GoSo Palmless Sun Gloves – $22.50

In general, we have become better at protecting ourselves from harmful UV rays, but there are still parts of our body that we neglect. For example, we often forget that our hands need protection too. This is especially important in activities where our hands are in constant use (pursuits such as golf, fishing etc.). Bushwalking is no different, and recently I had been noticing how tanned my exposed hands were getting after bushwalks, despite frequent application of suncream.

As a botanist, my job also demands time spent in the outdoors: walking to sites, examining plants in a plot, with the backs of my hands being constantly exposed to the sun. Four botanists I know use these sun gloves (one of them uses hers during the collection of soil samples, showing that they can be used for quite dirty and physical work), so I put them to the test and was not disappointed. They are now part of my bushwalking kit as well, and weigh next to nothing (give weight here).

Sun gloves worn by botanist

A botanist puts a pair of sun gloves to good use in the field.

The gloves I use are palmless sun gloves. They are easy to put on or take off – there are three finger loops (on the little finger, middle finger and thumb) and a Velcro tab around the wrist for a loose fit. There is a right and left hand glove – most easily distinguished by the large loop being for the thumb.

Dexterity is not hampered when wearing these, though they can take a bit of getting used to if you are not used to having something on your hands. Palmless gloves are a good design for maintaining dexterity, but also useful because hands can swell in the heat so the loops make the gloves more useful.

They are quick drying, 100 per cent polyester, easy-breathing microfilament with, apparently, “moisture management properties”. I imagine this means wicking moisture to the fabric surface to prevent hands getting sweaty. The gloves are machine or hand washable, with the Velcro tapes join together to prevent the Velcro sticking to other things in the wash. Velcro-ing together also means no pegs need to be used, just attach together on the line.

Palmless sun gloves

The gloves provide critical protection without reducing dexterity. Photo: Michele Kohout.

The gloves are reversible, two tone – good to have the darker colour for winter to help warm up, but I prefer the skin tone so that I am not distracted during walking. I also removed the stitched on darker brand tag to also prevent distraction.

The cuff can be folded up to increase wrist movement or when wearing a long sleeved shirt that covers your wrist. However, it is more likely that the opposite problem may occur, a colleague says that the gloves are too short, depending on length of shirt sleeve, and there may be a small patch of skin between glove and sleeve that can be exposed.

These gloves are best used for long stretches of walking in the open, rather than pushing through thick scrub as the fabric may catch on vegetation. However, they are very durable and colleagues have had theirs for over three years, of moderate use, with little wear and tear.

There are a few brands available and Cancer Council shops and fishing shops are good options for purchasing. They are available online, but it may be worth trying them on in a store to get the best fit. With my small hands, I found that the S/M were a bit big and I did get the sewing machine out to make some adjustments with the finger loops to make them smaller.