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Backcountry skiing is an increasingly popular sport — which means gear is in high demand.
To have success in this extreme sport, you must equip yourself with excellent gear.
Keep reading for a crash course in backcountry skiing hand gear and an in-depth look at how to choose the best gloves for backcountry skiing!
What to know about gloves for backcountry skiing
Before you go backcountry skiing, you need to invest in a good pair of gloves or mittens to protect your hands from the impending cold.
But, do you want gloves or do you want mittens?
While this choice ultimately boils down to your personal preference, you should make a few key considerations:
- Is warmth or dexterity your main priority?
- Do you want to carry multiple pairs of hand gear?
Unfortunately, what you gain in warmth when using mittens, you lose in dexterity.
For the absolute coldest of conditions, mittens are the preferable choice when solely warmth is considered.
However, mittens do not allow you to individually use your fingers, which makes your movements less acute.
Gloves are much better for gripping and manipulating your poles and other objects, but they do not provide the level of warmth attained by positioning your fingers together in a glove.
If you feel the need to wear mittens while backcountry skiing, you may want to carry an extra pair of gloves in case the need arises for you to have full use of your fingers.
As long as you are traveling in relatively mild temperatures, gloves will keep your hands warm and allow you to utilize more dexterity.
What’s the best style of ski gloves or mittens: short-cuff or long-cuff?
Short-cuff gloves and mittens easily fit under the sleeve of your jacket or coat.
On the other hand, long-cuff styles fit over the cuff of your outer layer.
The favorable choice for you really depends on your ski style. Choose the type that feels best on your hands and works well with the rest of your gear- it really is all about finding the complete package.
Backcountry skiing involves constantly juggling the correct temperature balance between too hot and too cold, and, unfortunately, your gloves fall into that teeter-totter.
You can control the temperature of your hands by adjusting the seal on your gloves or mittens, or removing them completely (until your hands cool down).
Most skiers usually stick their gloves on the end of their poles in the latter case.
Beware that short cuff gloves are more likely to fall off of your skis.
Long cuff styles are typically designed with a more adjustable wristband, which allows you to securely fasten them to the ends of your poles.
Adjustable closures also give you a higher degree of temperature regulation and control.
What to look for in good backcountry skiing gloves?
There are a few things you will want to consider when selecting the right gloves for backcountry skiing.
A few things include:
Liners give you added layers of protection, literally. The best gloves allow you to add or remove layers as needed to keep your hands at the right temperature.
The weather can quickly change over the course of the day, and your gloves need to keep up!
Look for gloves that come with multiple removable liners. If liners are not included, make sure that there is enough room to add layers if you so choose.
Your gloves need to be sturdy enough to block wind, water, ice, snow, and other winter weather from passing through.
Look for gloves that are windproof and well-sealed.
Whether or not you want waterproof gloves is a trickier decision.
Why? Waterproof material generally works in both directions, at least to an extent.
They block water from entering your gloves, but they also hold moisture such as sweat against your skin more than breathable material will.
If you are in a very wet environment, waterproof gloves may be well worth your while.
But, if you are in a relatively dry environment, you may want to forgo waterproof material.
The strength of the grip is all in the palm. You need a strong grip to hold onto your poles as well as other gear.
Look for gloves with reinforced palms that are layered with rubber material or other gripping substances on the palm.
Look for gloves that give you your full range of motion! Restrictive gloves are frustrating and painful.
Fit also plays into dexterity.
Choose gloves that are loose enough to allow your fingers to move while still giving you a tight fit.
As you can imagine, your hands will get hot while you are skiing! Look for gloves with breathable, sweat-wicking material.
Your gloves take the brunt of your skiing exercise, and they must stand up to constant use.
Look for gloves made of strong leather or synthetic material that is designed to weather the elements.
Select gloves that have reinforced thumbs, palms, and seams.
Some backcountry skiing gloves include extra features such as pockets, nose wipes, elastic seals, adjustable wristbands, and more.
If these features are important to you, make sure that your gloves have them!
Best gloves for backcountry skiing
There are a number of options that can work well as a backcountry skiing glove. The following products may prove a good place to start your search.
Always consult an industry professional before using any new product.
Black Diamond Men’s Kingpin Gloves
If you are looking for a lighter glove for backcountry skiing, this pair from Black Diamond may the right choice for you!
Or, perhaps you would rather use it as an outer layer and pack your choice of insulation underneath.
Hailed as resembling a work glove more than a ski glove, the Kingpin Black Diamonds are made using full goat leather for a soft comfortable feel that will hold up in the snow.
