Bowhunters often have to get really close to their target in order to get a clean shot. To do that, they need to have to be well-concealed both camouflage-wise and scent-wise. One of the areas that are often left exposed is the hands. Apart from the obvious insulating benefits of gloves, you will also have an improved hold on your bow and better scent control. Finding the best bowhunting gloves can be a bit tricky depending on which part of the season you’re hunting in. You can also be left confused by the tens of models currently on the market with mostly similar features. In this guide, we will go through some of the top models for this hunting season and then discuss all the vital features that define a good pair of gloves.
Bowhunting Gloves Comparison
With Bow Release Opening – ScentLok Full-Season Bow Release Glove
The ScentLok Full-Season glove is a midweight option for those hunting in the early and mid bowhunting seasons. One of the standout features of this pair is that it carries the company’s patented Carbon Alloy tech which uses activated carbon and zeolite mixed into the fabrics in order to prevent the release of odors from your hands. This, combined with the Mossy Oak and Realtree Edge camo patterns makes these one of the best pairs of gloves if you’re serious about concealment.
In terms of the rest of the materials, the glove uses a mix of micro-fleece for the interior lining and polyester for the outside shell. This adds both breathability and insulation properties to the gloves and makes them warm while maintaining their overall flexibility. That same low profile, good fit, and decent dexterity give bowhunters the freedom they need when aiming and taking a shot. Another thing that helps with the shooting process is the bow release opening. It features a small cutout at the bottom of the palm that will allow the release to go through it while the rest of it stays neatly tucked under the gloves’ cuffs. Unfortunately, these gloves aren’t designed for hunters that use traditional or recurve bows, since there are no reinforcements on the fingers. They are still pretty slim, however, and can be used with a finger tab.
An additional feature here is the TouchTech fingertips that allow you to use your smartphone or any other touchscreen device when wearing the gloves. The issue I have with it is that it doesn’t always seem to work well, especially with some modern smartphones. The palms of the gloves are also covered in a large silicone-printed surface that improves your grip. Lastly, even though the gloves are fairly good at repelling water, they are additionally DWR treated, giving them an extra layer of protection. As a whole, the quality here is second to none and the gloves are relatively easy to clean and take care of. The thing that makes these a hard decision is their price tag which is bigger than most other hunting gloves out there.
- Quite durable
- Powerful scent concealment technology
- Moisture-wicking layer
- Silicone palms for better grip
- Come in two camo patterns
- Bow release opening
- The TouchTech fingertips don’t always work well
- The thumb is disproportionately small
- Fairly expensive
- Not ideal for traditional bowhunters
Most Durable – Sitka Men’s Fanatic Camo Hunting Gloves
Sitka is a company known for its high-tech winter gear and hunting equipment. The Sitka Men’s Fanatic Whitetail Hunting Gloves make no exception to that and are one of the best-made and most durable gloves out there. They are ideal for early-to-mid season hunters and have a few unique features that truly make them stand out.
Right from the get-go, I want to emphasize that this glove isn’t made for warmth or weather protection but rather for dexterity. It is very slim and can easily be paired with a larger mitten or another type of harsh-weather glove if you really need the extra protection from the elements. The glove is primarily made out of a special type of polyester that is 4-way woven and extremely comfortable on your hand. Apart from its own durability, the polyester is stitched with reinforced stitches along the glove’s body and tucked-in stitches on the fingers. The thumb and index finders are cut out which allows for better accuracy and dexterity when you’re dealing with your gear or other devices. The outside layer of the glove is DWR treated to resist light precipitation. Lastly, towards the bottom of the wrist, there is a leather pull that helps you with taking the gloves off and putting them on. One thing I really wished Sitka included in its gloves is a silicone grip surface on the palms which is pretty much standard in all other gloves at that price.
