Best Ice Fishing Gloves in 2018 – Keep Your Hands Warm & Dry

Ice fishing can best be called an outdoor endurance sport. It takes specialised gear to spend the day out in the sub-zero weather that can keep a large body of water frozen hard as a rock.

Specialised ice fishing suits have come a long way and can now be relied on the keep our body fairly comfortable. But what about our hands? They are naturally very sensitive to cold, and they have a lot of work to do during a day of fishing.

Finding gloves that can keep your fingers warm while standing in the wind on a frozen lake all day is one thing, but finding gloves that can do that under constant exposure to splashed water and even occasional dips below the surface is another matter. Meanwhile, you also need to retain some degree of dexterity so you can handle fishing lines and the small bits of tackle common to ice fishing—and this is where ice fishing gloves come in.

Waterproof Vs. Water-resistant

There are two basic types of ice fishing gloves on the market today:

Neoprene gloves are made of the same material used to make scuba diving wet suits. They are 100% waterproof as long as there are no holes in the fabric and the cuff line is kept above water. 

The other type of glove is made from a combination of water-resistant and waterproof materials—these are usually materials like GoreTex, Thinsulate, and Polar Fleece, but may include some portions of rubber-coated fabric or neoprene.

Both types of gloves have their advantages and disadvantages—for example, neoprene gloves are constrictive and make handling small items very difficult. They are also prone to punctures and tears. Fabric-based gloves are rarely completely waterproof and have more seams that are vulnerable to wear and tear.

But no matter what, you need to be ready before getting out on the ice—by doing a little homework and getting some experience with different brands and styles, it is possible to find gloves with the fit, durability, and warmth factors you need.

5 Best Ice Fishing Gloves Comparisons

The Best Ice Fishing Gloves for the Money

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular ice fishing gloves on the market:

Nearly all of them are good gloves, but ice fishermen face different climatic conditions, and various fishing styles put different demands on a pair of gloves. Ten degrees and calm on a lake surrounded by trees is a lot warmer than -15 and windy on a Canadian prairie lake. Jig fishing eliminates the need to handle live bait, and hand-lining puts far more cutting wear on gloves than rod and reel fishing

1. Sealskinz Extreme Cold Weather Glove

The Sealskinz gloves topped our list for all-around comfort and warmth.

These gloves have a shell made from a breathable micro-porous polyester membrane material and goatskin leather over a Primaloft insulation layer and a 100% polyester liner. The cuffs have an elastic snugger band and a slip-lock drawstring. While these gloves are advertised as waterproof, they are not truly immersion-proof—however,they hold up well to general slops and splashes, and the overall warmth provided by the wind-proof construction makes them great all-day cold weather fishing gloves. 

The leather palm gives excellent flexibility and feel, and regular treatment with a waterproofing sealant will improve the grip and repel water in all but the most soaking conditions. Consider that 99% of ice fishing is about exposure to cold, wind, and a few drops of water here and there—but most ice fishermen spend very little time holding their hands fully underwater. Sealing against drafts and all-day warmth are the reasons the Sealskinz are our pick for the best ice fishing glove.

What we liked

  • Natural leather is durable and sensitive
  • Soft suede wiper pad on the thumb
  • Well-sealed cuff

What we didn't like

  • Fingertips mayrun tight on some people
  • Price point is high

2. Frabill FXE Performance Task Glove

The Frabill FXE glove is engineered with ice fishing in mind. The curvature and ergonomics of these gloves have been designed for ultimate fit and feel when handling rod, reel, and line.

The palms and fingers offer good sensitivity while providing both the warmth and the toughness needed for handling ice augers and other tools. We also liked the diamond-plate silicon grip pattern on the palms and fingers. A wind-proof nylon shell with 100g Thinsulate on the back of the hand and 40g on the palm will keep your hands warm in all but extreme cold conditions. The adjustable wrist strap along with internal elastic snugs the extended cuffs up nicely. 

We found the fit and sensitivity of these gloves to be great, however, they feel a little thin and the impression is that they are not built for deep sub-zero exposure. They also have a lot of seam work, making them vulnerable to damage. We recommend the Frabill gloves for moderate temperature ranges or ice house fishing.

What we liked

  • Excellent sensitivity
  • Good grip surface on palm
  • Well-thought-out design

What we didn't like

  • Too many seams
  • They feel thin

3. Glacier Glove ICE BAY Gloves

Glacier Glove is a well-established brand when it comes to cold-weather outdoor work and sports.

