If you are planning to spend an extended period of time out on the water, or Kayak during the colder months, then you will be wise to invest in a pair of the best gloves for kayaking.
Will the best kayaking gloves transform me into a superhero out of the water? No!
Will the best paddling gloves make me a hit with the ladies/gents? Ummm, maybe!
Will the best gloves for kayaking save my hands from the environmental and physical stresses placed on them out on the water? Yes! BINGO!… Give that man a prize!
Please don’t underestimate the stress placed on your hands by paddling a kayak. Soft skin, water, friction, heat and cold are the key ingredients in the recipe of pain. A recipe cooked up by Satan himself, straight out of hell’s kitchen.
A decent set of gloves will not only keep your hands warm during the cold months. They will dramatically reduce the likelihoods of calluses and those nasty frictions burns caused by wet skin rubbing against a paddle shaft.
I am sure we have all been punished by a pair of new shoes that took the skin off our heals?!
Well, imagine something similar but on your hands! Now combine that with saltwater and a long paddle home…. are you with me?. ok then, you need to buy some kayaking gloves!
But what gloves should you buy? To help you decide, we have prepared a comprehensive buyer’s guide and reviewed the best kayaking gloves available on the market today – aren’t you lucky?! So, pull up a seat and carry on reading.
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In A Rush? The Winner After 36 Hours Of Research:
KastKing Sol Armis Sun Kayaking Gloves
Our Rating: 5/5 Stars
Why is it better?
- Super flexible synthetic spandex/lycra construction
- Finger less gloves that maintains the paddler sense of touch and manual dexterity
- SPF 50 to protect your hands for the suns rays
- Great wicking and quick drying properties
- Well designed and constructed
- Excellent range of camo print styles
- Reasonably priced.
How to Choose Kayaking Gloves – Be Smitten With Your Mittens
With a wide section of gloves available out on the market it can be tough knowing what characteristics to look for in order to get the best gloves for kayaking.
Style – A Glove for Every Occasion
Gloves are just one way to keep your hands warm whilst out Kayaking and will be the hand covering that most Paddlers choose due to their good all-round ability.
Gloves provide a good level of insulation, whilst retaining independent mobility of the fingers and thumb.
As a result, gloves preserve a reasonable level of dexterity. But bear in mind that dexterity is reduced directly in line with glove thickness.
Kayak Mittens/ Kayak Mitts
Mitts or Mitten offer far more insulation than traditional gloves. But this comes at a price. The shared finger compartment reduces finger movement and diminishes overall dexterity. Holding anything, other than the paddle, with a set of mitts on is a challenge.
Pogies were created in 1974 by a kayaker named Billy Nutt, as a method to keep his hands warm whilst out on the water fishing.
They are a gauntlet-like sheath that attaches directly to the paddle shaft with Velcro. Podies have an open wrist that provides easy entry for the hand. The user slides their hand into the Pogie and grips the bar directly.
They offer a high level of warmth and wind protection. Many people prefer these other thick neoprene gloves, as they retain the full feel of the paddle. But they are not without their drawbacks.
The insulation provided by a Pogie is lost as soon as the hand is removed. A second, thinner, pair of gloves will most likely need to be worn underneath the Pogie. Due to being open at the wrist, they have a habit to collect water if submerged.
Material – Get the Right Material for the Right Job!
Traditionally, gloves would be made out of natural material such as animal hide. Animal hide boasts the majority of desirable properties that you would look for in a kayaking glove material such as, Strength, durability, suppleness and comfort.
However, leather has one limiting factor, it does not cope with water well. Once wet it loses some of its desirable properties. Leather can take a few days to properly dry and is damaged by repeating wetting and drying.
This is where synthetic materials are the head honcho. Neoprene, Spandex and Lycra are the 3 main materials that modern gloves are constructed from – and are what the best kayaking gloves use.
Spandex and Lycra
Both Spandex and Lycra are synthetic fibres which can be woven into a fabric style material. This material is then used to construct the glove. Both are inexpensive and versatile materials with near-identical properties; thin, light, stretchy, breathable, comfortable, quick drying and UV light-resistant.
More suited toward warm weather paddling as these fabrics lose their thermal insulating properties when wet
Neoprene is a synthetic rubber which is typically used in the construction of wetsuit. It is not fully waterproof, but unlike Spandex or Lycra, it doesn’t lose its thermal insulating properties when wet.
