Gloves are an essential piece of winter kit in the outdoors. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Gloves are an essential piece of winter kit in the outdoors. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Gloves are an essential piece of kit for anyone venturing out on to the hills in winter, or even taking a stroll in the countryside during the cooler seasons.

Being out in the cold without gloves will soon turn your walk or adventure into a miserable one and in extreme conditions can even make you vulnerable to frostbite.

The gloves in our test range from simple designs suitable for a cool lowland trip to more technical models that are useful when using an ice-axe in the mountains or undertaking an outing in driving rain or snow.

It’s important to bear in mind the use you’re going to put your gloves to when choosing the right pair for you. Some are waterproof; some are not. Waterproof gloves tend to be bulkier, as do those affording more warmth, and the disadvantage is that this leads to less dexterity when using smaller pieces of gear or checking electronic gadgets. Many gloves now have finger tips that work with touchscreens so you can still use a smartphone or similar item while wearing them.

We tested our gloves in a variety of conditions, ranging from cold, dry windy days to wet cool conditions, to mountain trips where there was lying snow.

Bridgedale PrimaLoft Lite

Bridgedale PrimaLoft Lite

Bridgedale PrimaLoft Lite gloves
Price: £20
Weight: 46g a pair
Material: 69 per cent merino wool; 30 per cent PrimaLoft; one per cent carbon fibre
Country of manufacture: Taiwan
Sizes: XS/S; M/L
Wash: 30C
Touchscreen compatible: yes

These gloves from the brand more commonly associated with keeping your feet warm use a combination of merino wool and PrimaLoft yarn to provide extra insulation in a simple, stretchy glove that is low in volume.

The PrimaLoft Lite gloves have an elasticated cuff to keep out draughts and are good for use on cool days or as a liner glove under an outer pair when the temperature drops further.

Counterintuitively for a glove that looks like a simple woollen one, the finger and thumb tips are touch screen compatible, so you can still use your smartphone or GPS while wearing them.

Comfort is good. The Bridgedale PrimaLoft Lites are not waterproof but for thin woolly gloves they are quite warm and are the second lightest in the test. The fabric dried fairly quickly after getting wet. Breathability was very good. Grip when using an ice-axe was only moderate, but they’re not designed for that kind of use. Using walking pole loops presented no problems while wearing the Bridgedale gloves.

The Bridgedale gloves are good for cool days and allow good dexterity. For full-on winter days, they are best used as liner gloves. They are competitively priced for a piece of kit with a high merino wool content.

Warmth 31/50
Features 12/20
Dexterity 8/10
Quality 8/10
Value for money 8/10
Total score: 67/100

Hestra Ergo Grip Active

Hestra Ergo Grip Active

Hestra Ergo Grip Active
Price: £75
Weight: 106g a pair
Material: palm, proofed goat leather; back, Gore Windstopper Breeze polyester; lining: brushed polyester
Country of manufacture: China
Sizes: 6-11
Wash: dry clean only
Touchscreen compatible: no

These high-quality gloves from the Swedish brand have pre-shaped fingers that allow the hand to relax into a natural curved posture.

The palms and inner surface of the fingers are in proofed goat leather, stitched in such a way that optimal grip can be maintained. They also give the gloves their distinctive look with zigzag contrast stitching.

The backs are polyester and have Gore Windstopper membrane to keep out the breeze. The index finger has a leather reinforcement patch, cut away to allow easy bending of the finger. This provides a little extra protection when using, for instance an ice-axe.

The wrist cuff has an elasticated gusset to allow for ease of use putting the gloves on and taking them off. This is closed using a leather tab with Velcro lining.

Inside the glove, a brushed polyester liner provides good comfort.

As you would expect from a glove with Gore Windstopper, the Ergo Grip Actives kept the breeze out well. Comfort was good and the grip on an ice-axe from the leather palms was also very good.

Warmth was good, and the gloves did not hinder the use of walking pole loops. The Hestra Ergo Grip Active gloves each had two fabric loops and one plastic loop at the cuff for attachment.

Breathability when working hard uphill was good, and perspiration was kept to a minimum.

These are high-quality gloves which, with care, should last a good many years. Dexterity was quite good.

Warmth 38/50
Features 16/20
Dexterity 7/10
Quality 9/10
Value for money 6/10
Total score: 76/100

Hestra CZone Pickup

Hestra CZone Pickup

Hestra CZone Pickup
Price: £45
Weight: 114g a pair
Material: 92 per cent polyamide; 8 per cent Elastane; palm polyurethane; lining polyester fleece
Country of manufacture: China
Sizes: 6-11
Wash: 40C
Touchscreen compatible: no

Hestra’s CZone Pickup gloves are made from slightly stretchy polyamide softshell, and feature the CZone membrane to provide waterproofing.

