Gloves are an important bit of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment.)
As well as keeping nasty stuff off my skin, they also stop me from getting the sorts of little nicks and abrasions that can otherwise let nasty stuff under my skin. And there’s all sorts of nasty stuff in canal water and engine holes that you really, really don’t want getting into you!
After a few years of carrying different gloves around with me, these are what work best for me.
Soft cowhide leather gloves.
These are well worn now, soft cowhide leather gloves, great for lock working and rope handling in Summer.
Waterproof-ish winter gloves.
These sealskinz gloves have been with me for my cold-weather moves this year, and have leather palms and a synthetic back. They hold out the rain pretty well and are also fine for lock working and rope handling.
These are Ansell HyFlex engineers gloves and okay, initially I bought these because I saw Formula 1 engineers wearing them. But they are a really good piece of kit, nitrile dipped to keep the grease and grot out, flexible and reusable. They’re my go-to choice when I need to muck about in the engine hole.
Disposable Nitrile examination gloves are much cheaper than the HyFlex gloves, but disposable and nowhere near as strong. These are handy to keep in your pocket and use when you want to (say) clear some grease from around the stern gland.
Weed-hatch and Elsan gloves.
Showa 772 Nitrile-dipped chemical gloves with sleeves that go right up to my armpits. I tried pond-gloves but they were always weak and leaky after a couple of uses, and the whole point of weed-hatch gloves is not to end up with very cold wet hands. These are cloth lined and brilliant, even in icy water you can still have some feeling in your fingers.