Top 7 Best Gloves for Hiking & Trekking (2022)

Mature couple having fun outdoors in winter nature, Tatra mountains Slovakia.

Best Gloves for Hiking

When the weather gets cold, gloves become an essential part of your hiking and trekking gear. In this blog, I review the best gloves out there so that you can be comfortable finding a pair that best fits your needs.

There are so many gloves on the market these days and something for all conditions. There are some “all-rounders” when it comes to gloves, but you’re always going to get better performance if you buy gloves specific for when, where and the weather conditions you are likely to encounter when hiking.

For most people, the more important features for their gloves to have are warmth, waterproofing and the ability to move their hand inside the glove (dexterity).

The hands and fingers are one of the most complex and sensitive parts of the human body and it will become clear in this article that this reflects in the ability to make a glove that does everything – it just doesn’t exist.

Waterproof Gloves Don’t Really Exist

Most people don’t realise that waterproof gloves don’t really exist. Just like other clothing, waterproofing and warmth is hard to combine into one single product. You’ll probably see water resistance, but 100% waterproof gloves are difficult and expensive to make. You also end up compromising on dexterity and breathability too. 

The same as layering is popular with clothing torso layers, we also see the same with gloves as well. Think base layer/lining, middle layer and then waterproofing layer (over-mitt) on the outside.

So to summarise, you’ll typically find 3 types of gloves. Thin, light-weight liner gloves, mid-weight general use gloves, then thicker, heavier winter mountain gloves for sub-minus temperatures and high altitudes.

This article reviews a mix of all 3 which will help you pick what best suits your needs.

The 7 Best Hiking Gloves Picks

Read on to find out how each of the 7 gloves fair!

  1. North Face Apex Etip
  2. Marmot Unisex XT
  3. Montane Prism Glove
  4. Rab Xenon Glove
  5. Rab Cresta GORE-TEX® Glove
  6. OutdoorResearch Highcamp 3-Finger Gloves
  7. Patagonia R1® Daily Gloves

1. North Face Apex Etip Glove

Good all-rounder

North Face Apex Etip

These North Face E-Tip gloves are good basic gloves for hiking. They excel in some areas like dexterity and wind protection, although lack some key features. For example, they are not as waterproof as some of the other gloves reviewed.

Overview

The Apex Etip gloves are designed using North Face’s Radiametric Articulation™ technology which basically means that your fingers can relax inside the glove rather than being kept in a rigid position. This is a great plus for comfort.

North Face has designed the Apex Etip for Autumn and Spring use, although if you have mild winters (like in the UK), they would be suitable for a year-round glove. They have a good warmth rating compared to other gloves too.

Glove Materials

The North Face Apex Etip gloves are made of two distinct layers:

  1. Apex Climateblock with a Durable Water Resistant (DWR) coating. This is a North Face-developed shell material. It provides a balance between water resistance and breathability. This means that the glove is ok with light moisture and showers, but is not fully waterproof. They do 100% block again the wind though.
  2. The inside lining of the glove is Brushed tricot which is a soft fabric that has good moisture-wicking properties.

Glove Functionality

The North Face Etip Gloves have a Silicone palm which makes gripping things like hiking poles, your mobile phone, or navigation devices a joy.

They also include the Etip technology which allows you to use your phone without removing the gloves. The whole fingers are conductive so it makes them easier to use, although the thumb doesn’t work as well.

The trademarked “Radiametric Articulation” in these gloves means that they have great finger dexterity for things like tying knots and even photographers.

Sizing & Extra Features

Sizing-wise, many people report that they had to go up a size, so they seem to be on the small side. The Apex Etip gloves come in S, M, L, XL, XXL sizes.

Finally, North Face has added a tab on the wrist of these gloves to ensure easy removal.

Reasons to Buy

  • 100% Windproof
  • Good Hand Movement
  • Water-Repelling Shell
  • Good Warmth Level
  • Silicone Grip
  • Etip™ Technology

Reasons to Avoid

  • Quite Expensive
  • Not Fully Waterproof
  • Size Sometimes A Bit Small

2. Marmot Unisex XT Glove Overview

Best for grip

Marmot Unisex XT

A great hard-wearing glove made from Nylon and leather which offers winter warmth and great dexterity.

Overview

The Marmot Unisex XT is a well-thought-out glove which is hard-wearing and great for various outdoor activities. They are flexible and offer better padding than other gloves on the palm area.

