Spending a long day out on your kayak can take its toll on your body, especially your hands as they tightly grip your paddle to push your through the water. Without the proper technique you can quickly get blisters that can be really painful. One way to overcome this is by using a pair of quality kayaking gloves. Not only will it protect your hands from blisters and callouses but will also keep your hands warm when paddling in the winter.
In this post, we’ll take a look at what we think are the 10 best kayaking gloves in 2021 and review why they’re so good.
At A Glance: The Best Gloves For Kayaking
If you’re in a hurry, here’s our list of some of our favorite paddling gloves.
We go into more detail about what to look for in our glove buying guide below and also why these are our favorites in our glove reviews later on in this article.
How To Choose Kayaking Gloves: A Buying Guide
Before we get on to the reviews of our favorite kayaking gloves, we’ve included a guide to what you need to consider before purchasing your gloves. We’ll look at the types of materials like neoprene and synthetic leather used as well as the different types of fit and the pros and cons of each. Let’s get started.
The first thing we’ll cover is the types of materials that kayaking gloves are made of and some of the pros and cons of these. Which type of material will be best for your will primarily depend on when, where and how long you’ll be kayaking for. Gloves tend to be made out of either neoprene, or a synthetic leather like lycra or spandex. But, whatever material you opt for in your gloves, the most important feature of the material is that it’s waterproof. There’s nothing worse than having wet and damp gloves on a long day out in your kayak. You also want to ensure that your gloves provide adequate grip and won’t slip in your hand when holding your paddle’s shaft.
Lots of kayaking gloves are made from Neoprene which is a type of synthetic rubber that’s popular due to its waterproof and insulating properties. Neoprene is actually the same material that wetsuits are made of. If you plan to be kayaking in cold weather conditions then we’d highly recommend opting for a pair that is made from Neoprene as they offer the best protection against the cold. Some neoprene models even have a fleece lining on the inside of the glove for extra comfort and warmth. Neoprene gloves are often mixed with other synthetic materials like spandex, lycra and nylon to offer different levels of stiffness and breathability.
If you’re going to be kayaking in the summer months or in warm weather then it’s probably best not to choose neoprene but instead to go for a pair of gloves made with a material that allows your hands to breathe and won’t cause your hands to overheat. In this case we’d recommend going for gloves made from a material like Spandex or Lycra. These materials are lightweight and often have U.V protection to prevent your hands from being damaged by the sun.
One consideration that’s worth thinking about when choosing kayaking gloves is how thick you’ll need them to be. The thicker the gloves are, the more protection and warmth they’ll offer, but often at the cost of maneuverability.
On one hand you want your gloves to give you maximum protection from the elements, especially if you’re going to be kayaking in the winter or cold weather. On the other hand you don’t want to lose dexterity and still want to be able to use your hands for all the tasks you’ll need to do whilst out for a paddle.
It’s best to consider what tasks you’ll be needing to do in your gloves and the climates that you’ll be paddling in before purchasing so you can find the right balance for your needs.
Another consideration before purchasing is to look at the fit of your paddling gloves. You don’t want them to be too loose as cold air and water can get inside and deem them totally useless at keeping your hands warm and dry out on the water. The extra room for movement can also lead your gloves to give you blisters if they start to rub and not allow you to grip things properly.
On the flip side, you don’t want gloves that are obscenely tight as this can cut off the circulation to your fingers causing them to actually be colder! Paddling gloves are usually sized on the palm but also check that they fit at your wrist to ensure they’re completely comfortable to wear.
Fingers vs Fingerless Gloves
Kayaking gloves come in two different options. Ones with fingers and ones without. Although it might seem a bit obvious, let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of each type below and which might more suitable for when you go paddling.
Full finger kayaking gloves are, as their name suggests, gloves that cover your whole hand, including your fingers. They’re essential for cold weather kayaking where protection from the elements is your priority. These gloves also have the added benefit of preventing blisters while still allowing you to grip well.
The one downside to full finger gloves is that you will lose some of your ability to use your fingers and handling small objects or tying fishing lines might prove more difficult.
Fingerless gloves are ideal during the summer for warm weather kayaking where you want to keep your hands cool but maintain adequate grip on the paddle and prevent blisters on a long day of kayaking. These also keep your fingers free for activities that require more dexterity like tying and opening things quickly.
Another type of paddling glove you might see are mitts. These are a type of glove that you don’t have individual fingers but you place your whole hand inside. They’re not at all suitable if you need to be using your fingers to do different jobs as you won’t be able to grip as well but are a great option if you’re just paddling.
Maintenance and Care
Kayaking gloves don’t last for ever. In fact some times the better quality ones can actually get worn out faster than cheaper ones. The best gloves usually allow more mobility which means they can’t be made from very durable materials. They are constantly in contact with your paddle and this abrasion takes its toll on your gloves.
You can prolong the life span of neoprene gloves by using a thin layer of AquaSeal on the points that face the most wear. It’s typically the seams that need it the most and doing this after your first use with help them last longer.
