Weatherz School: Gloves vs mittens

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As the temperature drops and we head outside, it’s time to start making that big decision; do you grab the gloves, or the mittens?

I’m going to advocate for mittens first, because they are in fact warmer. There are several reasons for this.

Mittens allow your fingers to stay together. By occupying the same space, fingers can share warmth.

Mittens take up less surface area. With gloves, extra material is needed to go around the individual fingers. This means more of the glove is in direct contact with the elements.

Mittens have fewer seams. Seams are weak spots in insulation. Because there’s less surface area on a mitten, fewer seams are needed, which means fewer opportunity for heat to escape.

Of course, gloves have their pros too. With individual fingers, gloves allow for better dexterity. This makes it easier to handle gear such as zippers and boots.

Gloves are a good choice for activities that generate body heat. As the temperature drops, the less effective gloves are.

In extreme cold, heated gloves or mittens provide the most warmth. After that, regular mittens are the way to go, followed by regular mittens.

You might be surprised to know that putting hand warmers at the wrist can actually increase heat loss because of the exposed area at the glove’s opening. If looking for warmth, this method is counterproductive.