Glove Material

The Nylon fabric is water resistant and breathable, meaning there is no sweat build-up inside. Plus they also come with a high-wicking inner lining.

The Marmot Unisex XT also has a leather palm pad which makes gripping things easy and gives the gloves their hard-wearing properties.

Functionality & Use

Use these gloves for a variety of winter activities. The grip and hard-wearing nature means that they are great for quite a few things, whether it’s hiking, climbing or anything that needs a lot of grip.

Sizing & Extra Features

The cuffs of the glove fasten with Velcow helping them stay snug on the hand. For those who care about glove weight, Marmot list the weight of each glove size from small to extra-Large on their site, but they are about 170g (6oz).

These are a great general-use glove. They do come a bit more expensive than some, but you get quality materials. The fingers move very well and the palm’s material makes it very easy to grip things like ropes in cold temperatures.

Reasons to Buy

  • 100% Windproof
  • Good Hand Movement
  • Water-Repelling Shell
  • Good Warmth Level
  • Silicone Grip
  • Etip™ Technology
  • Nose Wipe

Reasons to Avoid

  • Quite Expensive
  • Not Fully Waterproof
  • Size Sometimes A Bit Small

3. Montane Prism Glove

Light & Packable

Montane Prism Glove

A super light glove that are easily packable and excellent warmth-to-weight ratio.

Overview

At just 60g (2oz), the Montane Prism Glove is super-lightweight. As a comparison, the Marmot glove above is around 170g (6oz).

These gloves are designed to be easily packable, but also provide amazing warmth with their insulation and microfleece lining.

The Prism gloves come with pre-curved digits to help finger dexterity and an elasticated wrist and cuff.

Glove Materials

The Montane Prism Gloves are made from Pertex which is a trademarked technology based on Polyester. It’s lightweight and thin, so adds to great finger and hand dexterity. The surface also has a DWR (Durable Water Resistant) coating.

The palm also has a fine Silicone pattern to add some grip to the surface.

The gloves aim to have good breathability, but with this material it does affect windproofing slightly – although they are still pretty good!

Sizing and other features

The Montane Prism Gloves come in sizes from S to XL and have a loop pull to aid quick pulling on of the gloves.

If it’s important to you, the materials used are also mostly recycled – The Pertex outer layer being 100% recycled and the insulation, 55%.

These gloves also feature laminates attached to the fingers for touch screen functionality – Just the thumb and index finger though.

It’s important to note that because of the lightness of these gloves and the thinner materials, they are not hard-wearing or suitable for scrambling – more just general hiking or trail running.

Also, if you care about your fashion sense, these aren’t the prettiest gloves on the market.

Reasons to Buy

  • Very light
  • Very warm
  • Packable
  • Mostly Recycled Materials
  • Soft On Skin
  • Can Tie Shoelaces
  • Touchscreen

Reasons to Avoid

  • Durability
  • Grip
  • No Wrist Strap
  • Not So Pretty

4. Rab Xenon Overview

Pick for Warm & light

Rab Xenon

Another super light glove that also offers better than expected grip and quality materials.

Overview

The Rab Xenon, like the Montane Prism above, is an ultra-lightweight glove that packs down very small. They are comfortable and feel nice against the skin while offering great warmth with the PrimaLoft insulation.

Glove Materials

The clever layering of these gloves means that they are light, (~65g) while still offering the features you’d want in a glove like this.

The Rab Xenon has a Pertex outer layer which has good windproof, water resistance and breathability properties.

Layer 2 is the PrimaLoft insulation which is where these gloves get their great warmth to weight ratio. As an added benefit, PrimaLoft fairs much better than natural insulation like down.

Finally, layer 3 is nylon microfibre which feels really nice against the skin and helps wick away any sweat.

All together these 3 layers combine well together to keep your hands warm with great breathability properties.

Added to this, Rab have added a Polyurethane palm to add grip and durability to the glove.

Woman strolling in winter forest on cold frosty day, walking along snowy path in woodland

Functionality & Use

Due to their lightness and warmth, these are great multi-use gloves. They have their own little sack, so store neatly away. 

Suggested use: As your main glove on mild winter days or as a liner to a mitt or more substantial technical/mountaineering glove. Or just use as your everyday walk-the-dog glove.

