Are Mittens Or Gloves Warmer? (Explained)

mittens or gloves wamer

Mittens or gloves? Which is better for keeping your hands warm when camping or hiking in the winter? While both have pros and cons, mittens tend to be a little warmer overall. Let’s take a closer look at why this is the case.

Why Are Mittens Warmer than Gloves?

One of the main reasons mittens are generally warmer than gloves is because they allow your fingers to share body heat. When you wear gloves, each finger is isolated from the others, which can make them more susceptible to cold.

Mittens also have the advantage of being able to trap more heat since they’re larger and roomier than gloves. This is because mittens have a smaller surface area compared to gloves, so there’s less heat loss. And when it’s cold out, you want to minimize heat loss as much as possible!

Another thing that makes mittens warmer than gloves is that they often have a liner made of materials like wool or fleece. This adds an extra layer of insulation to keep your hands toasty warm.

Are There Any Disadvantages to Wearing Mittens?

While mittens are generally warmer than gloves, they’re not perfect. One downside is that it can be more difficult to do tasks that require dexterity, like setting up a tent or lighting a campfire. And forget about scrambling in colder weather since you won’t have the same level of grip or dexterity with mittens.

Mittens also have a tendency to get wet more easily since they’re larger and not as snug-fitting as gloves. Since mittens don’t have separate compartments for each finger, so if any water gets in, all your fingers are vulnerable. This can make them feel colder than gloves, so if you’re going to be in cold and wet conditions, you might want to opt for gloves instead.

What Temperature Should You Wear Mittens Over Gloves?

There’s no real answer to this, but as a general rule of thumb, you should start wearing mittens when the temperature dips below freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit). Mittens are definitely the way to go in extremely cold weather, like below 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

At the end of the day, it’s really up to you whether you want to wear mittens or gloves. If you need more dexterity, like skiing or ice climbing, gloves might be the better option. But mittens will usually keep your hands warmer if you’re just going for a walk in the cold or doing some light winter hiking or camping.

Why Are My Hands Still Cold in Gloves?

Let’s say you buy state-of-the-art winter gloves, but your hands are still cold. Why is this?

One reason could be that your gloves are too big or too loose. If your gloves are too big, there’s a lot of extra space for cold air to circulate. And if they’re too loose, your body heat can escape through the openings. So make sure your gloves fit snugly.

Another reason could be that your gloves are not waterproof. If your gloves are soaked through, they’re going to lose their insulation properties and won’t be able to keep your hands warm. So if you’re going to be in wet conditions, make sure you have a pair of waterproof gloves.

Finally, the type of material your gloves are made from makes a drastic difference. Gloves made from natural materials like wool or cashmere will usually be warmer than those made from synthetic materials like polyester. So if you’re looking for a warm pair of gloves, opt for ones made from natural fibers.

When Should I Wear Gloves for Hiking?

Generally, cold (but not freezing) temperatures will be comfortable for hiking in gloves. So if it’s in the 30s or 40s Fahrenheit, you should be good to go.

Of course, this also depends on how cold-sensitive you are. If you tend to feel the cold more, you might want to start wearing gloves when it’s a bit warmer out. And conversely, if you don’t feel the cold as much, you might be able to get away with wearing gloves in colder weather.

Another factor to consider is how active you’ll be while hiking. If you’re going to be moving around a lot, you’ll probably generate enough body heat to keep your hands warm even in cooler weather.

If you also plan on doing some scrambling and want to keep your hands warm, you will need gloves that offer good dexterity. So you might want to consider a pair of gloves with a leather or synthetic palm. But definitely not mittens.

When Should I Wear Mittens for Hiking?

Mittens are usually only necessary in very cold weather, like below freezing. So if it’s in the 20s or below Fahrenheit, you should consider wearing mittens.

Of course, again, just like with gloves, this also depends on how cold-sensitive you are. If you tend to feel the cold more, you might want to start wearing mittens when it’s a bit warmer out.

Another factor to consider is how active you’ll be while hiking. If you plan on going for a light stroll in colder weather, and you’re number one priority is keeping yourself warm, mittens might be a better option than gloves. But if you’re going to be moving around a lot and need to use your hands, gloves are usually the better choice.

So at the end of the day, it really depends on what temperature it is and how active you’ll be while hiking.


Both mittens and gloves are great options for the great outdoors and serve their purpose. But when it comes to warmth, mittens usually win. So if it’s very cold out and you’re looking to keep your hands toasty, mittens are the way to go. But gloves are probably better if you need more dexterity for your more active hikes.

What’s your preferred handwear for hiking? Mittens, gloves, or something else entirely? Let us know in the comments!

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