Hiking is an all-weather, all-season activity – as long as you have the correct kit.
Light gloves are a crucial part of your gear, as they provide a much-needed shield against the sun, wind and rain.
Whether you want something to wear before the sun comes up, to protect your hands from knocks and scrapes or even to stop them getting sunburned, there’s a glove out there for you.
And you don’t need to sacrifice any dexterity or the ability to use a smartphone or camera on the move.
The good news is that with so many options on the market, finding a good pair of gloves doesn’t need to be an expensive venture either. Below we have reviewed eight of our favourite hiking gloves, most of which are equally suitable for cycling and running.
Our list starts at the warmest end of the spectrum and progresses to those best suited for mild and cooler climates. Virtually all of them are made in men’s and women’s or unisex options. .
If you want an idea of what you should be looking for in your next pair of hiking gloves, just scroll down to our buying guide.
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Designed as the ultimate sun protection, Outdoor Research’s Activelce Chroma gloves provide a UPF 50+ shield.
Popular with backpackers, paddlers, trail runners, cyclists and even fishermen, these gloves protect your extremities in warm, dry and sun-baked environments.
The perforated construction makes them highly breathable and lightweight, stopping your hands from overheating.
The performance-level fabric wicks away moisture from the hand and is quick-drying, so you won’t be left with clammy hands regardless of the outside temperature.
They fit well, don’t look ridiculous and the material and double palm overlay are tough enough to grip the occasional rock or tree.
But the absolute showstopper here is the Active Ice fabric technology that uses xylitol crystals to actually cool you as the fabric wicks away sweat.
So for anyone that has held off gloves in the past on grounds of getting too hot, Outdoor Research have come up with an innovative answer.
Though not waterproof, the gloves are thin and dry quickly should they get wet. On that note, however, we do worry slightly that the thinness of the glove will reduce their lifespan for anyone that uses them for paddling, scrambling or any activity where they’ll regularly come into contact with other surfaces.
Reflective logos, tapered wrists and a durable palm overlay are all standard features that are included and the clip will stop you losing one on the trail. Paired with UV Protection arm sleeves, you’ll be able to spend all day hiking in the heat without the fear of damaging your skin.
These merino gloves from Sealskinz can be used as standalone gloves in mild conditions or as liners in the winter – making them a versatile purchase.
Developed with technical experts and athletes, Sealskins’ Solo range is rated one out of five, indicating they are a super lightweight protective option for warmer climates.
Merino wool is a high-quality fibre that is warm, even when wet, soft to the touch and able to naturally wick away moisture. The Solos are 98% merino with 2% elastane for additional flex.
This makes them a comfortable and breathable option suited to hiking on cool mornings or windy days.
They would also be perfect for runners that want a thin layer without the risk of over-heating.
Something else we liked is that they ride high up on the wrist, eliminating drafts and can be tucked into a long-sleeve if required. But if your hiking trip is going to involve any sub-zero temperatures, these simply cannot be used on their own.
Their close-fitting knitted construction allows them to be worn under winter gloves as a baselayer, so you will definitely get your money’s worth.
The WindWeight Mitt from Black Diamond is a warm and windproof convertible mitten for shoulder season adventures.
Constructed from a soft Polartec fleece exterior and interior, with the addition of goat-leather palm patches for extra durability, these are great for anyone who wants gloves but tends to heat up quickly.
The fold-back flap with magnetic closure converts the mitts to three-quarter fingerless gloves and stays in place so you don’t have it flapping around whilst walking.
The ability to quickly convert from one option to the other provides additional dexterity when you’re fumbling through your pack trying to find your phone, water bottle or medical supplies.
If we were really being picky it would have been great to have the addition of a touchscreen-friendly tip on the thumb but for this price you can’t have it all.
Whether you’re going hiking, walking the dog or de-icing your car, the WindWeights will be a great companion.
They were plenty warm enough when tested at -5°C (23°F) and our original concerns about the finger pockets being warm enough were negated.
