Do You Need Gloves When You Zip Line?

Our post about wearing a helmet when ziplining got you thinking more about the accessories you should wear when enjoying this fun aerial activity. For instance, do you need to wear gloves when ziplining or can you leave your hands exposed?

Wearing gloves when ziplining is a good idea considering many zipline courses include exciting elements on the way up to the zip line such as rope swings and wobbly bridges. Plus, in the cold, a pair of gloves protect your digits from the low temps!

In this article, we’ll talk about a variety of scenarios in which wearing gloves when ziplining is a good idea. We’ll even recommend a few pairs of ziplining gloves, so make sure you keep reading! 

Yes, You Should Wear Gloves When Ziplining – Here’s Why

Even if you’re packing light for your ziplining adventure, a pair of gloves won’t take up too much room in your backpack or waist pack. Here are three reasons from the intro why wearing gloves on a zip line is highly recommended. 

Safeguards Your Hands from Hard Surfaces

If you read our post about ziplining adventures throughout Northern California, a recurring theme among those zip line companies was climbing and parkour components. On the way to the top of the zip line course, you might have to get over crossings, walk on a wire, navigate a wobbly bridge, or balance on a slackline.

This isn’t exclusive to zipline courses across NorCal, either. If you research zipline companies throughout the country, many of them include these parkour elements. 

The reason? You get an extra physical challenge. Plus, these elements prevent riders from getting bored on their way to the top of the course, and they increase the time it takes to complete the ziplining tour.

As you handle ropes, wooden crossings, wires, and the like, you can cut up your hands if you’re not too careful. Having a pair of gloves on will prevent your skin from getting lodged with splinters or lacerated by hard edges. 

Could Have to Use Your Hands as a Brake

Another handy reason (pun intended) to wear gloves when ziplining is to brake. 

This is something we’ve discussed on the blog in the past, but it’s been a while, so here’s a recap. Ziplines use one of two styles of brakes, active or passive brakes. 

Passive braking has become more common, so the zipline company you book through might use gravity brakes, capture blocks, spring brakes, or bungee brakes. If they don’t, then they’ll utilize active brakes.

As the name implies, an active brake is one in which you, the zip line rider, control. If you have to use active braking, then you must wear a glove. Why is that? To slow down your momentum as you reach the end of the zip line course, you need to grab onto the zip line cable.

Doing this introduces friction so you can glide to a stop before you reach the end of the course. The crew at the zipline company will train you on how to use a glove to brake and when to grab the line. 

Protects You in the Cold

Have you ever gone ziplining in the winter? It’s very much doable and something you should experience at least once if you get the chance! 

That said, since the wintertime often brings freezing cold temperatures, you must protect yourself.

Wearing winter gear is integral when ziplining, and that includes gloves. After all, the surface temperature is not the same as the temperature as you gain elevation. As you create more distance between yourself and the earth’s surface, you lose matter, which means less total heat content. 

In other words, it’s colder higher up in the air, which is something you’ll undoubtedly notice as you go ziplining. You don’t want numb fingers, as you won’t be able to take selfies with your friends nor photos from your awesome vantage point! 

Do You Have to Bring Your Own Gloves for Ziplining or Are They Provided?

As you’ll recall in our article about wearing a helmet when ziplining, you’re not supposed to bring your own helmet due to liability reasons. The crew at the zipline company will want to fit you with their own helmets for your safety.

Is it the same thing with gloves? It varies depending on the zipline company!

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, it was standard for the zip line crew to hand you a pair of gloves as they got you situated in your harness and helmet. Since the pandemic, some zipline companies have eased back into this practice.

Others though, for safety reasons, don’t want to give out gloves. That’s because the gloves you wear are not brand new and have been reused by other zipline riders before you (and will be used by others after you). You can see how hygienically, some zipline companies might be uncomfortable with sharing community gloves now.

If you’re not sure what your zipline company’s policy is, we can’t stress enough that you should call, email, or message them on social media and ask. If the zipline company isn’t currently providing gloves to riders, then they might sell gloves at the zipline course that you can buy.

What kind of gloves do you need for ziplining? Many zip line companies recommend heavy-duty protective gloves with leather palms. The gloves can also be entirely leather. The leather will be able to withstand the impact of hard surfaces while improving your grip.  

Visit Our Zipline Page for More!

The 6 Best Ziplining Gloves

If you’re allowed to bring your own zip line gloves and you’d rather, then this section is for you. We found 6 of the best ziplining gloves that will augment your experience and help you ward off pain and discomfort.

