person in hiking gloves camping and pouring coffee

What Are Hiking Gloves and Why Do You Need Them?

Lately, I’ve been reading about hiking gloves. So I decided to share what I’ve found, in this article. The first questions that comes to mind are, what are hiking gloves? Do you even need gloves for hiking? If so, what purpose do they have?

Hiking gloves are basically gloves used for providing either warmth or sun protection while hiking. Even though they are an optional item for hiking, bringing a pair of hiking gloves can significantly upgrade your level of comfort and enjoyment on your hike. They also pack light and small.

What Are Hiking Gloves?

After doing some research, most of the sources I found refer to hiking gloves in two categories:

  • Hiking gloves for warmth
  • Hiking gloves for sun protection

Furthermore, hiking gloves are made in many different materials, which all have their own unique properties. Which one you choose will mostly be a matter of preference, and how you intend to use your gloves.

The gloves that are made for warmth and protection typically are either an all-rounder type of glove that you can use in 2 or 3 seasons or more heavy-duty winter gloves. In this article, we won’t focus too much on winter hiking gloves.

Nevertheless, some of the gloves I have reviewed further down in the article are comfortable for mild winter conditions.

Why Do I Need Hiking Gloves?

It’s a matter of comfort, mostly. If you are out in cold, wet, or windy environments, you will keep your hands warm, dry, and protected. When you are hiking with trekking poles, you are prone to blisters in your hands. Hiking gloves will protect you from that. 

Additionally, you will be better protected from hard surfaces such as rocks, or even trees, sticks, and gnarly bushes. But there is another feature that buyers of outdoor and sports gloves have come to expect. And that is touchscreen compatibility.

Several hiking gloves today come with the added benefit of being touchscreen compatible. Which is a nice feature to have when you’re cold but need to browse that Netflix, I guess. This brings us to the next point.

Hiking Gloves Are Handy When Camping

When you are hiking or backpacking, you will be setting up camp at some point. That may involve handling a knife, axe, or saw, collecting firewood, clearing up the campsite, and also keeping warm when camping. A good pair of hiking gloves will come in handy when camping, and provide you with both protection and warmth.

– That’s all fine and dandy, but I’m mostly hiking in the scorching sun, what good is warmth to me?!

I hear you, I hear you. Let me introduce, or rather reintroduce, the sun glove.

Sun Gloves

Sun-protecting hiking gloves are supposed to keep the sun off your skin, block harmful UV rays, and wick away sweat. Make sure that you check what rating the gloves have against UV rays.

After checking several stores, I found that sun-protecting hiking gloves come in fingerless editions, regular editions, or even whole arm-covering types.

I’ve seen several pictures of people hiking with trekking poles and no sun gloves, and let me tell you, it wasn’t a pretty picture. Bad sunburn on the outside, and blisters full on the inside.

What to Look For in Hiking Gloves

You might be wondering by now – how do I choose hiking gloves? The first thing I would consider is how you intend to use your gloves. Are you hiking or backpacking short or long distances? What type of conditions do you need your gloves for? Which materials do you prefer to have on your hands, and do you need waterproof gloves?

If you are using trekking poles, I would consider the sturdiness of the hiking gloves, as the wear and tear can be harsh.

Also, check out what other people are saying about the hiking gloves you are considering. Why do it all yourself, when so many have tested them out before you? 

With that being said, I’ve found some great alternatives for you to consider buying as your next pair of hiking gloves.

Best Hiking Gloves for You to Consider

I did some research into recommendations on some good hiking gloves. I went through 10 sites, and which gloves they rated the highest. 

In essence, I looked at the total number of times a glove was mentioned in the top 5.

Best Overall Hiking Gloves

Both the OR Versaliner and The North Face Etip came out on top with the same number of recommendations. Here is some more information on each of the gloves.

Outdoor Research Versaliner Sensor Gloves 

  • 2-in-1 liner glove + shell glove
  • Good size and fit
  • Lightweight
  • Versatile
  • Breathable
  • Durable
  • Supposedly waterproof, but reviews say otherwise (not seam sealed)
  • Touchscreen-compatible

One review mentions that he likes the gloves, which are thin and have a lot of dexterity. Although they are not the warmest, they are still ok for most winter days.

The North Face Etip Recycled Gloves

  • Recycled
  • Designed for hiking
  • Slim fit
  • Touchscreen-compatible
  • Cozy fleece liner
  • Silicone grip on palm

One review mentions that these are excellent, lightweight, gloves. Another review says they are good for cool temperatures, but probably not for freezing weather. 

Runner Up Hiking Gloves

Black Diamond Midweight Screentap Gloves

  • Warm and stretchy fleece shell
  • Suede goat leather palm patches
  • Touchscreen-compatible

One reviewer states that these gloves are dexterous, and operating on a touchscreen works optimally. Another review says that they fit great and are super comfy.

Great Value Hiking Gloves

Mountain Made Outdoor Gloves

  • Multi-Purpose athletic use
  • Quick-drying comfort lining
  • Anti-bacterial treatment (eliminate odor)
  • Great for above-freezing temperatures
  • Touchscreen-compatible

In one of the reviews of these gloves, the user was positively surprised by these multipurpose hiking gloves. They were better than expected, fit great, and were very functional. Also, looks great. 

Unique and Highly Rated Hiking Gloves

Sealskinz Waterproof All Weather Ultra Grip Knitted Gloves

  • Innovative materials and construction
  • Hydrophilic membrane, 100% waterproof
  • Dry and cool
  • Breathable
  • Good grip and dexterity
  • Touchscreen-compatible

One reviewer states that these fit comfortably and well. They were warm and totally waterproof. He highly recommends the Sealskinz Waterproof All Weather Ultra Grip Knitted Gloves.

Best Sun Gloves For Hiking

ActiveIce Chroma Full Sun Gloves

  • Wicking
  • UPF 50+ sun protection rating
  • Breathable
  • Quick-Drying
  • Lightweight
  • Good fit
  • Touchscreen-compatible

According to one reviewer, these stay very cool and help protect your hands from the sun. Another reviewer would buy them again and says they are good for hiking.

Final Thoughts

I sure learned a lot about hiking gloves from this, and I hope you did as well. Enjoy your day, and hike on!

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