Neoprene traps a small layer of water against the hand. The body then heats this water, keeping the hand warm. As a result, it’s a far better insulator and better suited for winter or cold weather gloves.
As neoprene remains wet, wind can chill the surface of the glove, causing the hand to become cold.
Raw Neoprene also has one exceptional property, that is provided with a good level of grip – even when wet.
You will find that most premium gloves use a combination of material, to suit the season, style and price point.
Size and Fit – Make Sure It Fits Like A Glove
Kayaking gloves are designed to act as a second skin, providing an added layer of protection.
- Too big – The glove will move and rub, causing the blisters and calluses which you are trying to avoid. Excessive space with Neoprene gloves can restrict the insulation properties of the gloves, as it relies on a small layer of water being trapped and warmed between skin and glove
- Too small – The glove can put extra strain on the hand and wrist, with a risk of reducing circulation to the hand. Getting pins and needles (paraesthesia) whilst out on the open water is no fun, trust me on that one!
Constructions and Design Considerations – Buy Wise, Buy Once
To be clear, I am not saying ‘budget’ is bad and to avoid. There are some great budget buys out there if you know what you’re looking for. What I am saying is; be wary of cheaply made and/or poorly designed gloves. Unfortunately, a lot of these have a budget price tag, which makes the budget buys a bit of minefield for the untrained buyer.
Cheaply made gloves, more often than not, are manufactured using mass-production methods of construction. Although this keeps costs low, it can lead to some questionable quality issues – which ultimately reduces the life of the glove.
Budget gloves may lack some of the more favourable and useful design features found on the more premium branded gloves. Such as mixed materials for the palm, reinforced knuckles or seams. The sole reason for this? Cost!
The cost difference between budget and premium isn’t vast. The middle market has some excellent constructed and design feature-rich gloves. But if budget is an issue, try and bag a bargain by purchasing last year’s top-rated models.
What are the things to look out for?
- Seams – Gloves need to be close fitting, as a result, a lot of pressure is placed on the seams. Cheaper gloves have a tendency to be constructed using single stitched seams. These tend to be weak and act as a single point of failure. Opt for a glued and double/locked stitched seam.
- Shape – Neoprene is your go-to winter material. But it not all plain sailing with Neoprene, it’s thicker than the lighter summer materials of Spandex or Lycra. The extra thickness makes it harder to bend your hands, as the glove is stiffer. The stiffness can be offset by purchasing a glove with a preformed arch, this will reduce the stress placed on the hand.
- Finger or Fingerless – There is no getting away from the fact that wearing gloves reduced feel and dexterity. This may not be an issue for your style of kayaking. But if you’re an Angler or duck hunter then you will know how difficult it is to tie a lure, de-hook a fish or shoot a gun with thick gloves on, let alone paddle a kayak. Fingerless gloves, or gloves with fold back fingers, are an excellent choice. Although, bear in mind that open fingers equal cooler fingers.
- Material – I would love to say that there is one magic material that all gloves should be made from. Sadly, that’s not the case. Good gloves will use the best material for the job, such as raw Neoprene on the palms for extra padding. Or, silicon on the fingertips for spider-like grip.
Aftercare – Look After You Gloves, And They Will Look After You.
Synthetic materials, especially the lighter Spandex and Lyrica fabric, are more prone to premature wear.
However there a few tips to prolong the life of your gloves
- Make sure you give them a good rinse after use – Saltwater eats synthetics for breakfast. Ensure you water your glove in clean tap water after exposure to saltwater. Freshwater isn’t much better. Bacterial in freshwater can easily breed inside the glove, leading to nasty moulds growth and funky smells. So, wash them with a specialist wetsuit detergent or baby soap.
- Dry them properly – Dry fabrics like Neoprene too fast and you can cause the fabric to crack and become brittle. Too slow, you risk mould growth. Dry them somewhere well ventilated and warm, away from direct heat and light.
- Store away from direct sunlight – UV light will break down synthetics, causing them to come weak with prolonged and repeated exposure. Store somewhere cool, dry and dark.
Best Kayak Gloves – Top Glove Review and Mini Round-Up
KastKing Sol Armis Sun Kayaking Gloves
- Award: Best Kayaking Gloves
- Rating: 5/5 Stars
- Price: 5/5 Stars
KastKing has slowly been building a name for themselves in the Fishing tackle market. Winning many awards along the way for their ever-increasing list of innovative products.
