make sure to keep an eye out for any gloves that specifically offer it.
When you’re looking for a hiking glove you likely want to find one that’s going to last you more than just a single hiking season.
A cheap, poorly designed pair might rip on you the first time that you use them or not offer the levels of warmth that you’re hoping to get.
Your hands are a very important extremity so it’s important to go with something durable that’s going to keep your hands warm and not fail on you when you’re deep in the backcountry.
Some features that give you a better idea about glove durability include things like the types of materials that they’re made from and if they feature seam-lock stitching.
For those of you that plan on spending a lot of time hiking in snowy or wet conditions, it’s a good idea to go with a pair of gloves that comes equipped with a durable palm design.
This is something you want because if it’s wet and slippery outside you want to be able to grip rocks and branches as best as you can rather than having to worry about slipping or not being able to get a good grip on something.
Many of the better quality gloves will come with palms that are made from silicone, or even leather, which is really durable and offers plenty of grip for a wide range of outdoor conditions.
Similar to how you layer different pieces of clothing when you’re going hiking, it’s important to do the same thing with your gloves depending on the conditions you’re going to be outdoors in.
Many of the best winter hiking gloves actually come with a removable liner that you can use on its own during milder weather or inside a heavier-duty exterior shell if it’s going to be really cold and wet outside.
On the other hand, you could just go with a basic fleece liner that you wear inside your own waterproof glove if you don’t want to pick up something more advanced.
Hiking Gloves Reviews
Now that you have a better idea of some of the different things to look out for when it comes to the best hiking gloves, let’s take a look at some of my top recommendations.
Outdoor Research Versaliner
The Outdoor Research Versaliner Gloves are one of my top choices because of their practical hiking design as well as their durability for long-term outdoor use.
It’s a basic style glove, so you just put it on and have full control over all of your fingers.
They’re made from 100% nylon, so they’re very lightweight, and the material also helps to keep them breathable, durable, water resistant, and even quick drying if you happen to get them soaking wet and need to set them to dry by the fire.
On the interior is a fleece insulating liner, which helps to keep your hands and fingers warm during winter hikes, and there’s also a removable exterior ripstop fabric shell, which helps to keep your hands dry and protected from the outdoor elements.
When it comes to grip, there is an anti slip silicone palm print and this really helps to provide better grip during a wide range of outdoor weather conditions.
The wrist is tapered to prevent wind and snow from getting blown up inside the gloves, and each glove also has a pull-on loop to make it easier to pull them on.
One more feature I really like is the small storage pocket on the back of the glove, and this is great because you can put some heat packs inside to keep your hands even warmer when you’re out hiking doing cold weather.
Black Diamond Soloist
The Black Diamond Soloist Finger Gloves are specifically designed to be used in cold weather conditions to help keep your hands and fingers warm when you’re spending time outdoors.
You can choose from two different styles, the regular five finger design or the lobster design, which only offers three spaces.
These gloves feature an interior liner that’s made from a primaloft insulation to help keep your hands warm and dry.
The exterior shell is water-resistant and made from a blend of nylon and spandex for durability and versatility.
Along with the removable interior liner there is also a 100% waterproof dry insert and this further helps to keep your hands dry regardless of the outside conditions.
As for the grip, it’s made from a goat skin material, and this offers plenty of grip even when the gloves are wet.
One more feature that I want to mention is that it’s possible to adjust the strap around the wrist and this helps to prevent wind or snow from blowing up inside the glove when you’re hiking.
Black Diamond Mercury Mitts
For cold weather and winter hiking, the Black Diamond Mercury Mitts are well-equipped for keeping your hands warm and dry through a variety of outdoor weather conditions.
The mitten is the best design keeping your hands warm and taking advantage of the heat that your own body creates.
These gloves come with a nylon and spandex shell, that helps for versatility and mobility, and a goat skin palm, for grip and handling any other pieces of hiking gear.
On the interior is a 100% waterproof insert that’s meshed with the removable liner and this is great to have because it makes it easier to keep the gloves clean and also provides you with more warmth and comfort.
The liner comes with a primaloft insulation and is made from a high-loft fleece, which also helps to keep it comfortable when you’re wearing these gloves for extended periods of time.
To make them even more durable, these Black Diamond Mercury Mitts come equipped with an abrasion resistant and lightweight shell that helps to protect the glove from tearing or fraying.
For putting them on, there is a small loop near the wrist, which you can also use to attach them to your backpack or pants, and each glove features an adjustable wrist strap for a better fit.
Black Diamond Men’s Patrol Gloves
Black Diamond really seems to have a lot of options available when it comes to finding good winter hiking gloves, and another one of my recommendations is the Black Diamond Men’s Patrol Gloves.
These come equipped with an abrasion resistant nylon shell and this is a great feature to have if you’re hiking across rocky terrain or you’re planning on hiking through heavily forested areas where you’re going to be gripping or driving the rocks or branches around you.
The palm is made from 100% goat skin, which is a great choice when it comes to durability.
The interior lining is fixed and it’s completely waterproof so it’s going to keep your hands warm and dry, even in wet or moist conditions.
To help keep you warm, the lining is made from 100g of Thermolite insulation with even more insulation in key points throughout the glove.
These can be tightened around the wrist to help prevent wind and snow from blowing up inside the glove when you’re wearing it and there are these little connectors that you can use to attach the gloves together or clip them onto your backpack when you’re hiking around.
Although I do believe that these are designated as work gloves, they’re still a great choice if you’re going to be spending time outdoors especially across rough terrains.
Outdoor Research Men’s Centurion Gloves
The Outdoor Research Men’s Centurion Gloves are great for cold weather and windy conditions and they’re also versatile enough to be used for a wide range of different hiking adventures.
The materials that these are made from are both waterproof and breathable so you can wear them in a variety of different weather conditions without having to worry about your hands overheating or getting soaked from the snow or rain.
On the interior are soft fleece liners that provide warmth and comfort when you’re getting some winter hiking done and to help you stay more warm, there is even insulation at the back of the hands to help prevent any cold spots.
There’s also a Gore-Tex insert for further waterproofing capability and the exterior is made from nylon that helps to keep fit durable and versatile.
To make these gloves easier to put on, there is a pull-on loop, and there’s also a strap at the wrist to prevent wind and snow from blowing up inside when you’re wearing them.
Columbia Men’s M Fast Trek Glove
The Columbia Men’s M Fast Trek Glove is a good choice if you’re looking for something lightweight to wear during the late fall and early spring when you don’t need something too heavy duty and you just want to keep your hands warm.
These gloves don’t come with any special features and they’re more of a basic winter glove that you can wear during easy hikes just to protect your hands from the calmer outer elements.
They’re made from polyester, so they’re quite soft and quick drying, and they even come equipped with an abrasion resistant palm patch that helps if you’re using hiking poles or hiking along some tricky terrains.
There is an elastic at the wrist that helps to keep them tight and secure and there are clips that you can use to attach them or clip them onto your backpack if it’s too warm out.