Gaiters are one piece of backpacking and hiking equipment that a lot of people don’t take advantage of, but would probably be thankful that they did. The best gaiters can do quite a lot for you, such as keep your feet dry, and keep debris from clogging up your boots or shoes, and without trapping all the hot air and moisture that is trying to escape. Of course there are a few different options available when it comes to gaiters, and you have a few choices to make before you buy.
Best GaitersWhat to look for when you're looking for the best gaiters.
- Height – First and foremost, you need to decide if you want ankle gaiters, gaiters that reach all the way up to the bottom of the knee, or something in between. Ankle gaiters are good for three season hiking, but you may want the taller ones for something like trekking through fields of powdery snow.
- Waterproofing – There are plenty of gaiters that are waterproof, and plenty that aren’t. Waterproof gaiters are great, but the trade off is that waterproof gaiters wont breath as well as a pair of gaiters that are just water resistant. So if you need waterproof get them, but otherwise you’ll likely be happier with a water resistant option.
Best Gaiters ReviewsReviews of some of the better gaiters for a variety of uses.
- Outdoor Research Crocodiles Gaiters - Having won the Backpacker Magazine Editor's Choice Gold award way back in 1999, these gaiters have remained a favorite with hikers, backpackers and many others, for the simple reason that they're an excellent pair of gaiters. They use very durable Gore Tex for the upper section, and even more durable cordura nylon for the bottom. A great pair of gaiters to use for anything from mountaineering to a little light hiking in the rain. They also come in a women's version.
- Rab Hispar Gaiters - If you want a mid-calf gaiter, but don't want something quite as heavy duty as the Crocodiles, then the Hispars are a great choice. They use eVent instead of Gore Tex for the upper section, eVent being waterproof, but a lot more breathable than Gore Tex. The bottom section is a lighter nylon, and the price is also considerably less than the Crocodiles. A very good gaiter for general hiking and outdoor adventures.
- REI Desert Gaiters - If you're just interested in something that will keep debris, and maybe the odd rain shower out of your shoes, then an ankle length gaiter like the Desert Gaiters from REI are an ideal choice. They're designed to fit trail running shoes and similarly sized shoes and boots. They're also nylon, with no waterproofing or water resistance to speak of, but with a UPF rating of 30+. So they wont keep rain out, but they're also very breathable, and a good choice for warm weather.