Any avid off roader knows that riding is fun no matter the time of year of season, but no doubt riding gets more challenging in the winter months. It takes more planning and preparation than summer months where you can just make the decision and go.
The cold weather requires that you dress in layers from head to toe, but since the body naturally draws blood and heat away from the extremities towards your core, below are 5 hard-core gloves to keep your hands and fingers warm to [almost] guarantee a long and enjoyable ride.
But with so many options to choose from, how do you know what makes a good ATV cold weather glove and what doesn’t? Lets look at a few key points:
We hear this wording being used frequently when it comes to clothing fabric and materials, but what does it really mean? Unfortunately, there is no standard when it comes to the use of this word in the context of clothing lines.
Obviously as humans we would associate the word “breathable” with the ability to allow air-flow in and out of something, analogous to people being able to draw oxygen to and from their lungs.
Makes sense. But is that what it means when it comes to fabrics?
You’d think that the fabric can allow air to freely flow through it, but it’s actually not true. Back in the late 70’s Gore-Tex created a semi-porous membrane that when it was bonded with a face fabric or lining fabric and coated with a polyurethane film, it had holes in it that were small enough to prevent water from getting through them but large enough to allow water vapor to transport through that membrane.
The marketing team at Gore-Tex were faced with this challenge to communicate how this new fabric worked without making it overly complicated and confusing. They eventually landed on the description: waterproof/breathable fabric.
Nowadays, the word is so misused and misunderstood that it practically gets used on everything.
You’ll notice the Gore-Tex technology (or some other form of breathable technology) being used on many ATV winter gloves, specifically for it’s waterproof/breathable technology. That being said, the Gore-Tex technology that is used in ATV gear does work very well and is effective at keeping water from penetrating through the gloves to your skin while keeping your hands warm. It does so by using millions of pores that are about twenty thousand times smaller than a water molecule but about seven hundred times larger than water vapor. In turn, you stay dry and warm during your long and adventurous rides.
We know that insulation is extremely important in keeping us warm in cold environments but what can be confusing is how strong the insulation has to be to keep us warm. Some are better than others and some are acceptable up to a certain temperature, below that temperature, you’ll need to find a thicker insulation.
Here’s why its important – we know that heat will always flow from a hotter area to a colder area and that the greater the temperature difference is between your body and the outside temperature, the faster our bodies will lose heat. It’s similar to how areas of pressure move from high to low.
So how to do you minimize the delta between your body temperature and the outside air temperature? You got it, through insulation.
There are a few things to consider when discussing how insulation keeps you warm – the thickness of the insulation, the distance between insulation fibers and the insulation fiber size. So how does insulation work? It works by trapping heat between the insulating fibers causing a blanket-like effect. It also works by reflecting heat that your body naturally loses through its pores back towards your body. The idea is to naturally contain as much of the heat as possible as the heat emitted from your body will automatically be pushed towards areas of colder temperatures.
So what types of insulation are available in the market for ATV winter gloves? It turns out there is really only one – synthetic insulation.
This is something you will hear much about when it comes to sport apparel, it’s the biggest single item that quad riders look for, and with good reason. Waterproof fabrics are materials that are inherently, or have been treated to become, resistant to penetration by water.
There are three major kinds of waterproof designations – breathable, water-resistant and waterproof.
Breathable implies that it can withstand water from accessing your skin while allowing moisture to escape into the open air. There are certain levels to this, such as 10k and 30k but for the most part, a 10k resistance is relatively strong. This type of clothing is great if you will be getting your heart rate up for prolonged periods of time.
A water-resistant rating can handle precipitation for a short period of time, but not much longer than that. If heavy rain comes down then the material will not be able to keep water from penetrating the fabric and reaching your skin. Once the water has penetrated onto your skin then the cold will ensue shortly after that.
Waterproof rating is the best at keeping water out and not penetrating through the fabric. Think of a pair of rain boots, its extremely hard to allow water in, but if it does, it’s extremely hard to get the water out. This is why many times, motocross gloves are made with several of these fabrics combined.
Considering the above, here are 5 cold weather ATV gloves that are sure to keep the cold water and wind out while keeping your hards nice and warm…
The Legion line of products made by Fox Racing was started several years back to merge their knowledge of motocross with what the all terrain world was in need of. This led them to partner with Cordura, who manufactures premium, high-end fabrics that are resistant to rips, tears and punctures while at the same time having a high threshold for abrasion resistance.
The Legion glove uses the proprietary 4 way stretch Cordura material on the entire top of the glove and also features direct injected rubber logos to give the fingers and the top of the hands some great protection.
The entire top of the hand is also outlined with a beautifully lightweight fleece material and although it’s not a waterproof glove, it is an extremely nice cold weather riding glove.
When it comes to the palm, which is something that all riders are particular about, it is double layered with the Clarino palm system and features a conductive thread on the finger tips which allows you to work touch screen devices without the need to take off the glove.