So, when KastKing released a set of kayaking gloves, we were keen to see if the magic extended into the world of sports apparel. I am pleased to announce that we were not left disappointed.
The Sol Armis is KastKing’s summer glove offering. It was primarily aimed at Anglers but quickly transcended into other outdoor pursuits based on the glove’s excellent features, great build quality all-round ability. Currently a top-rated, best seller, on many outdoor websites, it’s easy to see why this glove is so damn popular.
For one, the price. I am a great believer that budget does not mean bad. But it has to be executed well with good material, construction and design features. The Sol Armis has all three. The Poly-Spandex shell ensures a super close fit that flexes to allow total freedom of movement. The palm and finger areas have been reinforced in the keys wear zone, not only does this prevent premature wear it also adds extra protection from paddle burn.
In my option, these gloves provide a lot more freedom of movement than other Spandex gloves that I’ve tried, especially the finger joint area. I think this down more to glove shape and design that material though. The material has a nice cool feeling to it, it wicks away moisture well which will be great on hotter days. Being so close-fitting, the pull tabs are a nice touch. They would be a nightmare to take off or pull on without them.
The SPF50 material, along with an extra-long cuff will protect your hands from the sun. They come with a variety of camo print styles; I prefer brighter colours as they are easier to see that’s the traditional colours. Especially if you accidentally drop them into the brush, the camo really is that good.
With the success of these gloves in markets other than Angling, you would have hoped that KastKing would have brought out a non-camo version.
- SPF 50 Protection
- Poly-Spandex/Lycra shell
- Reinforced ‘wear’ zones
- Microfiber Pull tabs for easy pull on or take off
- Excellent unrestricted movement
- Highly breathable summer glove
- Great wicking and quick drying properties
- Wear zone reincoment provides good padding to the palm
- Good construction and design
- Wide sections of colours/prints
- Fingerless glove for maximum dexterity
- Camo prints might not be to everyone’s taste. And, the print seems a little dull.
- The listed sizes may run a bit small.
- Sizes section is limited
There isn’t much I don’t like about these kayaking gloves; my only real negative comment is over the quality of the print. I am sure this is by design but to me, they seem slightly dull. But that is me being really picky.
If you like these kayaking gloves but would prefer something more suitable in colder conditions then check out their big brother, the KastKing Mist.
NRS HydroSkin 2.0 – Kayaking Gloves
- Award: Best Winter Kayaking Gloves
- Rating: 4/5 Stars
- Price: 4/5 Stars
Buying winter kayaking gloves can sometimes feel a little like a mission of choice that is filled with compromises. Having to settle for less than you desire is not fun.
So, you want to keep your hands warm? Ok, but you will then need to sacrifice feeling and dexterity!
So, you want maximum dexterity? Ok, but you have to have a super-light material that will not last!
For most Paddlers, all we really want is a kayaking gloves that keeps us warm, are durable and doesn’t restrict or limit feel and movement. Is that too much to ask? In most cases, apparently so.
But in steps, the HydroSkin 2.0 …. welcome to party, my 5 fingered friend!
The 2mm Neoprene core and 4 way stretch outer layer mean these kayaking gloves will fit like… ummmm…. a glove. The stretchable outer layer reduces some of the stiffness in movement associated with pure Neoprene gloves. In my opinion, 1.5mm to 2mm is the perfect thickness for a winter glove. Yes, thicker will keep you warmer but 2mm is the sweet spot of warmth and flexibility.
The outer layer of the glove has a special repellent coating that will keep the water off and help reduce evaporative cooling. Keeping your hands warmer when wet in windy conditions.
The best feature of these kayaking gloves is the removable fingertips, the top ¼ can be bent back and held with Velcro. This allows free movement of the fingertips. A massive hit with the anglers, as securing a lure with thick gloves on is a task sent to test even the calmest of people. The fast fingers also mean that you gain quick access to your mobile phone, GPS or any other touch screen appliance that requires electrical conductance to function.
The pairing straps mean the gloves can be stored linked together. No more losing one glove! You can lose both at the same time – far less frustrating. I think the strap could be a little more premium in its feel and function, I could see it breaking easily if pulled with any force.
