Gear Guy

What gloves will keep my hands warm but still allow dexterity?

What's a lightweight, lightly insulated glove suitable for rainy days in fall and winter? Years ago I owned a pair of Patagonia Light-X gloves—waterproof shell on the outside, light fleece lining on the inside—that were great for rainy days and light snow. I could always wear liners under them if it was really cold, but worn alone they were nimble and flexible. Now I've lost my pair and they're discontinued, and all the gloves I see are burly gloves for climbing K2. Help! Josh Cbridge, Massachusetts

A: I remember the Light-X... but I don't remember that they were waterproof. You sure they weren't just water-resistant? But, I could be wrong. Whatever, it's moot—the Light-X is no longer made.


In any event, I'm just not keen on gloves that purport to be waterproof. They tend to be clammy, bulky, and either expensive or of dubious quality. Typical of the genre is Outdoor Research's Catabatic Gloves ($95;, billed as a lightweight, waterproof Gore-Tex glove. And they are—for mountaineering and similar endeavors. And aside from eating up a C-note, they're really too bulky for everyday use. Still, they're an option. So too are Manzella's Waterproof Gloves (called exactly that) which come with light removable liners. They use a proprietary non-Gore-Tex shell material, and cost just $30 (

But really, the cutting edge in mid-priced gloves these days is a glove made with a water-shedding, but not waterproof, fabric such as Polartec Power Shield. An example: Manzella's TECW-850 glove ($50;, which some readers will recall appeared on my "Favorite Things" list this past December. These are a light, single-layer glove with synthetic leather palms. I've used them climbing, skiing, and mountain biking, and found them to be unbelievably warm in almost all conditions. They're also virtually windproof, shed water extremely well, and offer considerable agility. Short of digging a snow cave in slush with your gloved hands, these are the ticket. I'd also recommend REI's One Glove ($46;, based on that company's outstanding One Jacket. Get a pair of either Ones or 850s, and you'll quickly become a believer in modern gloves.

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Lead Photo: courtesy, Manzella
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