The best thing about hiking is that it can be done inexpensively, virtually anywhere and at any time of year – as long as you’re correctly prepared.
Gloves are a crucial part of your cold weather gear, because hiking with your hands in your pockets simply isn’t an option.
There are many different types of hiking gloves available, with a range of materials, waterproofing and specific features such as touchscreen friendly tips.
With so many options on the market, it’s hard to know what will keep you warm and dry without being an overkill.
Protecting your extremities from the elements doesn’t need to be expensive either. Below we have reviewed some of the best winter hiking gloves on the market, in order of price.
Virtually all of the glove and mitten options we have included are made in men’s, women’s and 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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- Touchscreen compatible
- Anti-slip textured palms and fingers
- Double shirred elastic wrist to keep snow/rain out
- 95% Polyester
Suited to cycling, running, hiking and other outdoor sports in the winter, TOLEMI’s insulated gloves are first in our list.
A great budget-friendly option, one of the key attractions of these gloves is the touchscreen technology on both hands.
Users are able to use their index finger (built with conductive leather) for phones and cameras with ease.
The fleece liner is relatively breathable and moisture-wicking, stopping your hands from getting too sweaty.
Even with the liner and thick outers, users maintain a good level of dexterity for a winter glove.
This low-bulk design makes them equally good for cycling, as there is no loss of control for braking and gear shifting.
Warmth is kept in by extended elastic cuffs around the wrists, keeping wind and water out.
The anti-slip PU leather on the palm increases friction, helping you to grip walking poles and other objects safely and firmly.
Although TOLEMI suggest that they are good for temperatures as low as -20°C, we wouldn’t recommend these gloves for such cold temperatures or icy conditions – particularly for those with poor circulation.
They are fine against frost and moisture but cannot be totally soaked, as water will reach the fleece lining and hand.
- Heavy duty polyester design
- PVC functional vent design for air circulation
- Skidproof leather palms
- PVC composite knuckle protectors
- Adjustable wrist straps
Rugged in design and incredibly durable by nature, the FREETOO Tactical Gloves are an impressive piece of kit.
In terms of versatility, these gloves are by far the best on our list.
You can easily transition from hiking to climbing, downhill or mountain biking, airsofting and everything in between.
These heavy-duty gloves were built with the military in mind and can therefore be counted on to protect your hands from both the cold and abrasion or knocks whilst out and about.
With a reinforced palm, knuckle padding and double stitching, these gloves will definitely last you a good few years.
Their breathable materials and snug design mean that they are comfortable and offer a great range of movement – ideal for the various tasks you may come across whilst out hiking.
Your hands are protected from scrapes and cuts but enough dexterity remains to get in and out of your pack with ease.
The functional vent design means they be used in warm weather as well as in mild winter seasons and the adjustable wrist Velcro keeps them in position.
The only downside is that they aren’t touchscreen compatible but at this price point, we can’t complain.
- Non-slip rubber on PU palm and fingers
- Zip on hand for handy storage of key/card
- Thinsulate and cotton construction
- Goggle/glasses cleaning patch on thumb
Waterproof, windproof, and highly comfortable, these MCTi gloves will keep your hands toasty in temperatures as low as -12 ºC.
The thermal insulation is built from 40g 3M Thinsulate and 150g high-density cotton with a nubuck palm and reinforced rubber fingers that protect your extremities whilst allowing flexibility.
The small zipper pocket on the top of both gloves is useful for storing things that need easy access, like keys, cards and ski lift passes.
If you’re the kind of person who loses at least one glove a year, the built-in clips will help you to keep them together and the wrists can be pulled in tighter to maintain warmth.
MCTi’s three-layer composite design prevents rain drops, melted snow and water molecules from getting in, with a breathable polyester liner closest to your hand.
The issue is that the outer shell isn’t totally waterproof but the middle plastic glove layer in the middle is.
This non-breathable layer holds moisture inside the insulating layer so that it can’t dry out fully.
If you’re likely to be getting wet or sweaty on consecutive days, then you will need to dry them out each night or opt for a glove with removable liners.
Overall, a comfortable and warm pair of gloves that won’t break the bank.
- Close fitting and flexible
- Front zip for key, card or hand warmers
- Waterproof Pertex shell
- 100-weight radiant fleece insulating liner
The Outdoor Research Versaliner is a lightweight hiking glove that is both water resistant and moisture wicking – making them suitable for trekking in both cold and warm climates.
The Versaliners come with Pertex outer shell gloves (essentially rain covers), so you actually get water-resistant gloves that cover these gloves.
However, even with them on you won’t be able to see off a torrential downpour without feeling moisture inside the glove.
The rain covers fit inside a zip pocket that is on the back of your hand that can otherwise be used for keys, coins, jewellery or any other small items.
