Personally, my 2021 hiking season is about to begin. We’re just waiting for this round of snow to melt, and then there is a three-day walk along the Rob Roy Way. We’re not going to make the full 128KM trail as this would take about a week, however, I think we will try to go from Killin down to Drymen, which is about 60Km. What I love about this trail is that it leads through diverse Scottish landscapes, particularly as it crosses the Highland Fault Line, the geographical border between the Lowlands and the Highlands.
If you do any winter/spring walks, you need to make sure you get your gaiters correct, as this will likely be the difference between wet and dry feet. Gaiters are very useful when you’re hiking in the winter as they stop water from entering your boots. While they don’t create a totally waterproof seal around your walking boots, they will suffice for snow, mud and any puddles that you come across.
In this review, we’re looking at the best walking gaiters on the market. The problem with gaiters is effectively, they’re just a piece of material with two zip cords at either end. They’re easy to make, and therefore a lot of companies make them with varying degrees of success. Some are brilliant, others are totally useless. I have had gaiters in the past that I’ve bought cheaply that did not even make it through the weekend.
What to Look Out For
Remember, there is a huge difference between a quality pair from a brand named manufacture that has been tried and tested and an imported pair made cheaply. Below are four things I would look out for when making your choice.
- Gaiter Height – typically gaiters come in a range of different sizes, however realistically, you want them to be as high as possible. The reason you’re wearing gaiters is for protection, and there is no point in wearing an ankle and finding out the mud puddle is deeper than you thought, and now your leg is covered in mud.
- Material – There is no point in buying a top of the range, breathable set of walking boots if you’re going to put a non-breathable gaiter on top. It would be best if you were looking out for materials such as Gore-Tex and eVent as they are not only waterproof but also breathable. This will help to create airflow, helping to keep your feet cool.
- Reinforcements – It’s a great idea to make sure the lower part of the gaiter is reinforced to protect it from scrapes.
- Ease of Use – You need to make sure they are both easy to put on and take off, and stay on once you have put them on. In my experience, you need to stay away from metal buckles and look out for Velcro strips that are easy to use. The problem with metal buckles when your hands are cold is that they’re a nightmare to fit correctly.
How to Put On
Ideally, you want gaiters that you can put on and take off easily. No doubt, at some point, you will want to take your shoes off, and you don’t want your gaiters to be a hassle to deal with. Most of the time, gaiters are put on like socks. You step your foot into them and put the strap under the heel of your boot. It helps if you can find a pair that zips up from the front, so you can see what you are doing when putting it on.
Straps should be small but taut. The best kinds of gaiters use nylon or synthetics to make a durable strap that keeps the gaiters secure. Some types of gaiters do not have straps and instead attach to your boot laces or velcro to the back of your heel. In general, high gaiters tend to have heel straps, while low gaiters may or may not. The best kinds of straps are light and thin. You do not want thick cords between your boot and the ground each time you step.
Best Walking Gaiters
So what’s the best walking gaiters? Below are my top four models that I would recommend that you buy if you’re looking for a new set of walking gaiters. Personally, I use a set of Outdoor Research Crocodile Gaiters. I bought a set of these a few years ago after getting a recommendation from one of the trail guides that we used, and in all honesty, I’m glad I got a set as they are brilliant.
They might not be the lightest set of gaiters (they weigh – 10.2 oz/289 g), but they made of a 3-layer Gore-Tex fabric to provide breathability and are reinforced with a 2-layer Cordura fabric in the lower part, meaning they are virtually bulletproof. I have done some terrible things to my set and they still work perfectly. I once got my foot stuck in between two rocks and basically sand-papered the gaiter against the rock trying to release it, but its hardly touched the surface of what these can handle.
Outdoor Research Crocodile Gaiters
In terms of design, they use a buckle with a leather strap at the bottom, and a Velcro strap at the top and down the middle. This means putting them on is easy and takes seconds as long as you have set-up the leather buckle beforehand. If not, the buckle is quite fiddly as you need to adjust it to get the correct length. In terms of size, it comes in five core sizes,
- Small – which fits feet from 4 – 7 (EU 35-40)
- Medium – which fits feet from 6 – 9 (EU 38-42)
- Large – which fits feet from 8 -11 (EU 41-45)
- XL – which fits feet from 10 -12 (EU 43-46)
- XXL – which fits feet from 12 – 13.5 (EU 47 to 50)
Rab Latok Alpine
Personally, I don’t think the Rab Latok Alpine Gaiters are as good as the Outdoor Research ones above, that said, I know a lot of people who would disagree with me and a few who would tell me I just wrong. I think its personal preference, but I find having a single-hand drawcord top, not the preference.
In terms of sizes, the gaiters come in three sizes. Remember, this is the size of your shoes, and not the size of your feet.
- Small – shoe size 6-8 (EU 38-41)
- Medium – shoe size 8-10 (EU 41-44)
- Large – shoe size 10-13 (EU 44-47)
In my experience, they have come loose, and I think Velcro is much better at the top. In short, there is probably, not a lot of difference between either models and its just my preference.
The Rab Latok Alpines are made of eVent for breathability and reinforced with robic nylon to make it bulletproof, especially around the ankle areas. The gaiters are easy to use and include a Velcro instep, a Velcro front closure and a single-hand drawcord at the top to close off the gaiter.
Trixes Hiking Gaiters
First, we are going to look at the Trixes Hiking Gaiters. These hiking gaiters are a high design and are made from a durable polyester/nylon material that is puncture and tear-resistant. These hiking gaiters use a durable nylon strap to hook under the boot which features a buckle mechanism so you can adjust the fit. The gaiters themselves velcro up the front and tighten around the top with an elastic drawcord. These gaiters also have a built-in elastic strap to keep them secure around your shins.
The Trixes gaiters are also machine washable. The polyester can handle the heat of machine washing without shrinking or deforming. These gaiters will protect your ankles, tops of your boots, socks, and shins from the elements. They are very heavy duty and are particularly well suited for trekking in the snow and underbrush. The polyester material is also waterproof, so you won’t have to worry about wet socks or wet pants legs.
These gaiters also have an extra layer of stability. They include a rustproof shoelace hook that attaches to the base of your laces near the top of the boot. The strap and hook work in tandem to keep the gaiters in place while moving around without restricting your mobility.
Overall, these are excellent gaiters for heavy-duty, off-trail hiking. The material is durable, they are easy to put on and take off, and the adjustable strap means you can wear them with many different types of hiking boots.
HKBTCH Leg Gaiters –
If you like to hike in the snow and ice, then you need a good pair of heavy-duty gaiters. The HKBTCH leg gaiters are the perfect accessory for when you need to make a big trek in the snow. These leg gaiters are made from a durable nylon polyester material that is windproof, waterproof, snowproof, and a good insulator for heat. These leg gaiters will keep your legs warm and dry while out in the wild.
The HKBTCH features an adjustable elastic design with a front velcro-opening design so they’re easy to put on and take off. The adjustable elastic band goes under the hell of your boots, and there is an elastic band near the top of the ankle that keeps dirt, snow, moisture, sand, ash, dew, etc. out of your socks and off your legs.
Despite their strength and durability, these boots are lightweight and convenient. They have a very long service life as the nylon/polyester material is both puncture and tear-resistant. They are also very versatile. The adjustable band means that they can be worn with several different styles of hiking boots, so they can be used for all kinds of things like hiking, hunting, climbing, walking, and more.
So, if you are looking for a great pair of heavy-duty gaiters, the HKBTCH is the perfect choice. They are lightweight, durable, and they are comfortable to wear. You can hardly go wrong with this pair of touch gaiters.