Rain mitts are a must-have item for any backpacking, climbing, or wilderness adventure. They protect your hands from wind and water, are lightweight, and can be layered over a pair of insulated gloves or mittens to improve warmth.
How to Choose a Rain Mitt
A few key features should be considered when choosing a rain mitt: patterning, thumb articulation, fit, and durability.
Articulation (patterning): An articulated palm, wrist cuffs, and thumbs that match the natural curvature of your hand and thumb are more comfortable than non-articulated mitts. They also help prevent the hands from slipping out of your fingers, which may be especially uncomfortable when operating a headlamp or zipping a small zipper.
Some mitts offer thermally-fused patches of grippy material, which add weight but also improve the handling of tools like trekking poles and ice axes. They also increase water resistance and durability, but compromise articulation.
Wrist Closure: A gauntlet hem closure or adjustable drawcord and toggle at the wrist is the most secure way to close a rain mitt. Elastic-bound gauntlet hems are less durable than drawcord hems and can easily pull or tear, which is a big problem on long trips.
Gauntlet Length: A longer gauntlet will add a little weight but will generally improve the seal between the rain jacket cuff and the rain mitt cuff by creating more overlap. This is particularly useful if you are scrambling or reaching while wearing the mitts.
Body Fabric: The main body fabric of a rain mitts is generally a 2- or 3-layer waterproof-breathable, ripstop-nylon sandwich. These fabrics are typically lighter and better at allowing air to circulate, making them more comfortable and durable.
They also resist abrasion and body oils, two concerns raised by some critics of conventional rain mitt systems. However, for the vast majority of backpackers and thru-hikers, abrasion and body oils are not important.
Durability: A durable, high-quality rain mitt should last for years, even when used with heavy loads and heavy packs. Often, the best rain mitts are made of a softer, more durable fabric with fewer seams. They should be treated with a protective waterproofing treatment to keep the shell from wear and tear and maintain waterproofness.
Sizing: A good rain mitt should be sized for the largest size of your hand. The sizing chart should be included on the product page to ensure that you get the proper fit.
Fit: The fit of a rain mitt should be snug. It should also have an elasticized wrist cuff, which will hold the mittens in place and prevent them from slipping out of your hands.
Whether you’re hiking or camping, rain mitts are an essential piece of gear for any outdoor enthusiast. They’re easy to wear and keep your hands dry, warm, and protected from the elements.
Rain mitts are also a great choice for backpacking in rainy conditions or during cold, wet weather. They offer the benefits of a mitten shell with the added protection of waterproofing, and can be worn alone or layered over insulated gloves or mittens for extra warmth.
Body Fabric (Body Fabric Weight)
The main body fabric of a rain mitt is generally a 2- or 3-layer waterproof-breathable, ripstop-nylon sandwich that’s designed to resist water penetration, while keeping your hands dry and comfortable. Fabric weights range from 1 to 4 oz/yd2, with heavier fabrics providing more durability, insulation, and comfort.