While their Ice Bay gloves are not specifically designed as fishing gloves, they are very popular among ice fishermen. This is a 100% waterproof glove made from fleece-lined 2mm neoprene. The seams are blind-stitched and taped, and the palms are seamless and have a textured surface to aid in gripping. We liked the ease with which these gloves went on and came off, which is not always true of neoprene gloves. 

On the other hand, the non-elasticized neoprene allowed the fabric to bunch over the back of the hand and puff around the fingers. The cuffs also tended to gap open. Overall warmth and comfort is good, but as with all non-breathable gloves, if your hands starts weating, the inside of the gloves will get soaked.

The Ice Bays are a good pair of gloves, but be aware that 2mm neoprene is not going to hold up to heavy work or environments where the risk of cuts, punctures, or abrasion is high.

What we liked

  • Cozy, warm feel when dry inside
  • Non-constrictive fit
  • Good grip and fair dexterity

What we didn't like

  • Some gapping around cuff on smaller wrists
  • No reinforcement in high-wear areas

4. Glacier Glove Pro Angler Waterproof Glove

The Glacier Glove Pro Angler is a fully waterproof glove constructed of 2mm neoprene.

Designed with fishermen in mind, this glove features a wrist strap to keep the cuff snug and water-resistant and the thumb and forefinger slits allow for easy rod and line handling. These gloves have pre-curved fingers so they feel fitted and dexterous from the start. We liked the seamless palms, and the textured surface providesa positive grip. The gloves were waterproof in a very short dunk test despite the finger slits. 

However, the non-elastic neoprene feltbaggy across the back of the gloves and around the fingers—buying a size small might help with this as long as the finger length is still sufficient. The 2mm neoprene will puncture easily and is not the best choice for a hook-filled environment—however, any thicker and you would have far less dexterity and sensitivity. A good glove overall but not the best for extreme cold fishing.

What we liked

  • The wrist straps
  • Finger slits were handy
  • Pre-curved fit
  • Good grip and fair dexterity

What we didn't like

  • Fleece layer is very thin
  • No reinforcement in high-wear areas

5. IceArmor DrySkinz Ice Fishing Gloves

Ice Armor gloves are made by Clam Outdoor, the original ice fishing gear and clothing specialists.

Their DrySkinz gloves are meant to be waterproof for brief immersions while retaining breath ability—combining a nylon spandex outer shell with an acrylic/nylon shell, Ice Armor has created a glove that is both water-resistant and highly breathable. These gloves have a nice, snug fit and the long cuff is comfortable and draft-free. They are also seamless, which prevents chaffing points along the fingers and elsewhere. Tactile feel was good, grip was fair, but the palms could use some reinforcement/extra grip pad material. 

Note that the DrySkinz are advertised as waterproof, but they are not going to stay dry beyond a brief dunk—of course, it is a trade-off situation because all fully waterproof gloves are non-breathable, meaning that your hands will be soaked with sweat and condensation within a couple of hours. The DrySkinz are a good compromise, and with their slim fit they would also work great as a liner glove under mittens for extreme cold exposure.

What we liked

  • Snug fit
  • Sensitive feel
  • Stays dry inside during most general fishing uses

What we didn't like

  • Knit-like material is prone to snagging
  • No grip material on palms

Gloves on Ice - Final Verdict

We started out this review thinking that the fully waterproof ice fishing gloves would be the way to go—but, in the end, the easy fit and cozy comfort of the combo-material gloves won us over.

Neoprene is good for particular fishing conditions, or perhaps other outdoor pursuits like trapping or duck hunting where you will be plunging your hands into the water many times in the day. Other than that, the loss of feel and flexibility combined with the dampness caused by non-breathable fabric are not worth dealing with in our opinion.

In reality, there will be many times in a day of ice fishing when you will be pulling your gloves off to work with your tackle, therefore easy on and off and comfortable fit must be primary considerations. That said, every glove here is a quality piece of equipment, and it might be a good idea to have a pair of each type of gloves, waterproof and water-resistant, on hand. The only way to know is to get out on the ice and see what works best for you.

David Valle
 

I started this blog to provide advanced material, guiding you towards a better and more comfortable fishing experience. I deliver more than fishing gear guides, and motivate people to hit the water!

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