Picking the right equipment to keep your hands warm while on the slopes, regardless of whether you’re skiing or snowboarding, can be the difference between spending hours having fun or your fingers being frozen and uncomfortable. In the world of snow equipment, there are two main choices that offer such protection and comfort – mittens and gloves. While both will do the trick, there are advantages and disadvantages to both. For instance, gloves provide pockets for each of your fingers, allowing for more dexterity. Mittens, on the other hand, have a single pocket for all of your fingers, allowing them to share the heat.
There are many brands that provide quality mittens and gloves, such as XTM snow gear, Swany, POW, Elude, Lenz and many others. Shopping from a reputable brand will ensure you get a quality product. Mittens and gloves usually won’t break your bank, so it’s worth investing in high-quality ones. Without further ado, let’s talk about where mittens excel over gloves, and vice versa, so that you can make a well-informed buying decision.
As briefly aforementioned, gloves are better when it comes to dexterity. You may wonder which tasks require dexterity while on the slopes. Pealing a wrapper from snack bars, holding your camera or phone or opening small pockets or zippers on your jacket, pants or backpack are just a few. Performing all of this can be very difficult with mittens, simply because they feature rounded ends similar to those of an oven glove. There isn’t any material between the fingers, which means the use of each finger is restricted. You can close and open your hand to grab objects in a rudimentary fashion, but you can’t tightly grip objects or use your fine-motor skills to be precise.
With that said, gloves win in the mobility department. However, not all gloves are made equal. Some offer much more dexterity than others depending on the materials used, how they’re fitted on the wearer and their thickness. Some brands like KOMBI, EXski, Hestra and XTM snow gear also feature 3 finger mittens for snowboarders who want the warmth of a mitten but don’t want to sacrifice any dexterity.
You can usually expect most mittens to be warmer than most gloves due to the aforementioned reasons. However, the warmth of any mittens or gloves will depend on their construction and the materials used in their making. Many mittens offer less warmth than some gloves and vice versa. The main point is that the quality of the glove or the mitten is the key factor in keeping your hands warm. Fleece linings offer extra protection and will help keep your body’s warmth no matter whether you decide to go for mittens or gloves. But there’s also something else you’ll have to consider – if you’re taking your mittens off regularly to use your fingers, you’re losing heat and your hand will be colder. Some people wear glove liners inside the mittens, allowing them to preserve heat when they take their hands out.
Waterproofing and Breathability
Gloves and mittens for snowboarding or skiing should be completely waterproof to keep your hands dry and warm. There are different levels of waterproofing – from resistant to totally waterproof. When buying mittens or gloves, always pay attention to the waterproof rating to ensure you’ll start dry during snowfall or after falling in the snow. Breathability is another important factor to consider as it prevents clammy or sweaty fingers. The more breathability mittens or gloves provide – the warmer or drier your hands will be. Gore-Tex and other similar membrane technologies let internal moisture to escape through small holes in the fabric, while still blocking water and wind from the outside.
Heated Mittens and Gloves
Heated mittens and gloves can provide an extra boost of warmth when skiing or snowboarding in extreme conditions. These gloves use compact, flexible batteries in the cuff and heating elements that go through their structure. Generally, the heated gloves and mittens last up to several hours depending on the heat setting and batteries used. The batteries are rechargeable, and you can bring an extra pair to ensure you’re set for the entire day. Heated mittens or gloves that provide more heat for longer time periods are usually more expensive, but better made overall. They aren’t cheap, but some people find them as a must-have in super cold days.
This is a feature exclusive to gloves that allows you to operate your phone or other touchscreen devices without taking your gloves off. This enables you to take photos or calls and operate devices without losing warmth. Most gloves don’t have this feature, and it’s only found on light and mid-weight gloves that have enough dexterity to hold a device in the first place.