You should always rinse your gloves out after every use, especially if kayaking in salt water. Then once your’ve cleaned them, hang them up to completely dry before their next use. Doing all this regularly will keep your gloves in better condition and extend their lifetime.
Alternatives to Gloves
If you want to prevent blisters and keep your hands warm on a cold metal paddle shaft in the winter, one alternative is to use kayak paddle grips. These are fabric slips that go around the shaft of your paddle to warm it up, help to prevent blisters and allow you to get a better grip. They won’t keep your hands warm though in very cold weather but might be a good alternative to consider if you’re on a budget.
Best Rated Kayaking Glove Reviews
Now, let’s take an in depth look at some of our favorite options in our list of what we think are the best kayaking gloves on the market.
#1. NRS Maverick Gloves
In at number one we have our favorite, the NRS Maverick gloves. They’re made with a 2mm neoprene exterior that makes them ideal for cold weather but without giving up too much in the way of movement and mobility to allow you still to use your finger for some tasks.
These gloves work like a wetsuit, allowing your hands to get wet but then using your body temperature to heat the water and keep your hands warm and protected. The HydroCuff on the wrists then prevents the cold water from getting in and heat from getting out meaning that you’ll stay warm even on the coldest of days.
They offer amazing grip on the fingers and palms that make them a great non slip option for paddlers and at a very affordable price. So if you’re looking for a quality pair of neoprene wetsuit gloves for kayaking that’ll keep you warm, last for years and won’t break the bank then check out the NRS Maverick Gloves below.
#2. NRS HydroSkin Gloves
In at a close 2nd are the NRS HydroSkin gloves. They’re another full finger kayaking glove built for use in cold weather conditions. They’re made out of a 0.5mm thick neoprene lining that has a ThermalPlush lining to keep your hands comfortable and offer extra protection against the elements.
As you’d expect, these neoprene gloves are waterproof, utilising a water repellent coating to ensure your hands stay dry. They also have a layer of silicone over the palm and fingers to ensure added protection and excellent grip when handling the paddle and all the tasks a kayaker faces.
While they’re probably not thick enough for icy environments the NRS Hydro Skin Gloves make an ideal glove for in-between weather conditions and come highly recommended from us.
#3. Glacier Glove Perfect Curve Gloves
Up next we have the Perfect Curve Gloves from outdoor brand Glacier Glove. These are a 100% waterproof pair of full finger gloves that are ideal for winter kayaking to protect your hands from getting cold as no water gets in at all. You can fully submerge your hands in freezing cold water and nothing will get through!
The lining on the inside is made from 2mm thick fleece so they feel wonderfully comfortable on your hands and palm, plus the outside is made out of 2mm Neoprene, a synthetic rubber that proves great flexibility, grip and stability no matter what the temperature.
The one downside to these gloves is they’re quite bulky but if you’re looking for something a bit more heavy duty to keep you completely dry and warm check them out.
#4. Warmers Barnacle Half Finger Paddling Glove
- Neoprene, lycra and terry cloth
- Lightweight glove for superior protection and control
- Silicone "Barnacle" tactiles offer grip and control but still allow for a "skin-like" feel
Another option to consider is these Barnacle half finger gloves from Warmers. Made in China, they’re a light weight paddling glove made from Neoprene and lycra with silicone ‘barnacle’ features that help you to better hold the shaft to give you a good grip as if you weren’t even wearing them.
Despite being thin and comfortable they have padding in all the right places, especially on the palm and where your thumb and index finger meet on your hand which is a point while paddling that become sore. These gloves are well padded to prevent any pain there which we really liked to see.
These Warmers Barnacle gloves are a good warm weather option if you need to keep your fingers free for more fine movements like operating electronics or fishing and using your phone. Click below for the best price.
#5. Kokatat Inferno Mitt Neoprene Kayak Gloves
These Kokatat Inferno Mitts are the perfect gloves for cold weather paddling for those days when you can’t feel your hands! They are a mitt style glove so don’t have individual fingers making them not suitable for anglers, but, don’t let that fool you. They’re made from 3mm thick thermo lined neoprene to ensure that water falls straight off them and won’t let your hands get cold.
Construction wise they’re very solid with a glued blink stitch seam as well as reinforced palms to ensure the best grip on your paddle even in cold and wet conditions. They’re also pre-curved which means your hand is always in the right position to hold the paddle and are super efficient.
All in all, a great glove for very cold weather where you won’t be needing your fingers for technical work and just want to paddle and stay warm. Check them out by clicking the button below.
#6. BPS Neoprene Thermal Gloves
- THE COMPANY - Helping everyone to ‘get out and do’ is the reason Barrel Point Surf exists. Created by a Kiwi surfer and caring...
- THE PRODUCT – Protect your hands and grab a pair of our BPS Wetsuit Gloves now! Constructed with double-lined Neoprene, glued...
- MORE ABOUT THE PRODUCT – Each pair makes your hands move freely while reducing hand fatigue. Designed with a grip textured palm...
If you’re looking for the best gloves for kayaking in really cold temperatures then we’d recommend looking at the BPS Neoprene Thermal Gloves. They’re made from 3mm neoprene which is double lined to ensure your hands stay warm in even near freezing temperatures.