In terms of sizing, there is no S size which is a major downside for most people. For M, L, and XL options, they are true to their size and the glove has a little bit of stretch to it so you don’t have to worry about it being too tight. You can only get these in Sitka’s patented Optifade Elevated II pattern that matches the rest of Sitka’s hunting camo gear. That camo pattern is made specifically for bowhunters that hunt from elevated positions (ex. treestands). Just like the ScentLok gloves, though, these are a bit on the expensive side which makes them a touch investment, especially considering you will need an extra pair of gloves for the late season to go on top of them.
- Excellent for early and midseason
- They pair well with a bigger warmer glove
- DWR finish
- Durable polyester construction
- Come in Optifade Elevated II pattern
- Easy to put on/off
- Lightweight and slim
- Very expensive
- Not ideal for colder weather
- No palm grip surface
Best Fit – Primos Stretch-Fit Gloves
The Primos Stretch-Fit Gloves are one of the best fitting pairs of gloves on the market thanks to their unique design and functionality. The company has long specialized in deer hunting products that are also geared towards bowhunters. These gloves are good mostly for the early hunting season since they don’t have the insulation properties of some other models on this list such as the North Mountain Gear or Under Armour gloves. Thanks to that, though, they are extremely slim and lightweight, making them easy to use with different bow releases. What’s even better is that they have a fully-covered sure-grip palm that features a nobbed silicone surface that enhances your grip even when the weather is moist or your hands are wet.
Although they are quite stretchable, these gloves do have their limits, and people that typically need XL-sized gloves might find them a bit too tight for their liking. Apart from that, the actual design of the glove is quite comfortable with a wide thumb opening and a 5-inch long cuff that extends further up into the arm than most other gloves. The gloves are almost entirely made out of a polyester blend that is quite comfortable and thanks to the spandex mixture, it does stay snug. They are also easy to take care of and don’t tend to build odors over time. Perhaps one of the best aspects of the Stretch-Fits is that they are far cheaper than some other premium brands out there and are a great bang for your buck, especially if you’re looking for something slim, lightweight, and good for the mild weather of the early season.
- Very cheap
- Fit most hand sizes
- Extended cuffs
- Quite durable
- Easy to wash
- Sure-grip palm surface
- Don’t fit large XL-sized hands
- Not good for mid and late season
- Not great at handling sweat
Best Budget Option – North Mountain Gear Hunting Gloves
While the North Mountain Gear Hunting Gloves aren’t the most expensive or most premium on this list, they sure bring a ton of quality at an extremely reasonable price. These gloves are designed with hunters in mind and are great for the early and mid hunting seasons. The reason for that is that they aren’t very good at insulating against cold weather but they are great at removing excess moisture from within the gloves, keeping your hands cool and dry during the earlier warmer days.
In terms of materials, these are made with a polyester/spandex mix that is designed for comfort and dexterity. There is also a subtle lining on the inside that softly wraps around your hands without removing too much of the feedback needed for bowhunting. There are two smart-touch zones on the thumb and index fingers in order to give you access to your touchscreen devices without having to remove the gloves. Speaking of removing them, a pull tab would’ve been amazing here since these will be quite the tight fit for people with XL-sized hands. The polyester and spandex blend doesn’t hold onto bad odors though and is relatively easy to clean. They can also be put in the washing machine at moderate temperatures without any substantial short-term damage being done to them. On the inside of the palms, there is a grip texture but it isn’t very dense and it doesn’t provide sufficient grip like the one on the Primos gloves.
Just like the Primos gloves, these only come in one size. Unlike the Primos gloves, however, these aren’t a good fit for most smaller hands. They are good for people with sizes M, L, and maybe XL but will feel baggy on anything less than M. What’s worse is that with time the spandex in them will lose its elasticity and will make the gloves even looser. In my opinion, they fit the best on people with Large-sized hands. One thing I particularly like here that doesn’t get enough credit is the camo pattern. The green leaves and branches here really blend in perfectly with the brownish oak forests in the early season and that type of camouflage is something hunters actively look for.