We also thought it would be the perfect place to put small hand warmers. The loop at the bottom of the gloves is useful for pulling the gloves on when wet.
On top of this, the anti-slip silicone palm padding guarantees consistent grip and the close fit and slight stretch makes them a really comfortable glove.
The Versaliners are well-made, comfortable and surprisingly warm for the thickness. If your focus is insulation rather than weatherproofing then these are a perfect option.
- Polytex shell and Polyester liner
- FastDry technology lining
- Waterproof insert
- Highly durable, all-purpose shell
- Fleece cuff with adjustable wrist strap closure
Carhartt is best-known for their coats and trendy outerwear, and now they’ve got insulated mittens in the lineup.
Falling in the middle of our price range, they come in men’s and women’s, as well as various colour options.
Mittens are better than gloves in cold conditions as they share heat across your fingers and palm, trapping extra warmth.
The top of the gloves also feature a brow wipe, so you can wipe sweat from your face without having to take your mittens off whilst on the move.
The reinforced polyurethane palm is waterproof and the stretch fleece cuffs will keep rain/snow and wind out whilst trapping heat inside.
They also feature pull on closure, making it easy enough to fit the second glove with one already on.
Built from 100% polyester in the shell and lining, and 100% polyurethane in the palm, they are durable and warm but not very breathable.
If your hands don’t sweat a great deal whilst hiking, these would be absolutely fine but if they do then these gloves could be a non-starter.
They don’t seem to wick moisture nearly as well as claimed by the manufacturer, making the lining feel damp and requiring drying out after every use.
With a snug fit, your hands will be kept toasty whilst looking cool but it could be a clammy experience.
- Mitten style Pertext Shield shell
- Four-way stretch
- 100% waterproof BDry insert with high-loft fleece lining
- Removable liner has split-finger design for increased dexterity
- Can be machine washed
The Mercury mittens are one of Black Diamond’s best-sellers, featuring a fully waterproof insert and PrimaLoft insulation, as well as a removable split-finger liner for increased dexterity.
Designed to work in temperatures as low as -20°C, these mittens provided reliable protection in challenging conditions.
A goat leather palm and Kevlar stitching boost their durability, whilst the lightweight, Pertex Shield shell with four-way stretch keeps them comfortable, breathable and flexible.
The felt-like strip on the back of the thumbs is useful for wiping your nose on when it’s too cold to rummage around for tissues and the fleece inner lining is unbelievably comfy.
Generally, with increased warmth and comfort comes increased bulk and these are no exception.
The liners are removable and feature a split finger design and can also be used on their own. The insert is breathable but furry and cosy.
This material does cause friction when extracting your hands, particularly when they’re sweaty, which makes it want to start turning itself inside out.
However, we found that if you turn the inner glove inside out so that the silky surface is next to your skin, your hands slide in and out more easily.
The inner glove has three sections – one for your thumb, one for your index finger and one for your other three fingers.
Although this improves dexterity and warmth slightly, we found it unnecessarily complicated and ended up putting four fingers in the compartment intended for three, making the forefinger part redundant.
These mitts are almost but not totally waterproof. The outer shell has leather on the palm side with waterproof material on the back but the stitched seams are not taped over, meaning that rain will eventually find its way in during a prolonger downpour.
Overall these are one of the warmest gloves that still have the breathability and stretch factor.
We would have liked the addition of wrist straps as you end up taking mittens on and off a lot more than five-finger gloves, increasing the chance of dropping one, but you can’t have it all for this price.
- Split-finger design for dexterity in extremely cold weather,
- Waterproof shell with Prim aloft-insulated liner
- Comfortable high-loft fleece lining
- Kevlar-reinforced goat leather palm ideal for climbing
Another entry from Black Diamond, the Soloist Finger gloves provide so much warmth that they’re as suited to alpine climbing as they are for winter hiking.
The split-finger design offers additional dexterity in extremely cold weather, whether you need to unzip a backpack, open a water bottle or use a map.
The remaining fingers are in a mitten style compartment to improve warmth, supported by the fleece lining for additional comfort and heat-retention.
The Soloist Finger gloves combine a dry waterproof insert with a removable, PrimaLloft-insulated liner. The Prim Gold Insulation in the liner dries quickly and insulates even when wet.
In warmer weather, the waterproof shell can be used as a standalone, making them a versatile pair of gloves.
Again, Black Diamond have constructed these gloves with a lightweight, abrasion-resistant, Pertex stretch shell.
The goat leather palm and Kevlar stitching are strong enough to withstand rocky terrain or rappelling should you find yourself climbing.
The one thing that could have really taken these over the line would have been the addition of a touchscreen tip on the forefinger.
If you don’t like the mitten and solo finger combination, Black Diamond also manufacture a standard Soloist glove model with five separate fingers.
