A good pair of gloves is something you should consider having if you plan to bushcraft. Gloves offer a variety of benefits and can make practicing bushcraft skills easier (and safer.) While there aren’t gloves specifically made for bushcraft and survival skills, there are a lot of different types of gloves to choose from that will work. This guide offers a few tips to buying the best bushcraft gloves for your bushcraft, camping, and wilderness survival adventures.
What to Look For in a Bushcraft Glove
You’re constantly using your hands to bushcraft, so it’s important to keep them protected while you work. A pair of quality gloves will provide multiple benefits. Here are a few features to look for when shopping for bushcraft gloves.
First and foremost, the gloves should offer protection from cuts and scrapes. You’re often working with wood or other natural materials, along with knives and other cutting blades. Your gloves should completely cover your hands, and be thick enough to protect your hands for thorns, splinters, blisters, and other potential threats.
Strength and Durability
Gloves are made in a variety of different materials. Regardless of which gloves you buy, you want ones that are strong and durable enough to withstand the wear and tear that bushcraft puts them through. Thicker materials like leather will last longer than thinner materials like cotton.
Easy to Wear Without Impacting Dexterity
Many bushcraft tasks require the use of your fingers. Whether tying knots, setting snares, or doing fine carving or woodwork, you still want to be able to use your fingers for detailed work when wearing your gloves. Choose gloves that do not impede your finger movement.
You’re constantly grabbing tools and materials with your hands. The best bushcraft gloves will maintain your grip whether using an axe, frying pan or a knife. Look for gloves that have a rough, textured, or sticky surface on the palms so things won’t slip out of your hands when you grab them.
Wet hands get colder faster than dry hands. In cold weather, having wet skin can also lead to frostbite. If you’ll be practicing bushcraft in the rain, wet conditions, or cold weather, you’ll want bushcraft gloves that are water resistant or waterproof.
Warmth and Insulation
If you’re heading outdoors in the Winter or in cold weather, you definitely want insulating gloves that will keep your hands warm. Look for gloves that have room to “trap” air in the gloves. Your hands will then warm up the air in the gloves, helping to protect them against the cold. (Similar to how a wet suit works.) Keep in mind that Spring and Summer weather can have cooler evenings and nights, so you might want thick gloves to protect against exposure in these scenarios.
Now that we’ve covered the different things to look for when shopping for bushcraft gloves, let’s take a look at some of the different types of gloves available.
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Different Types of Gloves
Nitrile Work Gloves
For bushcraft, Nitrile Work Gloves are a great general-use glove. Nitrile gloves, like these Atlas Nitrile Tough Gloves, are tough, durable, lightweight, and resist punctures and tears. The material provides great protection without impacting dexterity and hand movement.
Leather Work Gloves
A popular choice among people who bushcraft, a solid pair of leather work gloves are durable, thick, water-resistant, and provide great protection against cuts, scrapes, and other potential hazards to your hands. Leather work gloves, such as the OLSON DEEPAK Work Gloves, have a decent grip and provides light protection in cooler temperatures, however, they aren’t ideal for cold weather without insulation.
Tactical Gloves are another popular choice for bushcraft and survival scenarios. They’re generally padded, water resistant, have a good grip, and offer good dexterity. Many tactical gloves offer some warmth and have good durability. Tactical gloves like the Mechanix Wear MultiCam Original Tactical Gloves are a great choice for all-around bushcraft gloves.
You might not think that gloves for working on cars could work in the outdoors, but mechanic gloves offer many benefits for bushcraft. Mechanic gloves, like the Mechanix Wear Original Black gloves, are designed to protect your hands and to be durable, even with repetitive motions (think sawing or chopping.) They’re usually thick and padded but still offer a good grip. You maintain some finger dexterity, but they won’t be ideal for skills that require fine motions like knot tying. One drawback to mechanic gloves is they rarely have insulation, so you’d most likely use these in warmer weather.
Already designed for the outdoorsman, hunting gloves are another option to consider when shopping for the best bushcraft gloves. Hunting gloves, such as these Intra-FIT Stretch-Fit Warm Hunting Gloves, provide insulation and warmth while still maintaining some dexterity. They’re also generally water resistant. That being said, hunting gloves aren’t designed to withstand the constant use that bushcraft puts on gloves, so they may rip or wear over time. Keep an eye out for hunting gloves that offer good grip.
Wool is one warmest glove materials, being able to provide warmth even when soaking wet. They’re also water resistant and offer decent dexterity, which makes them a good choice for bushcraft in cold weather. Some wool gloves, like these RefrigiWear Insulated
Insulated, Leather Mittens
When you need to protect your hands from serious cold weather, insulated leather mittens, like the RefrigiWear Fleece Lined Insulated Leather Mitt Glove, are a good choice. Keep in mind that mittens significantly impact dexterity because all of your fingers are in one section. With that in mind. they’ll keep your hands warm while sleeping, when handling firewood, hiking, and other activities that require minimal dexterity.
Gloves to Avoid
While they’ll keep your hands warm, and are waterproof, ski gloves offer minimal benefits when doing bushcraft. You have little dexterity and their durability generally cannot survive the constant use and abuse that bushcraft tasks put on gloves.
While jersey or cotton gloves do provide a lot of dexterity for your fingers, that’s about the only thing they offer for bushcraft. They’re too thin to provide enough protection for your hands and will tear easily. In addition, they absorb water easily, are usually unpadded, and offer minimal (if any) warmth.
Final Thoughts About Bushcraft Gloves
Ultimately, when looking for the best bushcraft gloves, there
Many people who bushcraft have at least a couple of pairs of gloves for their bushcraft survival kits, along with backups. Pick up a few pairs of gloves, try them out at home, and see which gloves work best for you.