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Warm hands are a necessity in the backcountry—but picking out the perfect glove to get you there isn’t always simple. First, consider your activity level: If you’re moving fast, you’ll want lighter gloves to compensate for your output, while if you’re lounging around, you’ll want the thickest gloves you can get. Then, consider the conditions: Will you need waterproof gloves to keep out snow and slop, or is breathability your primary concern? These four pairs will keep your digits warm and flexible no matter what.
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Most Breathable: Seirus HW Gore-Tex Infinium Trace Glove
Think of this windproof, water-resistant number as a supercharged softshell liner for days when you want weather protection but not the warmth or coverage of an insulated glove. Built with Gore-Tex Infinium fabric, which deflects slushy snow or spring rain while still breathing better than full waterproofing, the Trace excelled on early season hiking, trail-running, and fat-biking missions around Colorado’s Roosevelt National Forest and Rocky Mountain National Park. Buy the Seirus HW Gore-Tex Infinium Trace Glove Now / Read the Full Review
Best Dexterity: Gordini Spring Glove
When you need your fingers on a fair-weather outing but still want protection from cold temps and sharp ski edges, this is the glove you should grab. The lightweight, tricot-lined Spring Glove’s stretchy spandex shell helps maintain a snug-yet-comfortable fit, while its goatskin palm and thumb are durable without compromising mobility. Buy the Gordini Spring Glove Now / Read the Full Review
Best Protection: Black Diamond Recon Glove
For steep-and-deep missions, the Recon is your faithful friend. Black Diamond’s proprietary waterproof/breathable insert wards off precip, and we didn’t experience any leakage during an all-day snowstorm while touring in Grand Teton National Park. “It was cold and wet enough that I needed to keep my gloves on the entire time, but my hands stayed dry throughout,” one tester says. Buy the Black Diamond Recon Glove Now / Read the Full Review