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Hiking gloves not only constitute an essential part of your hiking ensemble but also of any outdoor activity that you will undertake. These gloves help protect your hands from the extreme weather situations and other inconvenient conditions that may cause discomfort or injury. Stepping out in the spine-chilling winter exposes you to heart-numbing frostbite that may cause distress to your fingers. Extreme cold is also one of the leading causes of various health problems, and even if you have donned it right, poor coverage of the arms still makes you susceptible to cold.
Hiking gloves will help ensure better protection against winter and always come in handy in various situations. Since gloves are being worn to ensure safety and comfort against any inconvenience arising due to the condition of your arms while undertaking any feat, these are getting popular with adventure seekers and fitness enthusiasts alike. In previous decades, we didn’t see many iterations in the construct of these gloves which were either available in leather skin material or the variants of wool or contents of the similar kind.
Types of Hiking Gloves
Today, the market seems flooded with several kinds of hiking gloves. Some of them have differentiating functions while others are versatile enough to be used in a variety of ways. The categorisation of hiking gloves into three categories, viz; the regular, summer and winter indicate to which time of the season these are most suited. Summer gloves come in handy in the scorching hot sunny days. When you’re long-distance hiking, these products offer complete protection from blisters. Moreover, secured protection is present against the harsh sunlight on tougher trails. With ultrathin fabric and light padding intact, these gloves are sure to offer maximum breathability, come what may.
Winter hiking gloves are an ideal option to secure protection against the cold and comprises an inner lining that offers warmth and comfort with an outer layer that is spill-proof. The heavy padding ensures protection from blisters. Most other gloves have features that allow separation between the inner layer and outer layer at times when the temperature becomes conducive or in common indoor situation.
Regular hiking gloves are a bit lightweight and can be used both for winter and summer provided the weather is not extreme as in this case you will need some adjustments. Most other hiking gloves have their names attributed to their design or purpose. Some popular ones included are:
Mittens are a bit different from the usual gloves as there is no room for finger separation by fabric. Alternatively, fingers get grouped which generates more warmth than in gloves. It may make it difficult to do some tasks while wearing these, but you can still operate zipper or handle ski polls, though.
Lobster gloves which are a blend between the mittens and the usual gloves as these allow for finger dexterity like the ordinary gloves along with the warmth snuggly experience of the mittens. The middle finger and the index finger get grouped separated from the ring and pinky finger.
3-in-1 gloves consist of an insulated shell and a removable fleece liner that can be worn together for maximal warmth or use either pair individually. These are touch-screen compatible and always come in handy in cold situations.
Waterproof gloves are useful in the chilling winter season and wet weather. As the name itself says, waterproof gloves offer the highest level of protection from adverse weather conditions which is attained by creating a membrane attached to the fabric or as inserted between the insulation surface and the outer shell. In other cases, a waterproof coating is applied to the outer layer of the fabric. The gloves made with water-resistant technology are windproof too.
Factors to Consider When Picking Hiking Gloves
When choosing your gloves, you need to consider the following general factors:
Do not assume that an average-sized glove will fit you well. In fact, this can be tricky when ordering the hiking gloves online. Usually, the sizes of gloves go from small, medium, large to extra-large. It is essential to find out the size that fits you nicely without allowing spaces for the cold to get in and warm air to leave out. It should also be able to snug comfortably for long hours without your fingers and hand deprived of proper blood circulation.
The ability of your gloves to pass air from your hands outside determines their breathability. Gloves with this wicking ability ensure your arms get comfortably dry and prevent them from getting stuffy and keeps the gloves from smelling. This arrangement is usually achieved through an interior lining within the glove.
Also, an essential factor when picking your glove. Not only does it protect from getting soaked up in wet weather but also from the stinging winds. Even in summer, an all-around waterproofed glove stays protected from getting wet from your sweat. Quite essential for comfort and for simplifying the process of cleaning and drying the glove.
You want your gloves to ensure the best insulation that can match the weather elements you may get exposed to. The kind of warmth you get is mainly dependent on the type of material used to provide the insulation. For cold weather gloves, many modern manufacturers prefer a three-layer system which integrates the waterproofing technique with the outer and inner layers that help provides most of the insulation.
There are two crucial materials used for insulation-down and synthetic materials. Down is an excellent option as it is light, durable and breathable in nature, and is easily compressible without losing out on its insulation properties. However, It’s a bit expensive than synthetic fibre and fails to provide insulation when wet. On the contrary, synthetic insulation is less expensive and still provides insulation even when wet. The only downside is its bulkiness, and it may lose substantial insulation power with compression.
There are many features nowadays that attest to the popularity of the gloves. In an attempt to create a buzz in the market, different manufacturers start adding extra aspects to the gloves which, in turn, may compromise the comfort, convenience, and utility offered by the gloves. Ultimately, it also impacts on the pricing front. Some of the added features include touch screen compatibility, leather palms, cinch-lock strap, heat retention, thumb wipes, zippered pockets, wrist cords and more. You should always choose the gloves with features that will improve your experience while avoiding the additional frills that will only drive the price up but you do not need them.
An essential factor that depends a lot on the kind of activity you want to be engaged in while hiking. Some gloves can be restrictive on a movement to offer more warmth while providing more dexterity, and some gloves cannot retain heat. Take into consideration the various designs: lobsters and mittens and see where they come in handy in your hiking adventures, this may entail that when you take off the outer shell, you must determine if they facilitate free hand movements too.