These are also made with Kevlar-reinforced goat leather palms and Pertex shell with removable PrimaLoft liners.
Whichever model you opt for, the Soloists are an outstanding pair of winter gloves that will provide serious protection from the elements.
- 3Dfit technology offers improved ergonomic function
- Primaloft hi loft in shell and liner for better moisture management and improved dexterity
- Slightly stiff durable shell
- Waterproof and windproof
- AlpenGrip Palm
The Outdoor Research Alti Gloves are our top choice for cold-weather hiking.
Coming in as the most expensive pair in our lineup, they justify this price tag with premium design and quality, and plenty of additional features.
The Altis are the warmest-wearing gloves on our list and could even be used on major mountain expeditions.
As such they might be a bit much for general use in winter months but are perfect for those with poor circulation or who get cold easily.
Kevlar stitching, ToughTek LT tabs and leather palm all contribute to their durability and the removable moonlight pile fleece liner is super-soft and comfortable.
Additional features that lift them above their competitors include the heat pack/storage pocket on the back of the hand, removable leash, pull-on loops, glove clips and carabiner loops.
The elasticised wrist and SuperCinch gauntlet create a secure fit and help to keep the cold out.
Weighing in at 400 grams, they are one of the bulkier options on the market. A key trade-off for warmth and removable liners is the weight and dexterity.
The Alti gloves were stiffer than we’d like – fine for hiking, but less good for gripping ski or walking poles.
There also seems to be a mismatch between the liner and the glove – something that multiple users have reported.
The liner fits your hand snugly but once put inside the shell, your fingers don’t reach the tip of the glove.
This extra centimetre or two of space isn’t the end of the world but seems to be a basic design flaw by Outdoor Research.
Other than that, they are an impressive set of gloves that will last you many years without suffering too much wear and tear.
For those who prefer mittens to gloves, or require that extra level of warmth, Outdoor Research also have the slightly more expensive (but highly rated) Alti Mitts model.
What to look for in your next pair of cold-weather hiking gloves.
As with all hiking and outdoor gear, your primary consideration should be where you will predominantly be hiking or trekking.
This will determine if you require any specific functionality or features. Otherwise, below are the standard traits to consider before purchasing.
Gloves or mittens
This is totally down to personal preference and both have their benefits.
Most people opt for gloves purely because they give you extra dexterity for opening/closing bags, gripping branches or rocks and making it easier to eat/drink, and are thus a bit more versatile.
Mittens are much warmer though, as they trap heat in a communal area, and when paired with separate-finger liners it is possible to get the best of both worlds.
In super cold conditions, removing your mittens won’t be an option, so stick with gloves.
Insulation and warmth
It goes without saying that you’re trying to keep your hands and fingers warm, but to what degree?
Don’t go straight in for the warmest gloves you can find, as you may end up unnecessarily sacrificing mobility or overspending.
If you are going to be hiking in the far north or south latitudes, or at altitude, then you will need properly insulated and waterproof gloves.
On the flip side, if you’re hiking through jungles or humid environments, breathability will be crucial.
Avoid materials that will get cold and water-logged if they get wet, like cotton. Synthetic materials are the best insulators.
Outer shells like Gore-Tex are designed to be water resistant and breathable, and when combined with polyester inners will keep your hands warm and dry.
If you are prone to getting really cold, consider buying some thermal liners for your gloves such as these multi-purpose silk ones and make sure that your gloves have long cuffs that can be tucked under your sleeve.
Inners and lining
Most thermal gloves come with a shell and a liner.
The outside material will have waterproof and windproof properties, whilst the inner will be a comfortable addition made from fleece or something similar.
Removable inners are easy to keep dry and wash in between uses and can often be replaced or removed to conform to the given temperature.
Overheating can lead to dehydration and discomfort, even in the coldest of temperatures.
Breathable and moisture-wicking gloves will be your best friend if you are prone to getting sweaty.
Gloves should be warm but allow a small degree of air flow to ensure that moisture is not trapped around the skin, creating a warm and clammy hiking experience.
Breathability and wicking are two different things, and some gloves are one but not the other. Moisture-wicking inners can go some way in making up for non-breathable shells.
As long as there is an avenue for moisture out and away from your skin then you’ll be far more comfortable.
Most winter gloves are water resistant but very few are totally waterproof.
If you are hiking somewhere that rain is a constant fixture, you’ll need to find waterproof gloves or mittens.
They are made from the same materials as hiking jackets and vary from lightweight to incredibly bulky.
Design and features
The best hiking and backpacking gloves come with useful additional features such as pockets, palm grips, wrist clips and pull loops.
Whilst not strictly necessary, you’d be surprised at how much time and effort they
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Last update on 2020-10-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API