Thinsulate Gloves Insulation – How It Works – Warmth Scale

Not only from a comfort standpoint, but from a practical point of view, Thinsulate gloves are invaluable during the winter! They are a “must have” for me.

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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. However when choosing insulation from the cold, 3M Thinsulate is considered one of the best for things like gloves, hats, and boots 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. Is there a warmth scale? 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.

-Wikipedia

3M Thinsulate Warmth Scale For Gloves

Grams per Square Meter

The gram weight refers 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.

Gloves For Varying Needs

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 during the winter. 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.

Thinsulate Gloves Recommendations

Heavy Duty Work Gloves

Gloves with Thinsulate designed with heavy duty palms that resist ripping or tearing from heavy duty work.

These are my general purpose “go to” winter work gloves. They’re 100 gram weight.

When I’m out doing trail work during cold months (for example), I always wear this pair. I also always take a second pair in case something happens to the other pair, or if they get too wet.

Carhartt Work Glove, 100-gram Thinsulate
(view on amzn)

Tip: I also use hand warmers sometimes:

[ Read: Hand Warmers & Foot Warmers ]

200 gram Thinsulate Gloves

150 to 200 gram weight is the most common for the COLDEST weather gloves.

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 gloves in this category with Thinsulate.

Examples of the best rated 200 gram Thinsulate gloves:

Youngstown Waterproof Glove – 200 gram
(view on amzn)

200 Gram Thinsulate Gloves

This pair works with ‘touch screen’ devices so you don’t have to take your gloves off:

KINGSBOM Waterproof Glove – 200 gram
(view on amzn)

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 (and higher) 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:

I have a pair of Deer Skin mittens that have built-in fingers with Thinsulate all inside. They are quite warm! Similarly, here’s an impressive pair of “ski mittens” with built-in fingers that has 250 grams of Thinsulate:

KUTOOK Waterproof Mittens

RefrigiWear with Fleece and Fiberfill plus Kevlar stitching
(view on amzn)

[ Read: Indoor Humidity Level During Winter | What’s Best? ]

Warmest Blanket For Winter | Wool or Fleece?

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14 Comments

  1. Great information. I do need some for farm work this winter. Any idea if any of these brands are made in the US (or at least not China)? Thanks.

  2. I have made the mistake of buying thinsulate gloves at one of those stores that gets rejects and leftovers. Bad choice. But your suggestions all look rather bulky. I can’t function with bulky gloves.

  3. Bought a pair of the Carhart 100 gm thinsulate gloves that Ken recommends in this article, way back when this article was first posted. Damn good pair of gloves for working in cold weather. Gets the “miner” seal of approval.

    1. I actually need to buy another 2-pairs as mine are beginning to wear out. Or, I just need to quit working so hard – then I won’t need any…

  4. it works very well im in west ny stste and it can get BRUTALLY cold here ik started using this LONG ago between working on a snow removal crew and the amount of hitch hiking i did back when it was safer i learned FAST what works and what doesnt and this stuff WORKS

    ill say this back in the ypung and stupid days i sat down and a rough guess of how many miles i went on my thumb close to 140,000 miles

  5. Hah, we had to go to TSC, tonight.
    And a pair of those Carhartt gloves just happened to jump in the cart.

    1. I guess mine would last if i didnt use them for doing concrete and block work,,, that extra padding just felt good on my hands

      1. Kula,
        Dude, really?
        Cement and blocks are hard on the hands….let alone any glove.
        Just sayin
        👊 😎
        Lol

        1. Gee, ya think?
          we usually buy those old school leather and canvas work gloves, get maybe a week at best, and then people wonder why im so busted up for my age,,,

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