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Review: The Best Crack Climbing Gloves for Summer 2021

Crack climbing gloves to set you up for a (relatively) painless summer of jamming, stacking and trad climbing.

Rock climber uses crack gloves Photo by: Anthony Walsh

Crack climbing gloves are cool. They protect your hands for long days of jamming, add warmth on alpine multi pitches and are reusable for several seasons. Below are two distinct choices for an upcoming summer of alpine granite, limestone splitters and silken sandstone. 

For sizing reference, the author’s palm circumference (just below the knuckle) is 220mm.

G7 Equipment HAND JAM

Price: $95 CAD
Weight: 46g (pair of Medium)
Ideal Use: Alpine and big wall climbing
Author’s Sizing: Large

The HAND JAM is burly. It is the only crack glove on the market with reinforced finger loops — keep them on for steep cups, long belays and a night of rappelling. The G7 staff say they have never had a fingerloop fail in over 6 years of testing, enabling the glove to stay on as a second skin throughout a big day. The HAND JAM is made from a single piece of leather which ensures no seam-induced pressure points or premature wear and tear. Its leather jams similarly to a high performance climbing shoe which encourages sensitivity over increased friction. The result is similar to that of a traditional tape glove with high scores in breathability, minimalism and durability. This durability is backed with an impressive two-year no questions asked warranty.

Although I appreciated the durable finger loops while belaying, I noticed the extra material around the base of each digit when arête slapping and on sloping top outs. Thankfully, the HAND JAM is easy to quickly rip off before a face climbing pitch or even at a cheeky no-hands stance. As advertised, the HAND JAM is slightly stiff out of the box and requires about 10 pitches to be fully broken in. The end result is a customized crack glove you won’t want to share when your buddy forgets their pair at home.

The G7 HANDJAM crack glove at a belay anchor
The HANDJAM is at home on long alpine granite routes. © Anthony Walsh

Outdoor Research Splitter Glove 

Price: $55 CAD
Weight: 32g (pair of Small/Medium) 
Ideal Use: All around crack climbing
Author’s Sizing: Small/Medium

The Splitter Glove has long been the go-to choice for dedicated crack climbers, and one of the original high-end models. Its low profile design ensures a nearly bareback experience on the rock, which is always appreciated for the dreaded thin hand cracks. This design means more sensitivity and discomfort on big-grained granite, like that found in Squamish, but you will feel every micro-ripple in the rock when it matters most. The Splitter Glove’s finger loops and wrist straps are low profile as well, yet surprisingly durable and at an overall reasonable price. 

One drawback to this model is the placement of sticky rubber. It covers the majority of the hand, ensuring maximum grip, but also seals in the heat and sweat during summer days and pumpy overhangs. A single wrap of tape helps keep the glove from sliding out of place on hot days, but begins to negate the purpose of reusable crack gloves. The rubber is also glued on top of a planar suede surface, as opposed to into a depression, which leaves the rubber’s edges exposed to rough rock and becoming detached over time.

Rock climber uses crack climbing gloves to ascend a cliff
Emilie Grenier takes advantage of the Splitter Glove’s low profile for a thin hand crack. © Anthony Walsh
Lead photo: Anthony Walsh