Sizing & Other Features

The Rab Xenon come in sizes from small to extra large.

The gloves have an elastic wrist and cuff for double protection against the cold and snug fit.

They also pass the shoelace tying test offering great finger and hand dexterity.

One negative I did see with these is that they don’t have touch-screen technology built in. Although if you’re into hacking clothing you could use some touchscreen spray or thread to add this functionality yourself.

Reasons to Buy

  • Light
  • Warm
  • Better Than Expected Grip
  • Packable
  • Great all-round Glove

Reasons to Avoid

  • No Touchscreen Functionality

5. Rab Cresta GORE-TEX

Great for sport & heavy use

Rab Cresta GORE-TEX

Great for super active people who are into winter sports and you don’t want the gloves to hold you back.

Overview

The Rab Cresta is the glove you go to when you want a little bit more. They are designed for heavier winter activities like mountaineering or skiing where your heart is likely to beat a little faster and you need a glove to work with you while having fun.

Glove Materials

The Rab Cresta gloves feature a 2-layer Rip-Stop Nylon outer layer with Durable Water Resistant (DWR) coating.

They have the Gore-Tex Active technology which provides windproof breathability properties, plus also promises to keep you dry.

The insulating material is the Stratus™ polyester sheet which provides excellent warmth and breathability.

Functionality & Use

Rab Cresta GORE-TEX is definitely a capable glove. Suggested uses are skiing, mountaineering, hiking and anything where you need to hold on tight in the cold weather.

The gloves come with pre-curved fingers for aided dexterity, plus articulated knuckle inserts for better flexibility when grabbing things!

To add to these features the palms also have a durable textured PU coating to help with grip and wear.

Sizing & Other Features

The Rab Cresta come in small to extra-extra-large. 

They also have a nice wrist strap to help keep the fit comfortable and safe.

The gloves weigh 127g which is still light, but heavier than some other gloves. However, that’s the trade-off for adding the great features these gloves have.

Reasons to Buy

  • GoreTex Material
  • Very Capable
  • Great for outdoor sport
  • Good grip
  • Great Warmth
  • Great Waterproofing

Reasons to Avoid

  • More expensive
  • Heavier than some gloves
  • No touchscreen Functionality

6. OutdoorResearch Men’s Highcamp 3-Finger Gloves

Best for very low temperatures

OutdoorResearch Highcamp 3-Finger Gloves

A super glove that is versatile and will keep your hands warm in all situations.

Overview

The Outdoor Research Men’s Highcamp 3-Finger Gloves challenge what you’d usually expect in a glove to try and give you the best experience without so much compromise.

They are designed for sub-minus temperatures (-25°C) and also come with a separate lining.

As you can probably tell by the name, these gloves are actually a glove-mitt cross, combining the middle, ring and little finger into their own little compartment.

What’s the benefit of this? Well, most gloves suffer from heat loss through surface area. So what Outdoor Research have done is reduce the surface area in the 3 fingers that don’t matter. The result is superior warmth while maintaining dexterity where needed in the glove.

Glove Materials

The OutdoorResearch Men’s Highcamp 3-Finger Gloves boast warmth, windproof, waterproof (to a point) and breathable, all in one package…

How?

VerticalX™ and Ventia™ technology.

The external of the glove is made from Ventia™ which is a proprietary blend of Nylon. This provides the windproof/waterproof properties.

The insulation is made from VerticalX™ which is basically strands of Polyester which mimic down but offer better performance.

Then finally there’s a soft fleece lining for soft contact with your hand.

On the palm, you get real leather (very soft) which adds great grip and durability.

In addition to the above, the gloves also come with a separate internal liner.

This liner can be used with the gloves or stand-alone for pre-warmth or not-so-cold days.

All these features add up, so these gloves weigh in at 275g.

HikingCheering woman hiker hiking in snowing winter mountains

Functionality & Use

The Highcamp 3 Finger gloves are great for everything…cold, rain, snow and wind.

You can also wear them in 3 ways:

  1. Just the main glove
  2. Just the liner
  3. The liner with the main glove.

The great part about the liner is it adds touchscreen functionality which you wouldn’t otherwise get with heavier gloves like this (forefinger and thumb only).

However, Outdoor Research has really put thought into the liners as a stand-alone glove, as seen with the silicone grip added to the palm.

