The 10 Best Mountaineering Gloves of 2022

Gloves are a vital piece of the gear quiver for mountaineering missions

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Mountaineering, whether as a multiday venture or a solo day of peak-grabbing, ranks as one of the most exciting outdoor adventures open to the intrepid traveler. The sport combines many disciplines, including climbing, rock scrambling, careful navigation, and—potentially—the chance to carve fresh tracks on skis or a snowboard. And to have a successful mountaineering outing, you need the right gloves. Unlike ski or snowboard gloves, the ones designed for mountaineering need to stand up to the abuse of rope work as well as using ice axes and other tools. Mountaineering gloves should keep your hands warm and dry without hampering your dexterity, and they should perform admirably in the variable climates that characterize the activity.

From the best gloves for light-and-fast outings to mittens that can handle the serious cold, these are the best mountaineering gloves on the market.

Best Overall: Black Diamond Soloist Finger

Black Diamond Soloist Finger Glove

Black Diamond

What We Like
  • Versatile

  • 3 -in-1 glove options

What We Don't Like
  • Some may want all fingers free (which Black Diamond supports in their Soloist Gloves)

You really do get the best of all worlds with the versatile Soloist Finger Glove from alpine warriors Black Diamond. The three-finger design adds warmth akin to a mitten but keeps your index finger free for ample dexterity. A proprietary BD.dry insert provides breathable waterproof protection with additional coverage via an Empel DWR treatment on the recycled, stretchy outer shell.

The long gauntlet cuff makes it easy to layer with all types of jackets, and goat leather palms with reinforcement patches will stand up to serious punishment. Better still, the insulated inner liner can be worn solo—offering three glove solutions in one. Wear the shell to keep out water on warmer, wet days; the inner fleece liner (which boasts 170 grams of PrimaLoft Gold Insulation) for highly dexterous activities; or both on truly frigid days.

Material/Fabric: Polyester, goat leather, fleece | Insulation: 170 grams of PrimaLoft Gold | Waterproofing: BD.dry plus GTT Empel DWR finish

Best Budget: Black Diamond Glissade Glove—Past Season

Black Diamond Men's Glissade Glove

Backcountry

What We Like
  • Budget, yet quality

  • Lightweight

What We Don't Like
  • No removable liner

Suitable to handle cold, snowy conditions as well as spring expeditions, the Black Diamond Glissade Gloves keep things simple with a BD.dry insert for waterproof, breathable protection and an additional layer of Empel DWR on the outer shell to stand up to the elements for several climbing seasons.

The abrasion-resistant outer shell comes with a four-way stretch to improve dexterity and fit. Additionally, 100 grams of Thinsulate integrated at the palm and back of the hand partner with a 100-gram fleece lining for ample insulation. Bonus: A reinforced goat leather palm and Kevlar stitching will fend off any damage from ropes or unruly ice axes.

Material/Fabric: Polyester, goat leather, fleece | Insulation: 100 grams of fleece, plus 100 grams of Thinsulate at the palm and back of the hand | Waterproofing: BD.dry waterproof/breathable insert plus Empel DWR treatment

Best Ultralight: Arc'teryx Venta AR Glove

Arc'teryx Venta AR Gloves

REI

What We Like
  • Dexterous

  • Streamlined design

What We Don't Like
  • Some may want more warmth

Constructed of breathable Fortius softshell fabric that’s both comfortable and stretchy, the Venta AR Glove from Arc’teryx uses GORE-TEX INFINIUM to block out the wind and rain with a high-loft fleece for warmth. The slim-fitting glove also provides near-perfect dexterity, thanks to the glove’s patterning (which moves with the hand) and goat leather reinforcements on the palm and finger.

Pull handles at the cuff make them easy to get on and off, while an elasticized wrist fits well under jackets. Mind you, they don’t offer the full-on protection you might get from a longer gauntlet-style cuff, but when you’re going ultralight, you want to shave off every ounce you can. These gloves do just that.

