Anytime you’re fishing in cold weather, it’s important to make sure your extremities are protected from the elements – numb fingers are no one’s idea of a good time! Luckily there are plenty of fishing gloves designed specifically for use in cold weather.
Anyone who’s spent time fishing in chilly temperatures knows how much of a pain it can be. You want to protect your fingers and hands from the chill, while at the same time you need to maintain the dexterity needed to work a reel and feel the subtle action in your rod.
I’ll break down some of the best cold weather fishing gloves on the market, how to pick the best one for your needs, as well as some tips for cold weather fishing with gloves.
Quick Answer: 5 Best Cold Weather Fishing Gloves
- Best Overall: Palmyth Convertible Mittens
- Best Waterproof Gloves: Glacier Glove ICE BAY Fishing Glove
- Best Slit Finger Gloves: KastKing Mountain Mist Fishing Gloves
- Best Half-finger Gloves: Glacier Glove Alaska River Series Fingerless
- Commercial Fishing Gloves: Frogwear Insulated & Waterproof Triple Dipped Gloves
Why do you need cold weather fishing gloves?
Designing a good cold weather fishing glove presents a unique challenge for the manufacturer. On the one hand, you want to provide the maximum level of waterproofing and thermal protection, while on the other hand, the gloves need to allow movement and ‘finger feel’ for fishing related tasks.
Glove manufacturers solve this challenge with a number of glove designs.
Half-finger gloves sacrifice some thermal protection for better feel and dexterity. They typically leave your fingertips exposed above the second knuckle – allowing you to perform sensitive tasks like tying lures and gripping fishing line. These gloves are especially popular with fly fishermen.
Full-finger gloves are exactly what they sound like. They cover your entire hand including your fingertips. While they provide a high level of thermal protection, they’re difficult to use when you need to perform tasks that require a bit more finesse.
Convertible gloves are a good compromise between the two other types. They have removable flaps on the thumb, index, and sometimes middle fingers. These flaps allow you to use them like full-finger gloves to protect your fingers when it’s seriously cold, or you can flip them open for casting, thumbing the spool on a baitcaster, and tying fishing knots.
An excellent strategy that many cold weather anglers like to use is layering up with multiple glove pairs. A thinner pair of fingerless gloves underneath a larger pair of insulated gloves allows you to easily adjust the level of thermal protection as needed. Another approach is to wear lightweight full-finger liners underneath a pair of heavier half-finger or convertible gloves.
Top 5 Fishing Gloves for Cold Weather – Reviews
Practical, warm, and highly protective, these convertible fishing gloves provide excellent dexterity as well as thermal/wind protection. The design allows for completely free finger movement when you need to tie line, work your reel, or thumb the spool on a baitcaster. When the temperature takes a dive, and you want to warm up your fingers, you can easily flip the magnetic mitten closure down and warm up.
The gloves are insulated with 40 grams of 3M Thinsulate and orange microfiber fleece, providing both warmth and comfort. The manufacturer recommends them for use down to 20°F (-7°C), but several users report using them comfortably in single-digit temperatures.
A heat-pack compatible pocket allows you to add extra warmth by slipping a heat-pack into the wrist area. Synthetic leather and silicone palm grips enhance your grip and prevent the gloves from deteriorating due to wear and tear.
Keep in mind they’re water-resistant and not completely waterproof. They’ll keep your hands dry in rain and snow, but will let in some water if you completely immerse them in water.
If you’re looking for a do-it-all cold weather fishing glove that can handle a wide variety of environments, you’ll have a hard time beating these convertible mittens.
- Warm convertible mittens provide excellent thermal and wind protection.
- Magnetic flip over closures better than typical Velcro.
- Keep your hands warm down to single-digit temperatures.
- Built-in heat-pack pocket for when it gets really cold!
Best Waterproof Gloves
If you’re looking for a completely waterproof fishing glove that can hold up to colder temperatures, you’ll have a hard time beating this one. It’s made from 2mm thick fleece-lined neoprene, with a sharkskin textured exterior for added grip. The grip provides a tactile hand feel, so you can get a good hold on a slippery fish without it wriggling free.
The neoprene construction is surprisingly flexible, which makes them good at preforming more dexterity-focused tasks. All the seams are blind stitched and glued – providing excellent waterproofing and durability.
As they’re full-fingered gloves, you’ll need to remove them to perform fine-motor tasks like tying knots, but that’s to be expected with any fully waterproof gloves.
- Completely waterproof 2mm neoprene construction.
- Sharkskin textured grip provides strong hold on wet, slippery items.
- Blind-stitched and glued seams for excellent waterproofing and durability.
- Surprisingly flexible material.
Best Slit Finger Gloves
These slit finger gloves from the fishing experts over at KastKing are the perfect choice when dexterity and versatility are your priority. They feature finger slots on the thumb, index, and middle finger, with hook and loop catches to hold the fingertips out of the way.
The gloves are made from fleece-lined neoprene, which provides a good mix of warmth, protection from the elements, and finger dexterity. The microfiber palms are lined with non-slip polymer material, providing excellent grip and protection from wear and tear.
A nice feature of these gloves is adjustable neoprene cuffs. They allow you to seal your wrists off from frigid air and trap in warmth.
A special smartphone-friendly material is integrated into the glove’s fingertips, which allows you to use touch screen devices without exposing your fingers to the cold. This makes them a great choice for cold weather photography.
- Fleece-lined neoprene provides warmth, dexterity, and wind protection.
- Slit fingers on first three fingers for gripping line, baiting hooks, and untangling twists.
- Hook and loop catches hold fingertip material out of your way.
- Touchscreen friendly material on thumb, index and middle fingers.
