Gloves

Keeping your hands warm is an obvious use for gloves in the winter months, but the inexperienced adventurer can often underestimate how essential warm hands can be.  When the temperature drops, our dexterity drops too, and a simple thing like lighting a fire – in order to warm our hands – can suddenly become a major challenge.

Beyond temperature maintenance, physical protection is an essential consideration.  Bushcraft involves many practices that put our hands at risk: working with sharps, handling rough wood, handling hot containers.  The less practiced adventurer may have hands that are not as hardened as an Alaskan Explorer, so an extra layer is invaluable in all weathers.

 

Features to look for:

  • Good dexterity
  • Very hard wearing
  • Good heat-proofing
  • Cut and puncture resistant
  • Comfortable to wear for extended periods

Features to avoid:

  • Mittens, unless you are in arctic temperatures
  • Avoid polyester or nylon gloves in general
  • fiddly / gimmicky features like pockets and smart-screen fingertips – they rarely work well enough to be useful

Fingerless

For
  • Great for dexterity
  • Small and compact
  • Cheap / good value
Against
  • No use in sub-zero temperatures
  • Not good in wet weather
  • Limited weatherproofing
Stockists and Price
All general camping shops and online stores sell a good selection.  Wook are best as they wear well, are flame retardant and are relatively cheap: a good pair will set you back around £5.  Steer clear of particularly tight fingerless gloves as they’re a nightmare to get off and invariably turn inside out.

Winter

For
  • Very warm and weatherproof
Against
  • Typically not heat-proof and fire retardant – a consideration if working around a fire
  • Bulky
  • Seriously reduces dexterity
Stockists and Price
Mahy outdoor stockists sell a bewildering variety with clever technical materials for sub-zero temperatures.  Leather are generally better than polyester for bushcraft purposes, but this puts the price up to over £20.  If you want them for standing around watching nature in very low temperatures, then fleece lined polyester ones will be fine for around £10.

Rigger

For
  • Massively versatile
  • Can handle hot logs and utensils around a fire – briefly
  • Great cut and puncture resistance, great for whittling protection
  • good dexterity, almost like a second skin
Against
  • Can be expensive, the more you pay the better the fit and durability
  • Not good in very cold conditions.
Stockists and Price
A good pair of rigging gloves make a huge difference to being active and comfortable in the Wild.  Rigging gloves start at around £12 and go up to around £80 for the most comfortable and hard wearing.  The padding – designed to absorb the shock out of working with steel scaffolding poles – is great for working with wood and hand-tools like axes and saws.

Terry’s favourite

“I swear by my Petzl gloves and wear them all the time when I’m practicing bushcraft.”

Adrian’s favourite

“I ‘borrowed’ Terry’s Petzl rigging gloves a few years back and he never got them back.  They’re the best all-round gloves which mould to your hands within a few hours – which is why Terry didn’t want them back.  That and all the sweat that got soaked into them….”