The Glacier Glove Ascension Bay Sun Gloves protect hands not just from sun, but also from rocks, vegetation, and chilly breezes. Here, scrambling on sharp granite to Paiute Pass, 11,800 feet in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.As a native Easterner (and, perhaps, as a naive twenty-something), it took me many years and many backpacking trips to fully appreciate the intensity of the sun in the West. Since I first moved to this part of the country fifteen years ago, there has been one definitive trend in my clothing systems: show less skin.
Last summer I took another step in this direction, by experimenting with the Glacier Glove Ascension Bay Sun Glove ($23, 1.2 oz) on a 9-day yo-yo of the Pfiffner Traverse, which is a 75-mile high route in Colorado’s Front Range that hovers between 10,000- and 12,000 feet, often above treeline and/or atop the Continental Divide. In other words, it’d be easy to get scorched.
Review: Glacier Glove Ascension Bay Sun Glove
I now consider sun gloves to be an essential part of my kit when backpacking in the West, about as valuable as a long-sleeve collared shirt and a dorky hat with ear and neck coverage.
The Ascension Bay Sun Gloves work exactly as intended: they spare the tops of your hands and most of your fingers from hours of direct sunlight. But I found that they had other benefits, too. They also protected my hands from:
- Sharp rocks, when scrambling;
- Scratchy vegetation, while bushwhacking;
- Trekking pole grips, which normally cause blisters or crack-prone callouses; and,
- Breezy mornings and chilly temperatures.
Given these other perks, I think they would be valuable for any trip with off-trail travel and maybe even for any backpacker who uses trekking poles. They did not trap heat and moisture as I had feared, and I think they’d still be practical in warmer and more humid climates.
Room for improvement
My main suggestion for improvement is that the Ascension Bay Sun Gloves be permethrin-treated, for defense against mosquitoes and black flies. The bug season is relatively mild in Colorado’s Front Range, so this was not a huge shortcoming on the Pfiffner, but it would be on, say, the Kings Canyon High Basin Route in July. A DIY treatment like Premium Insect Repellent from Sawyer Products could be used, but it’s less wash-durable than a factory finish.
My other suggestion is to heat-cut the polyester fingers, to prevent fraying without adding a bulky hem line. Sadly, I lost my gloves in Europe during UTMB, so I don’t know for certain if the minor amount of fraying that I experienced would become a bigger issue with more use.
I looked at several sun glove models before settling on the Ascension Bay, which most importantly had:
- Polyester/Lycra top, for next-to-skin comfort and high air permeability;
- Cut-off fingers, for dexterity; and a,
- Synthetic leather palm, for durability.
The Ascension Bay Sun Gloves retail for $23, but I managed to find them on Amazon for just $13, wahoo!
The circumference of my palm measured 8-1/4 inches, so I ordered size Large per Glacier Glove’s sizing chart, which I’ve included below. They were loose-fitting but not sloppy, and I came to appreciate the extra air flow.
Questions about the Ascension Bay Sun Gloves or sun gloves in general? Have an experience with them? Leave a comment.
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My first trip in the Sierra’s after moving to CA from MD I wore shorts and a t-shirt with no hat or bandana. Fast fwd a few years — now I exclusively wear long pants, long sleeve shirt, bandana, hat, and sun gloves. Finding yourself halfway through the JMT with an empty tube of sun screen, blistering skin, and no easy way to over your legs/hands has a way of making you see the light in regards to the destructive power of western sun at altitude.
Another option for on-trail use the OR fingerless sun gloves work fine too. Not super durable, but will last plenty long for a non-thru hiker. The only problem I’ve had is that with trekking poles the little bit of exposed fingertips still burn/blister in the Sierra sun!
> shorts and a t-shirt with no hat or bandana
Congrats, you have me beat. I started the PCT in early-June 2006 at the Mexico border with a t-shirt, short running shorts, and a visor. After a few days I remember realizing that my fingers had tan lines on them, from how some fingers shaded others while gripping the trekking pole. I got “smart” a few hundred miles later, and had a long-sleeve shirt sent out. Still sported the visor and short shorts though. Idiot.
Gotta keep the dermatologists employed somehow I suppose.
By the time we decided to hike the PCT my strategy was to go full linen:
Linen isn’t particularly durable nor cheap nor visually appealing (and I don’t know if I’d recommend it), but I successfully made it through CA with pasty white skin.
