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Guide to Choosing Cold Weather Sailing Gloves | Expert Advice

choosing-winter-sailing-gloves

Why Wear Cold Weather Sailing Gloves

Cold weather sailing gloves have a rather unique mission — keep your hands warm while protecting them and gripping line like a regular sailing glove. And while each glove has strengths, none is perfect — creating a glove that is waterproof, warm, durable AND thin enough to retain dexterity is quite a feat. When choosing your cold weather sailing glove, it’s important to consider the type of boat you’ll be sailing, your position on the boat and the weather conditions.

Figuring out glove size is easy. To fit your hand and measure to know your glove size, check out our glove size chart.

How to Choose

Each style, material and construction has its strengths. With so many choices, how are you to decide?  We will review products by grading them with 1-5 stars (5 being the best) on 4 attributes:

  • Sizing accuracy/fit- Does it match the size chart expectations, how well they fit/form to hand
  • Dexterity- Ability to easily flex hand and maneuver
  • Grip- The gloves ability to add friction to lines and reduce hand fatigue
  • Durability – Life of glove, how well it holds up over time

To see more details and product videos on individual gloves, click the glove images to head to the product page.

Click here to browse all sailing gloves at APS.

  • Cost: $6.95
  • Waterproof: No
  • Breathable: Yes
  • Insulation Material: Knit Polyester
  • Product video/SHOP

Overview:

The Atlas Thermal Fit gloves are certainly not the warmest on the list, but they do offer a knit polyester blend full finger construction. The polyester, while fairly quick drying, is not waterproof so be prepared to get a little wet (and potentially cold) when wearing these. A great feature is the rubber palm-the super sticky coating offers great grip even when wet. The knit polyester has a bit of elasticated stretch to it, ensuring a comfortable form hugging and true to size fit. The rubber fingertips, however, do take away some dexterity. It is popular among sailors to cut the tips off of the thumb and first finger of these gloves. The simple design and materials mean that this is not the strongest, most durable glove on the market but luckily, at such a great price, you can afford to stock up on a few pairs for the season.

Overview:

The Gill Three Season Gloves are a comfortable and versatile glove to take you through spring to fall. A thin flexible Neoprene offers insulation as well as a close fit. However, there is potential for your hands to get cold if these gloves get drenched. Warmth can be added with use of a glove liner. The Amara palm and Dura-grip reinforcements combined with the neoprene offer great grip and pretty strong glove overall. These gloves have a thin enough construction and a snug enough fit that you’re left with fairly good dexterity for a full fingered glove.

  • Waterproof: Yes / water resistant
  • Breathable: No
  • Insulation Material: 3mm Neoprene
  • Product Video / SHOP

Overview:

A frostbite crowd pleaser, the Neoprene Winter Glove from Gill is well thought out and built — made from 3mm Neoprene with an extended cuff that integrates into dry/wetsuit tops. The construction, in relation to durability, is pretty good: the only downside being that there’s no protection for the neoprene. The glove does lose one point for dexterity due to the neoprene thickness, but it does fit and form very well to the hand. Pre-articulated, naturally curved fingers keep you from fighting the glove too much when gripping. The palm is grippy and hard wearing and we’d recommend it for use anywhere on the boat and especially for use in dinghies. Gill calls the Winter Glove ‘water resistant’ but with the taped seams and thicker neoprene we are comfortable calling it basically waterproof. Extra warmth can be added with use of a glove liner. The fitted cuff also effectively helps keep water out.

Overview:

Gill’s Helmsman Glove has the look & feel of a ski glove, but there are a number of sailing approved refinements that help set it apart. Made for waterproof warmth, the Helmsman features a waterproof membrane as well as soft Fiberfill insulation. Although warm & dry, the glove does lose points for dexterity. These gloves are a solid choice for drivers and would probably work well for a main or jib trimmer dealing with larger lines. A layered construction makes a hard wearing glove. The palm is reinforced with heavy duty Dura-Grip while the fingers are wrapped with Proton Ultra-XD.

Overview:

The Hanz Waterproof Glove offers a synthetic knit nylon outer, a soft interior, and a waterproof membrane sandwiched between the two. While the waterproof quality will help to keep you warm if they get wet, they are fairly thin and not very warm on their own.  The thinness does help improve dexterity, but also detracts from durability. These are ideal for positions on the boat where you won’t have lines running through them — like the helmsmen or bowmen. They have gripper dots on the palm that are sticky, but repeated wear by line would eat through these gloves easily. These gloves tend to run a little large as the fingers are not very tapered or form fitting.

Overview:

The concept behind Hanz ChillBlocker Waterproof Gloves is pretty smart. They have a stretchy Nylon/Lycra outer layer with a waterproof membrane and Polartec fleece on the inside. Unfortunately, it’s not pulled off particularly well. First off, these gloves are at least one to two sizes bigger than expected. Also, there’s a good bit of extra material in the palm when you go to grip something. It seems that the design is too 2D and not enough 3D. The inner fleece combined with the waterproofing does offer a pretty warm glove, however the waterproof membrane is delicate and will deteriorate with too much ringing or stress. The same goes for the outer nylon. Not the first choice for anyone doing heavy sheet work. Recommended for a helmsman or other applications where handling line won’t be the main concern of the wearer.

