The big test: Waterproof gloves reviewed (2019)

Warm hands are essential for great mountain days, so we’ve taken a closer look at six of the best insulated waterproof gloves from across the price and performance range.

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The runners up


Trekmates Chamonix Glove GTX £42

Tester: Graham Thompson

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  • Unisex XS/S, S/M, M/L, L/XL

  • Weight 158g (pair, L/XL)

These attractively-priced gloves feature a Gore-Tex Active waterproof lining to keep your hands dry from rain and sweat, as well as polyester hollowfibre insulation for warmth. Instantly comfortable when you first slip them on thanks to a brushed microfleece lining, the pre-curved fingers improve grip on ice axes or poles and the palm has a PU layer for durability. 

Impressively these gloves work with touchscreens device, such as my smartphone, and I also liked the cuff length, which fitted easily inside or outside my jacket. Less impressive were the fingertip seams, which are just at the point you want to touch things. This really affects dexterity, and if used regularly this area would be less durable than other designs. The thumb shape was also not very close fitting, with a square seam that again raised dexterity and durability concerns. 

These are good, but pay just a little more and you can get a much better glove.

Pros

Price, weight, touchscreen performance, size range, general features.

Cons

Fingertip design not ideal for dexterity or durability.

Buy it if

You want a low-priced glove that is ideal for walking with touchscreen sensitivity, and you don’t need the extra durability or dexterity that other designs offer, or don’t want to pay more.


Outdoor Research Adrenaline £55

Tester: Anna Humphries

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  • Men’s S-XL n Women’s S-L

  • Weight 153g (pair, women’s M)

These gloves come in both men’s and women’s sizes, and feature a useful textured rubbery palm that helps grip trekking poles or ice axes. The roll-tip seams on the fingers provide better durability and dexterity, while the Ventia waterproof lining and EnduroLoft polyester insulation both work well. 

A webbing wrist cinch strap locks the glove in place to prevent it slipping, and you can wear the cuff inside or outside a jacket sleeve, although the big cuff is a little more tricky than others to tuck inside a sleeve. 

Another fab design feature is that the women’s fit comes in plain black, with no touch of pinks or sparkles that some women’s gloves insist on!

Downsides include the lack of wrist leash, leather palm, nose wipe and touchscreen sensitivity. Also I’ve found slightly higher-priced gloves have a closer fit and slightly better dexterity. 

While not quite the warmest gloves I’ve ever tried, I actually found these fine for our Lake District test conditions.

Pros

Men’s and women’s sizes, cuff that fits inside and out, good all-round performance.

Cons

Lacking some benefits, such as wrist leash, leather palm, nose wipe and touchscreen performance, also not the warmest.

Buy it if

You want a very good all-round fit and performance ideal for most UK hillwalks.


Extremities Antora Peak GTX £80

Tester: Tim Butcher

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  • Unisex S-XL

  • Weight 217g (pair, XL)

These are excellent winter hillwalking gloves, with a waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex Active lining and a durable soft leather palm, giving ideal contact with poles or ice axes. 

The gently pre-curved fingers and roll-top fingertips gave me no problems at all with zippers and rucksack straps, and I navigated the maps and menus on my GPS with ease. There’s no touchscreen sensitivity though.  

The XL size proved a perfect fit for my wide hands, while the synthetic lining and insulation was comfortable to the touch and provided enough warmth for my hands, even as the wind and rain battered my hands. 

An adjustable webbing strap on the wrist secures the gloves nicely in place, and while I liked the extended cuff on the inside of the wrist, I would have liked a wider and longer cuff all around, with a drawcord for extra wind and rain protection. There’s no wrist leash either, though there is a small loop inside for fitting your own. 

Pros

Great comfort and dexterity for a winter glove, provides everything most hillwalkers will need.

Cons

A longer cuff with drawcord and wrist leash would make this an ideal glove, no women’s specific sizes, others offer touchscreen sensitivity.

Buy it if

You value a high level of dexterity, and aren’t troubled by the wrist cuffs or lack of women’s size options.



The top three


Regatta Transition WP £25

Tester: Graham Thompson

Is this low-priced glove all you really need in the hills, or are there benefits in splashing more cash for extra features?

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  • Unisex S/M, L/XL

  • Weight 142g (pair, L/XL)

It’s good

The low price of these gloves is instantly inviting, and for many walkers this and the design benefits on offer will more than suit their needs. The waterproof Hydrafort fabric has Thermoguard synthetic insulation inside, so your hands stay warm and dry. I also like that you get roll-tip fingertips – a feature other low-priced gloves often lack but one that really improves dexterity as well as durability, so for me is an important benefit of these gloves. There is some pre-curvature to the fingers too, which makes gripping ice axes easier and neater. I was particularly pleased with the thumb, as this fits very neatly and is nicely shaped. 

For durability the palm and fingertips have a textured PVC layer. The cuff is a good general length that can be fitted under or over a waterproof jacket, and you get basic elastication at the wrist as well as a cuff drawcord. This all works well, so these gloves are ideal for general walking if you are on a tight budget.

