Day-Hiking Gloves

9:03 p.m. on February 11, 2007 (EST)
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I'm looking for a pair of gloves to day hike with. Does anyone have any suggestions?
Thank you

9:37 p.m. on February 11, 2007 (EST)
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bindigo -

What kind of conditions are you dayhiking in? Are you looking for gloves to keep you warm in winter or Arctic conditions, or mid-summer in the Deep South (90/90 weather), or what?

To give some examples, a friend has problems with her hands swelling, so uses Isotoner gloves to keep the swelling down. I know several people who wear light gloves with their hiking poles to avoid blisters. Among my orienteering friends, a number of those competing in the advanced classes (lots of off-trail) wear gloves to avoid contact with poison oak.

Give us an idea of your conditions and why you want to wear gloves for a day hike.

11:08 p.m. on February 11, 2007 (EST)
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Ooops! I forgot to state the conditions. I greatly appreciate your help.

I hike mainly in the Smoky Mountains during fall, winter and spring. I have encountered temps from 15 to 60 degrees. (I'm sure temps. can go lower or higher). I also use hiking poles.

I wanted something that would allow my hands to breath as well as protect them from the cold wind during the fall and winter.

The unusual part, if it makes sense, are my hands. They are normally cold natured; however, they can sweat after hiking steadily and building up core temperature.

I hope this makes sense. If not, let me know and I will try to clarify.

Thank you

1:35 a.m. on February 12, 2007 (EST)
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That broad a temperature range doesn't, in my opinion, lend itself to one solution. I would suggest a combination of a liner glove such as the OR (Outdoor Research) PS 150-a light synthetic glove-with an overmitt or heavy glove that you can wear over the liner when it gets colder. I use this combo for skiing and hiking in all kinds of weather. A spare pair of lightweight waterproof mitt shells is also worth carrying in the event that you find yourself in a real downpour.

4:36 a.m. on February 12, 2007 (EST)
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Bindigo,

I almost always carry two pairs of gloves if I have the need for one, there may be an unwanted need for the other.

I bought a pair of thin fleece gloves from Walmart a few years back. They have a small patch of thin leather on the tips of the first two fingers that stretch back to the thumb. I actaully bought them for driving gloves.

However, these gloves have seen may day hikes in the high mountains of Colorado. I use them year round. I have used them many times in the winter while I am in motion, but then carry a much warmer pair for when I am sitting down and relaxing. Although I have not had the need for the thick ones during late spring or in the fall, I still take them just in case I get stuck over night or something.

Where you are hiking, I am willing to bet they will work just fine. But again, if there is a possiblity of getting stuck over night in colder temps, they are not adequate for staying warm.

-John

5:05 a.m. on February 12, 2007 (EST)
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a pair of socks make fine mittens.

10:48 a.m. on February 12, 2007 (EST)
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My options range from ragg wool mits under 60/40 shell mitts (dead of winter in PA when it's actually cold outside) to Old Navy brand poly-pro gloves (nice and cheap so I don't lament their inevitable loss) - on occasion with the 60/40 shells over 'em and even (dead of winter, Northern NY state) with the wooly mitts over 'em (layering is just so convenient!) to leather work gloves (trail maintenance - uninsulated) and cheapo cotton gloves (posion oak was mentioned earlier - I use them to protect against posion ivy here in the East) -

One pair of well worn single layer poly-pro gloves lives in my daypack - I'd say I use gloves of that sort the most often - they breathe well and dry out real fast clipped to my pack -

I prefer mittens when it's really cold -

1:21 p.m. on February 12, 2007 (EST)
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There have been several good suggestions already. Lessee if I can summarize and add a couple comments.

For the range of temperatures you mention, the layering concept is the most workable, and is what I use in everything from summer Sierra (and many years ago in the Smokies) to Antarctica last month.

1st layer - thin wicking liner of poly

outer layer - windproof shell glove or mitt, depending on conditions, and if in rain or snow conditions, waterproof as well, Goretex or one of the Gtx clones.

midlayer - fleece of mid to heavy weight, depending on conditions (if you are actively hiking or working, this is optional, since the liner may be enough warmth even down to the 15F you mention.

With your poles and some other conditions, you might want to consider the outer shell having a leather or grippy synthetic palm. The thin liners don't stand up well to heavy usage. Full leather gloves also have their place, but may be overkill for what you describe as your usage.

**** Optional comments - you can skip these ****

Basically, on your skin, you use a light liner glove. For most purposes, this should be a wicking synthetic (poly of some sort, which OR, Manzella, Patagonia, and others make - and are even available at WalMart, Target, and others). I wear these in everything from dayhikes in cool conditions to the Arctic and Antarctic. If I need to manipulate something that requires too fine a touch for the full set of hand covering, I can pull my hand out with just the liners still on and adjust the camera, re-tie a boot lace, manipulate a zipper, whatever, without losing too much heat or sticking to the metal that is at subzero temperatures.

The shell is the next thing - this provides the wind and water protection, and the gripping surface. If it is really cold, gloves with separate fingers are much colder than mittens. I find I can often use just a mitten shell (I use the OR expedition mitts) with the light liner glove and keep my hands warm in conditions where a fully insulated glove leaves my hands feeling cool.

If it is too cool for a shell plus light liner, I add a medium to heavy fleece liner in between. This reduces dexterity, but increases the warmth. For really cold conditions (Antarctica last month on summit day), I go to mitts with a heavy liner (the OR expedition mitts). I still have the light liner gloves on for those times when I want to use the camera or manipulate a zipper without exposing my hands to the full-on -40F with a breeze.

Several companies sell "system" gloves and mittens with removable liners. Or you can "build your own". Be sure to try the combined layers together in any case, since you need room for the inner layers to allow circulation and dexterity. Thus, I use large or extra-large outer shells.

There are lots of good companies out there. You can get good enough quality cheaply for the thin liner (they wear out quickly anyway, and you will probably want to have a couple extra dry pairs in your pack, even on a day hike, if it is raining or snowing). But the outer shell should be from one of the better quality companies - Outdoor Research (OR), Black Diamond, Cloudveil, etc.

Oh, I should mention that for some purposes, I do use a fully insulated glove, like Cloudveil's ice climbing glove, or Black Diamond's Guide glove - these use Schoeller for breathability and some water resistance, plus padding for banging one's knuckles on the ice. I still use a thin liner, though.

8:14 p.m. on February 12, 2007 (EST)
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Thank you so much for the help. I knew I came to the right place. I will try to follow up on what I do. Again, thank you!

10:51 p.m. on March 6, 2007 (EST)
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At the start of last football season I purchased a pair of gloves to use during games that I could still photograph in. I also do a lot of hiking, so I wanted a pair that would be could for that sort of activity. I purchased a pair of Marmot Alpinist gloves and LOVE them! I bought them small so that they are very close fitting. These gloves have an amazing grip and a thin membrane to repel moisture. I have found them to be warm enough on cool to cold days and still cool enough to use as the weather heats up.

August 30, 2014
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