These gloves are designed for Scuba-diving and so are completely waterproof with an elastic and velcro seal around the wrists they’ll keep your hands warm and dry on long paddles during the cold months.
While you will lose some mobility due to their thickness it’s to be expected for such a quality winter glove, but the padding and grip on the palm and fingers will help with using your paddle and hold on to anything even when fully submerged underwater.
#7. The Fishing Tree Fingerless Fishing Gloves
- ☀️ UNISEX FINGER LESS UV kayak GLOVES TESTED and VERIFIED by global scientific testing company, SGS GROUP, as UPF and SPF 50+...
- ☀️ BLOCKS SUNBURN DAMAGE and helps protect hands from sunspots, skin toughening and aging, REDUCING THE CHANCES of...
- ☀️ MACHINE WASHABLE so after strenuous activity like cycle rides, rowing, fly fishing, fish handling, playing tennis, golf,...
Another good pair of fingerless kayaking gloves to check out are these from The Fishing Tree. These gloves are designed to be used outdoors with SPF 50+ UV protection woven into the fabric to protect your hands and keep them safe from the sun’s radiation.
They’re made from spandex and Amara faux leather that allows your hands to breathe and give you good grip on the palm and fingers of whatever you’re holding. The thin but well padded design means that you won’t realise you’re even wearing them.
Easy to put on and fully adjustable they’re a good option for anyone, no matter what wrist size you have. They’re also machine washable which is a good feature we like to see. Paddling gloves get dirty quickly and so being able to clean them easily is another important thing to look for. Check out the Fishing Tree Fingerless Gloves below.
#8. NRS Guide Gloves
One of our favorite 3/4 finger gloves for kayaking are the NRS Guide gloves. Not only are they incredibly comfortable, easy to put on, warm, but they’re also one of the cheapest on the market making them a no brainer for those on a budget.
They’re out of 1.5mm thick neoprene to ensure great insulation and grip when you’re out on the water, without compromising mobility and dexterity. The palms are also made with neoprene which proves cushioning to ensure your hands stay free from blisters and lessen the impact on them.
They fit snuggly over your wrists and use a fantastic hook and look system that ensures they’re securely on and prevents water from seeping down into yours hands. All in all a good fingerless option from NRS at an amazing price.
#9. Glacier Glove Islamorada Gloves
- UPF 50+ Sun Protection
- Quick Dry
- Fingerless Design
Another good fingerless option for kayaking gloves in the summer are the Glacier Islamorada. They are made from lycra, a lightweight and synthetic material that will keep your hands cool and your skin protected from the sun’s U.V rays.
To ensure good durability and padding these gloves are reinforced with a synthetic leather palm to ensure they last but at the same time, give adequate grip for holding the paddle out on the water. That being said, lycra isn’t the most durable of materials and so these gloves won’t last as long as some of the others on this list.
But, considering the price, they’re good value if you’re looking for a quick drying, breathable pair of fingerless gloves that definitely deserve a spot in our list. Check them out below.
#10. Palmyth UV Fishing Gloves
- ☀️ Palmyth unisex UV gloves are half finger gloves with shortened fingers and shortened wrist. They are natural on the water...
- ☀️ Full synthetic leather palm and non-slip silicone dots reinforced palm for a better grip and durability: Extra layer of...
- ☀️ Features stretchy, lightweight, breathable quick drying fabric that actually keeps your hands cooler and drier than wearing...
And finally, last, but not least we have the quick drying Palmuth UV fingerless gloves. Made with a synthetic leather palm they offer great grip and good durability, two of the main things you’re looking for when out on the water. As well as that, they certified UPF 50+ sun protection to keep your hands safe from the sun’s rays, but obviously as they use a fingerless design you’ll still need to apply protection to the ends of your fingers.
Around the palm these gloves feature an extra layer of synthetic leather to ensure your hands are well protected and prevent any blisters. They’re also lined with non slip silicone dots to aid your grip, a useful feature when handling wet items out on the water.
All in all, they’re a great, lightweight and breathable fingerless glove that will keep your hands cool and dry, while aiding your grip without feeling like they are inhibiting you.
Conclusion: Which Gloves Should you Buy?
So that about sums up our post on the best kayaking gloves for now. We hope it’s helped you choose a good pair of gloves that’s right for you. It’s not uncommon for kayakers to have multiple pairs of gloves with one, lightweight and fingerless pair that they’ll use in the summer months, and another pair of Neoprene gloves that offers more protection against the elements for use during the winter.
Just remember to look for gloves ideally made from neoprene for cold weather paddling and synthetic leather for during the summer. Then look for something with good padding on the palm and that’s easy to put on and take off.
Depending on what time of year you need your gloves for we’d recommend either the NRS Mavericks or the NRS HydroSkin gloves. They offer a good balance of dexterity and warmth for a good price. If you want some very warm gloves then check out the BPS-Neoprene-Thermal-Gloves and for fingerless gloves, we’d suggest trying the Warmers Barnacle Half Finger gloves. We hope that helps!