If you do a lot of landscape, wildlife or other outdoors photography, depending on where you're shooting you’re likely to find yourself out in the cold and wet on occasion. This means you need clothing that will keep you warm and dry, and ultimately comfortable enough to shoot – and with hands being both prone to cold and essential for camera control, keeping them warm is a priority.
When choosing photography gloves there are a few factors to consider. Wind-proofing, water-resistance and good grip are all desirable features, while it's also important that gloves enable tactile control of camera dials and buttons.
Finding the ideal pair can be tricky, but we've found five great photography gloves will keep your hands warm and dry in the wind, rain and cold. No two pairs are alike, so you’ll need to assess which pair, or indeed pairs, will suit your particular needs.
1. The Heat Company Heat 3 Layer System
Keep your hands warm even in the coldest conditions
If you need a pair of gloves that will keep your hands super-warm in even the coldest conditions, you'll want The Heat Company Heat 3 Layer System. Comprising three liner options, two outer mitten options and a polar hood for extremely cold conditions, these gloves allow you to select the best combination for the environments you're shooting in.
The options we tested were the Tactility Liner and Shell-Smart mitten, designed for use during winter in northern Europe. The back of the Shell-Smart is made from Elastic microfiber, while the palm is goat leather with Primaloft Gold insulation inside. The mitten and thumb fold back to reveal your fingers and thumb, in the touchscreen-compatible liner, which can be held back in position with strong magnets.
The Heat Company Heat 3 Layer System are perfect for winter shooting –pockets for holding disposable hand-warmers are another great touch. However, while these gloves are super-warm and enable good control of your camera, they may be too warm for some people in milder conditions.
2. SealSkinz Ultra Grip Gloves
100% waterproof and breathable
Working in wet conditions is all part of the job for outdoor photographer, and the SealSkinz Ultra Grip Gloves have a trump card: they’re 100% waterproof. With these breathable gloves on there’s no way water will penetrate, and you can confidently submerge your hands in water if necessary without fear of them becoming cold and wet.
They're close-fitting, and made of a stretch knit material that allows you to move your fingers freely, while the merino wool lining is soft and comfortable. The rubber grip on the fingers and palms works well, and it’s easy enough to change settings on DSLRs and CSCs while wearing the gloves. The forefinger tips and thumbs are also touchscreen-compatible.
The SealSkinz are fairly plain-looking – you’d never guess they were 100% waterproof and also windproof. In terms of warmth they’re useable up to late autumn/early winter in the northern hemisphere, and then from early spring onwards. Unfortunately they’re not quite warm enough for use in freezing conditions – you'll need to keep your hands in your pockets between shots.
3. Vallerret Photography Glove Markhof Pro Model
Designed specifically for photographers
As a glove designed specifically for photographers, the Vallerret Photography Glove Markhof Pro Model is one of just a few options aimed directly at photographers. The gloves can be purchased on their own for milder cold weather, but the optional merino wool liner is essential for winter use.
The gloves are well made and comfortable to wear. The flip-back thumb and forefinger flaps, with magnets to hold them back, work reasonably well, and allow full control of your camera. They're made of a water-resistant Softshell material that provides effective wind protection, and the fingers and palm have excellent grip. There’s a zip pocket on the back for small items such a lens cloth.
On their own the Vallerret gloves are ideal for milder conditions, but if you want to use them in very cold weather the merino liners are essential. One thing to note is that the fitting instructions suggest a close fit that will loosen over time, which won't be a problem if you use just the gloves, but if you want to use the wool liner too you may need a larger size, so check before ordering.
4. MacWet Climatec long cuff sports gloves
Great for camera control, not great in the cold
MacWet gloves are designed with manual dexterity and grip in mind, which makes them an obvious choice for photographers. These MacWet Climatec long cuff sports gloves are designed for cool but not very cold weather, and are windproof and water-resistant.
The backs of the gloves are made of elasticated man-made material backed with fleece for warmth, while the palm is made of MacWet’s Aquatech material, which looks and feels like soft suede; this material offers excellent grip even when it’s wet, making the gloves ideal for outdoor photographers.
The Climatec Sports Gloves are comfortable to wear, while their thin design enables you to adjust controls on DSLRs and CSCs with ease, although they’re not touchscreen-compatible.
5. Under Armour ColdGear Infrared Softshell Gloves
Warm and water-resistant, but not great for camera control
If you’re looking for gloves that will keep your hands warm when the temperature drops, these Under Armour UA ColdGear Infrared Softshell Gloves may be just the ticket. The windproof and water-resistant gloves perform well in all but sub-zero conditions where your hands are exposed for long periods.
The backs of the gloves are made of elasticated man-made material, while the fronts are made of suede, with a silicone grip on the palm area – this would have been helpful on the fingertips too, although the suede does a decent job of maintaining grip. On the inside there’s a thermo-conductive coating that's designed to absorb and retain body heat.
They resemble skiing gloves, with plenty of padding for warmth and boxy fingertips, but what’s surprising about them is that despite the design they're compatible with touchscreens. They're warm and comfortable, although you will need to remove them to change camera settings via dials or buttons. A good choice for photographers on a budget.