- 2mm Neoprene Thermal core
- 4 way stretch outer layer
- Silicone non-slip palms
- Available sizes up to XXL
- Great flexibility for a winter glove
- Full finger design with fast finger tip – helps when controlling a GPS/Fish finders etc
- Thermal lining with help keep your hands warm in cold weather
- Pairing strap to keep them together when not in use
- Quick drying
- Good water repellent coating
- Bit pricier than their rivals
- The Velcro finger stays had a bad habit of pick up the fluff from your pocket
Overall, they are a great set of kayaking gloves with a respectable set of features, I just wish they were slightly cheaper.
NeoSport Premium Kayak Gloves
- Award: Best Premium Paddling Gloves
- Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
- Price: 5/5 Stars
There is a reason why the Neosport Premium is the best-selling kayaking gloves, it is made with cold water Paddlers in mind. Coming in 3mm and 5mm Neoprene variations, Neosport has even the coldest of weather conditions covered. I have no doubt in saying, a pair of these gloves will keep your hands warm. With double-stitched and glued seams, this glove is made to last and will stand up to a reasonable level of abuse if well cared for.
If warmth is your sole focus then you must be prepared to accept that equals a thicker glove. There is no getting away from the fact that a thicker glove means reduced movement and hindered dexterity. But does that mean you should just brave cold hands? Or settle for a set of oven mitts? No way, cold hands are slow hands. There is little point having a super flexible glove if your hands are too cold to move.
To help offset the extra thickness and improve mobility, the Neosport premium comes with pre-formed palms, finger and thumbs. This relieves some of the strain produced by repeat opening and closing of the hand, in order to grasp the paddle shaft. The silicone grip pads further enhance their gripping ability. Although, being super picky we feel that these kayaking gloves could benefit from a little more grip. Another small gripe is that the sizing seems to run small so you might like to pick up a larger size.
- Come in 3mm and 5mm Neoprene variations
- Soft and flexible premium neoprene
- Double-stitched and glued seams
- Pre-Form palms, finger and thumb shape
- Synthetic leather style grip
- Large wrist coverings with velcro hook straps
- Available in sizes from XS to XXL
- Super thick neoprene material will keep your hands warm in cold weather
- Full finger design fto protect you hand for the harshness of cold water
- Great sizing so a glove that is suitable for either man or woman
- Designed for the highest level of comfort
- High quality construction
- Pre-form fingers and palm to help reduce stress
- The 5mm thickness hinders dexterity
- Lacks grip when wet
- The 5mm version reduces paddle feel and control
- Sizes run large
These kayaking gloves are reasonably priced and offer great value for money, a solid cold weather glove buy.
Stohlquist Toaster Pogie
- Award: Best Kayak Pogies
- Rating: 5/5 Stars
- Price: 5/5 Stars
Not a fan of kayaking gloves or kayak mitts? Prefer to feel connected to the paddle by skin not material?
Well if the answer to those questions is ‘Yes’, then the Stohlquist Toaster Pogie is a great option to keep your hands Toastie warm in cold or windy conditions.
For those that are not aware Stohlquist are a brand famous for keeping people warm, safe and dry out on the water – Btw they make excellent PFDs and Kayaking clothing.
The Toaster Pogie is no exception to that rule. These 2mm Neoprene skinned Pogies have an outer layer of nylon that provides a good level of protection of the elements; keeping out the wind, cold and water.
Just like its namesake, all you need to do is slide your hand into these Pogies, like two slices of cold bread. The Toaster will warm those hand in a jiffy. Keeping them warm for as long as you need. Once done, just pop those toasted hands out and get on with business…. just don’t apply any butter or jelly. That would just be weird!
The only negative with these Pogies is that they lack any defined structure and flap about when the hand is not inserted, a bit like a sky dancer at your local car dealership. This can make putting the hand back in during wind conditions a bit of challenge. But still less challenging than trying to get my 4-year-old into a wet suit!
- 2mm Neoprene construction
- Hook & loop kayak paddle shaft closure
- Built-in webbing for easy storage
- One size
- Waterproof to protect your hands for cold water
- Windproof top layer keep hand warm in cold weather
- Good design and build quality – made to last
- Elastic cuff keeps the elements out and the heat in
- Lack structure, making troublesome to re-entering hands in high winds
- No suitable for summer padding
Overall, the Toaster Pogie is a great choice for cold weather paddling and anyone who prefers to keep their hands free to perform delicate tasks, such and baiting hooks.
Sea to Summit Eclipse Kayaking Gloves
- Award: Best Budget Kayak Gloves
- Rating: 4/5 Stars
- Price: 5/5 Stars
These fingerless kayaking gloves are made for mixed materials. A glowing example of how selecting the right material for the job makes for a first-rate kayaking glove.
