Quick Tip: Dishwashing gloves for rain

In my introductory backpacking book, I mentioned the utility of dishwashing gloves for rain esp when on a budget.

But I never mentioned it on my website.

So here’s my quick tip: Consider dishwashing gloves as rain gloves.

XL gloves next to Size 5 liner gloves for comparison.

Why dishwashing gloves for rain?

  • Dishwashing gloves can easily be found in a variety of local hardware, drug, and grocery stores and are inexpensive.
  • The nitrile rubber ones are durable enough for non-technical hiking and light scrambling.
  • They tend to run large and can fit a liner glove easily. 
  • They are waterproof. Do the dishwashing gloves breathe? Heck no. But most WPB membranes tend not to breathe well at all (Which is why I like pit zips for rain jackets!) or wear out at the end.

The dishwashing gloves are somewhat similar to the Showa work gloves made well-known for outdoor use by Andrew Skurka. But the dishwashing gloves are a touch heavier depending on the dishwashing gloves purchased, do not grip as well, and not quite as durable. They do run larger and can fit liner gloves better in addition to being less expensive, however.

But for the price and availability, you can purchase pairs to stash in a day pack, emergency car stash, and your main backpacking gear easily. And, again, for a person starting they work well enough.

I would not use these dishwashing gloves for winter or technical use. But they are good enough for general use and arguably better than more expensive options from mainstream retailers for most.

The Showa gloves are, by all accounts an excellent budget item with versatility beyond its intended use based on the Amazon reviews for the lined version. 

Dishwashing gloves? They are a less expensive and more readily available option that will work well in some applications.  Gloves are not as warm as mitts, but considering the time of the year used, not as critical vs. winter.

Joan’s been using this system, and sporting the Backwoods Mary Poppins look, for years.

Which ones to get? 

There are many different varieties, but the ones made for “household chores” beyond dishwashing tend to be best. The Tusko brand is made with nitrile rubber, has a textured grip that makes it grip better than most dishwashing gloves, and seems to last well enough. An XL pair weighs 2.5 oz and costs $7.   Other options are similar, of course. Pair with some $5 liner gloves, and you have a cool to cold and wet glove system for $12 and 4 oz.   Perfect? No. Good enough for many uses? Yes!

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