Sizing & Other Features

These gloves come in small to extra-large and the sizing has been reported to be a bit small, so maybe buy a size larger.

Fit is really good, with a wrist cinch/strap to keep the gloves safely secured. The fingers are also pre-curved to further help with dexterity and grip.

Reasons to Buy

  • Super Warm
  • Loads of Features
  • Suitable for Extremes
  • 2 Gloves in One
  • Quality Feel

Reasons to Avoid

  • Heavier
  • Bigger
  • Liner could be Snugger
  • Expensive

7. Patagonia R1® Daily Gloves

Best for Everyday glove

Patagonia R1® Daily Gloves

A light golve that ticks various boxes and is good to slip on for mild winter hikes, as a glove liner or just to walk the dog.

Overview

Patagonia R1® Daily Gloves are a simple low-profile and lightweight glove for daily active use or mild weather hiking.

They weigh in at about 40g (M size) depending on what size you get.

As with any gloves in this lightweight category, they come with touchscreen finger sensitivity and also have a good raised grip print (which also looks pretty).

Glove Materials

Sometimes trademarks are a nightmare to work out what material we are actually getting.

The Patagonia R1® Daily Gloves as mentioned in the name, use the R1® material.

What is this?

Well, it’s a Power Grid Technolgy which is a form of Polartec®.

And what’s that I hear you ask? It’s a proprietary blend of Polyester knit.

This material offers a good weight-to-warmth ratio and fast dry times. Plus it’s also highly breathable!

The gloves also have a miDori® bioSoft coating which is basically a plant seed oil-based wicking finish. Patagonia paid $1 million dollars to acquire this technology a few years ago.

Winter hike

Functionality & Use

These are a good everyday glove that offer medium warmth. They have no dedicated insulation or layering that other gloves have, but that reflects in the better weight and fit you get from this Patagonia glove.

As you’d probably get from the name, the Patagonia R1® Daily Gloves are designed for daily use which will include mild-weather hikes.

The low-profile design/weight means though that they are not super-warm or super water resistant like some of the other gloves reviewed. However, they are good enough and you compromise a bit on these things to get a lighter nice feeling glove.

Because of the low profile, you can also use these gloves as a nice liner for bigger gloves or mitts.

Sizing & Other Features

These gloves come in sizes from extra-small to extra-large.

They also offer odour protection from sweat build-up inside the glove. 

There are useful Loops on the cuffs to help removing them.

The gloves also have touchscreen technology in the thumb and forefinger.

Reasons to Buy

  • Low Profile
  • Very Light
  • Good Dexterity
  • Touchscreen
  • Good general use
  • Simple design

Reasons to Avoid

  • Not a Technical Glove
  • Not as Warm as Some

Things to Consider When Buying Your Hiking Gloves

Consider these things when buying your gloves…

Glove Sizing/Fit

Cheap gloves come in one-size-fits-all, but as you explore specialist options, different sizing is introduced. Obviously, you want a size that fits comfortably and doesn’t cut the blood off to your fingers. At the same time, you don’t want a pair that’s too loose.

We also have to consider safety when we think about size and fit. You don’t want your gloves slipping off when holding on to hiking/trekking poles or even more so ropes and safety equipment. 

Many gloves come with a Velcro wrist strap or a zipper/zip fastener to make them extra secure on the wrist. This extra fastening can also help keep out the cold.

Skier wearing hand gloves

Glove Warmth/Insulation

The main purpose of hiking gloves is to keep your hands warm, so this is the most important part to consider.

Some gloves will be “puffer” style which come with an internal layer of synthetic insulation or down to keep you extra warm.

The problem with insulation is that there is a trade-off between glove thickness and finger dexterity (talked about more below).

Because of this some gloves will have fewer layers and try to pick an outer material to help keep you warm.

Glove Hand and Finger Dexterity

Depending on what you will use your gloves for, dexterity could be important. Lots of intricate finger movements like using knives, opening your water bottle etc…might mean that you need more flexible gloves.

Glove fit also has an impact on dexterity. If your fingers don’t meet the ends of your gloves, then it can sometimes be harder to bend them.

Some gloves also come with slightly pre-bent fingers to aid dexterity and grip on things like poles or even ice axes.

It’s important to look at how the gloves are made when thinking about dexterity. Seams and stitching create more rigid, less flexible areas which impede finger movement.

