Best Survival Gloves | 2023 Reviews & Buying Guide

Gloves are like a second skin when you are in a survival situation. They protect your hands when you need them most. Nobody should plan on sitting around during an emergency situation- there will be plenty to do and a good pair of survival gloves will protect your mitts while you get stuff done.

There are plenty of brands and types to choose from when it comes to gloves. This is where we come in. We’ve researched the best survival gloves, tested each of them, and now the results are in: the overall best, a tactical option, and a homesteading option. If you need gloves that will keep you going in a survival situation, one of our suggestions will help keep you up to speed.

Contents (Jump to a Section)

Mechanix Wear Impact Material4X Gloves

The Best Survival Gloves

MW Material4X M-Pact Gloves

Extremely Durable, Protective, and Effective

These synthetic leather gloves don’t just protect your hands- they do it better and longer than any other gloves.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Mechanix Wear has created a beast with these gloves. ‘Synthetic in our top spot?’ you may ask, but this is no bargain bin suede one-size-fits-all glove. These bad boys have four times the wear durability as leather, and as if that weren’t enough- they are doubly reinforced in all of the common wear spots. In a survival situation, you may need to rely on your gloves for a long time, and that’s why these gloves absolutely destroyed the rest of the competition. They take whatever you throw at them and can withstand the absolute worst conditions for several grueling months (or just regular everyday use for years!)

Break in a pair of Mechanix Wear Material4X M-Pact Gloves and add them to any survival kit because they are simply the best for the wide range of situations you can encounter with the durability to boot.

Mechanix Wear Covert Tactical Gloves

Best Tactical Gloves

MW Covert Tactical Gloves

Tactical, Proven, and Dependable

The original tactical gloves trusted by operators are still the most solid pick available.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Mechanix Wear has a ton of glove options and they’ve earned a second entry in our suggestions. These gloves have been beloved in the tactical and shooting community for decades now and are just hard to beat for the price. You get a light touch paired with good durability at a fair price- what’s not to love?

The Mechanix Wear Covert Tactical Gloves make it into operators’ kits all over the world in various fields. They are the simple, effective solution that is tried and true. They also come in different thicknesses now (0.5mm), a wide range of colors, and a useful FastFit version if you prefer to use them for EDC.

Catch Coach Helder demonstrating our tactical pick:

CLC Handyman Work Gloves

Best Homesteading Gloves

CLC Handyman Work Gloves

Tactile, Tough, and Well-Fitted

Working all day requires gloves that will keep up, and Custom Leathercraft delivers with these top-line work gloves.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Custom Leathercraft gives us a pair of gloves with padding and stretch in all the right places, making their handyman work gloves fit ‘like a glove’. Pull these bad boys up to your wrists and you can knock out any project around the homesteading. These are not the big clunky work gloves from the hardware store shelf- these gloves let you keep your touch-feel and can even be used on touchscreens.

Slap on a pair of CLC Handyman Work Gloves to get your homestead in order (or if you just need solid work gloves for around your non-homestead home). They are preferred by those getting the real work done every day on their own acreage.

Everything We Recommend

Mechanix Wear Impact Material4X Gloves

MW Material4X M-Pact Gloves

These synthetic leather gloves don’t just protect your hands- they do it better and longer than any other gloves.

Where to Buy

$40* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing

Mechanix Wear Covert Tactical Gloves

MW Covert Tactical Gloves

The original tactical gloves trusted by operators are still the most solid pick available.

Where to Buy

$20* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing

CLC Handyman Work Gloves

CLC Handyman Work Gloves

Working all day requires gloves that will keep up, and Custom Leathercraft delivers with these top-line work gloves.

Where to Buy

$19* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing

The Gloves We Compared

Our research narrowed the field down to the several glove brands and types that we tested: Mechanix Wear, 5.11, Custom Leathercraft, Ironclad, Carhartt, Magpul, ‎Mission Made, Helikon-Tex, Wells Lamont, and more.

