Best Sun Gloves For Hiking and backpacking

The best sun gloves for hiking & running are fingerless and good with trekking poles

The best sun gloves for hiking and running will keep your hands safe from ultraviolet rays and minor abrasion, wick sweat, breath easily, dry quickly, wear comfortably, and handle trekking poles all day long. The following assortment are the best for hiking because they are optimized according to the above criteria.

We find fingerless sun gloves to be extremely useful in virtually all weather conditions ranging from hot to moderate, and highly recommend adding them to your everyday hiking wear. Jump ahead to read our use tips and buyer advice. And while you’re here, check out more accessory apparel guides for items like hats, warmer gloves, rain mitts, socks, sandals, and booties.

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Quick Picks For The Best Sun Protection Gloves

Best Sun Gloves Comaparison Table

Mobile users rotate device for full-width table

Make/Model Price ($) UPF Weight (oz) Palm Wrist Coverage Fingerless
GG Ascension Bay 22 50 1.7 synthetic suede yes yes
BD Trail Gloves 25 unlisted 1.1 synthetic suede no yes
OR ActiveIce Chroma 35 50 1.2 synthetic suede no yes
OR ActiveIce Chroma Full 37 50 1.4 synthetic suede yes no
REI Active Pursuit 27 50 1.0 real suede yes yes
éclipse Gloves 29 50 0.4 polyester yes yes

Best Sun Glove Reviews

Glacier Gloves Ascension Bay

Glacier Gloves Ascension Bay Sun Gloves

The Glacier Gloves Ascension Bay are our editor’s choice best sun gloves for hiking as they’re the most durable, longest lasting, and least expensive pair in the round-up. The entire Adventure Alan & Co team prefers this model, and we recommend it very highly. It comes in a basic light gray colorway, as well as a cool water camo print with thru-hiker fashion appeal and fisherman functionality.

  • Price: $22
  • UPF: 50+
  • Weight: 1.7 oz
  • Glove Material: Lycra
  • Palm Material: Synthetic Suede
  • Pros: Proven most durable with trekking poles. Least expensive, best value. Full coverage. Wrist pull tabs.
  • Cons: Built out palm surface is slightly less breathable than others.
Black Diamond Trail Gloves

Black Diamond Trail Gloves

The Black Diamond Trail Gloves are some of the best sun gloves currently flying a bit under the radar. They’re not marketed as sun gloves per say, rather, they’re designed for trekking pole handling. But based on hands-on experience with the back fabric, they seem as sun protective as all the rest. But they do offer sure grip and good durability. What’s more, we love the dual on/off pull tabs, one in between middle and ring finger, the other at the wrist. We wish they offered slightly longer finger and wrist coverage for added sun protection, but are sufficient nonetheless.

  • Price: $25
  • UPF: unlisted
  • Weight: 1.1 oz
  • Glove Material: “Four-Way Stretch Fabric”
  • Palm Material: Synthetic Suede
  • Pros: Durable. Nose wipe patch. Excellent pull tabs.
  • Cons: Less finger, no wrist coverage. Not UPF tested. Minimal product info provided by manufacturer.
ActiveIce Chroma

Outdoor Research ActiveIce Chroma

The OR ActiveIce Chroma Sun Gloves have been a long time best seller on the market, and are the most fully-featured in our guide. They’re built with a sweat-activated cooling back-of-hand fabric called “ActiveIce,” which is nifty, but not sure if it actually matters much in the real world.  Other notable features are the adjustable wrist straps and storage connector tabs.

But there are downsides too. Not only is this the most expensive model in our guide, they’re also the least durable when it comes to trekking pole handling. Something about the palm material just didn’t quite get there on durability. As such, we recommend these more if you hike without poles or are using them for running.

  • Price: $35
  • UPF: 50+
  • Weight: 1.2 oz
  • Glove Material: 94% Polyester, 6% Spandex
  • Palm Material: Synthetic Suede
  • Pros: Best seller. Storage connector/hang loop. Cooling feature. Adjustable wrist straps give secure fit. Good looking.
  • Cons: Modest palm durability. Expensive. Less finger and wrist coverage than is ideal.
REI Active Pursuits Sun Glove

REI Co-op Active Pursuit Sun Gloves

The REI Co-op Active Pursuits are an up-and-coming pair of the best sun gloves; another example of REI’s attempt to corner the marketplace for outdoor basics done-well. They score strong user reviews and are reasonably affordable. Unlike all other models, their palms are reinforced with real suede, rather than synthetic – so vegans beware. We also note the strange design choice to reinforce only the pointer finger with suede, rather than all fingers, and worry that this could create durability issues – either from wear-and-tear with poles, or at the seam from frequent on/off pulling.

  • Price: $27
  • UPF: 50
  • Weight: 1.0 oz
  • Glove Material: Lycra Spandex
  • Palm Material: Real Suede
  • Pros: Lightweight. Affordable. Good finger and wrist coverage. Highly rated.
  • Cons: Unusual choice to not reinforce all fingers, could create durability issue.
eclipse Sun Gloves

éclipse Gloves Sun Gloves

Now here’s an interesting take on sun protection gloves from éclipse Gloves. Unlike all others in our guide, this model is not constructed with reinforced palms, nor does it have individual finger slots. This level of simplicity results in the easiest on/off and lightest weight in our round-up – less than half an ounce. A big part of what damages sun gloves is pulling them on/off, which is circumvented here by the lack of individual finger slots making the process way easier. We’d expect durability issues, but haven’t seen/heard much of any yet. They may not offer as much comfort while holding trekking poles, but don’t seem prone to immediately shredding.

