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
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.
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.