Gear review: winter gloves and mitts

Gloves are an important pack item for hillwalkers all year round, but in the winter months multiple pairs to cover different conditions can be needed. Mitts provide the most warmth, keeping your fingers together, but also reduce dexterity compared to gloves.

Many hikers carry thin liner gloves, perhaps mitts to wear over them, plus potentially a shell with a windproof and/or waterproof membrane (though in our experience none will keep completely dry). The gloves in this review all have at least windproof membranes.

Highlander Mountain Glove

RRP: £17.99
Weight: 140g (S)
Fabric: polyester with Taslan reinforcement on palm and underside, Ab-Tex waterproof/breathable membrane and Thinsulate insulation.

These are generously cut, box-finger designed gloves with a very comfortable brushed liner. Lots of decent features including partial elasticated wrist which can be tightened with an easy to adjust velcro webbing and a drawstring at the cuff. Elasticated loops keeps them attached to wrists when briefly taken off to prevent them blowing away, whilst a small buckle allows the pair to be clipped together. The reinforced and slightly grippy fabric covers the entire underside and extends over the finger tops. Construction appears robust and has withstood rough wear and tear so far. These gloves are just a little thinner than others in this review (except for the Berghaus Hillmasters) but are still very much aimed at winter use; they are superb value for money at this price.

Available in 4 unisex sizes, S – XL and one colour, grey/black.

Rab Storm Mitts

RRP: £52
Weight: 135g (L)
Fabric: Ripstop nylon shell with Porelle Dry membrane, Stratus insulation, additional Porelle between the shell and lining, and reinforcement covering entire underside and box end.

The hybrid construction of separate fingers within a mitt is a compromise between warmth and mobility (a glove version is also available). I found these mitts instantly comfortable due to the pre-curved design and brushed inner fabric. Soft goggle/nose-wipe material on outer thumb adds comfort. Half elasticated wrist and well-designed draw cord at the cuff. There are no wrist straps, just a clip to keep gloves together. Whilst not as warm as Rab’s down mitts, these are excellent for most hillwalking.

Available in 4 unisex sizes, S – XL and black.

Trekmates Matterhorn GTX Mitt

RRP: £65
Weight: 200g (M)
Fabric: Polyester with Gore-Tex membrane and insulation

Also available as a glove, these instantly feel very warm with comfy brushed lining and good adjustment at the half elasticated wrist with buckle-adjusted webbing and drawcord with large release toggle. The reinforced fabric extends over the entire palm side and fingertips. A very slight pre-curve on these mitts. Soft goggle/nose-wipe material on outer thumb for comfort. I found the wrist straps to be a little bulky; they are useful in very windy conditions to stop you losing a glove but I found the elastic a bit tight for day-long wear – however the straps can be removed from the mitt. Mitts can be clipped together. Construction seems robust and the synthetic leather-type reinforced material on the palm is the toughest of the gloves tested here; I also found them to be the warmest in this test.

Available in 4 unisex sizes, S – XL and black.

Outdoor Research Sureshot Pro Gloves

RRP: £53
Weight: 142g (Women’s L)
Fabric: nylon/spandex outer, goat leather palm reinforcement extending over index finger, Ventia waterproof insert, EnduraLoft insulation, brushed polyester lining, ActiveTemp treatment.

A well-designed if slightly slim-fit glove, these are not the warmest in this review, but the stretchy fabric and lack of bulk gives them much more dexterity. Touchscreen compatible fingertip works well. The pull on loop at the cuff makes them easy to put on; the only adjustment is a velcro closure at the wrist but this works well. Clip to keep pair together in pack. Excellent dexterity for the level of warmth and breathability. These are good as a mid-weight option which should withstand regular pole and ice axe use; in very wet weather I’d prefer a drawcord at the cuff and larger hands may need to size up.

Available in Men’s and Women’s sizes S – XL and black/grey mens, black womens.

Keela Extreme Gloves

RRP: £59.95
Weight: 160g (L)
Fabric: Nylon outer with reinforced palm extending along underside of fingers and thumb, Primaloft insulation, waterproof TPU membrane, brushed polyester lining.

Good box and pre-curved finger design, soft lining and not too bulky insulation makes these gloves comfortable to wear. Fairly close fitting, the fully elasticated wrist can make them slightly tight to get on but the drawcord at the cuff can be used as a pull cord and is a good feature in wet conditions. The reinforced palm fabric is particularly grippy and extends over the ends of the fingers and the touchscreen compatible finger and thumbs work well. The soft fabric on the back of the thumb is good for wiping goggles and noses. Clips allows gloves to be joined.

Available in 4 unisex sizes S – XL and 2 colours, moss and black .

Salomon Propeller GTX Mitt

RRP: £70
Weight: 234g (L)
Fabric: Polyamide/elastane mix shell, leather palm, GORE-TEX insert, polyester Thermolite insulation and inner.

The pre-formed curve is more pronounced on these mitts than others and combined with a high degree of stretch in the outer material provides a comfortable and generous fit with very cosy brushed lining. Fully elasticated wrist is not too tight and the toggle drawcord at the cuff is easy to adjust. The stretchy wrist straps are soft and comfortable to use and not too bulky, they can be used to pull the mitt on as well. Clips to keep the pair together and reflective strip on the top. Good range of sizes, high warmth, medium breathability due in part to the high amount of quality reinforced leather fabric (supple and reasonably grippy) on the palm, fingers and over the finger box. Soft nose-wipe area on thumb is quite small given the rest of the palm side is leather. Construction seems very robust, and these are warm and well designed.

Available in 6 unisex sizes XS – XXL , colour black.

Berghaus Hillmaster Windstopper Glove

RRP: £44.99
Weight: 65g (L)
Fabric:  body 100% polyester; panels: 76% polyester / 17% polyamide / 7% elastane, GORE-TEX WINDSTOPPER lining

These are very different gloves to the rest in the test, being much lighter and good for year-round use, but not warm enough for full-on winter conditions. Although not waterproof, the Gore-tex Windstopper keeps fingers much warmer than you’d normally expect from lightweight gloves. The finger works well with touch-screens if the fit is snug enough, whilst the reinforced palms and finger tips will aid durability. These gloves replace the similar Infinium model which is still widely available; the full RRP seems to be on the steep side, but they are good gloves if you can find them discounted.

Available in 2 unisex sizes S-M, L-XL and one colour black.

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