- Very cheap
- Good fit for people with M, L, and XL sizes
- Excellent for the early hunting season
- Great camo pattern
- Touchscreen compatible
- Good moisture-wicking properties
- Hard to build-up odors
- Not great for women and people with small hands
- They slowly lose their elasticity over time
- The grip surface isn’t very grippy
Best for Early Season – Under Armour Men’s Hunt Liner Gloves
The early bowhunting season can be a mix of different weather conditions but in most cases, you have to deal with rain and moisture. To tackle that you need a pair of gloves that will stay dry in the wet and will retain its grip and warmth throughout the day. The Under Armour Hunt Early Season Fleece Gloves are exactly that and despite their higher price, they are one of your best options for early-to-mid hunting season gloves.
The material profile here is quite interesting and even premium when compared to other elastic early-season gloves out there. Cheaper gloves use spandex mixed with polyester or other synthetic materials in order to achieve their stretchability. This brings the price down but also reduces the effective lifespan of the glove. The Under Armour gloves use 10% elastane mixed with polyester which brings an excellent combination of long-term durability and a healthy level of stretch. This makes sizing the glove rather easy even if you aren’t the exact fit for the particular size. On that note, there is a Small size option here which is rare with other hunting gloves. On the inside of the gloves, there is a fleece lining that will keep your hands warm. On the outside, Under Armour has used its Storm technology to improve the water-resistance of the gloves. Lastly, the index finger can be stripped away from the glove in order to give you a glove-free trigger finger. Also, there are TechTouch points on all of your fingers allowing you to use your touchscreen devices even though a lot of users complain that this feature isn’t always perfect.
Despite their mixture of materials, these gloves are 100% machine washable which makes them extremely easy to put with the rest of your hunting gear inside the washing machine. They also don’t tend to hold onto different odors and they deal with sweat and excess moisture rather easily. This really makes them a good addition for any bowhunter that takes concealment seriously. The gloves come in a well-made Realtree Edge/black camo pattern that works with all sorts of other camouflages. The thing that I don’t like the most here, even though it is somewhat justified, is the price tag. Paying a lot for gloves doesn’t always feel like the right choice but if you’re looking for a steady pair that will last you a while, these are a solid bet.
- Excellent for the early and mid seasons
- Very durable
- Full of new material technologies
- Great grip
- Strippable index finger
- Fairly water resistant
- Very comfortable
- Very expensive
- The TouchTech fingers don’t always work with touchscreen devices
Best for Late Season – SPIKA Camouflage Hunting Gloves
While most other companies focus on the early and mid hunting seasons, others prefer having a late-season glove for cold weather hunting. The SPIKA Camouflage hunting gloves are ideal for the harsh conditions of the late Fall and early Winter and will keep your hands warm and dry at a bargain price.
For their insulation, the gloves use a 330gsm fleece fabric that really does a great job of retaining most of the heat from your hands. It also is fairly breathable allowing water molecules to escape from the inside of the glove while retaining hot air. While all that is great for the glove’s thermal properties, it isn’t ideal for dexterity and hand flexibility and will hinder your performance and feel. Still, when the temperatures drop below zero, there are few to no gloves out there that can be both flexible and insulating. From the outside, the SPIKA hunting gloves have a Hydroshield membrane that takes care of the waterproofing. On the palm, there are three grip zones that are double-stitched to the glove for added grip even when the conditions aren’t perfect. While the full-finger gloves are great for colder days, there is also a fingerless option for people that prefer having their fingertips available for shooting or other tasks.
The cuffs here double as a storm guard thanks to the long neoprene construction. They are quite comfortable thanks to how wide they are and thanks to another unique feature – the adjustable wrist strap. Straps aren’t common in hunting gloves but they make all the difference when you want your gloves to stay in place or when you want to tuck your base layers beneath them. In terms of the camo, the gloves come in a soft Realtree Xtra print that works well in most scenarios. Price-wise, these gloves are very well priced and are among the best deals for your money currently.