The palm is reinforced with patterned polyurethane areas both cushion grip when holding an ice-axe or gripping poles, and also provide anti-slip properties to allow a firm hold. They are cut away to permit easy curved grip by the hand and the fingertips of the thumb and first two fingers also have this reinforcement.

The cuff has an elasticated section along with a gusset and Velcro flap to keep in warmth and facilitate putting the gloves on and taking them off.

Lining of the CZone Pickup gloves is polyester microfleece, which makes for a nice, warm feel.

Warmth was very good and windblocking was excellent. The gloves also had good breathability.

Grip on an ice-axe was very good and the gloves worked fine with walking pole loops.

Quality was good and the CZone Pickup gloves were comfortable in use. The gloves have two small fabric loops at the cuff.

The CZone Pickup gloves kept our hands warm in cold and wet weather and provided good grip in winter conditions.

Warmth 42/50
Features 15/20
Dexterity 6/10
Quality 8/10
Value for money 8/10
Total score: 79/100

Outdoor Research Stormtracker Sensor

Outdoor Research Stormtracker Sensor

Outdoor Research Stormtracker Sensor Gloves
Price: £60
Weight: 118g a pair
Material: Gore Windstopper softshell 94 per cent nylon, 6 per cent Spandex, with 100 per cent polyester backer/ palm goat leather; lining, polyester tricot
Country of manufacture: China
Sizes: men’s: S-XL; women’s: S-L
Wash: 30C
Touchscreen compatible: yes

Outdoor Research’s Stormtracker gloves have a nylon softshell body with the palm and inner face of the fingers using goat leather.

The gloves feature a Gore Windstopper membrane to keep the breeze out and the main fabric of the glove is quite stretchy. The fingers have a very slight curve to help grip and comfort, with articulation on the sides of them, and there’s an added elasticated section on the lower side of the cuff to keep the gloves close to the hand. The cuff also has a gusset with a short zip fastener to ease putting them on and taking them off.

There’s a large fabric loop at the cuff to help pull the gloves on and the Stormtracker also has a plastic clip on leather loops to keep the gloves together when not being worn.

Lining is polyester microfleece fabric, which was comfortable and warm.

A new addition for this year’s update to the gloves is the touchscreen compatible thumb and fingertips.

Grip on an ice-axe was good and the gloves were fine when worn using walking pole loops.

Quality was good and the OR gloves kept out the wind well. Breathability and water resistance were good too, with the gloves shedding showers when in the mountains and also coping with lying snow when using our hands.

The gloves bulk was low, and dexterity while wearing them was good.

The Outdoor Research gloves are good all-rounders for winter use, with a good amount of warmth thanks to the Windstopper membrane, while not being too bulky, so dexterity was quite good. The leather palms provided good grip for winter tools.

Warmth 40/50
Features 16/20
Dexterity 7/10
Quality 8/10
Value for money 7/10
Total score: 78/100

Trekmates Chamonix Glove GTX

Trekmates Chamonix Glove GTX

Trekmates Chamonix Glove GTX
Price: £35
Weight: 148g a pair
Material: shell, 100 per cent nylon; palm, 45 per cent polyurethane, 55 per cent polyester; lining, 100 per cent polyester; waterproof membrane: Gore-Tex Active
Country of manufacture: China
Sizes: XS-XL
Wash: hand wash 40C
Touchscreen compatible: yes

Trekmates Chamonix gloves are warm and waterproof.

The gloves benefit from a Gore-Tex waterproof membrane and have synthetic insulation. This made for a good warm feel on the hills. Windblocking was very good and the Chamonix gloves have a synthetic leather-look face on the palms in inner surface of the fingers and thumb.

The fingers are slightly pre-curved for a natural hand position, and there are material strips on the fingers to help articulation when gripping.

The wrist has an elasticated cuff and there’s also a shockcord to cinch in at the outer hem of the cuff. These combined to keep draughts and water out when in use. The gloves also have plastic clips to keep them together when not in use. The lining is soft and comfortable tricot material.

The thumb and forefinger have touchscreen-compatible tips, so you can use your smartphone while wearing them.

The Chamonix gloves are quite bulky which, though ensuring good warmth, does mean there’s a loss of dexterity while wearing them. Breathability was fairly good, though there was some build-up of moisture within the gloves when worn for extended periods while working hard on ascents.

Grip on an ice-axe was fairly good from the synthetic palms. The face fabric of the gloves feels tough and hard-wearing.

These straightforward Gore-Tex lined gloves from Trekmates represent very good value for money and kept our hands warm and dry on the hill in some cold conditions.

Warmth 40/50
Features 15/20
Dexterity 5/10
Quality 6/10
Value for money 9/10
Total score: 75/100

Trekmates Protek Glove GTX

Trekmates Protek Glove GTX

Trekmates Protek Glove GTX
Price: £35
Weight: 168g a pair
Material: shell, 100 per cent nylon; palm, 45 per cent polyurethane, 55 per cent polyester; lining, 100 per cent polyester; waterproof membrane: Gore-Tex Active
Country of manufacture: China
Sizes: XS-XL
Wash: hand wash 40C
Touchscreen compatible: yes

The second pair of Trekmates gloves in the test was the Protek GTX.