The silicon grippers on the index and pointer fingers provide the friction and “stickiness” you need when the clutch and brakes are slick due to moist and damp weather conditions.
The Legion glove comes in a multitude of different colors and sizes ranging from small to 4XL. Prices can vary so be sure to check out Amazon for the latest prices and sizes.
Although the heated glove liners from FirstGear aren’t a true stand-alone glove, they are making a strong comeback because riders still want to be able to use their other, more rugged gloves, but are still looking for the added warmth of a liner.
These liners are extremely thin, lightweight and comfortable because they use a stretch polyfabric that allows the hands and fingers to easily move and stretch independently of eachother. Tested at temperatures as low as 30 degrees Fahrenheit, riders think they are extremely useful.
What makes them incredibly efficient at keeping your hands warm, without trapping excessive moisture is their ability to generate heat through battery powered capabilities along with their breathable material.
What makes them different from other battery powered liners is that they don’t just keep the palms warm, instead, the heating elements of the liner are also carefully distributed across the finger and it’s tips where heat loss is most likely to occur.
Because the material is made from thin, yet durable microfibers, you can easily throw on other mittens or gloves directly over them without feeling a loss of dexterity or mobility.
They also have a sleek design as the battery is tucked into the inside sleeve of the glove (towards the wrist area) and is covered through the use of a small zipper. When the batteries are fully charged, they give you up to five hours of riding enjoyment. To get them fully charged FirstGear provides several heat-troller options to choose from and it’s a very straightforward charging process.
If you’re using your glove liners with a heated jacket, the connection process couldn’t be any simpler. Connect the male end of the lead coming from the sleeve of the jacket directly to the female end of the glove liner. If you’re using a pair of glove liners by themselves, you’ll need to purchase a DC coax Y-harness and a heat-troller of your choice which comes with the DC coax battery harness. Either way, your hands will be well shielded from the elements while retaining heat on the tops of your hands and fingertips.
You can find the FirstGear heated glove liners and heat-trollers on Amazon.
The Forge cold weather glove by Fox Racing is one of their higher end gloves for a reason.
This glove boasts a 10k/10k waterproofing and breathability rating which is a solid rating. If you’re not sure what this rating means, I’ll do my best to explain it. If you were to take a cylinder of water that is 1cm squared and stack it ten thousand millimeters high, even then, it would not penetrate your gloves. What that means is it provides much more waterproofing when you are in the most wet conditions around. This means you can cross rivers and streams, have your gloves get wet and still not have it penetrate the waterproofing membrane of the gloves.
It also means that the moisture being released from your hands will not collect and cause more dampness to occur. It’s the last thing you want since that will cause your hands to get colder, quicker.
The back of the glove carries a brushed tricot lining to reduce wind chill and keep the cold air out. The silicon grips on the index and middle finger provide the best grip for grabbing the brake and clutch quickly without any slipping errors to take place.
You can find out more information about the Forge cold weather glove by visiting Amazon here.
This glove is a great contender to the one that will immediately follow it because it’s a great mid-weight glove that has an extra liner to it for added warmth and coolness through the use of the Hipora breathable technology. The liner also has grip prints to them to prevent hands from slipping or not being able to properly squeeze the clutch or brakes.
One thing I love about this glove is that the palms are made from premium goat leather, which makes it extremely soft, and what’s even better is that it is an extremely long lasting material. Riders have gone thousands of miles on the same pair of Action gloves and they still look as the day they purchased them. Not to mention, the material is made of their XR-Gold weatherproof technology.
The top of the glove is made of a Nylon material, which is waterproof and the inside has 100g of Thinsulate insulation to keep your hands warm and dry. An added bonus on this glove is the placement of a well thought out goggle squeegee on the thumb of the glove, which comes in extremely handy when you least expect it.
This glove comes in many sizes ranging from mens XS to 2XL and can also be found on Amazon here.
This is my preferred glove for many reasons. It has more of a traditional fit to it, meaning that you’ll likely have to size down from other gloves you’ve worn. This is because of it’s snug-fitting nature, but sizes do range from a Small to 3XL. It also comes in several colors ranging from a gray and light green version to a black, gray and orange version as well as an all black model. Both of the first two mentioned colors pop out in reflection with the solid black color being more traditional.
Klim is really known for the involvement in outdoor motocross products. Specifically they put out amazing products for ATV riders, snowmobilers, dirt bikers and dual world all terrain riders. Because their glove takes all of these weather conditions into consideration, it is going to keep your hands extremely well insulated and warm.
This glove comes with Gore-Tex’s insulated technology and carries 100g of the Thinsulate Platinum insulation at the top of the hand. The palm of the glove also offers their Gore-grip technology to help provide an amazing grip of your handle bars while riding.
All of these features combined make the glove my favorite completely waterproof and insulated glove to keep my hands dry and warm while riding in extreme conditions. You can find the most current pricing on Amazon.