If you’re anything like me, gloves are both a necessity and never there when you need ’em. Perhaps the best option is to buy more than you need so you have them on hand at all times.
Arguably, your trigger finger might be your most important necessity on a hunting trip. And keeping your hands warm, dry, and accessible makes gloves one of the most essential pieces of apparel in your kit.
Enter our best hunting gloves of the year. The gloves below fit a variety of disciplines, from setting out decoys to long, snowy hunts on high ridges to frigid treestand sits in the Midwest.
Best Hunting Gloves of 2021
Editor’s note: Although some hunting gloves do delineate between genders, most of the gloves on this list have ample ranges in sizing and are seen as gender-neutral.
Best Lightweight Glove: First Lite Shale Touch Hybrid Glove
Not only are these my go-to gloves in the field, but they’re also my go-to everyday glove. From long rides on my horse to running errands, the Shale’s ($80) leather palm and padding lend to durability and protectivity for your hands.
The furnace Merino-X fleece keeps my hands regulated once I’m out and moving. They can be a little light on warmth until I start being active. But once my hands adjust, they go unnoticed, they stay warm and dry, and they’re wonderfully tactile. For me, that’s a rare deal with a pair of full-fingered gloves. I tend to get annoyed and pull gloves often. Not so with these.
The cons? They’re expensive, the touchscreen capability works maybe 50% of the time, and the wool stretches a bit. I recommend ordering a size down.
What customers say: “My hands stay warm while running the quad but don’t sweat when splitting firewood and have the tactile ability to load shells with ease and spin grouse necks for days on end; they really do outperform every other pair of ‘work gloves’ I’ve ever used.” — MIKL83Check Price at Amazon
Best Shooting Glove: Sitka Gear Fanatic Gloves — Men’s & Women’s
Fingerless gloves are a staple in many a hunter’s gear arsenal. But Sitka revamped the game with its beloved Fanatic gloves ($40). A fingerless thumb and finger allow for tangible shooting and touchscreen ease while allowing your less-useful fingers to remain encapsulated and warm.
You can use these with an over-glove or an insulated muff on cold days, or on its own for an added bit of warmth and hand concealment during the early season.
What customers say: “Best bow hunting gloves I’ve found! With years of trying different gloves, I’m definitely not parting with these! Warm, lightweight, and a wonderful fit for me in size medium.” — Jared
Check Men’s Price at SitkaCheck Women’s Price at Sitka
Best Cold-Weather Glove: Sitka Blizzard GTX Mittens
I’m a cold-weather lifer — begrudgingly a bit. But, in my winter experience, one thing rings clear: Mittens are superior to gloves. I know these are fighting words for some. And that’s fine. But the Blizzard GTX mittens ($199) from Sitka Gear could be the last cold-weather glove you buy.
The PrimaLoft liner is absorbent and removable. And the outer is seriously durable, waterproof, and textured for grip. Take these on your dream sheep hunt, then up to the hills for a ski weekend. Keep them in your truck for cold spells. Layer a light glove underneath. Use body heat or shove a hand warmer in there. And protect two of your most valuable assets from the weather and elements in the process.
What customers say: “Holy hot dang! These mitts are the bee’s knees. I wore them on a buffalo hunt in the Northwest Territories in February, and not for one moment were my hands cold! With enough room to layer, I coupled them with the Traverse glove for those moments when I need the dexterity and they were super comfortable! With all the talk about the heat of the glove, they did not overheat my hands causing unwanted sweating, so all in all a complete win!” — Reed AlexanderCheck Price at Sitka
Best Muff: Hunter Safety System Muff Pak Hand Warmer
For those that find themselves in blinds on cold days, muffs can be a hand-saver. Hunter Safety System offers a muff beloved by many. And it comes in two options. Stuff a few hand warmers in the budget $40 regular muff, and you’re good to go. Or you can level up to a USB-powered heated muff for $60. Use a plain old battery pack, charge it up for a 5-hour warming stretch, or bring the battery pack with you for a longer sit.
What customers say: “I bought the heated version as I also have the regular one. The new heated one is great!!! I have nothing bad at all to say about it so far. It heats up the whole inside of the warmer and will keep you warm as can be. No more disposable hand warmers ever again. Highly recommend!!” — Micky F.Check Price at Amazon
Best Budget Decoy Glove: Showa Atlas 460 Vinylove Cold Resistant Insulated Gloves
The double-dipped PVC gloves are designed to be a serious workhorse for those working in cold and wet environments. For less than $15, you get warm and bombproof gloves, with a textured outer that provides solid grip and dexterity.
Inside, a soft insulated lining offers a refuge for hands. These gloves are best suited for waterfowlers setting or pulling decoys, and less as a blind glove. They can also serve as great gloves for wicked fishing conditions or emergency gloves in the truck.
What customers say: “These gloves are extremely handy for waterfowlers, but don’t tell anybody because if they marketed them for hunting, they would be double the price. They are fantastic to use for putting out/picking up decoys, jerk cords, and mojos; or for use as boat gloves on the ride in.