Finally, as well, hand temperature affects finger dexterity – another reason to keep your hands warm. Below 5 °celsius (41 °Farenheight) it becomes difficult to move your fingers.

A woman in a blue knitted hat with gloves, holding a cup of coffee.

Glove Waterproofing

Glove waterproofing is usually achieved from the outside layer/shell using a membrane or coating. A good glove will provide adequate waterproofing from the rain/snow, but also be breathable enough to allow moisture/sweat from inside the body to get out – this is known as breathability.

As mentioned previously in the article, true 100% waterproofing doesn’t exist, but the more expensive gloves do a good job at it.

With hiking gloves, think about waterproofing more as water resistance, but longer for better gloves.

The popularity of the material Gore-Tex comes from its ability to repel rain but also its ability to let water vapour through. This means that it has good waterproof and breathability properties at the same time.

Glove Material (Warmth and Wear)

Unless the gloves you buy are a cheap cotton or wool pair, then they will usually be made up of several layers (usually 3). These layers optimise the function of each part of the glove – the waterproofing, the insulation and the base layer.

Waterproofing materials as mentioned before include Gore-Tex which is made from Teflon (PTFE) and is highly rated because of its ability to repel water but still allow vapour back through. This means that rain is repelled, but moisture from the body can still escape and doesn’t create dampness from the inside.

A cheaper way of waterproofing means applying a water repellant treatment to the outside surface (DWR) or laminating it.

Middle layers are for insulation. These often include polyester, down or even Merino wool. Weight and moisture wicking properties are important for middle layer material.

Base layers are in direct contact with the skin so are the first layer of protection touching your body. You want them to feel comfortable, wick away moisture and add that first layer of warmth.

We also need to consider wear to the outer layer of your gloves. This will be the layer in direct contact with the environment so you want it to be as durable as possible – especially if you’re doing scrambling or anything that requires holding onto rough surfaces.

Mature couple having fun outdoors in winter nature, Tatra mountains Slovakia

Glove Grip

You don’t want slippery gloves – especially when wet. A good pair of gloves will have a surface which provides some kind of texture to aid grip. This is extra important when you are holding equipment such as hiking poles.

Glove Weight

Obviously, you don’t want your gloves to be too heavy. Some materials are heavier than others and there’s always going to be a compromise. For example, Merino wool has better breathability, skin feel and ani-odour properties, however, is heavier than Polyester. This makes Polyester a better option for mid-layer insulation where it won’t be in contact with the skin, but we want maximum temperature regulation.

Good hiking gloves range from 60g (2oz) to 275g (9.7oz).

Glove In-built Tech

Modern technology has had its influence on glove design. Firstly touchscreen (E-tip) gloves can be useful if you want to use your mobile phone without removing your gloves. Also, more recently we’ve seen the introduction of heated gloves. Heating your gloves provides that extra heat that you’d never get from just insulating your body heat.

Hiker man holding zip line in forest

Extra Things to Consider When Buying Hiking Gloves

If you don’t need so much dexterity in your hands but want extra warmth, mitts could be an option for you. Mitts retain the thumb but combine the fingers together into one enclosed space. This makes them much more effective for retaining heat.

If you need maximum dexterity in your fingers and don’t mind sacrificing some warmth, fingerless gloves could be an option. These are especially useful if tying knots or using your mobile phone.

We also get a mix of mitts and gloves, as seen with the Outdoor Research Highcamp 3-Finger Gloves. These offer a great mix of the benefits you get from mitts and gloves together in one package.

One final thing to consider is glove liners. If your gloves aren’t quite doing the job, glove liners can add some extra properties to them. The idea with the liner is that it sits under the glove in contact with your skin.

Merino wool is popular for glove liners. It feels nice on the skin, helps wick moisture away, plus adds some extra warmth. In addition to this, a liner can make your gloves fit better if they are a little too big for you.

HikingCheering woman hiker hiking in snowing winter mountains

Who is This Post For?

This article is for anyone who enjoys hiking and wants warm hands. It’s geared towards hikes in different environments where you will be in different temperatures and doing different activities.

If you live or hike in temperate climates with cooler autumns and less extreme winters, these gloves are likely to be suitable for you. If you’re going to be doing a lot of high-altitude, colder winter hiking, please check out this future post where I’ll review more mountaineering gloves.

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