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A pair of mittens should be a priority for winter travelers visiting cold areas. Mittens, as opposed to gloves, come in handy when the temperature drops below 10 degrees Fahrenheit. They do not have individual finger openings except for the thumb, which allows for better heat insulation.
What should you look for when purchasing a pair of mittens? First, consider the material. Many lightweight knit mittens, though cheaper and more attractive, are not as warm as mittens with waterproof shells and interior insulation. But warmth should not mean discomfort. Breathability matters. Grip and durability should also be top priorities for anyone who participates in winter sports. Durable mittens usually consist of leather or tear-resistant synthetic materials and have reinforced palms.
In this guide, we select the best mittens for any traveler, whether you're an adventurer on a budget or an avid skier.
Best Overall: Black Diamond Mercury Mitts Cold Weather Mittens
The Black Diamond Mercury Mitts showcase high-quality material for maximum warmth and durability. Their temperature range is -20 degrees to 10 degrees Fahrenheit, so they are great for snowy vacations. The flexible outer bomber shell consists of four-way stretch nylon and Spandex blend fabric that resists abrasions. For increased durability, it has a goat leather palm with Kevlar stitching.
When you need to move your fingers, peel off the outer shell. The interior glove has moisture protection, so it will resist moisture without the protective shell. It includes a removable Primaloft and high-loft fleece lining that feels warm. Even with the interior gloves, the mittens are light at 9.2 ounces, so they will not take up a lot of room in your luggage.
Best Budget: Gordini Men's Stomp III Mitts
Reliable mittens can cost well over a hundred dollars, but Gordini's Stomp III Mitts only cost around half that. The shell consists of a flexible, durable fabric with reinforcement on the thumb and palm area. Active winter sports enthusiasts will appreciate the gauntlet cinch closer around the wrist. It keeps the wind, snow and moisture out. The insert's Aquabloc technology also prevents water or snow from soaking through. It allows sweat from the interior glove to escape while blocking water from the outside. The mittens stay waterproof and breathable due to this process.
The Megaloft insulation, though synthetic, keeps fingers from freezing. For added warmth, the mitts use Hydrowick micro-denier lining and Thermo-plush in the cuff. These also have a Heatrap system that warms fingertips with a heat insert.
Best for Skiing: Hestra Army Leather Heli Ski and Cold Weather Mittens
Mittens are indispensable for any ski trip. Hestra’s Heli Mittens join high-quality material with thoughtful design for your cold, but activity-filled skiing trips. The eagle-grip, pre-curved shape follows the natural form of your hand for maximum ergonomics. The mittens consist of windproof and water-resistant Triton fabric with goat leather reinforcement. The shell materials feel durable according to reviews on Amazon. The mittens have additional features for blocking out the cold, such as snow lock straps with Velcro closures and handcuffs to secure them to the wrists.
When it gets hot, you can wear the glove liner without the shell. The liner is adequate on its own, coming with warm polyester and fiberfill insulation. If you’re visiting a resort during warmer weather or in the spring, wear the shell and remove the liner to prevent slush from getting on your hands.
Best Knit: FoxRiver Extra Heavy Double Ragg Mittens
Knit mittens look sophisticated and provide basic warmth for your winter trips. FoxRiver’s extra heavyweight double-layered mittens will keep your hands warm throughout your winter trips to colder regions. A blend of 85 percent wool and 15 percent nylon, the outer shell resists shrinking and wicks moisture. It has an interior terrier liner that feels soft to the touch and provides additional insulation. The wool material resists shrinking, feels breathable and stays free of wrinkles. Reviewers love how warm the mittens feel, even in harsh Midwest and East Coast winters.
There are caveats to consider. The stylish brown tweed mittens are perfect for casual strolls in cold weather but will not protect you during direct contact with snow for prolonged periods. If there is enough moisture, the wool will get wet. Winter sports participants will benefit more from mittens with external synthetic shells. Additionally, some reviewers mention the inconsistencies of the sizing. The extra large sizes feel loose, whereas the small sizes are snug. Those with small and medium hands should consider sizing up, while those with larger hands should opt for a smaller size.
Best for Kids: SnowStoppers Kids Waterproof Stay On Winter Nylon Mittens
Vacation playtime is a necessity during family trips, but for cold winters, you’ll want to invest in a decent pair of mittens to keep your kids safe and warm. At around $20, these mittens have excellent quality for their price and will not be difficult to depart from when your kids outgrow them. The waterproof nylon shell resists moisture from snow, ice and rain, so snowstoppers do what their name implies — stop the snow. Their extra long cuffs fit beneath coats and jackets, blocks out the snow and ensure that the mittens stay on. They have a waterproof Drypel liner and Thinsulate insulation that provides warmth without adding unnecessary weight to your travel bag. The mittens also have grip palms for skiing, snowboarding and sledding beginners who need extra help in the snow.
Kids will appreciate the color selection available for these mittens. While most mittens are black, the Snowstoppers come in black, black/red, lime green, navy blue, red, fuschia, navy blue/lime green and more.
Best Fingerless: Outdoor Research Men's Lost Coast Mitts
Outdoor Research’s Lost Coast Mitts are stylish and functional. They consist of a blend of rag wool and nylon, which resists wrinkles, wicks moisture and feels breathable. When you need to use your fingers for a quick phone check or some other task that requires extra dexterity, secure the finger cover with the hidden magnetic attachment. The cover has a sherpa lining for additional insulation. The palm area uses synthetic suede reinforcement that gives the mitten an elevated look and the user extra grip.
These mittens will not provide as much protection as the others on this list because of their standalone wool material. While not warm or waterproof enough for snowy activities, they will keep your hands cozy in cold temperatures if you do not touch anything wet.
Best Touchscreen: Burton Gore-Tex Mitts
The concept of a touchscreen mitten might seem counterintuitive since most pairs seem too bulky to use with small smartphones. Keeping your fingers warm does not mean that you will not be able to answer phone calls or scroll through playlists. Burton's Gore-Tex Mitts will help you navigate your phone with ease while protecting your hands. The touchscreen material won’t fray or wear out even in contact with water. The screen grab guard leather thumb is breathable, waterproof and allows you to work on any touchscreen device with ease. Besides this feature, the mitt also fares well against cold, wet weather. The mitten material, Gore-Tex, is also waterproof, windproof and breathable. The Thermacore insulation keeps hands warm while allowing for mobility and limiting bulkiness. If your hands feel cold, slip in the removable four-way stretch Dryride Thermex liner. On top of the warmth that it provides, the mitten takes an ergonomic shape that fits the natural curve of the human hand.
Best for Breathability: The North Face Montana Mitts
When it comes to winter travel gear, The North Face is synonymous with quality and warmth. The liner in the Montana Mitt uses DryVent technology, in which interior moisture, like sweat, permeates the layers to ensure ventilation whereas external moisture stays out. Its breathability makes the mitten excellent for high activity sports such as skiing, snowboarding and sledding. Your hands don't get sweaty and uncomfortable when you exercise.
Besides how breathable it feels, the Montana Mitt also comes with bells and whistles that make it a worthwhile investment for snowy travels. The gauntlet design, for example, provides complete coverage to keep snow out. The mitten also includes a ladder-lock wrist cinch for retaining warmth, as well as a Removable Wrist Oven leash that can be paired with a handwarmer. In terms of material, the waterproof nylon shell comes with a leather reinforcement for better grip. Inside the mitten, the lining consists of 100 percent sherpa fleece.