- Very well-priced
- Adjustable wrist strap
- Wide cuffs
- Grip zones on the palm
- The touchscreen zones don’t work well
- Long-term durability is questionable
- Not great for dexterity
Anti-Slip Palms – EAmber Camouflage Hunting Gloves
When you are out hunting with your bow, accuracy is often crucial. To have the most accurate shot possible, you have to have a firm hold on your bow and bow release. That is why most bowhunting gloves out there have some form of an anti-grip surface on the palm side. Some particular models, however, take that to a new level. the EAmber camouflage hunting gloves are a budget early-season option for hunters that really want to rely on a consistent and good grip, be it on their bow, rifle, or another type of hunting gear.
The construction of these gloves allows for the maximum insulation possible for such a lightweight glove. It does it by combining polyester on the outside and a thin fleece inner layer. None of that affects dexterity, which is why these gloves perform so well in the early season. The wrist cuffs are elastic and have a snug feel to them that keeps the gloves in place. on the palm side, there is a printed hexagon anti-slip silicone finish. It is one of the better anti-slip coatings out there, even despite the cheap price. Another unique feature here is that you can take off the thumb and index fingers and have them free to use on a trigger or bow release. The whole glove is covered in a really good Realtree camo pattern.
It isn’t all pretty here, though. For starters, there are only two sizes to choose from and the gloves themselves aren’t very stretchable meaning they will be a hard fit for people with XL-sized hands and will be baggy for people with S-sized hands. The velcro straps for the index and thumb fingers are also quite loud and aren’t ideal for treestand hunters. The stitching is also not very inspiring but they do seem to hold up well if you’re the right size. As a whole, most downsides are easily countered by the low price when you compare these gloves to other early-season options.
- Very cheap
- Great for the early season
- Anti-slip silicone coating
- Removable thumb and index fingers
- Good camo pattern
- No S or XL sizes
- Velcro straps on fingers are loud
- Long-term durability isn’t great
Best Three Finger Guard – Archerymax Handmade Three Finger Archery Glove
Sometimes the conditions are just right and the early season allows you to not wear full-finger gloves. This is when some traditional archers prefer using either finger tabs or finger guards/gloves. That’s why I decided to include one of my favorite gloves for this purpose – the ArcheryMax Handmade Leather Three-Finger Archery Glove. This glove is ideal for warmer weather and is extremely well-made for its price.
The main material used here is high-grade natural cow leather that brings all the leather benefits with it. That makes the glove durable, long-lasting, waterproof, and resistant to tears and rips. Everything is well-stitched and built extremely well. On your three fingers, the leather is thinner with an extra protective layer on top that will allow you to have a better feel for your bowstring without damaging your fingertips. Everything here is held by the velcro wrist strap that is extremely easy to use and adjust but is a bit loud when opened so make sure you adjust your glove before you get in close to your target.
Size-wise, you can get this glove in S to XL sizes and they have a good fit on the fingers. For people with larger hands, I suggest getting one size up since you can always adjust the glove with the wrist strap more or less. One thing that I have to note here is that the price is per single glove which might confuse some people. Even so, this glove is quite inexpensive considering its quality, longevity, and performance.
- High-quality cow leather
- Very durable
- Comfortable and easy to adjust
- Doesn’t compromise bowstring feel
- The velcro strap can be loud
- Price is per single glove
- Not great for colder weather
Bowhunting Gloves Buyer’s Guide
Typically, choosing a glove for the hunting season doesn’t sound quite hard, right? Well, it really doesn’t but when you start taking various aspects into consideration things get a little tricky. Will you be hunting primarily in the early season or during both seasons? Do you want to have one all-season pair of gloves or a specific pair for each type of weather? Do you want your gloves to work well with your bow release or do you prefer hunting with a recurve bow? See, all these questions need to be answered before you can select the right pair of gloves for your needs. But before we get into the important features you need to look for, let’s first discuss the different types of bowhunting gloves out there…
Types of Bowhunting Gloves
There are three major types of gloves out there:
- Full finger (or closed)
- Open gloves
- Three finger gloves
The full-finger or closed glove is the normal type of glove you see everywhere. They have 5 individual slots for your fingers and are the best at keeping your hands warm. There is an ongoing debate on whether mittens keep your hands warmer due to the fact that your fingers stay close to each other but a good full-finger glove will always provide sufficient warmth and insulation.
