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3 Best Gloves for Rockhounding: Protect Your Hands

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Gloves will give your fingers valuable protection when you’re out rockhounding. Yet, if you’re like me, you also value the agility and tact you can use while digging for, sorting, or chiseling stones barehanded. Luckily, there are some products that fit this role perfectly for the most hands-on rockhound.

The best gloves for a rockhound are Ironclad Performance Fit Utility Gloves due to their puncture-resistant but also dexterous design. A comparable alternative that emphasizes material durability more is Mechanix Wear Leather Work Gloves.  A budget or beginner option with impressive value for rockhounds is MOREOK’s Comfort Fit Gardening Gloves. (Amazon links)

Each of the glove options mentioned has qualities that make it more or less suited depending on the environment and stones which you are hunting or the specific rockhounding tasks you perform most often.

If you are interested in checking out the best gloves for rockhounding only you can find them by clicking here (Amazon link).

Best gloves for rockhounding
Best gloves for rockhounding

Ironclad Performance Fit Utility Gloves

Ironclad Performance Fit Utility Gloves (Amazon link) are all-purpose utility but could have been practically designed for the all-around rockhound. They are the gloves you want to have constantly stashed away in your backpack for whatever the next rockhounding adventure brings.

Material

Because most puncture and tear opportunities during rockhounding happen at the fingertips and upper fingers, a rockhound’s gloves require the strongest material focused at these points.

However, certain tasks such as chiseling or cavity searching can break that rule and demand hefty material all around the hand.

However, gloves like that can be confining for less demanding tasks and prolonged use. Therefore, for these specific tasks, the Mechanix gloves in this article are recommended.

But the material placement of the Ironclad Performance Fit Gloves fits the needs of the everyday rockhound more – allowing comfortable and dexterous handling of small to medium size stones.

Another important characteristic of the design is the breathable material on the back of the hand.  While most skin-tight designs would be stifling, this material provides an area for sweat and heat to escape, letting thermal equilibrium be accomplished in the same way the hand would normally do it.

Fit

One of the next greatest advantages I’ve found in these gloves is the fit. Gloves made with quality, tear-resistant materials can be found in every hardware store, but combining that with a design that is comfortably worn for hours is a rarity.

In fact, that is the main gripe most rockhounds have against gloves: the sense of touch is indispensable and actually makes a rock search much more enjoyable, and it is strongly diminished when wearing most gloves. This fact simply does not apply to these gloves.

In fact, ergonomics weigh heavily in the design of these gloves. It allows the fingers to be unhindered in performing all the movements that they would be able to perform barehanded.

The adjustable strap on the wrist allows even more flexibility than the 6 available sizes, so that no matter the specific sizes of your hands and wrists, this glove will not slide around.

Lastly, the heavy-duty protection at the knuckles can avoid many painful accidents such as a hammer slipping off a chisel or a large stone shifting at an inopportune time.

The rockhounding specific advantages of the Ironclad (Amazon link) performance fit utility gloves are discussed in the table below.

FeatureScore
Fit5 – Dexterous
Prolonged comfort4 – Proficient
Workability with small rocks5 – Superior
Workability with large rocks2 – Adequate
Machine WashableYes
Ironclad Performance Fit Utility Gloves Rockhounding Specs

TIP: Safety equipment is really important when you are hunting rocks. Check out ultimate safety tips and more in the article below:


PRO Tips for Beginner & Experienced Rockhounds + Safety Tips


Mechanix Wear Leather Work Gloves

Mechanix Wear Leather Work Gloves (Amazon link) are the second choice of gloves if comparable to the first in many areas. The main difference is between them is that the palm side of these gloves has a large layer of real leather.

Material

The design of the back-side provides some fingertip protection but is mostly focuses on enhancing the breathability and ability to conform to fingers’ movements. 

In opposition to the first gloves mentioned where the stronger material is concentrated at the fingertips and upper fingers, the leather layer on the Mechanix gloves spans from the wrist to the fingertips.