We also note that they’re made with a fancy thermo-regulator fabric called 37.5 that claims to remove moisture vapor before it turns to liquid sweat. That said, we’ve never been particularly impressed or formed a strong belief in textile technologies like these.

  • Price: $29
  • UPF: 50+
  • Weight: 0.4 oz
  • Glove Material: 87% Polyester, 13% Spandex
  • Palm Material: 87% Polyester, 13% Spandex
  • Pros: Super ultralight. Minimalist. Temperature control fabric. Easiest on/off.
  • Cons: No reinforced palms. One-size fits most.
ActiveIce Chroma Full Sun Gloves

Outdoor Research Chroma ActiveIce Gloves Full

We generally prefer and recommend half-finger/fingerless sun gloves, but for full-finger protection, grab a pair of the OR Chroma ActiveIce Full. This style is less dexterous and offers a far inferior user-experience compared to fingerless models, but in exchange for complete sunscreen-free protection.

Like their fingerless siblings, these gloves comes with all of the bells and whistles, including storage connector tabs, touch screen compatible tips on pointer finger and thumb, and a cooling fabric called ActiveIce. Though the latter has never really impressed us. The palms are reinforced with a synthetic suede which adds comfort and grip, but is prone to shredding with frequent trekking pole use. As such, we prefer this model more for running than for hiking.

  • Price: $37
  • UPF: 50+
  • Weight: 1.4 oz
  • Glove Material: 94% Polyester, 6% Spandex
  • Palm Material: Synthetic Suede
  • Pros: Best seller. Storage connector/hang loop. Cooling fabric. Adjustable wrist straps give secure fit. Good looking. Full-finger coverage increases sun protection.
  • Cons: Modest palm durability. Expensive. Less dexterity because full finger coverage.
Sun glove holding trekking pole

 More About Hiking In Sun Gloves

Best sun gloves for hiking criteria

  • Protects skin from harmful UV: Obviously that’s the whole point. UPF 50 rating is preferred.
  • Comfortable: For all day wear, your gloves must feel and fit comfortable. This usually involves some degree of stretch fabric back of hand.
  • Cool, breathable, moisture wicking, and quick drying: You don’t want to make your hands any warmer and sweatier than they already are while walking uphill in hot sunny weather.
  • Dexterous: The best sun gloves are designed for all-day wear and as such should be dexterous and not impede basic tasks. This includes opening packs, accessing storage bags, using your phone, pitching a tent, etc. All of the above are why we strongly prefer fingerless models.
  • Durable: Your sun gloves must be durable enough to hold trekking poles all day long. However, this is a balancing act, as you also want them to be as thin as possible for heat minimization and breathability, and as dexterous as possible for everyday tasks. While some sun gloves are more durable than others, none are perfect. We try to address durability in our glove write ups.

Why we think fingerless makes for the best sun gloves

While there are pros and cons to both, we strongly prefer hiking in fingerless/half-finger sun gloves over full-finger models. Like a cap or base layer, sun gloves are the type of garment that you will likely wear for all or most of the day while on-trail. As such, you want them to not impede basic tasks like opening your pack, digging around inside storage bags, opening food, using your phone GPS, pitching the tent, etc. The difference in dexterity is massive, despite the fact that full-finger sun gloves are highly dexterous to begin with, at least as far as most gloves are concerned.

The advantage to full finger sun gloves, of course, is that they protect your finger tips. This is advantageous in extreme sun exposure, such as high altitude mountaineering and glacier travel. But beyond that, we value the dexterity of fingerless highly enough that we’re willing to spend the time and energy applying sunscreen to our finger tips, despite the added hassle. Finger tip burns are extremely uncomfortable, and sun screen must be applied regularly, like with other exposed skin.

Other minor advantages to hiking in sun protection gloves

  • Abrasion-resistance: In addition to the sun protection, the best sun gloves will also offer light duty abrasion-resistance. While they definitely aren’t designed for hard labor or rough handling, it is nice to have an added layer of skin protection when placing your hand onto scratchy rocks during scrambling sessions, climbing over downed trees, or while brushing past overhanging foliage.
  • A bit of added warmth: While the best sun gloves all attempt to be as cool and breathable as possible, they are still an added-layer of fabric. As such the end result will make you warmer, rather than cooler. This is bearable in hot conditions because the UPF is worth having, but usually quite desirable in moderate-to-cool conditions, and especially in windy conditions. They are perfect for that transition point when fleece liners would be too warm, but bare skin is a bit chilly.
  • Improved grip and comfort with poles: Depending on the model of your sun gloves and the composition of your trekking pole handles, the palm surface may improve your grip, increase comfort, and decrease the likelihood of blisters while hiking with trekking poles all day long. If you have struggled with hand comfort while hiking with trekking poles in the past, we encourage you to try them again using one of the more durable pairs of trekking poles.

Best Sun Gloves For Hiking Conclusion

Thank you for reading our guide to the best sun gloves, where hope your found your new favorite pair. We almost always hike with sun protection gloves, and recommend you do too. They are useful, protect your skin in multiple ways, and increase ease of living in the backcountry. Happy trails!

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