In 20 years of climbing I have only recently started carrying belay gloves with me on a regular basis. When I first started climbing it seemed like an unnecessary extra item. My hands could handle a little rope burn from time to time right? After joining the local Mountain Rescue Service I started carrying them on rescues due to heavier loads and lots of rope work (and some BSI protection).
In the last two years I have switched to carrying them 100% of the time, and now feel like I am missing something if I leave them at home. Perhaps it is because I am climbing & rappelling on skinnier ropes than I was 15 years ago, but the added security and comfort they provide easily justifies their cost & weight on the back of my harness.
For this review I tested both the mid-weight and lightweight versions of these gloves. When I first tried on the mid-weight Petzl Cordex Belay Gloves in the store they felt a bit stiff. The double goat leather palm and fingers definitely looked durable but I could tell they would take a little breaking in. In just about 5 days of use they softened up nicely.
For a rugged belay glove they fit my medium sized hands quite well, and the neoprene velcro cuff made them feel secure when in use. The convenient carabiner hole in the cuff is also substantial enough that there is no fear of of the carabiner attachment failing (unlike some models that just sport a thin sewn loop). I carry these on an oval biner’ that sports two prussic’s, a micro-ascender (Petzl Tibloc), and my knife.
The only downside was these gloves felt a bit hot during last week’s upper 80’s lower 90’s temps. After searching online I found a good deal on a pair of the lightweight version of this glove:
They feel just as durable in the palm and fingers as the midweight version but the back is almost 100% breathable stretch nylon. These will be much more comfortable climbing in warm weather and will definitely outlast the cheaper suede style belay gloves some of my fellow guides use.
Manufacturer Description and Technical Specs:
- Ergonomic cut for great dexterity without being too tight
- Made of high quality leather for the perfect balance of durability and dexterity
- Durable double layer of leather in high-wear areas: fingertips, palm, between thumb and index finger
- Back made of breathable stretch nylon for excellent fit and ventilation
- Neoprene cuff with Velcro closure
- Carabiner hole to attach gloves to harness
- Material(s): goat skin leather, stretch nylon
- Certification(s): CE EN 420, CE EN 388 (3133)
- Weight: 100-120gr (depends on size)
If you haven’t used belay gloves before I’d suggest you try it out. They make a lot of sense for multiple styles of climbing. Catching sport climbing falls will feel more secure. Rappelling skinny rope in steep terrain will feel more secure. Even quickly coiling rope to move on to the next route is easier when the rope can quickly slide through your palms without nylon on skin friction. You can find them on Amazon here.
If you have an opinion on using belay gloves please share it below! Let us know what model’s you’ve tried and liked (or not liked) in the comments below.
Thanks for reading!
See you in the mountains,
Disclosure: I purchased these gloves with my own money. This post contains affiliate links.