The mitt part is perfectly windproof and when you start to overheat, you can just magnetically snap it out of the way.
The main downside is that they won’t keep your hands dry should you get caught in a rainstorm. They are just protective enough for a few splashes here and there but anything beyond that and you’ll have wet fingers.
For anyone who wants to be able to use touchscreen devices whilst keeping their hands warm, The North Face Etip gloves should be on your hit list.
And it’s not just your forefinger that you can use, which ultimately is as slow as just removing your gloves, the Etips offer five-finger touchscreen capability.
Made from a polyester and elastane mix, the stretchy, durable fleece is comfortable and warms up quickly.
The silicon grip pattern on the palm is just enough to give you that extra security when holding poles, without adding bulk.
The North Face’s five-dimensional fit ensures consistent sizing and radiometric articulation holds your hands in a naturally relaxed position.
For this price, they’re by far one of the best three-season gloves available and will keep your hands warm and dry on the trails.
Whether you’re hiking cross-country or relaxing around camp, your fingers won’t suffer. These gloves come in both men’s and women’s models for a more snug fit, so be sure to buy the right one for you.
The most affordable gloves on our list are the Aegend Sports Gloves.
These lightweight gloves are perfect for hikers, runners, cyclists and general outdoor use on mild to cool days. What’s more is that they are touchscreen compatible and anti-static – presenting real value for money.
Built from a polyester and spandex mix, these gloves have plenty of stretch in them to ensure that they are fitted yet comfortable whilst performing various tasks.
Just thin enough to stop your hands from overheating, they are breathable and wick moisture away. Unfortunately they aren’t at all water resistant but do dry quickly and certainly keep the wind off.
The palm of the gloves feature anti-slip silicone for a secure grip – even when wet.
They could be used as liner gloves if you buy a size that offers a snug-enough fit, but we think you’d be at risk of bunching material.
Typically at this price point you’d worry about their longevity. Though some users online have warned of stiching/seam issues, Aegend offer a 30-day no hassle returns policy and 12-month replacement warranty.
As long as you’re not looking for a cream-of-the-crop technical glove, we can’t really fault this option from Aegend.
The SmartWool Merino gloves are another versatile option that can be worn alone when you’re hiking in mild weather or trail running, or layered underneath heavier gloves when riding the mountain.
Soft-brushed merino feels soft on the skin and won’t rub in the same way that synthetic materials or cotton might.
It also breathes naturally so your hand doesn’t feel stifled as you start to heat up and there is no build up of bacteria or odour. Ribbed cuffs provide a slim fit whilst stopping drafts or rain getting in.
Another plus is that the fingertips are screen compatible, so you won’t have to expose your hands to send a text, scroll through photos or change your playlist.
Silicone grippers on the palm and fingers allow for a good grip on poles, even if they’re wet.
The continual abrasion of gripping poles could however start to wear out the palms of the gloves as the silicone is not particularly durable-looking.
This could be easily avoided though if worn for activities that don’t result in repeated rubbing, like hiking without poles, walking/running and just generally around camp.
If you will be venturing out in extreme conditions then these will need to go inside mittens or thermal outers but are excellent two/three-season gloves in themselves.
The joint-thickest gloves in our lineup are the all-weather gloves from SealSkinz.
A rugged yet lightweight and technical waterproof glove, they do what they say on the tin.
If you’re heading out hiking on a cool morning, you can take on rain, wind or shine and your fingers will stay warm and dry.
Developed using a three-layer construction, this model is rated three (out of five), offering the perfect in-between of warmth and breathability.
A PU suede palm provides durability and grip and the fleece thumb wiper will enable you to see to that runny nose that often accompanies changing conditions.
Inside is a polyester liner for added comfort and the hook-and-loop closure is a nice addition to seal in warmth when needed.
Zero liner movement provides excellent control, as does the pre-curved finger design.
Despite their thickness, you don’t have to sacrifice any dexterity.