Because of this, the fit is a little less pliable and forgiving for all angles of finger movement, especially when fingers must be at obtuse angles to each other.

This makes the handling of small and medium-size stones a little more cumbersome than it would be barehanded. However, only the most exact movements will be hindered.

The main advantage that the Mechanix Wear Leather Work Gloves have over the Ironclad gloves is the added protection for tasks that involve the whole hand.

Tasks that rockhounds would encounter for which these gloves would be better suited involve digging, panning, or sifting through material, as well as handling stones higher than 4 inches in diameter.

Fit

This means that these gloves, while also great all-around gloves, will suit the specific tasks of looking around areas which include a lot of slate and other soft sedimentary rocks because these gloves will protect against tearing or puncturing of the palm much more.

They will also support initial chiseling for gemstones if the raw material is large and hard to handle – as is typically the case.

Another feature of these gloves is the fast-fit technology incorporated at the wrist. Instead of a clasp or Velcro, they have elastic which does not require any manual tightening.

This can be valuable when doing tasks that only require gloves for a short amount of time, and also promotes a long glove lifespan, as the manually operated parts of gloves are often the first to fail.

The advantages and disadvantages of these gloves (Amazon link) as compared to other used gloves in rockhounding are listed below.

FeatureScore
Fit4 – Proficient
Prolonged comfort4 – Proficient
Workability with small rocks3 – Suitable
Workability with large rocks5 – Superior
Machine WashableYes
Mechanix Wear Leather Work Gloves Rockhounding Specs

TIP: Are you looking for more equipment and tools for rockhounding? I wrote more useful articles about all tools you need for rockhounding, check them out here:


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MOREOK’s Comfort Fit Gardening Gloves

MOREOK’s Comfort Fit gardening gloves (Amazon link) are essentially a more generic version of the highly competent Mechanix Wear gloves.

Material

They contain an artificial leather palm-side and touchscreen compatible fingertips for the index finger and the thumb. The back is stretchable spandex which is meant to provide dexterity but at the expense of some breathability and protection. To make up for the lack of protection, a padded area is added behind the knuckles.

There are four options for the size of the MOREOK’s gloves, and they employ the same elastic wrist feature as Mechanix gloves in order to have less manual action required when putting them on.

Fit

The lightweight features of the MOREOK’s gloves provide some wearability over long periods of time, but the spandex isn’t the best material for long rockhounding trips in the sun because sweat and heat cannot escape as easily.

Small rock handling will be relatively easy, but for any chiseling, cavity searching, or heavy-duty rock sifting work, the material may not hold up very long. This is especially the case when the activity requires hand immersion or any contact with the back of the hand. 

While the fingertip touch-screen enabling pads aren’t durable enough for sharp edges, the spandex fit does provide high short-term comfort when wearing these gloves.

The biggest thing to look out for with these gloves (Amazon link) is longevity, and if that is a high priority for you when buying a pair of gloves, you should look at something of higher quality material such as the above pairs.

FeatureScore
Fit4 – Proficient
Prolonged comfort2 – Adequate
Workability with small rocks4 – Proficient
Workability with large rocks2 – Adequate
Machine WashableYes
MOREOK’s Comfort Fit Gardening Gloves Rockhounding Specs

Conclusion

Overall, the best gloves for rockhounding are the Ironclad Performance Fit Utility Gloves (Amazon link). Their material allows comfort over long periods of time, and the design optimizes dexterity while working with small rocks.

Mechanix Wear Leather Gloves (Amazon link) are runner-up and are great for tasks that involve the whole hand, such as sifting or working with large rocks.

MOREOK’s Garden Gloves (Amazon link) are a great budget alternative because they don’t sacrifice too much when it comes to the fit, and are much better with smaller exact tasks.

TIP: It is to find some rocks now. But where to go? Don’t worry, check out these useful guides for each state in the USA with the best rockhounding sites and the most common rocks, minerals, and crystals.


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