There are a lot of brands that make gloves these days with a wide range of prices and intended uses. When you are checking out tactical glove brands, you’ll find many brands that are shipped in from China that are essentially the same. None of those made the cut in our tests, so you won’t find them in our recommendations. You can see our full list of review criteria below in the What to Look For section, with an explanation for each.

We have a whole separate review for nitrile gloves, so check that out if you are looking for first aid, chemical, and CBRN hand protection.

We’re always looking for new and better equipment, so if you have a pair you swear by let us know in the comments. We review most of our tested gear annually, so we can always get it in the next roundup round and see if it makes the cut and can beat out our top picks.

What to Look For

The best survival gloves have several important features to look for.

  1. Value
  2. Hand Protection
  3. Grip
  4. Durability
  5. Versatility

When you get the right blend of these, you can find reliable gloves that will keep you working through an emergency. Below, we break down what each of these features means for a truly dependable pair of gloves:

Value: Cost vs. Benefit

The amount of money you spend on something like gloves shouldn’t blow out your budget. Having one pair is better than having none, but the same applies to other tools and gear you may need for an emergency. Budget according to your risk and your needs rather than just spending lavishly.

On the flip side, you don’t want to go too cheap. You can find work gloves in big box store bargain bins that won’t hold a candle compared to our tactical pick. Don’t get too frugal when it comes to something you will rely on in an emergency.

You never want to spend too much money on one resource, especially something like gloves or clothes. It’s better to diversify your tools and preparedness gear to make sure you are covered for a wide range of scenarios. There is a sweet spot where you get high value out of the best features with not-to-high of a price, which is where our top pick sits.

Hand Protection

One of the main functions of a good pair of survival gloves is to simply protect your hands. In most emergency and survival situations, you’ll be depending on your hands to get a huge range of tasks done, and you’ll want to prevent scrapes, blisters, etc.

Durable materials and a good fit are key to keeping your hands protected and keeping up when you need them most.


Gloves are not worth a damn if they can’t help you hold on to anything. Some of the gloves we tried completely lost their grip when they got wet- not ideal for a wide range of disasters.

You want gloves to improve your grip, not let it get away from you when you need it. Gloves with a strong grip improve the gloves’ functionality and versatility in a big way, but you’ll also need to make sure the gloves fit well to take advantage of it.


Durability is huge when it comes to survival clothes and gear. You don’t want to be wearing holes in the fingers of your gloves, and you don’t want the closure wearing out quickly too.

Gloves take a beating- especially during emergencies and survival situations. You’ll want gloves that can keep up with whatever you throw at them and keep going without wearing thin.

That said, you will still need to take care of even the toughest gloves on the market. Keep the gloves dry and as clean as possible.

Our top pick blew away the competition in this category and surpassed even the hardy leather gloves we tested. The synthetic material – with extra layers of material in all of the high wear spots – proved to be extremely durable and effective in a wide range of climates. They were able to hold together through all sorts of tasks and weather conditions making them ideal for any survival scenario.


Gloves come with a few versatile options that target specific tasks. Some of the options you may want to consider for survival include:

  • Fingerless gloves – These can offer a better tactile feel for precision tasks. You’ll find avid shooters swearing by these but do keep in mind that it compromises hand protection.
  • Cut and stab resistance – You’ll find operators that may encounter blades in their jobs (cops) prioritizing this as an option. Being able to grab a knife blade when you need to and not having it go right through your glove is nice, but you’re going to sacrifice some flexibility, tactile feel, and durability.
  • Anti-vibration – Usually for heavy equipment tasks, anti-vibration gloves are meant to slow vibrations from transferring to your hand and making them numb over time.
  • Impact knuckles – Padded knuckles are great for not slamming your hand into a hard surface (like a car frame) and hurting something. A few tactical options go so far as to put hard material on the outside of the knuckle padding for striking.
  • Fastfit – We’re huge fans of elastic wrist ‘fast fit’ gloves for EDC, and use them all the time. We ended up suggesting hook-and-loop closure gloves in this review guide for improved fit and grip- but we’ll still be using Fastfit gloves every day.
  • Cold-condition – Insulated gloves are great if you live in a cold climate. You may sacrifice grip strength and tactile feel for warmth, but it can be well worth it when it gets below freezing.