You can wear these gloves on mild days, when you’re traveling uphill, or on low wind days.
While these do not have an adjustable seal, an elastic band wraps around the wrists to ensure that wind and moisture remain on the outside.
These have minimal insulation, so you will be less likely to overheat, and you have the freedom to layer an extra pair of liner gloves inside on cold days.
They are extremely lightweight, and you are able to utilize nearly your full dexterity when wearing them- you’ll hardly notice that you are even wearing gloves!
In case you are one of the unfortunate souls who gets a runny nose every time you step out in the cold, Kingpin has you covered!
You will be able to use the suede leather nose wipe that is located on each thumb to comfortably catch any drips.
View at Amazon to learn more about how these gloves might work for you.
- Minimal insulation
- Elastic wrist band
- Durable and soft
- Suede leather nose wipe
Velazzio Ski Gloves Waterproof Breathable Snowboard Gloves, 3M Thinsulate Insulated Warm Winter Snow Gloves, Fits Both Men & Women
Velazzio Waterproof breathable Snowboard Gloves are warm and light, fitted with strong 3M Thinsulate insulation. They will efficiently retain your naturally created body heat and keep your hands extremely warm.
An inner fleece layer adds another layer of warmth.
Not only will they protect you against low temperatures, they will also allow your hands to breathe!
Thinsulate is a breathable, moisture wicking material that will transfer sweat and moisture away from your hands while holding in the warmth.
These gloves are ideal for mid winter to heavy winter conditions.
In addition, the palms are well-suited for gripping your ski poles. Rubber dots cover the palms to give you a strong, comfortable grip.
They are also equipped with innovative Fan-Tex technology. This ultra breathable material adds another layer of warmth and moisture absorption.
If you find yourself in wintry conditions involving ice, sleet, snow, or rain, they will keep your hands dry and warm.
Velazzio has also added a water-resistant zipper pocket that will conveniently hold your keys, ID, cash, and any other small item that you may need to transport with you on the slopes.
The wrist strap gives you another layer of protection. Complete with an adjustable buckle and drawstring closure, these gloves provide a sealed barrier against wind, snow, and cold air.
You can choose from three size options to find the best fit.
If you are not fully satisfied with your purchase for any reason, you are welcome to take advantage of the 30 day hassle free return policy.
Velazzio is so confident in their product that they offer a lifetime satisfaction guarantee.
They strive to give you the best gloves possible, and they will follow up on that promise.
View at Amazon for more information on how these gloves might work for your next backcountry adventure.
- DWR waterproof and windproof shell
- Breathable 3M thinsulate material
- Rubber dots on palms for grip
- Fan-Tex moisture wicking layer
- Water-resistant zipper pocket
- Adjustable wrist strap with velcro and drawstring closure
- 3 size options
- Ergonomic fit with pre-curved fingers
- Easy on and off
- Locking clips to hold gloves together
- 30 day return and lifetime satisfaction guarantee
Hestra Ski Gloves: Army Leather Patrol Winter Gloves with Removal Liner
Hestra Ski Gloves are the ultimate backcountry skiing glove, and they are particularly well suited for powder.
These strong, warm mittens will protect your hands from multiple levels of cold.
With the insulated G-loft removable liner, you can easily remove and wash it at the end of a sweaty trip. And, for chillier conditions, these gloves allow you to add multiple liners for the highest level of warmth.
Hestra gloves give you extremely versatile adaptability for any condition you may encounter in the backcountry.
The water-resistant and windproof Dobby polyester melange fabric is 97% polyester and 3% elastane, a combination that will weather well while you are skiing.
The insulation is made from army goat leather, and a warm Bemberg polyester lining completes the package.
As you know, no matter the material, a good seal is required for protection against the cold, wind, and elements while you are skiing.
These gloves offer you a snow lock, elastic wristband, and a velcro closure with strap to give you full temperature control and a tight seal.
In addition, Hestra Ski Gloves will be your utilitarian companion in the backcountry. With handcuffs and a carabiner, they are functional in other ways than warmth!
They are available in multiple sizes so that you can find the fit which is best for you. Please consult the Hestra sizing chart as a guide.
These gloves are approximately 4” x 8”.
View at Amazon for more information on the use of these gloves for backcountry skiing.
- Removable lining
- Snow lock
- Elastic wristband
- Velcro closure with strap
- Multiple sizes
- Water and wind resistant breathable material
Featured image credit: DepositPhotos.com