This shares many features of the Chamonix, including Gore-Tex Active technology for waterproofing, and synthetic insulation. The Protek retails at the same price as the Chamonix.

They were slightly heavier than their stablemates, and were equally warm.

The Protek gloves have a similar synthetic leather-look palm and inner finger face, which again provided fairly good grip on an ice-axe. The fingers have a slight curved shape but there are no articulation areas on the inside of the fingers to aid grip.

The shell fabric feels tough and hardwearing and the thumbs have a nose wipe area of softer fabric.

The Proteks have plastic clips to enable them to be fastened to each other when not in use, and the gloves also have a wrist leash so you can take them off and let them hang while doing tasks that need maximum dexterity.

We found this feature very useful as the bulky, warm gloves have only limited feel when handling smaller items.

The thumb and finger tips are touchscreen compatible.

Breathability was quite good, but there was some build-up of moisture when on lengthy ascents.

The Protek GTX has a webbing strap with Velcro adjustment at the wrist which enables a good closure to keep out the wind and keep in warmth.

There is also a shockcord at the cuff to allow cinching around sleeves to keep out rain and snow. Unfortunately, during testing, the shockcord on the right-hand glove snapped. It took a large amount of patience and gentle rethreading within the cuff sleeve to get the shockcord back in use, by then tying a knot in it beyond the spring toggle, though that did restrict its length a little.

Windblocking was good and the Protek gloves kept hands dry and warm on the mountain. Pricing again is very competitive and it’s a shame the snapped shockcord meant a lower score for what is a good value glove.

Warmth 40/50
Features 16/20
Dexterity 4/10
Quality 4/10
Value for money 7/10
Total score: 71/100

Ultimate Performance Ultimate Runne's Gloves

Ultimate Performance Ultimate Runne's Gloves

Ultimate Performance Ultimate Runner’s Gloves
Price: £14.95
Weight: 42g a pair
Material: palm and back: 96 per cent polyester, 4 per cent Spandex
Country of manufacture: China
Sizes: M-XL
Wash: hand wash 30C
Touchscreen compatible: yes

These lightweight gloves are aimed at runners but are equally useful for walkers wanting to keep the chill off their hands on cool days.

The Ultimate Runner’s Glove is made from stretchy windblocking fabric that provided quite good warmth for its weight. The backs have a slightly reinforced feel while the palms and inner finger faces have silicone grip patterns that work well and grip on an ice-axe was very good.

The index finger tip has a silver-colour patch which is touch-screen compatible. The cuffs are stretchy material with a reinforced strip to enable easier pulling on of the gloves.

The thumb has a soft microfleece-type material for nose wiping.

Breathability was good, as you would expect from a glove designed for runners, and pricing was competitive. The Ultimate Performance gloves are not waterproof.

The Ultimate Runner’s Glove is not suitable for full-on winter conditions unless it’s for a short run, but worked well in cool, windy hill days. The gloves also have anti-bacterial fibres to help keep odours down.

Warmth 32/50
Features 13/20
Dexterity 8/10
Quality 6/10
Value for money 8/10
Total score: 67/100

The Hestra CZone Pickup gloves topped out test, offering good warmth, waterproofing and a reasonable price, though they are not touchscreen compatible.

Close behind was the Outdoor Research Stormtracker Sensor gloves, a low-bulk model offering good warmth and some water-resistance, with construction using quality materials. Touchscreen finger tips were a useful addition.

Hestra’s Ergo Grip Active gloves have fine craftsmanship and top quality materials, which is reflected in their price, but their warmth was not quite as good as the brand’s other model.

The Bridgedale gloves and those from Ultimate Performance are lightweight and are useful pieces of kit to keep in your rucksack for those cool days, and are a lower-cost choice for anyone who’s not going to venture into true mountain winter conditions.

The two Trekmates models offer very similar performance at a value price and will keep hillgoers hands dry and warm for a modest outlay. We have noted the problems we encountered with the Protek model.

Best in test: Hestra CZone Pickup
Recommended: Outdoor Research Stormtracker Sensor
Recommended: Hestra Ergo Grip Active.

All the gloves were supplied to grough by the brands.

Some articles the site thinks might be related:

  1. On test: Norrøna Falketind PrimaLoft 100 Vest reviewed
  2. Experts urge hillwalkers to get into winter gear as clocks go back
  3. Lake District rescuers urge winter hillgoers to be prepared following two deaths
  4. Mountain rescuers in action as winter weather forecast until after Easter
  5. Experts warn Snowdon walkers: be prepared for winter conditions