I’ve seen linen affordably in thrift stores or at fast fashion stores like Uniqlo.
I’ve seen only one company do a linen/polyester blend. It looked like heaven for hot climates but unfortunately it was prohibitively expensive.
I’ve gotten some kind of hives on my hands a few times that seem to be related to heat and sun exposure, so I’ve started wearing full fingered gloves almost all the time when I’m cycling or backpacking. I like unpadded mountain biking gloves- you can get them in all different weights and fit. These are my current hot weather choice:
I also like the Giro DND glove for cooler temperatures and for hunting when I want a little more hand protection off trail.
This, of course, is in addition to long sleeves, long pants, and a brimmed hat and neck cape. A veritable fashion icon.
I’ve been wearing bicycle fingerless gloves for a decade.
breathable lycra spandex on back of my hand.
leatherish palm for trek poles. Protects from callous and hand dirt and blisters.
Velcro closure near the wristwatch.
Towel strip material between the index and thumb to wipe brow sweat.
I wear the fingerless in winter snow too, as I need the fingertip tactile dexterity to adjust my crampon straps… and touch screen phone cam.
I use my bicycling gloves as well, but I wait until the padding on the palms has flattened or crumpled from extensive use whlie riding, and then I use a seam ripper to cut out all the padding and leave just the bare palm fabric. I didn’t like using padded gloves with trekking poles as it felt bulky in my hands. After cutting out the padding it gives my gloves a second life on the trail with all the benefits you mention.
Permethrin on gloves?
Must be a millennial reviewer
Millenials hate lyme disease
It has less to do with Lyme disease as with mosquitoes. I can protect most of my body with clothing, and my head with a headnet. But there is no great way to protect hands, besides spritzing some DEET on them. Mosquitoes will bite through the polyester top of these gloves, especially if the glove is snugly fitting.
Ive had the same issues with hand protection from mosquitoes… I used to use deet, but no matter how careful I am with it on my hands it manages to get into my mouth/lips. That tingle and you know its working where its not supposed to. Gloves are my go to now, but like you said some can still just bite right through it
Deet will ruin your gear
Do millenials have an aversion to looking at their hands?
Tick bites rarely involve hands.
Permethrin is acknowledged by the US military and NCI as a carcinogen.
Recommendation is exposure limited to that necessary to prevent inoculation.
No indication for permethrin exposure for hands.
Every intervention (including permethrin application) has risk.
People rarely consider these.
The author is actually most well known for peddling gear for profit.
He gets his stuff for free in return for positive reviews.
Worst kind of conflict of interest … sort of like the Trumps
If you want honest reviews by seasoned users, go to REI or BackcountryGear
And on what evidence are you basing this assertion? In this particular case, it’s in conflict with facts: I paid for this product with personal funds, and have never been in communication with the manufacturer. I have no incentive to write a positive review about this product. And, generally speaking, positive reviews that aren’t genuine only hurts me in the long-term, due to a loss in credibility.
In other cases where I have received free gear or where I have a relationship with the brand, it’s always disclosed. Moreover, this does not spare the manufacturer from a mixed or negative review, as demonstrated here, here, and here. If you inherently can’t trust reviews written under these circumstances, I’m sorry, go somewhere else. Of course, there are so many crappy reviews on REI.com and other retailers (“I walked around my house in these shoes and they are the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn! 5 stars!”) that I don’t know why you trust them more.
If you feel like there are more positive reviews than negative ones on this site, you’re probably right. And it’s because I am more likely to write a review of a product I have used extensively, and I only use extensively products that I like. The rest get tossed in a shoe box or given away to friends.
BTW, Marvin, I notice that your IPS address is exactly the same as that of Dill Waddell M.D., who made comments earlier on this exact page that are consistent with the tone and nature of yours. Coincidence? I think not.
Please go somewhere else. Trolls and assholes are not welcome here.
Good on you. And excellent catch of the dual names with same IPS address.
I disagree. I have been on a trip with Andrew and he is not trying to sell you anything. He is trying to educate you and help you sift through the numerous garbage products that exist. Most of his recommendations are spot on. You must not be in the field much. Thanks for your work Andrew! You have made me a far far better outdoorsman. Haters make you famous!