“They are fairly warm and will definitely keep your hands dry from outside moisture. Obviously, these gloves are not breathable, and are not nearly as flexible as GORE-TEX-type gloves. For the price, these are hard to beat, though.” — Gravity’s GoneCheck Price at Amazon
Best Budget Cold-Weather Glove: Carhartt Men’s Gauntlet Glove
At just $31, these gloves are up to a bunch of tasks. Whether it’s keeping hands warm in a blind or while shoveling snow, reviewers say this pair holds up.
Wear a lighter pair of gloves underneath them for an extra layer and shooting efficiency. The one downside to these gloves is that they do have a Velcro closure. So you’ll have to be cognizant of this in quiet hunting moments before a shot.
What customers say: “Purchased for both hunting and outdoor chores in temps from 20-40 degrees F. They are up to the task, comfortable, and the fit was as expected. I like the dual closure to keep the wind out. They seem rugged enough to last a few seasons.” — Flintlock ShooterCheck Price at Amazon
Best Budget Lightweight/Liner Glove: KUIU Ultra Merino 210 Glove
This $49 stretch-fit glove is beloved by KUIU aficionados, and for good reason. The lightweight merino uses Nuyarn technology, eliminating the discomfort of wool. They fit close to the skin and are purported to hold their shape well. Use them as a liner or as a main glove down to about 30 degrees F.
Available in a variety of colors, the gloves have raised rubber dots for grip. At $39, these gloves are a bargain deal with a techy build. And nearly 300 reviewers have offered up mostly 5-star reviews. Not bad.
What customers say: “Warm down to 20 F for ~2 hrs. Warm down to 20 F for ~2 hrs. You’ll want warmer gloves if it’s colder than that or if you’re staying longer or if it’s rainy or windy. Great base layer gloves, transit hiking gear, or campsite gloves.” — Wade B.Check Price at KUIU
Best of the Rest
Patagonia Better Sweater Fleece Gloves
Fingerless gloves occupy some hunters’ kits as a trigger-ready option or simply for unlimited dexterity in the field. These pop-top mittens from Patagonia ($55) bring a leveled-up bit of warmth and flexibility to the fingerless approach.
Made from the same fleece as the popular Better Sweater collection, active folks find these to be a great option for anyone who needs quick access to fingers. Reviewers say they run a bit small, so order a size up if you’re in between.
What customers say: “These gloves are the bomb! Warm, cozy, and functional! I bought them for work but use them all the time. One of my favorite Patagonia purchases! I highly recommend!” — DawnCheck Price at REI
Give’r Classic Gloves
I bought my Give’r Classics ($49) as a gift for myself last year. Since then, I’ve used them constantly for hunting, fishing, horse chores, and more.
They’ve held up through a lot, and they kept my hands both protected and warm on cool days. They’ve developed a patina that makes me proud of the work I’ve done in them. And my favorite part just might be my initials branded into the gloves. They make great gifts, for yourself or others. And you can personalize them via Give’r.
What customers say: “Have used other leather gloves in past, but these are far more versatile and last much longer than any before. They break in super nicely and have used them in every season of the year whether hunting, hiking, camping, snow shoveling, boarding, or snowmobiling. Love ’em!” — Brian_COCheck Price at Give’r
First Lite Brooks Down Glassing Mitt
The idea of these seemed a little wonky to me. But after elk hunting in late November and slipping these over my gloves when I got cold, I got it. They’re super light and packable, exceptionally warm, and provide a toasty refuge whenever the need arises.
Easy to shove into pockets, the Brooks Down Glassing Mitts ($80) are great for those moments when the steering wheel is still cold, when you’re forced to remain still in cold weather, or when you’re snuggled up in a sleeping bag.
The only downside to these mitts is that they’re super pared down and lack traction of any sort. They’re also not waterproof, nor are they designed to protect your hands. They’re simply an extra layer for staying warm. And that they do very well.
What customers say: “Loved having these gloves during late season elk when the wind cuts through just about everything. Except these gloves. I was able to glass for hours without having to deal with frostbitten hands. Highly recommend pairing these with a thinner glove to insulate the heat when you need to discard for taking a shot.” — MitchCheck Price at Amazon
Buyers Guide: How to Choose the Right Hunting Gloves
Know Your Elements
A waterfowler has very different needs from an upland bird hunter. Consider the climate you’ll be hunting in. If it’s cold and you’re actively hunting, consider a layering system. A wool liner glove coupled with a heavy-duty option for cold weather can be rotated to keep hands warm.
If conditions will be snowy or rainy, a waterproof glove with some over-the-wrist length is a must. For some, water-resistant gloves can be a great option. However, waterproof gloves are often not breathable.
Quality vs. Quantity
A hunting season can take on many different ecosystems and climates. It might make sense to invest in a variety of budget options to cover your bases.
But if you drew your dream sheep tag and expect to get into legitimate weather and elevation, investing in a high-quality (read: expensive) pair of heavy-duty gloves or mittens is a reality. Note: A solid pair of skiing gloves can substitute easily for cold-weather hunting gloves if you’re looking for some versatility.
Keeping your fingers warm is one thing, but keeping your hands and fingers protected is also important. Leather is a go-to for many, but there are solid synthetics that can do the job as well.
Spending a few extra bucks on padded gloves, leather, or more durable synthetics could be worth it in the long run. If you’re in a warmer climate, maybe a plain leather glove will work out just fine. But if you need a bit more, look for fleece-lined gloves that can keep hands both warm and protected.