How to choose your winter hiking gloves

How to choose your winter hiking gloves 

Do you enjoy hiking in cold weather and want to know which gloves are most suitable?
Do you need to find hiking gloves offering a good combination of warmth, waterproofing and dexterity?
We'll provide you with all the information you need to help you decide.

Do you need warm gloves for hiking but don't really know the advantages and disadvantages of each type of glove? Glove liners, gloves, over-gloves, mittens, fingerless gloves etc. We'll tell you everything there is to know about the different hiking gloves.

How to choose your winter hiking gloves

1. Different types of gloves

Understanding the different layers:

It is important to distinguish between the different layers for your hands. We offer three types of gloves for your hikes.

Inner gloves: you should wear these underneath other gloves to provide extra warmth and not on their own. They are equivalent to the first layer of hiking clothing or a sleeping bag liner for bivouacking.

Gloves: these are worn over the inner gloves and should provide the necessary hand protection. They are equivalent to the second layer of hiking clothing.

Waterproof over-gloves: these are worn over the top of your gloves and are used in case of severe conditions. They are equivalent to the third layer of hiking clothing.

Which gloves are the best for keeping your hands warm?

Glove liners for hiking

Glove liners

Inner gloves in Merino wool that, as their name suggests, should be worn underneath your hiking gloves. Worn like this, they can provide up to 3°C of extra warmth. We do not recommend wearing them on their own (except occasionally) because they are delicate. On their own, they will not protect you well enough against wind and moisture. They can also wear out prematurely if you wear them on their own and use your hiking poles, especially in the palm of the hand.

"The challenge for our designers is to make sure they are warm but also thin enough to easily fit underneath gloves, but the thin material does make them relatively delicate."

Forclaz warm hiking gloves

Gloves

Hiking and trekking gloves provide good protection from the cold. Some offer additional wind-proof protection, in other words, they have a membrane that offers protection against the wind. Similarly, if you are walking in the rain, waterproof gloves will offer the protection you need.
The benefit of wearing hiking gloves is that they give you very good dexterity and are particularly resistant. The palms of the gloves are reinforced for when you use your hiking poles and they are often touch-screen compatible.

Forclaz hiking mittens and fingerless gloves

Mittens and fingerless gloves

Mittens are generally designed to protect against extremely cold temperatures. The advantage of mittens is that your fingers keep each other warm. There are also fewer seams for better thermal protection.
Mittens/fingerless gloves offer a certain versatility. They protect against wind and the cold while providing good dexterity so that you can still use objects while walking or bivouacking.
They can also be used with inner gloves for maximum warmth.

Forclaz waterproof over-gloves

waterproof over-gloves

Over-gloves provide additional protection against the elements. You can wear them on their own, over the top of gloves, over inner gloves or over a combination of both.
Waterproof and windproof, you can be sure that your hands will stay dry. You can wear them even if it isn’t raining to keep your hands warm.

2. Criteria for choosing the best hiking and trekking gloves

When choosing the most suitable hiking and trekking gloves, it is important to take into account various criteria such as the material, touch-screen compatibility, thermal insulation and size.

The material

Leather

Leather gloves offer excellent protection against the elements and can last for a long time if they are properly cared for. However, they can be heavier and less warm than other materials.

How to choose your winter hiking gloves
Merino wool

Merino wool is a natural fibre that comes from Merino sheep. It is known for how soft, warm and breathable it is. We use Merino wool for our inner gloves to complement and enhance the performance of our gloves.

Merino wool
Synthetic

Synthetic materials are frequently used for trekking gloves because of their unique features. They are often lightweight, resistant to wear and tear and provide great breathability to wick away sweat. The specifications will differ depending on the membranes and components used. To make sure gloves are durable and comfortable to use with hiking poles, our designs have reinforced palms.

Synthetic
How to choose your winter hiking gloves

Touch-screen compatibility

Almost all of our trekking gloves have a coating that is touch-screen compatible, which enables you to use your smartphone without having to remove your gloves.
This is an important feature for hikers who need to use their phone for directions or to take pictures. This coating is on the thumb and index finger of our gloves.

What are the warmest gloves?

How to choose your winter hiking gloves

When hiking in cold weather, we recommend that you use our mittens/fingerless gloves and our warmest gloves.

How to choose your winter hiking gloves

In extreme cold - temperatures below -15°C - we recommend choosing our Arctic 900 gloves and mittens.

Glove sizes – How to choose the right sized gloves for winter.

All of our hiking gloves are unisex and are suitable for both men and women. The most important thing is to choose the right size.

Remember to choose a pair of gloves that are large enough so that you're fingers aren’t squashed, especially if you want to wear a pair of inner gloves. In fact, compression slows the blood circulation in the fingers and increases the sensation of cold since the blood supply is impaired.

To find your size, go to the product sheets and open the size guide where you'll find tips and advice to help you choose the right size.

You shouldn’t feel cold while you are hiking because physical exertion normally stimulates blood circulation, sending blood to your extremities. Remember to remove some layers so that you don't get cold when you stop.

3. How to warm up your hands after a hike.

You’ve arrived at the bivouac, but your hands are freezing cold.
There are several solutions: hand warmers of course, preferably reusable ones. But you can also heat up some water and carefully put it in your flask and wrap it with a cloth to avoid burning yourself.

If you're lucky enough to be staying in a refuge with hot tap water, washing your hands in hot water works better than putting them on a radiator.

To avoid frostbite due to cold, there's only one solution: moisturise your skin. Frostbite is a small wound that occurs when the skin cracks because it is so cold. To avoid it, it is really important to moisturise your skin as much as possible. Ideally, always carry a tube of cream with you to moisturise your hands every time you wash them.

Choosing hiking gloves for your children
Choosing hiking gloves for your children
Protective anti-UV gloves

Note: gloves to protect you from the sun

To prevent sunburn or avoid developing brown spots on your hands, we recommend wearing anti-UV gloves when hiking or trekking in the desert or in strong sun. They are light and breathable and ensure optimum protection against UV rays.

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