Get a grip and protect your hands at the same time.
By Gibbs Milliken
Most outdoor activities involve constant and rigorous use of our hands. If left unprotected, irritating, painful and even serious injuries can occur that could have been easily prevented by using gloves.
For example, heavy-duty rubber gloves are great for keeping your hands free of noxious fish odors, slime, spines and sharp hooks. One of the best of this type is The Glove by Line Buster. This oversized, wide-top gauntlet allows one hand to be easily inserted and removed with the assistance of a belt-mounted Velcro keeper. The thick, rough-textured glove face helps control slippery fishes and, when not in use, hangs against your hip on a waterproof flap to keep fish residue off your pants. ($11.99 pair, Line Buster gloves and belt-keeper/protector, Academy Sports & Outdoors, (877) 999-9856, www.academy.com)
Sport-specific gloves are manufactured in a vast array of styles and materials. Camouflage Mesh Gloves are made of light, synthetic netting in various patterns for concealment and air circulation while hunting in hot weather. The reinforced palms and fingers have non-slip vinyl dots for a secure grasp even when wet. ($3.49 pair, Camo Mesh Gloves, The Allen Co., Model #1513, Academy Sports & Outdoors). Deerslayer Archery Gloves combine a traditional armguard and shooting glove. ($10 per glove, Deerslayer Model: #394, Midwest Quality Gloves, Inc., (888) 754-3721, www.midwestglove.com)
Gloves should be comfortable and not bind or unnecessarily restrict hand movement. New stretch materials found in the thinner, non-insulated types such as Camo Sveltz Gloves provide skin protection along with maximum flexibility. In warm climates, these are great for diving among corals, paddle boating, fly fishing and hunting. They have vinyl grip-dots for a secure hold and also can be used as washable inserts inside heavier gloves. For maximum waterproof protection in cold weather, the breathable Sealskinz Fleece-Lined Gloves are an excellent insulated, non-slip stretch design by the same maker. ($12, Sveltz Advantage Camo, Style #3003 and $49.95, Fleece-Lined Sealskinz, Style #1709, Danalco, Inc., (800) 868-2629, www.danalco.com )
Traditionalists love the look and feel of real leather and, for general field wear, it is hard to find better quality than the wrist-length Filson Uplander Gloves. These are made of soft, unlined, fine-grain goatskin that is tough, yet gives a good sense of touch; with use, they form-fit to the hands. ($41, Filson, Model #935, C.C. Filson, (800) 297-1897, www.filson.com). Equestrian Gauntlets are still being made for traditional riders and frontier re-enactments. These smooth kid riding gloves offer excellent protection for hands and forearms either while on a horse or an ATV. ($39, Gauntlet Gloves, Frazer Brothers, (214) 696-1865, www.frazerbrothers.com)
Fleece-back Glacier Fingerless Gloves keep your hands warm and camouflaged while keeping the fingers exposed for shooting. They are made of Polartec 200 with fleece-lined Neoprene palms and adjustable wrist closure for a secure fit. ($14.95, Advantage Timber Camo, Glacier Glove, Style: #707 AT, (800) 728-8235, www.glacierglove.com)
Expect to see more innovations in materials and designs of specialized gloves that offer flexibility, minimal bulk and greater sensitivity. The best gloves provide the right protection while fitting like a second skin.