I bought my German army flecktarn gloves after a lot of thought. I was in the market for a pair of gloves to wear while camping and hiking, and I must admit that my original thought was to buy these God-awful Mechanix military gloves everyone is so obsessed over. Thankfully I didn’t, after reading about how they were not actually that durable and bushcrafters got theirs destroyed quite fast (they’re shooting gloves). Instead, I went for the Bundeswehr’s (usually written BW) flecktarn gloves and I must say I instantly fell in love with the quality.
First of all, let me say that I purchased my gloves from Epic Militaria, a UK-based website and the only reason I’m mentioning this is because their customer service was excellent. Even though the size numbers are standard (I’m a number 8) there are some subdivisions which I was not familiar with, noted by some numbers in the glove’s inside tag. For instance, mine read 8 09/09 7110, where 8 is the main size. Well to cut a long story short both gloves were an 8 but one was a bit smaller than the other and felt really tight (these extra numbers were different). The nice people at Epic Militaria sent me another pair and all was good. Plus they were dirt cheap at around 10€.
The BW flecktarn gloves
The flecktarn gloves are a very well made pair of all purpose / combat gloves. Made of canvas and leather, they have a metal D-ring on one and a hook on the other, both attached by leather pieces to the glove, so that you can clip them together and not lose one of the two (this always sucks). I’d rather they had nylon webbing and plastic clips instead, but they are fine like that. The newer model has the same clip but a strap around the wrist and a pull cord to cinch them at the hem.
The German army flecktarn gloves have long cuffs, which you can tuck inside your jacket so that the wind does not penetrate (I always hate the cold spot between glove and sleeve). Plus they have an elastic band at the wrist for a better fit and extra insulation. I give them a 5/5 for price and coolness.
In the inside, they have a thin black lining made of jersey fabric, which is a fabric knit out of a mixture of wool, cotton and synthetic fibers, slightly piled on the inside. Now this material is not considered warm enough for extreme cold but I was impressed. I have Raynaud’s disease and my hands usually feel like two frozen pieces of beef. I have owned various pairs of wool and synthetic gloves in the past, and strangely, these are the first ones that actually make my hands warm! It might be the fact that they are exactly my size, but it doesn’t really matter. So if to me they are perfect for regular cold weather, they should be more than enough for anyone. I give them 4/5 for warmth since they are very lightweight and I was really impressed.
On the outside, the flecktarn gloves are made of a twilled material which is most probably cotton canvas, printed with the German army’s typical flecktarn camouflage pattern (which I originally hated but have come to love). The fact that they are made of a cotton fabric or blend means that you most probably can dye them. I haven’t tried them in the rain yet, but I tested them under the tap and they seem to be slightly water-resistant, but not enough to consider them a water-resistant glove. This is weird, I am sure they get a lot of rain in Germany. In the future I will try to waterproof them with beeswax and post the results here. For now, I’m not impressed, so they get 2/5 for water resistance.
The palms, fingers and knuckles of the Bundeswehr flecktarn gloves are reinforced with black leather, which makes them pretty damn durable. I use these gloves outside a lot, chopping wood, grabbing sticks and branches, moving around small rocks and doing normal stuff people do outdoors. After a lot of use, the gloves are as good as new. I even used them at a barbecue once to move coal around. I am happy to give them 5/5 for durability, which is why I actually bought them.
So with a final grade of 4/5, the German flecktarn gloves are definitely the best military surplus gloves you can buy for up to 15€. The latest model has a tri-laminate Gore-Tex-like membrane and gets a 5/5. I wish I knew about that when I bought those. Here’s a video review of the newer model:
Do you own a pair of these? What’s your go-to outdoor glove? Leave a comment below and let me know!