Not only from a comfort standpoint, but from a preparedness point of view, Thinsulate™ gloves are invaluable during the winter! They are a “must have” for me.
Here’s some information about Thinsulate™ insulation and how gloves with Thinsulate™ are categorized by their ‘gram weight’ properties.
As you know there are lots of winter glove styles of varying designs and applications. With regards to insulation from the cold, 3M™ Thinsulate™ is considered one of the best for things like gloves, hats, boots, etc., to keep warm.
I have a number of various winter gloves with Thinsulate™ insulation in them, and I was curious what exactly makes it work. I knew that there are different ‘weight’ ratings for this stuff. Here’s what I found out…
What is Thinsulate™?
The unique microfibers (very fine fibers) that make up Thinsulate™ insulation work by trapping air molecules within them.
The more air that a material traps in a given space‚ the better it insulates you from the cold outside air.
Because the fibers in Thinsulate™ insulation are finer than the fibers used in most other synthetic or natural insulation‚ they trap more air in less space‚ which makes Thinsulate™ insulation a better insulator versus the space required to get the job done.
It is breathable, moisture-resistant, and washable.
The fibers used to create Thinsulate™ gloves are approximately 0.00059 inches (15 micrometers) thick. That’s five times thinner than traditional polyester fibers.
Thinsulate™ is considered “the warmest thin apparel insulation” available. In fact, when equal thicknesses are compared, it provides about 1½ times the warmth of down and about twice the warmth of other high-loft insulation materials.
Recommended Weight of 3M™ Thinsulate™ Gloves & Hats
Grams per Square Meter
The gram weight ratings (levels) refer to grams per square meter of insulation. The higher the gram weight, the more it insulates and the warmer you are.
3M Thinsulate™ Temperature Rating
Note: The higher the activity level, the more your blood circulates into the extremities. And the less insulation you actually need – so you don’t sweat in your gloves.
40 gram for high activity levels or cool conditions
70 gram for moderate activity levels or cold conditions
100 gram for light activity levels or very cold conditions
150 – 200 gram for very light activity levels or extremely cold conditions
Generally, 80-100 GMS (grams per square meter) is good for temperatures down to around 20F. You’ll want 200 gram Thinsulate™ for temperatures colder than that.
Thinsulate™ is thin
Because insulation like Thinsulate™ is so thin, they can make gloves (40 gram) which are useful for doing finer detail work with your fingers.
I have also found that 100-gram Thinsulate™ gloves are warm enough for most cold temperatures – although I do have some 150 gram gloves too, for those ‘really cold’ days…
Keep in mind that when you’re working a lot with your hands, your hands will warm up by themselves (more blood flow). Gloves can actually become too warm and uncomfortable under heavy duty working conditions.
Heavy Duty Work Gloves
Gloves with Thinsulate™ designed with heavy duty palms that resist ripping or tearing from heavy duty work.
These are my “go to” winter work gloves that I use the most for general purpose heavy duty work outdoors when it cold:
(Bear in mind that when you’re physically working, you don’t need as high a insulation value!)
When I’m out working the trails during cold months, I always take this pair with me. I also always take a second pair in case something happens or if they get too wet.
If it’s real cold I’ll wear a quality pair of warm insulated mittens and then swap them out for my Carhartt gloves when handling work loads.
Pro Tip: I also ALWAYS have a pair of hand warmers with me (just in case).
Related article: Hand Warmers & Foot Warmers for your E-Kit
Gloves while Shoveling, Snowblowing or Winter Sports
I have other gloves that are waterproof or water resistant and come further up the arm. This helps keep snow and wind out. Many of these types of winter gloves are not specifically designed for heavy duty work though.
200 gram Thinsulate™ Gloves
150 to 200 gram weight is the most common for the COLDEST weather gloves that may be typically available.
Often they’re marketed as -30F, -40F, arctic, or ‘extreme cold’ gloves.
With that said, these gloves will be the warmest in general. I’ve researched several choices of those gloves in this category with Thinsulate™.
I have found the best rated 200 gram Thinsulate™ gloves:
Youngstown Waterproof Glove – 200 gram
(potential amzn commission at no extra cost to you)
KINGSBOM Waterproof Glove – 200 gram
(potential amzn commission at no extra cost to you)
400 gram Thinsulate™ Gloves
I had to throw this out there… Do 400 gram Thinsulate™ gloves exist?
The 200 gram gloves listed above are evidently some of the most popular for extreme cold. But what if you’re looking for even warmer gloves…
400 gram weight is common in winter boots. But what about gloves?
Personally I have not come across 400 gram Thinsulate™ specific gloves. However, when you get into the so called ‘arctic’ or ‘-40F’ category, there are gloves with a COMBINATION of insulation techniques.
Highly insulated MITTENS (with glove-type inserts) are effective for VERY cold weather. You lose the dexterity of doing things with your fingers. Rather, you gain the benefit of all your digits warming together within the blanket of the mitten! (though the thumb is by itself).
Though not 400 gram, the most popular and well reviewed extreme cold weather mitten gloves include the following:
Gloves For Varying Needs
The best gloves with Thinsulate™ are those which serve your varying requirements.
Some of us simply want gloves to keep our hands warm in the winter. Others want the same but with added durability for rugged work.
Some outdoor work also requires dexterity and better flexibility (while still keeping warm!). I even have a few pairs of ‘driving gloves’ just to keep the cold steering wheel from numbing my fingers! ( A heated steering wheel would be nice!)
I have stacks of gloves. Actually, two stacks. One for Winter and the other for all other seasons. The gloves themselves vary for different tasks. For preparedness sake I know that gloves, especially work gloves, are and will be important. That’s why I don’t wait until one pair wears out before buying another….
Living up here in the north country, there’s no way I could work outside without gloves. Just wouldn’t be possible. Therefore it’s a very important prep item for me (with plenty of spares).
Tip: ALWAYS keep an extra pair of insulated Thinsulate™ gloves (or other type of your choosing) and an insulated hat in your vehicle during the winter!
Tip: Gloves with a Goretex (or similar breathing waterproof membrane) layer are even better when combined with Thinsulate™ insulation – to keep it dry.
Continue reading: Indoor Humidity Level During Winter | What’s Best?