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The Best Winter Gloves

Best Winter Gloves

Winter sports are extremely popular; in the fourth season everyone will be wearing some form of hand protection. While some brave souls use only a thin liner glove, I prefer to keep my hands warm at all times! In this article I am going to go over my top picks for the best Winter Gloves and also what makes for a great winter glove.

GLOVES VS MITTS

This is a very important question; what activity are you pursuing the majority of the time? What do you need to purchase for your comfort? For example, if you are interested in snowshoeing, skiing, snowboarding, or something similar that does not require a lot of manual dexterity in your fingers, mitts might be a good option.

MITTS allow your fingers to nestle together in a shared space. You can still get quite a lot done, but if you need to set protection on a climb or are constantly using your smart phone or camera, these might be an issue. Remember, each time you take the gloves off, your body needs to work hard to heat your hands back up.

Especially on a windy day!

If I am not climbing in a technical situation where pulleys, ice screws, and protection are needed, I generally go with mitts. They are great for long cold days with my ice ax in hand, pounding across some isolated glacier high in the back country.

WIND CHILL

Wind chill is the amount that wind blowing on a surface cools the object beyond the actual temperature. For example, on a degree just five degrees below freezing with a 20mph wind the temperature will feel as if it actually almost 30 deg below 0! There have been windy days in the high mountains when I could not leave the tent without all of my skin covered, even with the sun shining!

Most of my choices for Best Winter Gloves will be a two layer system because when you take off your gloves, bare skin will instantly begin it’s painful road toward frostbite! With a two layer system (liners and waterproof outer shells) even in the moments you need to take off your gloves, you still have a thin layer of fabric to keep your hands protected against wind chill.

There are a ton of great gloves on the market today so I am going to provide options for all budgets and activities. Many times a manufacturer will provide gloves or mitts in a particular model so I will include links to both options – this is generally a personal preference based on technical needs.

THE NUMBER ONE PICK FOR BEST WINTER GLOVE – THE OUTDOOR RESEARCH ALTI

The Alti series from Outdoor Research might be the best option for any winter sport you wish to pursue. The Alti comes in either a glove or a mitt so you can choose the style of hand protection best suited to you!

No matter what conditions the winter throws your way your hands will be ready for it with the Alti!

THE OUTDOOR RESEARCH ALTI

PROS

  • PRIMALOFT® insulation for the outers PRIMALOFT ® Active incorporated into the liners makes sure your hands will retain heat, even in wet conditions!
  • 3D design makes this incredibly flexible
  • One of the most popular gloves on the market today
  • Cinches for wrist and forearm give you two points of closure to retain heat

CONS

  • Expensive; just under $200 unless you can find a pair on sale
  • Heavy Duty Expedition gloves; on a slightly chilly day your hands might be too warm

THE NUMBER TWO PICK FOR BEST WINTER GLOVE – THE BLACK DIAMOND MERCURY

Black Diamond is another company consistently producing great outdoor products. While I consider the OR Alti the top high-end pick, these Black Diamond Mercury Mitts/Gloves are definitely my top midrange option. INSIDER TIP: The liners for the Mercury Mitts are actually a mitt with a “trigger finger.” This means they have an individual forefinger, separate from the body of the mitt liner. This makes them very versatile for use when you are pulling them off and pulling them back on again!

 THE BLACK DIAMOND MERCURY

PROS

  • Goat skin palm lining is incredibly durable
  • Synthetic insulation is sure to keep your hands warm when slightly wet or damp
  • Kevlar stitching means this is a glove to last!

CONS

  • Can be less flexible than higher end models
  • Fit can be tight, size up for larger hands

THE NUMBER THREE PICK FOR BEST WINTER GLOVES – THE ARCTERYX LITHIC

The Arcteyx Lithic mitt is running very close to the #1 pick, the OR Alti. It is a tough call; both of these gloves are incredible, top-of-the-line models that you might see in Antarctica or on top of Everest. The Lithic incorporates all of the technology Arcteryx has spent decades investigating to produce a glove that some might call the best winter glove on the market today.

THE ARCTERYX LITHIC

PROS

  • N333p-X 3L Gore-Tex fabric with tricot technology on the palms and fingertips
  • N70p Gore-Tex on back of the hand with fully taped seams creates a highly breathable glove
  • The palm and fingertips feature TPU reinforcements instead of leather because these seal out water, wind, and snow from sneaking in
  • 100 g PRIMALOFT® Gold Insulation Eco (back of hand) and fully insulated outer!

CONS

  • EXPENSIVE – the most expensive model I am featuring in this article
  • Does not come in a mitt

THE NUMBER FOUR PICK FOR BEST WINTER GLOVE – THE COLUMBIA TUMALO

The Columbia Tumalo Mountain glove is my top economic pick for the best winter glove. These bulky gloves are sure to keep your fingers toasty on the slopes or snowshoeing across a wintry wonderland!

THE COLUMBIA TUMALO

PROS

  • PU Grip palm
  • FARENHOT® insulation
  • Very economic; 25% of the price of my high-end choice!

CONS

  • Run very small – size up for large hands and twice for long fingers!
  • Can be cooler feeling than a higher-end model

So now you have my picks for best winter glove, send me an email about your favorites and why you like them! Happy Trails and I hope everyone enjoys some fresh powder this winter!

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About the author

Joey Shonka

Joey Shonka is a mountaineer and adventurer who has spent more than a decade traveling in Latin America. Throughout his pursuit of isolated peaks, remote beaches and spectacular reefs, he has come to know and love the diverse cultures and kind people of these countries. Shonka is a professional biochemist, a former Division 1 rugby player, one of few individuals to complete the Triple Crown of Trails in North America, and has recently finished a 3-year solo trek across the entire Andes Mountain Range during which time he successfully climbed many of the highest peaks in the Americas. More About Joey

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