The main glove body is Spandex, proving a breathable, quick drying and flexible fit that allows for free movement of the hand. With an SPF rating of 50+, you can rest safely knowing they will protect your hands from the sun. The double-layered material boosts the durability of the glove in the wear ‘danger zones’, such as between the thumb and forefinger.
A synthetic leather palm, increase the gloves grip whilst adding a tiny bit of padding. Although, I personally feel the palm could benefit from more filling or thickness. It feels a bit on the thin side and I see it wearing prematurely.
The wrist is equipped with a neoprene cuff that ensures a good snug fit. There is no insulation to these gloves, that coupled with the fact they are fingerless, means they are better suited to warm weather or in conjunction with a set of Pogies.
Available in sizes from small through to Double Extra Large, they all are suitable for both male and female paddlers. Although, the sizes do seem to run a little smaller than size.
- Spandex fabric main body construction
- SPF 50 protection
- 2mm Neoprene cuff with velcro hook
- Double layer of padding to thumb and palm
- Available in sizes S to XXL
- Thin and lightweight and easy to move hand whilst wearing
- Breathable and flexible top layer, better suited to warm weather or summer paddling
- Quick drying
- Good grip on the palm
- Snug fit for great comfort
- The listed sizes may run a bit small
- Who benefit from a little more padding to the palm
- Seams are not the greatest quality and are a little weak
The Eclipse is a great budget priced glove and would make an excellent summer kayaking glove choice.
Yay Open Palm Kayaking Mitts
- Award: Best Kayak Mitts
- Rating: 4/5 Stars
- Price: 4/5 Stars
I will be honest; these might not be to everyone’s taste. Personally, I am not a fan of Mitts. I just can’t get on with them.
Yet, others swear by them and will not be without them. This has led to me having quite a few heated debates on the matter. Don’t get me wrong, Mitts will keep your hands warmer than any glove. But I just can stand the loss of touch sensation, especially how they affect the feel of the paddle.
I know, not a great opener to a review on Mitts. I promise it gets better.
In a last-ditch attempt to give mitts ago, and as a challenge from a pro-mitt user, I was recommended Yak’s Open Palm Mitts.
Open Palm, you say? Ummmm, interesting! Tell me more….
The 3mm Neoprene webbed back offers great protection from the wind. While the super stretchy 2mm front with open palm cut out allows the hand to be easily bent. The open palm delivers a level of dexterity and grip that I haven’t felt in other mitts.
But won’t your palms get cold? When Kayaking in cold weather, the major areas that suffer from the cold are the fingers and the tops of the hands. This is primarily due to the combination of the hand being wet and the wet glove being chilled by the wind. The palm typically is shielded from the wind as its face down in contact with the paddle shaft. The only real issue is if you are using a metal shafted paddle. In which case, these would not be suitable for you.
Are they suitable for Anglers? Yes, your fingers can be easily pulled through the palm hole. But just remember, your fingers will most likely be wet so will cool down rapidly, especially if there is a wind.
- 3mm Neoprene back for warmth
- 2mm spandex front for flexibility
- Open palm
- One size
- Spandex palm helps with maintain a high level of mobility
- Open palm allows for maxim paddle control and feel
- Great mixture of warm and movement not found with traditional gloves
- Open palm isn’t for everyone, can lead to blisters in wet conditions
So has this changed my option on mitts?… Kind of, I am still not a massive fan but if I had to buy a pair then I would get an open palm set.
Editor’s Choice – Our top pick
When it come to what to wear kayaking, gloves are an essential item of kit and no kayaker should be without a pair!
It was hard to pick a pair of gloves to be crowned as the overall best kayaking gloves. It’s a real toss-up over warm weather or cold weather.
A cold weather glove will never be the greatest in the hot weather of summer.
Nor, will warm weather kayaking gloves win any winter kayaking glove prizes.
I think all of our choices are a winner for one reason or another.
But if I had to pick just one, then it would be Kastking’s Sol Armis. For its price, you can’t find a better kayaking gloves. Great design, good and strategic use of materials that seem to hold to a fair amount of abuse. The amount of positive buyer reviews back this up, don’t believe us then check them out for yourself.
KastKing is definitely a brand to watch out for. I can see them becoming a major player in the outdoor activities market.