You may even choose to have multiple survival gloves to increase your options in an emergency, and if you do it wouldn’t hurt to diversify some fo the versatile options above.

How to Use Survival Gloves

Survival gloves need to be able to handle a huge range of tasks- from creating a bushcraft shelter in the woods to getting a good grip on a sillcock key in an urban area to access fresh water. The amount of manual labor you’ll be doing in a survival situation is almost always higher than you expect.

Natural disasters are especially taxing on your hands. You’ll be digging out ditches during hurricanes and floods. Removing debris in the aftermath of tornadoes and earthquakes.

Any pair of gloves can even provide a small amount of protection from Alpha particle radiation.

Gloves are useful for all situations, and you’ll want to make sure that your survival gloves can keep up with whatever gets thrown at them.

To do this, you’ll want to take care of them. A few good tips to keep your gloves serviceable include:

  • Break them In – Don’t pop your gloves out of the pack in an emergency and expect them to be comfortable and prevent blisters. Wear them a few times before an emergency to check for fit and to acclimate them to your hands.
  • Keep them Dry – You don’t have to avoid getting them wet… but you do want to make sure you thoroughly dry them out after they do get wet.
  • Keep them Clean – Depending on the material, you can either wash your gloves or brush them clean. Stay away from abrasive cleaners.
  • Repair them Early – If you start noticing a hole or seam separation, repair your gloves early and often. Holes and split seams can snag easily and often become missing fingers or open palms. Of course, we’ve already found the best repair kit.

If you take care of your gloves, they’ll take care of your hands.

Who Needs Survival Gloves?

If you have hands and can put in some work, then you can use a solid pair of gloves.

They are a no-brainer for every single one of our survival kit checklists.

Gloves are essential for:

Of course, you can always use gloves for things beyond emergencies and survival kits too. We actually encourage it- don’t let gloves sit in your bags and kits without breaking them in first. You may not want to do all your yard work with the gloves you have earmarked for your kits, but you also want to make sure that they are comfortable and fit well.

How We Review Products: We research thoroughly before selecting the best products to review. We consult experts in the field for a better understanding of what makes the gear great. Hours on end are spent field testing gear in stressful conditions. We assign performance criteria and impartially rate each tested item. You can support us through our independently chosen links, which can earn us a commission at no extra cost to you. After our review process, some of the items reviewed end up in our giveaways.

Sources and References

All of our experience and the testing we do to determine the best survival gloves is useless without listing our research sources and references. We leaned on these for the book knowledge that we paired with our hands-on testing and practical military and prepping experience:

Dianet, I. (2012). Methodology for evaluating gloves in relation to the effects on hand performance capabilities. Ergonomics. Volume 55, Issue 11, Pages 1429-1451. (Source).

Kinoshita, H. (2010). Effect of gloves on prehensile forces during lifting and holding tasks. Ergonomics. Volume 42, Issue 10, Pages 1372-1385. (Source)

Wahlberg, J., Boman, A., Estlander, T. & Maibach, H. (2004). Protective Gloves for Occupational Use. CRC Press. (Boca Raton, FL). (Source)

The Final Word

In an emergency, you’ll need to trust a solid pair of survival gloves to bring the durability, grip, and hand protection you’ll need to tackle anything.

To go along with a solid pair of gloves, you should also consider a few other clothing items that can help keep you protected:

We presented quite a lot of information, but as always: if you have any questions let us know and we would be happy to help. Our research and testing found that the MW Material4X M-Pact Gloves are the best option given the value, hand protection, grip, durability, and versatility. If you take our suggestion and grab one of these gloves- make sure you break them in and put them to work to ensure you have a good fit.

Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.

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The Best Survival Gloves

Rusty Collins

I am an engineer, Air Force veteran, emergency manager, husband, dad, and experienced prepper. I developed emergency and disaster plans around the globe and responded to many attacks and accidents as a HAZMAT technician. I have been exposed to deadly chemical agents, responded to biological incidents, and dealt with natural disasters. Check out my full story here: Rusty's Story

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