Combined with two fingertips on each hand that can be used for operating a touch screen, users can operate a DLSR camera or phone with ease – as long as you’re not trying to mess around with too many small buttons.
Not many mild-weather gloves offer protection from downpours but the 100% waterproof layering in these SealSkinz creates a barrier between you and challenging wet weather whilst allowing just enough airflow to keep your hands free from sweat.
Perfect for a chilly morning, you’ll probably start to overheat once the sun comes up and you’re on the move.
A lightweight, breathable and durable glove, Black Diamond’s Crag model will protect your hands from both weather and rocks.
Although they were originally designed for cragging and belaying, their features transfer nicely over to hiking.
A truly multi-purpose glove, the index finger is reinforced while the thumb has a crotch for durability, meaning that you can safely use them across different activities.
These gloves are constructed with breathable stretch-mesh and tough synthetic leather that gives you a firm grip. As a result, your hands won’t feel clammy – even as you hike up steep inclines or scramble over rocks.
The knuckle padding is a nice touch for added security and there is even a soft flannel patch for nose wiping.
Thick but flexible, your hands are fully protected without compromising dexterity.
They generally fit well all across the hand and aren’t too hot. If in doubt, go a size up as the finger tips are quite narrow and it can get a bit restrictive in there.
The cuffs are closed using a hook-and-loop cuff closure and there is also a pull-on / clip-in loop for easy wearing.
On the downside, the gloves aren’t touchscreen compatible and won’t stand up in very wet conditions.
The build quality isn’t outstanding either, surprising from Black Diamond, and some users report stitching starting to go after a few tough outings.
Although this is something you could repair yourself, it’s something we’d hope is ironed out in future models.
What to look for in your next pair of three-season hiking gloves
As with all hiking and outdoor gear, your primary consideration will be the conditions in which you’ll be hiking or trekking.
This will determine the importance of warmth and waterproofing.
Below are some other standard traits to consider before purchasing.
There are plenty of options on the market, including mittens, five-finger gloves and lobster gloves.
Lobster gloves are three-finger gloves typically used by cyclists, but some people like them because they balance warmth and dexterity.
In terms of hiking in mild conditions, we’d recommend going for the traditional five-finger design.
You should also check whether the glove is designed for men, women or if it is unisex.
Although the differences aren’t huge, the finger lengths tend to differ slightly and you don’t want to end up with excess (or lack of) material at the tips.
Materials and warmth
When shopping for a three-season hiking glove, you can immediately discount ski and mountain gloves as you’ll overheat incredibly quickly and they are much bulkier than you might need whilst on the trails.
Not to mention the fact that they are more expensive thanks to their multi-layer thermal capabilities.
Fleece gloves are good for lightweight gloves that can used on cool mornings or as a base-layer in winter.
If you’re going to be hiking in areas prone to showers, opt for something constructed of water-resistant or waterproof materials that will keep your fingers dry.
Ideally you’d invest in a glove that will last you for years to come.
Cheap knockoffs could rip on the first rock you grab or leave your fingertips freezing as soon as the sun goes down.
Choose a reputable brand and look out for seam-lock stitching and reinforced palms.
In wet conditions you should also look for palms constructed of leather or silicone as this will improve your gripping strength and power.
Most mild-weather hiking gloves are pretty basic – serving the sole function of protecting your hands from changing conditions.
Some do have additional features for improved comfort or functionality.
Touchscreen tips, single-pull adjustment systems, carabiner loops and nose-wipe areas are all things you can find in three-season gloves.
If you want to maximise the versatility of your gloves, choose something that can be used as a standalone in summer and as a base-layer in winter.
Layering gloves ensures that your hands stay warm and dry year-round.
A simple fleece or merino glove can be paired with a waterproof shell to get the best of both worlds – just ensure that the base isn’t excessively loose.
Layering also gives you the opportunity to remove the shell when your hands start to warm up, leaving you with just a thin and breathable layer.
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Last update on 2020-09-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API