These gloves provide enough dexterity for bowhunting and most bowhunting gloves are specially designed with reinforced fingertips. This helps with traditional bowhunting as hunters use recurve bows there. Those reinforced zones eliminate the need for a finger tab. Additionally, some full-finger gloves (and other types for that matter) have a release hole that works well with the bow releases of compound bows. Perhaps the biggest advantage here, apart from the insulation is that these gloves are excellent at concealing your scents. Hands do sweat a lot and not a lot of hunters take care of that aspect of their scent control. On the other hand, a major disadvantage of these gloves is that they don’t all have smartphone-compatible fingertips and you will have to take them off if you need to do something on your phone.
Open gloves can be also called fingerless or convertible. They cover your palms and leave your fingers naked. This allows for a ton of dexterity and sensitivity in your hands but also leaves your fingers exposed to potential frostbite and chill. That’s why most convertible gloves are designed to have a hood-like cover that goes over your fingers and keeps them warm when you don’t need to use them individually. Those are often called “mittens” and are a favorite among bowhunters. Removing the mitten’s flap also allows you to easily use your phone and other hunting gear you might bring along.
Three finger gloves
Three finger gloves are the glove equivalent of finger tabs and are mostly used by traditional archers and hunters who use recurve bows or longbows from their tree stands. They protect only the three fingers used to draw the bowstring and go over your palm to wrap around your wrist, most often with a Velcro strap. They are extremely comfortable and offer maximum amounts of protection for traditional archers but are simply not good enough at keeping your hands warm in inclement weather.
So, why not use tabs, you might ask? Well, finger tabs are very good at protecting your fingers and allowing you to hold a steady shot with their added weight but they are also very impractical when it comes to hunting outdoors with them. They don’t provide the necessary concealment, insulation, and scent control that most other hunting gloves do, and for that reason, we won’t even mention them here.
What to look for
There are quite a lot of features that you will need to keep an eye on when buying your first pair of bowhunting gloves. The most important ones are:
- Size & Fit
- Durability & Build Quality
- Scent control
- Moisture control
- Camo Patterns
- Bow release opening
For a pair of gloves to be good, it has to check at least most of these boxes for you. This is why we will go into greater detail into each of those categories and see what role they play in shaping the ideal hunting glove.
Size & Fit
An important aspect of a pair of hunting gloves is the size. Most companies will offer you the typical sizes from Medium to XL with some offering smaller versions. The thing that is taken into account when determining the size is the circumference of your hand right above your thumb.
The fitment of your hunting gloves is crucial for your hand’s dexterity and mobility. Too tight and you will have your movements and bloodflow restricted. Too loose and you will have your gloves get in your way when you want to grab and use things. Recently some companies have come out with a unique series of gloves that are one size fits all thanks to their stretchable fabrics. These gloves, however, don’t provide the normal amounts of thermal insulation other models do.
The choice of materials in a bowhunting glove is perhaps its most vital characteristic. There are plenty of materials that companies use and more often than not your gloves will have a certain mixture or blends of two or more materials. The most common materials used in gloves are wool, leather, fleece, nylon, polyester, and gore-tex.
Wool is the traditional material used in most gloves for the past decade. It is warm, easy to dye in different camo patterns, and will keep your hands dry for most of the time. It is however, prone to building up odors and is also hard to take care of. Wool is a good option for open gloves and mittens.
