How To Choose the Right Hiking Gloves for Summer
As the weather warms up, hiking season is upon us. But before hitting the trails, make sure you have the right gear--and hiking gloves.
In our article,The 5 Hiking Essentials You Need to Pack for Hiking, we talked about why one of the must-have essentials when hiking is a good pair of gloves. No matter how comfortable your hike is, without a pair of good gloves you're sure to get blisters from gripping onto branches and trekking poles, or from holding onto slippery rocks. And if you're going to be out there in the hot summer sun, it's especially important to choose a pair that will keep your hands happy and comfortable.
There are so many different types of gloves on the market that it can be hard to find the right one for you. I’ve had some great experiences with all different kinds of gloves, and today I’m going to tell you my favorite kinds and how to choose the right pair for you.
What Is a Hiking Glove?
A hiking glove is usually made from leather or synthetic materials like nylon or polyester. It has a thin leather palm area with padding on top of it, which helps protect your hands from blisters and calluses when you're on a long hike. It also has a wrist strap or Velcro closure to keep them securely on your hands while you're walking.
There are many types of materials to choose from when making hiking gloves. Two of the most popular materials are leather and fabric (nylon, polyester).
Leather gloves are usually more durable than fabric gloves, but usually less breathable. Leather gloves would be great at offering flexibility and comfort. They also protect your hands from cuts and blisters caused by plants and rocks on the trail, which can make hiking uncomfortable. However, they are not as waterproof as other options.
Courtesy: Black Diamond
Fabric gloves, often made with synthetic fabrics such as nylon and polyester, works well for hiking in summer. These fabrics provide breathability and protect against UV rays, so they're perfect for outdoor activities like hiking during the hot summer months. The disadvantage of these gloves is that they don't offer the same level of protection from cuts or blisters as leather does. They aren't quite as durable as leather either but they will not become stiff or lose their shape over time like leather can.
Courtesy: Outdoor Research
Hiking in summer also means you'll be dealing with intense sunlight throughout the day and you'll need protection against the sun's rays. I would suggest you go for those with at least some UV protection and look for mesh panels on the palm side of the gloves.
Next, you'll need to figure out whether you want gloves that go all the way up to your wrists or gloves that only go up past your fingers. This will depend on how much protection you want and how much ventilation you need.
(1) Velcro, Pull-on or Stretch designs
Velcro cuffs are good for limiting how much heat gets into your gloves, but they can also be hard to get on and off quickly.
Pull-on designs don't have this problem, but they aren't as good at protecting against dirt and debris when you're touching rough surfaces.
Stretch designs are a nice compromise between these two options because they tend to be easier to put on quickly while still being well-designed and effective at preventing dirt from getting inside them.
(2) Fingerless or Full-Finger
Some people prefer using fingerless gloves, especially in warm weather such as spring or summer when it's still a bit chilly at night but not too cold during the day.
Fingerless gloves provide great ventilation so that your hand doesn't become uncomfortably sweaty, but they don't offer as much protection against bumps and scratches as full-finger gloves. If this is an issue for you, full-finger gloves may be the best choice.
Full-finger gloves protects your hands against rocks and other obstacles in the path. Some even include padding to protect against scrapes and bumps from branches on trees or bushes in the woods. However, fingerless gloves allow you greater flexibility to do things like handle small objects without sacrificing protection for the rest of your hand.
When choosing between these two types of designs, think about what kind of terrain you'll be hiking on and how much sun exposure you'll get throughout the day. If you're hiking in warm weather and it's easy going, fingerless gloves will help keep your hands cool. If you're doing strenuous or difficult hiking, full-fingered gloves would be better.
Courtesy: Black Diamond
(3) Waterproof Or Non-Waterproof
Choosing between waterproof and non-waterproof ones depends on your needs and preferences.
Waterproof gloves will keep your hands dry when it rains and help prevent blisters, but non-waterproof ones are lighter and more breathable, so you may prefer them on hot days. You can also choose between ones with individual fingers or mittens.
Your choice will depend on what kinds of activities you plan to do while hiking, as well as your personal preference.
(4) Other Design
If you're doing something like mountaineering where there are ropes and ladders involved, then choosing gloves with padded palms are going to be nice, as it will help prevent blisters from forming on your hands. Likewise, if you're planning on holding onto branches and roots while climbing up mountainsides, then having gloves with rubberized grips on them would help prevent slips.
It's important to get the right size so that they fit comfortably on your hands without being too tight or too loose (especially if you plan on wearing them during the winter months).
Here are some tips for choosing the right size:
1. Measure your hand: wrap a measuring tape around the widest part of your hand and make sure that the tape lies flat against the skin but does not dig into it. The circumference you have just measured is the one you should look for when you buy hiking gloves.
2. Choose a pair of hiking gloves that is one or two sizes larger than your measured hand. You want enough material in the glove to allow for a comfortable fit, but not so much that it's difficult to move your fingers freely.
3. Make sure your fingers don't bunch up in the gloves when you make fists, and be sure not to grip any part of the glove tightly when trying them on for size.
4. Make sure there's about an inch between your wrist and where the glove ends when you move your arm around freely; this space is necessary for ventilation and flexibility.
5. Try on a few different pairs of gloves until you find one that fits perfectly!
After the analysis above, it's worth pointing out that different uses will require different types of gloves—and thankfully, there are a lot of great options out there. Hopefully this article has helped you to identify some of your top picks, and provided you with some more background when it comes to choosing the right hiking gloves for summer.
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