No cold-weather outdoor adventure is complete without the right winter gear, but what does that mean for your hands?
Gloves and mittens both keep your fingers nice and warm, but there are more differences between the two than just their designs. If you’re unsure whether you should use gloves or mittens during your next venture into the snow, here are the top three things to consider.
Gloves and mittens both help keep your hands warm, but there are a few significant differences in the warmth provided by gloves and mittens. Both offer insulation from the cold, and many are water-resistant depending on the brand.
However, your body will produce heat differently based on whether your fingers are grouped together or kept apart.
Gloves protect individual fingers, so they have more seams and stitching that allow air to pass through to your hands. They also have a greater surface area, which means gloves lose more heat to the outside air.
Mittens tend to be much warmer because your fingers generate more body heat when they are grouped. Mittens also have more cloth with fewer seams than gloves. If you want maximum warmth, mittens tend to be the best choice.
With gloves, each finger is individually “wrapped” in fabric, which gives you better dexterity and allows you to move and use your hands freely. If you’ll be adjusting your gear frequently, gloves are generally the best way to go. Even when you aren’t playing outside, gloves can make daily winter life a bit easier, like when you’re walking the dog or trying to make a phone call.
Mittens don’t immobilize your hands — you can still use them to grip ski poles or shift your backpack on your shoulders, for example — but they’re a bit more cumbersome than gloves. If your winter activity is one that doesn’t require much use of your hands, like hiking, then you’ll probably be happy with either mittens or gloves.
When it comes to the gear you’ll be using for one adventure after another, style is another factor to consider in the age-old mittens versus gloves debate. Some people love the look of gloves, and others prefer mittens. If both types of handwear keep your digits warm and don’t hinder your movement, pick whichever one you like the look of most.
If you’re still not sure whether gloves or mittens would be the best fit for your time outside, there’s a third option: both! Many manufacturers make a glove and mitten combo, with a shell glove and a mitten liner. If you’re trying to limit how much gear you buy and store at home, multi-use pieces like this are always a great choice.
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