Fleece by itself is rarely used in gloves but it is extremely good at keeping your hands warm. It is soft to the touch and it is fairly breathable but isn’t waterproof. This is why it is often used as a liner to polyester or Gore-tex gloves to improve the insulation. Speaking of Gore-tex, this is the best type of material for a hunting glove. It is water-resistant and very durable. By itself, it doesn’t provide a ton of insulation but combined with fleece or wool it makes for an extremely good pair of gloves.
Most modern gloves also use nylon and polyester in their construction. These materials are synthetic, allowing manufacturers to give them any properties they want. Most polyester gloves are waterproof, breathable, and good at insulating your hands.
Leather is primarily used in three finger gloves. Naturally, it is more durable than most other synthetic options out there and does a better job at protecting your hand. Still, it isn’t as good in keeping your hands warm and dry as some other material combinations.
In addition to all those materials, most bowhunting gloves have silicone palms for improved grip.
Durability & Build Quality
Normally, hunters that use compound bows shouldn’t worry too much about the durability as the glove doesn’t get nearly the same treatment as it does with hunters that use traditional and recurve bows. With these bows, you will need gloves that have reinforced fingertips. These are typically the weak points of any bowhunting glove. Additionally, exposed stitches are a bad sign for longevity as they tend to catch onto things and rip the glove, ruining its insulation and waterproofing. Tucked in stitches that are double-stitched or reinforced with stronger threads are a must if you really want a pair that will last you a while.
Scent & Moisture Control
The issue with moisture is that sweaty hands tend to promote bacterial growth in the gloves which promotes unwanted scents that can be picked up by the animal you’re hunting. Furthermore, moist skin loses heat faster and will always feel cold even in mild weather. Closed gloves are more susceptible to moisture issues but with recent material advancements, these issues are mostly forgotten in the mid to higher class gloves. They do that by having special linings or fabric layers that don’t let the warm air escape but allow for water mollecules to be released from your hand’s surface. Other gloves achieve the same type of effect by having antibacterial layers introduced to the inside of their gloves. Most often these layers consist of silver ions or other types of special lining.
While this isn’t as important as some of the other features on this list, having proper camo on your hands can be important depending on your situation. Let’s say you’re hunting from a ground blind and your blind has a dark inside as most other blinds do. You are all covered in dark clothes but your gloves have a Mossy Oak or Snow pattern. From the outside, it will really look like two hands doing gestures when you’re aiming and moving about. This isn’t as important when hunting from a treestand. That’s why you should always try to match your glove sto the camo pattern of the rest of your gear or at least match the color tone.
Click here if you want to read more ground blind hunting tips!
Bow Release Opening
Some gloves like the ScentLok Full-Season have openings at their inner side that allow for your bow release to stay neatly tucked under the cuff while still being easily attachable to your bowstring. This is essential for people hunting with compound bows that don’t want their gloves to stay in the way. The alternative to that is having the bow release over your glove which is okay but once you try a glove with a release opening you will hardly go back.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to find the right hand size for your gloves?
There is a very easy method to do that. Take a measuring tape and wrap it around your hand at the level of your knuckles just above the ridge of your thumb. Then, after you’ve acquired your hand circumference, check with the manufacturer’s sizing chart to see which size will be the most suitable for you.
Should you use bowhunting gloves in the early season?
The early bowhunting seasons across the states are known for bringing the chill air. Apart from the fact that you will at least need some insulation for your hands, it is always good to have them concealed and under good scent control. Depending on the time of day you’re hunting in and the state you are located, you might want to pick a good all-weather bowhunting glove that can tackle moist, dry, cold, and warmer climates.
Choosing the best bowhunting gloves for the early, mid, and late seasons is going to ultimately fall onto a few major features. Those are the materials used in the glove, how good it is at insulating your hands, its scent-control properties, and the fitment. If you aren’t on a tight budget, look for Gore-tex gloves with or without a fleece liner depending on the weather. If you’re a compound bow hunter, having a bow release opening is a thing you need to try!