When it comes to backpacking, a certain kind of gaiter is a great thing to have on the trail with you. As with most backpacking gear the big thing that you will want from a pair of backpacking gaiters is versatility. You need gaiters that will keep water out, but also breath well, and most importantly of all, be durable enough to go for consecutive days of hard use without falling apart. Backpacking is hard work, after all, and there’s no room for poorly made gear that will just fall apart after a little wear and tear.
Backpacking GaitersWhat to look for from backpacking gaiters.
- Water Resistant – Waterproof gaiters are definitely an option, but backpacking is hard work, and gaiters that are breathable are likely equally as important, if not more so. Keeping water out of your boots is one thing, but if your feet and socks are soaked in sweat, you haven’t really accomplished much.
- Replaceable Strap – Many gaiters give you the ability to replace the strap that goes underneath your boot, and helps hold the gaiters in place. Backpackers, especially those that put in a lot of miles, will wear that strap out relatively quickly, and it helps if you can replace it when it does eventually wear thin.
Best Backpacking GaitersSome of the very best options for backpacking gaiters, based on the above criteria.
- Outdoor Research Crocodile Gaiters - If you would prefer a pair of big, beefy mountain gaiters to take backpacking, then these are your best choice. They've been around since at least 1999, which is when they won the Backpacker Magazine Editor's Choice Gold award. They're heavy 3 layer Gore Tex on the top portion, to ensure that your feet don't get wet from rain or snow, and then 1000D cordura nylon on the bottom portion, for long lasting durability from things like boot rub. A tough, durable waterproof pair of backpacking gaiters. They weigh 10.2 ounces, or 289 grams.
- Rab Hispar Gaiters - These are another pair of full length gaiters, but with a much lighter, more breathable construction. They're made with 3 layer eVent on the top portion, eVent being a waterproof but also very breathable fabric. The bottom section is 600D ballistic polyester, which is tough, but not as heavy as the 1000D nylon on the Crocodiles above. They're also quite a bit cheaper than the Crocodiles, which will likely appeal to many people. So another pair of full length waterproof gaiters for backpacking, but with a much lighter, more breathable design. Unfortunately there's no exact weight given for them.
- Outdoor Research Rocky Mountain Low Gaiters - If you would prefer a pair of ankle gaiters to take backpacking then the Rocky Mountain gaiters from Outdoor Research are an excellent choice. They're made with nylon packcloth that has a durable water repellent finish, so they're water resistant, rather than fully waterproof. The good news about that is that they're far more breathable, and thus a better option for better weather, where rain is a possibility, rather than an inevitability. The pair weighs just 4.3 ounces, or 121 grams.