Material/Fabric: Fortius softshell and high-loft fleece | Insulation: Fleece | Waterproofing: GORE-TEX INFINIUM

Best for Speedy Dawn Patrol Laps: Mammut La Liste Glove

Mammut La Liste Glove

Moosejaw

What We Like
  • Warm and versatile

  • Includes a softshell nose-wiping section

What We Don't Like
  • Elastic cuff may not be everyone’s first choice

Marketed as a free ride glove, the La Liste from Mammut boasts loads of features that any ambitious ski mountaineer would love. The entire hand is constructed of durable goat leather, with extra-secure grip leather on the thumbs and palms for serious durability and control. And they layer in various insulation (133 grams of PrimaLoft Silver on the back and 60 grams of PrimaLoft Gold on the palm) to help you endure the cold, shadowy conditions of the early morning.

GORE-TEX Active assures waterproof, breathable protection, and the pre-shaped construction delivers ample dexterity. It also adds plenty of connection points—a hook to attach the gloves, finger webbing for carabiner loops on the cuffs, and a glove leash—that cater to the particular needs of mountaineering.

Material/Fabric: Bemberg fleece, polyester, goat leather | Insulation: PrimaLoft Gold (60 grams on the palm) and Silver (133 grams on the back of the hand) | Waterproofing: GORE-TEX Active

Best for Snowboards: Burton Men's [ak] GORE-TEX Clutch Mitten

Burton Men's [ak] Gore-Tex Clutch Mitten

Burton

What We Like
  • Wrist leash can be removed

  • 3-finger design

What We Don't Like
  • May not be warm enough for truly frigid temps

Boasting a three-finger design that provides the warmth of mittens and the dexterity of a glove, the Burton Clutch Mitten delivers midweight warmth and protection against the elements. It combines an abrasion-resistant Gnar Guard leather outer on the palm and knuckles with a breathable GORE-TEX membrane for waterproof assurance.

The fixed liner is made of brushed microfiber to wick moisture from your hands and ample Thermacore insulation keeps things toasty. The pre-curved construction provides ample dexterity while an extended storm cuff seals the gloves to your jacket for truly bomber protection. And you don’t have to take ‘em off to control your go-to device as both the thumbs and index fingers are touch-screen compatible.

Material/Fabric: Leather, polyester, microfiber | Insulation: Thermacore | Waterproofing: GORE-TEX Active

Best for Skiers: Outdoor Research Men's Carbide Sensor Gloves

Outdoor Research Men's Carbide Sensor Gloves

REI

What We Like
  • Solid warmth

  • Great gauntlet

What We Don't Like
  • Insulation may be too warm on bluebird spring days

Outdoor Research integrated loads of skin-friendly features in its Carbine Sensor Gloves, making it ideal for alpinists who are constantly searching for untracked powder. GORE-TEX provides wind and water protection while 200 grams of polyester insulation amps the warmth. The removable wrist leashes fit flat and comfortably, and oversized gauntlet cuffs sync down easily to really lock out the elements. Dexterity comes from the pre-curved construction, and touch-screen-friendly index fingers and thumbs let you snap a photo or cue up a playlist without removing the gloves. The Carbine Sensor Gloves also look great in either the two-tone olive green and black or the all-black color option.

Material/Fabric: Stretch nylon, polyester | Insulation: 130 grams of polyester at the back, and another 200 grams in the lining | Waterproofing: GORE-TEX

Best for Ropes: Mountain Hardwear Exposure/2 GORE-TEX Glove Unisex

Mountain Hardwear Unisex Exposure/2 Gore-Tex Glove

Moutain Hardwear

What We Like
  • Dexterous and warm

What We Don't Like
  • Some customers report that they fit tight (consider sizing up)

Whether you’re belaying or setting rope, you want a glove that’s durable, warm, resistant to soaking out from a wet rope, and dexterous enough to perform all the required tasks without shrugging them off. And the Exposure/2 from Mountain Hardwear delivers. The pre-curved design lets your hands maintain their natural position, while Gore Grip technology, which bonds the internal layer together, prevents any sliding inside the glove.

The four-way stretch fabric is another factor assuring optimal dexterity, and the Pittards goat leather and Kevlar threads in high-use areas like the palms will stand up to serious abuse. PrimaLoft Gold Insulation makes the gloves plenty warm, while Gore-Tex blocks out the wind, rain, and snow without overheating.