Best Half-finger Gloves
Offering a good mix of warmth, dexterity, and grip, these half-finger gloves from Glacier Glove are an excellent choice if you’re looking for a fingerless glove that can keep your hands nice and toasty. They feature windproof fleece, which provides excellent thermal protection, as well as 2mm neoprene sharkskin textured palms for a sure grip no matter how slippery the conditions are.
The fingerless design leaves all of your fingertips (including thumbs) exposed – greatly increasing your manual dexterity for tasks like tying knots, handling wet line, and detecting subtle strikes. A Velcro wrist strap allows you to adjust the fit to your liking.
Keep in mind these gloves aren’t waterproof, and the fleece will soak up water if fully submerged underwater. They do dry out fairly quickly though, and you can get rid of excess water by wringing them out.
- Windproof fleece provides warmth and protection from the elements.
- Sharkskin textured palms for sure grip in wet, slippery conditions.
- Adjustable Velcro wrist strap.
- Exposed fingertips greatly increase finger dexterity for finesse tasks.
Commercial Fishing Gloves
Heavy-duty, warm, and tough-as-nails, these gloves are built to withstand the rigors of industrial and commercial work. They feature a flexible and durable PVC coating to keep the glove completely waterproof and a seamless brushed terry cloth liner for added warmth. This coating remains flexible down to temperatures of -5° F, so your finger dexterity isn’t impinged in the cold.
The fingers and palms have a fine-grit sandpaper coating, enhancing your grip in slippery, wet conditions. They’re not just for fishing either – they work well for a wide variety of outdoor tasks, like pool maintenance, clearing debris, car washing in cold weather, and much more.
While they might seem a bit overkill for the average recreational angler, if you need a heavy-duty commercial fishing glove, you’ll have a hard time beating these bad boys.
- Heavy-duty commercial and industrial gloves built to withstand extreme conditions.
- Specially formulated PVC remains flexible down to -5°F.
- Fine grit sandpaper grip provides sure hold in wet and slippery conditions.
- Brushed terry cloth liner keeps hands well insulated in the cold.
How to pick the best cold weather fishing gloves?
With so many different types and variations, choosing the right pair of cold weather fishing gloves for your needs can seem like a daunting task. Let’s dive into some of the most important features to be aware of when picking out a good pair of winter fishing gloves.
Cold weather fishing gloves are made from a number of different materials – each with its own strengths and weaknesses.
Neoprene is a commonly used material due to its flexibility, waterproofing, and comfort. It’s the same material used in most wetsuit construction, so it works well when your hands will come in contact with cold water – like when your ice fishing or kayak fishing in winter.
Fleece is another commonly used glove material. It provides a high degree of thermal protection, but it’s not 100% waterproof and can soak up water if fully immersed in water. Some glove manufacturers combine a neoprene outer shell with a fleece inner liner for a waterproof glove that also offers excellent protection from the cold.
PVC or Latex provides the highest degree of waterproofing but offers very little in the way of insulation. Many of these gloves feature some form of fleece or terry cloth lining to protect your hands from the cold. It’s also very good at keeping the fish smell off your hands.
Wool is an excellent material for any cold-weather attire – including fishing gloves. It has the unique ability to retain warmth even when it’s soaking wet, which makes it a longtime favorite of many outdoor enthusiasts and fishermen.
When it comes to winter fishing gloves, insulation is somewhat of a double-edged sword.
While a more insulated glove will provide you with better protection from the cold, it generally comes at the expense of finger dexterity. On the other hand, a glove with too little insulation will leave your fingers cold and unable to function when the temperature dips significantly.
The best strategy is to match the glove’s level of insulation with the weather. Lighter gloves are often rated down to 15° – 20° F, while more heavy-duty gloves can handle subzero temperatures. If you fish all year round in an area that frequently sees subzero temperatures, then getting several different pairs makes sense.
Another good strategy is to layer a tight-fitting lightweight glove underneath a bulkier insulated glove.
Probably the most important feature in a good pair of fishing gloves is the level of finger dexterity. Finger dexterity is required for a wide variety of fishing tasks – everything from tying knots, handling wet line, threading the eye on a hook or jig, to unhooking a fish requires your fingers to be unencumbered and free.
Half-finger and convertible gloves excel in this area, as they keep your hands warm while still allowing you to perform more delicate tasks.
A good grip is important anytime you need to handle wet, slippery gear. Glove manufacturers use a wide variety of materials and patterns to achieve a secure grip, from patterned silicone to sharkskin textured neoprene.
Ultimately, grip comes down to personal preference. Some people prefer a highly grippy palm, while others like a smoother surface.
Your fishing style is another important consideration to keep in mind.
Many fly fishermen prefer the added dexterity and versatility offered by fingerless or convertible gloves, while ice anglers who fish in frigid climates will often go with full-fingered gloves for their greater warmth.
If you tend to perform many tasks requiring a high degree of finger dexterity, then going with a fingerless or convertible glove makes the most sense. On the other hand, if you fish in frigid northern climates, then going with a full-fingered glove with a high degree of insulation makes sense.
Like any other piece of outdoor gear, durability is an important factor to keep in mind. Quality gloves don’t need to cost an arm and a leg though. There are plenty of well-made gloves in the 20$ – 30$ range that should last for many years.
If you’re looking for a glove that will last for the rest of your life, you might be in for a disappointment. With enough hard use and wear and tear, even the best-made gloves will need to be replaced eventually.
I’ve loved being in the outdoors for as long as I can remember. I grew up fishing, canoeing, and camping throughout the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. It’s what lead me to start this site and share my passions for fishing, diving, kayaking and more. Nowadays you can find me writing about my passions or (preferably!) preparing for my next outdoor adventure.