Frozen fingers can ruin a hike, which is why it's important to wear the best winter hiking gloves to keep your hands warm and dry — without sacrificing more dexterity than required. The intensity and duration of your hike, as well as the weather you expect to encounter, will determine the level of insulation and waterproofing you need. That said, the best gloves should always be made of a materials that will wick moisture (as your hands will sweat while you hike) and should feature grippy material on the palms and/or fingertips so you can hold on to gear easily.
Most winter hiking gloves have an exterior layer made from water-resistant or waterproof material. Waterproof, breathable Gore-Tex or Hipora are the ultimate for keeping your hands dry but can be pricy. However, a nylon backing or splash-proof membrane will do the trick if you don't expect very wet conditions. A cozy fleece lining will help your hands stay warm even when you encounter moisture, and additional layers of insulation can further add to the warmth of the glove. Common insulators include 3M Thinsulate, foam, or Thermacore, but it's also possible to add warmth to a glove by wearing a pair of thin gloves, also known as liners, underneath. These liners can also be worn on their own if the weather isn't too cold, and some gloves even come with built-in removable liners.
Fit and coverage can help prevent wind and weather from getting inside your gloves, so longer gloves that cinch at the wrists are ideal for really chilly days or snow, and gloves that fit close to the skin will offer better protection than loose ones. Zip pockets can also be great when it's really cold — they're a convenient place to stash hand warmers.
Whether you're a seasoned trekker or novice day hiker, these four gloves will help you keep your hands dry and cozy on the trail.
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