Material/Fabric: Polyester, goat leather | Insulation: PrimaLoft Gold | Waterproofing: GORE-TEX Gore Grip

Best for Frigid Conditions: Hestra Army Leather Expedition Mitt

Hestra Men's Army Leather Expedition Mitten

Amazon

What We Like
  • Serous insulation

  • Loads of variations thanks to two inner liners

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

The warmest glove in Hestra’s expansive line, the Army Leather Expedition Mitt is designed for the coldest of conditions. It comes with a flexible, waterproof softshell outer material that works with durable, impregnated goat leather and kangaroo leather reinforcements for serious durability. This product also boasts a removable insulated mitten and a three-finger PrimaLoft liner, which lets you layer or use various configurations if things warm up a bit. Ample gauntlet cuffs add more cover, and all the right details—including a carabiner and wrist adjustments with a duckbill—round out the features.

Material/Fabric: Polyester, goat, and kangaroo leather, fleece, softshell | Insulation: Fiberfill | Waterproofing: Softshell

Best for Dexterity: The North Face Summit Lhotse Glove

The North Face Summit Lhotse Glove

Evo

What We Like
  • Kevlar threads at the sheep leather palm for enhanced durability

  • Lightweight

What We Don't Like
  • May not be warm enough in really cold climates

The lightweight Summit Lhotse Glove from The North Face dodges the trap of less-dexterous, more-insulated gloves by using two thin layers of insulation to create an air pocket, which helps keep the warmth in without sacrificing any finger movement. The soft-knit brushed tricot lining keeps things comfortable, the elastic at the wrist assures a tight fit, and the three-layer bonded construction blocks out the elements. The fingers all work with touch-screen devices, and wrist leashes prevent the gloves from dropping when not in use.

Material/Fabric: Polyester, polyethylene, sheep leather | Insulation: 80 grams of Heakseeker Eco Pro at the palm, and 120 grams at the back of hand | Waterproofing: FlashDry and DWR

Best Battery-Powered: Outdoor Research Lucent Heated Sensor Gloves

Outdoor Research Lucent Heated Sensor Gloves

Backcountry

What We Like
  • Serious warmth for any condition

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

When subzero temps rear their frigid heads, mere layers of insulation won’t cut it. Instead, turn to the Lucent Heated Sensor Gloves from Outdoor Research. In addition to providing ample insulation for milder temps (boasting 33 grams of poly at the back and 133 at the palm and gauntlet), they come with ALTIHead battery-powered heat technology that runs off rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Hit the easy-to-use power button and you get eight hours of reliable electric heat when you go with the low mode or two-and-a-half hours on high.

A GORE-TEX insert blocks out the elements. Molded EVA foam knuckles, goat leather overlays, and abrasion-resistant goat leather palms add durability and dexterity. Tricot lining the back of the hand pairs nicely with a pile fleece palm in the wicking liner, and pull-on loops make them easy to wear. The Lucent Heated Sensor Glove also gets all the little details right, including a locking zipper compartment for the batteries, touch-screen-compatible index fingers and thumbs, removable wrist leashes, a glove clip, and a pre-curved construction to improve dexterity.

Material/Fabric: Polyester, goat leather fleece, and tricot | Insulation: EnduraLoft (333 grams at the back, 133 grams at the palm and gauntlet cuff), battery-powered heat available in three settings | Waterproofing: GORE-TEX

Final Verdict

It’s hard to beat the versatility of Black Diamond’s Soloist Finger Glove (view at Moosejaw), which uses a three-finger construction to provide the warmth of a mitten and the dexterity of a glove. Waterproof and breathable, it delivers 170 grams of PrimaLoft insulation as well as a removable fleece liner that can be worn solo. But if you want a more streamlined option, go with the Arc’teryx Venta AR (view at REI) a softshell glove that comes with high-loft fleece for warmth and an overall slim fit to improve dexterity. GORE-TEX INFINIUM blocks out the elements, and goat leather reinforcements amp up the durability.