I’m always on the lookout for sun gloves, thanks much! And, I’ll soak ’em in permethrin, too. 😉
My hat is dorkier than yours. Also, I can go full burka mode with it.
Well, surely that guy was a troll, Andrew. But I’m not.
My post was sincere, and good-natured, I think, as was the first reply to it.
Not clear why you deleted them, along with his.
Btw, I agree with you regarding why most long-term product reviews will likely be positive, and I also appreciate your updates to your reviews, as with the budget trekking poles.
Respectful disagreement seems to me a healthy addition to your blog, it seems to me, but it your blog, after all.
Damn. Note to self:
Always review and edit before sending.
Thanks for the recommendation. Our family has turned to physical sun protection over sunscreen – we are outside all day either adventuring or growing food and it really does not make sense to be spreading chemicals on our skin three seasons of the year when we can just wear something that covers skin.
We’ve found the arms and face/neck are critical and the legs fair better with less. It allows a cooler feel to wear running shorts/hiking skirt with long sleeves and hat. We’ve had good luck with the ‘fly fishing’ shirts from Patagonia which have hand coverings (http://www.patagonia.com/product/womens-tropic-comfort-crew/52105.html?dwvar_52105_color=FRST&cgid=womens-shirts#prefn1=sport&prefv1=fly-fishing&start=1). Having tried far too many sun hats I cannot recommend The Sunday Afternoons Adventure Hat enough – it actually stays put and allows air flow while protecting skin. My 2 daughters and I hiked the 555 mi of the (EXPOSED!) Camino de Santiago in 28 days during a drought and had no sun problems at all.
I just ordered a pair – using Skurka’s link. And I did it because I was looking for something like this anyway – AND because I have come to trust Andrew’s recommendations – good or bad. After a few purchases, I’ve found his reviews to be not only spot-on, but sometimes a little more detail than I cared for! Ha!
CAUTION. THE FOLLOWING IS A REVIEW OF ANDREW SKURKA (Don’t freak out, trolls):
I’ve followed this blog for a couple years and have met Andrew in person and attended one of his talks. He seems like a good down-to-earth dude and one of the most non-biased reviewers I’ve ever read. Reality check: With ALL blogs and reviews – you should take the review as that one person’s perspective on the item being reviewed. Each and every person’s experience with a product, process or even trail can be unique based on many variables.
If you took the time to read this site at greater length, you’d learn he panders to NO ONE. Skurka is even a product consultant to Sierra Designs – though is very clear about not giving them raving reviews if their products don’t deserve it. He even makes suggestions to them publicly how they can improve on their stuff. He states in EVERY review how he acquired something, even if it was borrowed from a friend or provided by a manufacturer, or purchased on his own. He states pros and cons of every product and is data driven with his judgements. How could you possibly ask for a more thorough and non-biased review?
If it seems as though I am a fan of Andrew’s blog – I am. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m also a fan of a couple other blogs I find to be trustworthy. Truthfully, I’m a more informed and knowledgeable hiker for all of them. I personally am thankful there are people out there willing to share their experiences so I don’t have to make the same mistakes or purchase a shitty product. And let’s be real here… To most people who read the site, Andrew is a complete stranger offering a free education on the outdoors and outdoor products to anyone willing to read. How can ANYONE be mad at FREE???
Thanks, Drew. What event? Don’t tour as often as I used to. Maybe I should.
It was a backpacking class at REI in Boulder about a year ago. Less tours. More hikes – then write about it;)
I used ordinary leather work gloves for years. One has to protect against UV to the extreme in Colorado. Leather is rather heavy, but its supported by trekking poles, so you might not feel the weight much. Very protective. Great for gathering fire wood for a once in season campfire ( I seldom make one). But they get wet in rain. Not a big deal.
Hi, Andrew. Your Amazon links are pointing to a discontinued product. It has a new name here: https://www.amazon.com/Glacier-Glove-GRAY-SG-Sunglove/dp/B001UE8DB8
Hmmm…never mind. That other glove does not have a leather palm. Can’t seem to find one in their line with a leather palm now. Might just go to a bike shop and buy some fingerless bike gloves with thin leather palms and lycra back.
Here is what you want, https://amzn.to/2kblHxD
Thanks for the heads-up. As you noticed in your comment below, the linked product don’t have the leather palm. I wouldn’t recommend them for backpacking with trekking poles.
The links have been updated to a current and correct listing.