However

These gloves come with a number of drawbacks, which means that if you can pay more then it is worth doing so. Firstly they only come in two sizes, so you really must try before you buy and if the fit is not ideal then try other designs. Also while these are insulated, they are not as warm as some higher-priced gloves, and as such are great for mild conditions, but those suffering from cold hands may want something warmer. 

The palm is durable enough for most walkers, but hard users will find those with leather palms even better. There is no nose wipe – something you may come to miss! Also there is no wrist leash and no wrist cinch strap, all great little details that do make a difference if you are out in the hills regularly. These gloves don’t operate with touchscreens either, so they will need to be removed when you want to use a phone.

Verdict

Good basic gloves that are ideal if your budget is limited and you don’t need all the extras that are available on higher-priced gloves. Regular users, or those heading to Scotland in winter, will benefit by paying more though.

  • Features 4/5

  • Fit 3/5

  • Weatherproofness 4/5

  • In use 3/5

  • Value for money 5/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 76%

 

Mountain Equipment Guide £60

Tester: Anna Humphries

Does this popular workhorse warrant its price tag, or is it best to go higher or lower with your cash outlay to find the right glove for your needs?

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  • Men’s S-XL

  • Women’s XS-L 

  • Weight 175g (pair, M)

It’s good

This well-established glove offers great comfort and dexterity. It’s also available in both men’s and women’s sizes, with the women’s range coming in black/grey – which is great if you don’t like the typical pinks/purples that many women’s products display. 

On offer are a Drilite waterproof lining, a leather palm and a fibre pile lining on the back of the hand, with a microfleece lining on the palm. This all adds up to a warm glove with durable protection. The pre-curved fit means they feel natural when the hands are relaxed and the materials don’t bunch up when holding things such as ice axes or trekking poles. Also the lining doesn’t get caught when you remove them quickly, and doesn’t snag when putting them back on. 

Although the cuff isn’t the longest, you can fit it inside or outside a jacket sleeve and you get a drawcord to close the cuff. A soft nose wipe is included and there is a loop on both ring fingers to clip the gloves to a karabiner for easy carrying.

However

There’s no wrist leash, so you need to keep hold of these when taking them off in the wind to prevent them flying off the mountain. Also, while warm, they aren’t as warm as others here, so you may need something better for really cold days. 

The shorter cuff could allow for air gaps around the wrist, which is annoying, but then longer cuffs can be difficult to fit inside a jacket sleeve. Some gloves have an additional adjustment at the wrist, but here you just have elastication, so you need to consider if you need any additional adjustment. 

Also you don’t get the touchscreen sensitivity required to operate a mobile phone. But for me these worked fine on the hill and I really liked using them just as they are. 

Verdict

A good all-round glove for winter but not the warmest option. The cuff isn’t the longest and there is no wrist leash, but at they are ideal for most hillwalker’s needs.

  • Features 4/5

  • Fit 5/5

  • Weatherproofness 5/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 4/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 88%

 

Rab Blizzard £80

Tester: Tim Butcher

This glove appears to offer everything a walker needs in the mountains, but are all its features really necessary and are there any drawbacks?

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  • Unisex S, M, L, XL

  • Weight 267g (XL)

It’s good

The Blizzard is the ultimate winter hillwalking glove and ideal for the toughest days on Scotland’s Munros. The super-durable outer of ripstop nylon and a Porelle Dry insert ensure waterproofness, while the strong, double-layered leather palm guarantees a durable grip. The thumb also has a much used nose/goggle wipe – a feature often lacking on lower-priced gloves. 

I swapped to these gloves as we neared Pike O’Blisco and the weather turned colder, wetter and windier, and after a few minutes without gloves it was a relief to slip cold, wet hands into the soft fibre pile lining. The wrist cuff is really long and elasticated at the wrist, with an easy-to-use drawcord at the cuff, and this combination made it quick and easy to fit these gloves securely even in the pretty foul weather we were walking into. 

The overall fit is precise, with the lining staying in place at all times, and the pre-curved palm and fingers allowed my hands to rest or grip in a natural position. I really valued the wrist leash, which kept the gloves close to hand when removed in high winds.

However

At 267g (XL), these gloves are heavy and bulky, so are a little harder to stuff into pockets. The thicker insulation and double-layered leather increase warmth and durability, but the trade-off is reduced dexterity – I had to take them off to open my malt loaf, while my other gloves allowed me to eat with well protected hands. 

In terms of features, all they are missing is an adjustable wrist strap which would provide greater security and a tighter fit at the wrist. They can’t be used with a touchscreen device either, and there’s no women’s option. That price is pretty hefty too.

Verdict

An awesome winter glove for the toughest winter days, though more than needed for a typical Lakeland Day out. But if you walk in all conditions, buy them and they’ll never let you down. 

  • Features 5/5

  • Fit 4/5

  • Weatherproofness 5/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 3/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 84%


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