Best Gloves - Backpacker

Best Gloves

On the coldest of days, these well-designed mitts shelter your digits from all the elements so you can get out and stay out.
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Best Waterproof Gloves

Gordini Camber Waterproof Insulated Glove

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Bring on the wind, bring on the snow and rain—these gloves are impervious to all three, thanks to the breathable Aquabloc insert and Megaloft insulation. What’s special about the Aquabloc is that it allows sweat inside the glove to escape (no more clamminess!) but stops water from entering. The elegant stitching also minimizes seams—with about 80 percent fewer seams than found in conventional gloves—preventing the chafing that can sometimes occur during long hikes and runs when your arms are swinging back and forth or you’re holding trekking poles. The trim, palm, fingers, and thumb are goatskin with a strong, elastic cinch band at the wrist. The liner is a soft polyester, giving great overall dexterity; you won’t be sewing, but you can tie your shoes or operate buttons. Note of caution: When removing the gloves, pull each finger off individually by pinching the shell and liner together, to prevent the weather-proof insert (which cannot be sewn to the glove) from inverting. Buy them here.

Best Dexterity

Outdoor Research Inception Aerogel Gloves

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Many key pieces of backpacking gear were originally developed by NASA for astronauts: freeze-dried food, foil blankets, scratch-resistant lenses…and now you can add Aerogel gloves to that list. Designed to insulate space suits, Aerogel is 98 percent air and superbly blocks the transfer of heat. Translation: It’s light and keeps you warm. OR is currently the only brand to incorporate Aerogel in the palms and fingers. The high insulative properties allow the glove to be thin, stretchy, and tactile, so you can adroitly maneuver your fingers. Although not waterproof, the shell is water-resistant for light rains, windproof, and touchscreen compatible (meaning the fingers work on phones and other smart screens). The bumpy-dot silicone palm further increases grip and durability, while the bonded fleece liner adds comfort without risk of separating from the shell. We do wish that the elastic band could be cinched a little farther for slimmer wrists (the Velcro extends only about three-quarters of the way across the top of the wrist), but we love the long-cut gauntlet for keeping out snow. And if the technology is good enough for astronauts, you can bet it will be on our next outdoor adventure too. Get them now.

Best Waterproof Mitten

Flylow Smitty Mitten

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If you want maximum warmth and are willing to compromise on dexterity, go for mittens. Bonus: The Smitty mittens are treated with a waterproof coating and baked in what Flylow calls their “glovens” in Colorado. They also come with Nikwax, allowing you to give additional waterproofing treatments over time. Of course, you won’t be lighting camp stoves or tying laces with these mittens (originally almost called the Boxing Glove), but for superior warmth, with a wonderfully elastic, cinching cuff and a reinforced back of the hand, these are your go-to mittens. Buy them here.