Black Diamond Crag Gloves

Black Diamond is a premier name in climbing equipment, and their Crag gloves prove why. 

The synthetic leather palm safeguards the most sensitive part of your hand. The thumb features a crotch, and the index finger is reinforced to lend the gloves durability. The rest of the gloves are made of stretchable, breathable mesh. 

The cuff uses Velcro and a hook and loop closure so you don’t have to worry about your gloves flying off at inopportune times. Included also is a pull-on, clip-in loop for easily carrying the Crag gloves on your person. 

Black Diamond upgraded the finger construction of these gloves throughout for better flexibility. Padding in the knuckles will keep this part of your hand from getting scraped up.

The Crag gloves are available in sizes extra-small through extra-large. You can select from two colors, black or Astral Blue. 

Mad Grip F50 Thunderdome Impact Gloves

If you want a grip that doesn’t quit, try the Thunderdome impact gloves from Mad Grip. 

Mad Grip used the natural finger skin creases of human hands as inspiration for the Mad Grip glove contouring, which you’ll find on the front as well as the back of these gloves. 

The thermoplastic rubber coating is heavy-duty and durable, making it a great alternative to leather. 

Mad Grip provides two sets of gloves to a pack. You can choose from colors like all black, black and gray, neon orange, or neon green. The available sizes are medium, large, extra-large, and XXL. 

Intra-FIT Climbing Gloves

The Intra-FIT climbing gloves are made for all sorts of outdoor activities that require hand protection, from mountain climbing to rock climbing, rappelling, and ziplining. 

Intra-FIT’s gloves feature a goatskin leather palm. The rest of the gloves are made of a blend of neoprene, TPU, and polyester. 

You’ll be especially appreciative of the fleece liner if you go ziplining in the winter. That said, in warmer weather, you might want to wear a different pair of ziplining gloves so your hands don’t overheat.

The neoprene Velcro cuffs feature a hang grommet for a direct harness connection to the gloves. Stretchy spandex on the back of your hand enhances flexibility and is water-resistant as well. 

Each leather-tipped fingertip is reinforced. Intra-FIT also designed the fit of the glove with a natural curve that’s anatomically correct. 

Arc’teryx Alpha SL Glove

The SL in Arc’teryx’s Alpha SL glove stands for super light, which is right up your alley. 

These tight-fitting unisex gloves built for rock climbing and alpine activities are windproof and extremely dexterous. Made of leather with N72s 3L GORE WINDSTOPPER technology, the Alpha SL gloves are lined with polyester fleece for warmth and comfort.

To adjust the fit of the gloves around your wrists, an included pulley adjustment system is easy to use and effective.

The Arc’teryx Alpha SL gloves are available in sizes extra-small through extra-large. They come in one color, black. 

Gorilla Grip Slip-Resistant All-Purpose Gloves

No slip here! Gorilla Grip slip-resistant gloves are covered with a patented polymer coating that prevents slippage, even in oily or wet conditions. 

These lightweight nylon work gloves fit tightly on your hands yet remain breathable. Select from a variety of sizes and even stock up with multi-packs! 

Seibertron Full-Finger Padded Gloves

The last pair of gloves we recommend for ziplining is the Seibertron full-finger padded gloves

Reinforced with double-Kevlar stitching and threads as well as SBR palm padding, these are one tough set of gloves. The padding, besides protecting your hands, has heat-isolating capabilities as well as resistance to vibrations and abrasions.

The rest of the gloves are neoprene, including the knuckles. 

The finger joints have gaps to allow for unmatched dexterity even when bending your fingers. The reinforced finger areas feature a special material that won’t slip and doesn’t sacrifice durability either.

Each wrist has an S-Flexible rubber round-shaped hole for attaching a D-ring. You can also use the hole for hanging your gloves when not in use. 

The Seibertron full-finger padded gloves are available in sizes extra-small through XXL and come in black with white stitching. 

Final Thoughts 

When scheduling a zipline adventure, you should plan to wear gloves. They’ll keep your grip steady and sure. A good pair of gloves can also help you stop if your zip line uses active brakes and protect your hands from low temperatures. 

Most zip line companies will provide you with fitted leather gloves to wear, but in case they don’t, you can always buy your own per the list we provided! 

Geoff Southworth

I am a California native and I enjoy all the outdoors has to offer. My latest adventures have been taking the family camping, hiking and surfing.

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