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Outdoor Research Protector Sun Gloves Review

Outdoor Research’s Protector Sun Gloves ($20) are fingerless gloves designed to protect your hands from the sun. I originally bought them for fly fishing to reduce my sun exposure, but I’ve also started wearing them for all of my hikes as an insect barrier. They weigh next to nothing and eliminate the need to wear messy suntan lotion or bug dope.

Outdoor Research Protector Sun Gloves

Sun Protection

Cool and Comfortable

These lightweight fingerless gloves keep your hands cool and protect them from the sun as well as insects. They're perfect for hiking, trail running, climbing, sailing, and fly fishing.

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Specs at a Glance

  • UPF Rating: 50+
  • Materials: Polyester and spandex stretch knit
  • Weight: 0.7 oz/pair
  • Gener: Unisex
  • Color: Silver

I never thought I’d wear sun gloves, but these fingerless gloves have been an unexpected success. I’m pretty careful with sun exposure already since there’s a history of skin disease in my family of sun worshippers. I can still remember my parents sitting out in our backyard when I was growing up with aluminized fold-out screens to redirect the sun’s rays onto their faces, so they could improve their tans. It sounds crazy today, but having a good tan was a sign of prosperity and vibrant health. It still is I guess.

The Protector Sun Gloves aren’t anything fancy. They’re just well-made, stretchy, fingerless gloves that ride up over your wrists. I like them because they preserve my dexterity so I can tie flies onto my fishing rod without taking them off. They also keep my hands quite cool, even on hot days in bright sunshine, which is an odd sensation, but not uncomfortable.

There are two webbing loops along the bottom hem to help pull on the gloves, which you can also use to clip to a harness. The seams, particularly the finger seams, are quite durable and haven’t unraveled, unlike a lot of fishing-specific gloves I’ve owned in the past.

The silver colored gloves get pretty grungy with use but wash up easily

I’ve also treated these gloves with Permethrin because we’ve had an epic tick, black fly and mosquito bug season, which hasn’t shown any signs of tapering off. That’s proven to be a home run in terms of insect protection and one reason why I’ve incorporated these Protector Gloves into my head-to-toe hiking bug suit. I haven’t gotten a wrist or hand bite yet and attribute that to the combination of the glove’s physical barrier plus Permethrin.

My only complaint with these silver-colored Protector Sun gloves is that they get pretty grungy with dirt and sweat after a few days of hiking, but you can throw them in the wash and dryer to get them clean without any special care.

I never thought I’d own a pair of sun gloves, but these Protector Sun Gloves provide value beyond just sun protection. Highly Recommended!

Disclosure: OR provided the author with a pair of gloves for review.

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  1. I have a pair of these, which I bought for backpacking in the Rockies, above tree line. They worked great. I don’t use them in Summer in shady, humid Appalachia, where I live, though. Although they supposedly wick sweat away from the skin, I find they just get damp and chafe. I’ve tried to use them anyway as a tick barrier, but after a few miles I just take them off in annoyance. They might work better in cool Fall and Spring weather while ticks are still out.

    • Yep, I wore them today in 40 degree weather and they worked great to cut the wind when even the lightest regular gloves would have been too warm climbing uphill. I carried regular gloves in case temperatures fell and could have worn these sun gloves as a liner under the normal gloves, but didn’t need to today.

  2. Definitely gonna check these out. These might work well on the slog from Paradise to Camp Muir on the snowfield.

    Plus they are cheap so…

  3. I was going to get a pair and then try to score a product test column but… well… I’ll still get a pair. They seem like a great idea. I was also planning to treat them with permethrin so that I can be as obnoxious to the bugs as they are to me.

  4. Zachary Robbins

    I’ve been wearing weight lifting gloves for almost a decade. I’ve seen these OR sun gloves reviewed well but I think the weight lifting gloves may be superior for hiking. They’re cheaper, more durable, and have good grip. The caveat is I’ve never tried the OR sun gloves, I’m just going by material and look. I guess it depends on what activities you are doing, but for holding trekking poles or lots of scrambling and bushwhacking I’d rather have more durable fingerless gloves. If you’re interested in trying more fingerless gloves I’d definitely check out this brand, they make quite a few types. I use the Xtrainer cross training with mesh back and leather palm and fingertips, no padding. I buy multiple pairs and throw them in the wash, the leather takes months to wear out. They also work well in cooler temps when normal gloves are overkill.

    • Zachary Robbins

      Accidentally said fingertips, meant the base of the fingers. And it’s synthetic leather not the real stuff, thus the price and machine washable.

  5. I got severe sunburn on my hands on the JMT. Hard to keep sunscreen on hands, and if you use trekking poles your hands take a lot of direct sun. Now I wear these OR gloves on any multiday trip in the mountain West.

  6. Do we know how this differ from OR’s ActiveIce Spectrum Sun Gloves?

  7. These things totally rock! I started wearing them at the southern border on my 2017 pct hike and wore them pretty much the entire trail. Got to my hands felt naked without them.

  8. I wear these for summer glacier / snow field trips – they keep the sun off my hands and also give me some added protection when carrying an ice ax. I think I might have the ActiveIce version, because mine also have rubber dots on the palm, which help with grip.

  9. How do they do with sweat? It has been so humid in Virginia lately that my clothes could not have been any wetter if I jumped in a swimming pool. I have cork handles on my trekking poles and they get to feeling slimy. I was wondering if the gloves would help or hurt. I’d be curious to get your input.

  10. Phil, have you tried bike gloves instead? Many varieties in terms of material, full glove and half glove, padding, as well as color.

    Can often find them at steep discount at outlet stores .

    • I honestly have no desire. My hands fall asleep with padded bike gloves on a bike. Why would it be any different with trekking poles.
      Plus these glove are COOL. I’m sure I’d sweat buckets with a heavier glove.

    • I agree with Philip here, the padding on the palm and fingers in bike gloves is uncomfortable when holding anything.

  11. An alternative I’ve come to use more and more are long sleeve shirts with thumb loops. Many companies make breathable, lightweight, and moisture wicking long sleeve shirts and even include lightweight hoods for additional neck and face protection. Sure does beat buying ANOTHER piece of gear.

  12. I owned these briefly but I didn’t like the bulk of the hemmed fingers and their apparent fragility so I returned them.

    Sun gloves are used by anglers so there are quite a few to choose from.

    Instead I purchased Glacier Glove Ascension Bay gloves which you can find on Amazon. These have a full palm of fake suede with no padding and no bulk at the finger ends. I use trekking poles and found these gloves work well in summer rain and sun. They dry fast, keep the backs of my hands from getting sun and wind burned, somehow kept my hands warmer in the rain, help avoid blisters from the hiking poles and protect my hands if I need a scramble over rocks. They are a bit of a chore to get on and off and since the palms are not particularly stretchy getting the right size is probably important. I am generally between a Hardware store Men’s medium and large and chose medium in these which worked well for me.

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