Overview:

The Atlas Temres Breathable Warm gloves offer a warm, waterproof, breathable cold weather solution. The durable, but thin Polyurethane coating offers a lot of flexibility, yet the overall size of the finger tips still detracts from overall dexterity. One downside to these is the open cuff, if water happens to get inside they will not dry out very quickly- tucking into a jacket cuff helps this. These are not offered in a wide range of sizes and they can fit a little on the baggier side. Sticky and durable enough for sheet work, these are a great glove for any position on the boat.

Overview:

The Atlas Hot Tamales Warm gloves are a crowd favorite. This glove has a super durable PVC shell on the exterior that is completely waterproof and a rough grip on the palm for handling anything. The interior has a soft lining that is really, really warm — truly ideal for the coldest day on the race course. The non-exact sizing and wider cuff issue remain here and dexterity is limited, but as far as waterproof warmth, you can’t go wrong.  The Hot Tamales are a favorite for dinghy and college racers as well as keelboat sailors.

Overview:

Similar to the Hot Tamales, but with an innovative twist, these Atlas gloves come with a removable Acrylic liner making them ideal for longer passages or overnight sailing. If your liners get wet they can easily be swapped for a dry pair. Extra liners are sold separately. The outside is PVC coated and totally waterproof and textured for grip. Dexterity is slightly more hindered than the original by the bulk of the glove/liner combo.

Overview:

The APS Dry Gloves offer full waterproof protection right down the the cuffs. These are made of 100% latex to create a watertight seal around the wrist. The tight wrist seals are easily adjusted by trimming a few centimeters away for a perfect fit. While they will keep you dry, these gloves provide no warmth. On a colder day it would be wise to wear a glove liner underneath. A textured palm offers a bit of grip to the typically smooth latex. Although thick and stretchy, durability can be compromised if you catch a snag or sharp bit of wire.

 

 Glove Sizing Information

Measure all the way around (circumference) your hand (palm) at its fullest point.

Glove Size Hand Circumference
Inches Centimeters
Child/ XX-Small 5 12.7
Junior/ X-Small 6 15.3
SMALL 7 17.8
MEDIUM 8 20.3
LARGE 9 22.9
X-LARGE  10  25.4
2X-LARGE 11  28.0

*This is a general guide and some gloves may run larger or smaller than the published sizing.

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6 Responses

  1. I have the Gill Offshore and your review is spot on. The only thing I'll add is that durability is excellent. I've had mine for a while. They've probably done about 50 races now and except for a little fraying on a few edges they still look like they did when they were new.

  2. Most of the gloves shown do not provide adequate warmth for folks frostbiting in New England through Jan/Feb/Mar. The Atlas gloves are good, but the best as far as warmth/dexterity is concerned are Dakine neoprene mittens or Excel neoprene lobster claw style gloves with a wristlock seal. Both of these are made for winter surfing, but work well for frostbiting in very cold areas. All of the gloves shown, being gloves isolate the fingers from eachother, and with typical dinghy hand positions on the tiller and mainsheet, with mainsheet loads limiting blood circulation, a neoprene glove is not a good option in freezing conditions.

  3. The Atlas gloves are indeed very warm, but on a really wet day — and in the front of an Interclub dinghy this means anything over 15 knots — water seeps inside from the wrist and the plush lining wicks it down to your fingertips within minutes. Eventually the gloves weigh twice their weight with internal water and your fingers can be numb.

  4. I replaced my Harken Frostbite gloves with Atlas gloves based on this blog. You are right, they are warm and waterproof and fit my small hands pretty well (though the fingers are a bit short). The downside as Anonymous says is that if the fleece gets wet your fingers get cold.

    I didn't get water inside them, but my hands did perspire and the fleece did not dry out overnight. I tried to turn them inside out but never quite got them all the way. I finally resorted to a hair dryer.

    They are very slip resistant which means that easing a line take a bit of thought but the additional confidence is a plus.

    Now if I can just find some equally good boots. Galveston Bay in January is cold… honestly!

    ~L

  5. I have realized there are a lot of other places to get good sailing gear. Now, maybe the gear isn't marketed under sailing or yachting and not carrying the logos — and I will admit I have allegiance to APSLTD. However, great gear, especially for ocean racing in cold conditions can be found at places that cater to other water sports, or extreme sports for that matter.

    My final at bat for waterproof gloves was at West Marine. The info tags stated the gloves were waterproof, windproof… yada yada. Figuring the gloves were manufactured by Henri Lloyd or Musto, as is typically the case with West Marine's gear, I went for them. These gloves failed in less than 20 minutes at sea in rainy conditions, as did their competition as listed in this review.

    The solution:

    NRS Waterproof gloves made for kayaking in low temperatures. Done… and done. Got them for around $38 out the door at REI.

  6. I own a pair and wore them on an offshore passage from Newport to Bermuda. Temp just above freezing and rain. Gloves were soaked and hands numb in minutes. Worst pair of gloves I've ever owned. Would have better luck buying kitchen gloves and fleece liners.

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