What to Look for in Mountaineering Gloves

Waterproofing

Even on bluebird days, your hands are going to get wet while mountaineering, whether from making contact with the snow and ice while climbing or while belaying and holding onto a cold, wet rope. So waterproof protection is essential. Most modern mountaineering gloves come with waterproof, breathable protection via a GORE-TEX or proprietary membrane. This will give you bomber protection without the risk of overheating.

Materials

The most common materials in mountaineering gloves consist of some sort of durable polyester outer layer (either a hardshell or softshell), typically treated with DWR to help block out moisture. Layers of insulation and inner linings are typically fleece or some other soft-against-the-skin fabric that helps wick any moisture off your hand so the sweat can evaporate to keep things comfortable. Look for leather in key areas like the palms and fingers, or any other spots that will get a lot of abuse while you’re climbing or rock scrambling. Kevlar-reinforced seams are also great and will add longevity to the gloves for several seasons of active use.

Breathability

The secret to a comfortable glove lies at the intersection of warmth and weather protection, but if the gloves don’t breathe, your hands could get clammy and start sweating, which can effectively reverse the insulation properties of a glove. Modern gloves hurdle this by integrating waterproof membranes that also breathe. This allows the sweat to be wicked off your skin so it can evaporate and thus avoid wetting the inside. Some gloves also integrate breathable panels in key areas to help dump heat, a nice feature if you’re heading out in milder temperatures.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Can I use my normal ski or snowboarding gloves for mountaineering missions?

    While certain key features—insulation for warmth and waterproof protection to block out the elements—are consistent in both mountaineering and ski/snowboarding gloves, mountaineering gloves should deliver two other key features: durability and dexterity. Unlike skiing or snowboarding, you use your hands a lot when mountaineering, whether it’s navigating through rock, snow, and ice while climbing; using an ice ax; belaying your climbing partner; or setting lines. You need fabrics that can handle a lot of abuse.

    And because you’re using your hands to do more than buckle your boots or hold on to your poles, you need gloves that don’t hamper your dexterity. This lets you work with your harness and carabiners without fumbling and perform all the other actions with confidence. Some mountaineers prefer “systems,” using a waterproof, breathable outer layer along with a weather-resistant inner layer that provides more dexterity for the more finite manipulation you might need without exposing your skin to the cold.

  • What sort of insulation should I look for in mountaineering gloves?

    In general, the level of insulation should take into account your target area of mountaineering as well as when you’re setting out on your mission. Cold environs demand more warmth, so look for gloves with lots of insulation wrapped around a breathable, waterproof outer shell. But if you’re targeting warmer weather, you can cut down on the insulation a bit and go with a pair that protects your hands from cold gear and rope work without overdoing it on insulation.

  • How important is dexterity?

    The simple answer is VERY. Mountaineering often requires all the gear you’d need for rock climbing, so you need a pair of gloves that let you belay comfortably, set up gear without issue, and also handle all the other micromovements required for the sport.

    The tricky part is to find the right mix of dexterity with the insulation you need to keep warm. More insulation—or using mittens or gloves with only one finger free—will impact a glove’s dexterity. But it’s always better to have a warmer glove with a modest impact on dexterity versus trying to climb with cold, numb fingers.

  • How do I wash and care for mountaineering gloves?

    Most manufacturers will provide washing instructions, outlining the cleaning solution that takes into account the variable fabrics and materials used in the gloves. But in most cases, you can hand wash the outside of your mountaineering gloves using a small amount of sensitive detergent and cold water to get off any external grime or dirt.

    Machine washing is also possible. Use the gentle cycle, put the gloves in a pillowcase to keep them contained and avoid anything getting caught, and then use a small amount of sensitive detergent. Squeeze out all the water afterward (but don’t wring them out, as that can damage the protective elements) and air dry. However, if you have leather anywhere on the glove, avoid the washing machine and look for leather-specific hand-cleaning products.

Why Trust Tripsavvy

Nathan Borchelt has been rating, reviewing, testing, and obsessing about outdoor and travel gear for decades, and has spent loads of time in high-alpine environments throughout the world. All the items in this review were evaluated based on their core features, including waterproofness, breathability, dexterity, and durability, supplemented with referrals to both verified customer reviews and professional evaluations.

Was this page helpful?
Continue to 5 of 10 below.
Continue to 9 of 10 below.