Gaiters are definitely convenient when it rains, or when your in terrain where you’re kicking up a lot of dust and rocks, but in a mountaineering situation, a good pair of mountaineering gaiters can be essential. If there’s snow on the ground, it will only take a few steps before you’ve got snow going down your boots if you neglected to bring a good pair of gaiters. And for scree slopes, gaiters can be essential for keeping all kinds of material from finding its way in to your boots.
Mountaineering GaitersWhat to look for when you're looking for mountaineering gaiters.
- Height – Depending on what the conditions are, you may be just fine with ankle gaiters. If you’re trying to avoid material getting in to your shoes or boots when navigating scree slopes, for instance, then ankle gaiters are likely all you need. But for deep snow, the mid-calf length gaiters are a better choice.
- Waterproof – Again, this comes down to what you intend to use your mountaineering gaiters for. Scree slopes certainly don’t require that your gaiters be waterproof, but snow has a habit of sticking to gaiters, where your body heat will melt in, and so snow likely necessitates waterproof gaiters.
Best Mountaineering GaitersSome of the very best choices for mountaineering gaiters.
- Outdoor Research Crocodile Gaiters (Women's) - The Crocodile gaiters have been around since at least 1999, when they won the Backpacker Magazine Editor's Choice award, and it's easy to see why. They're made with a 3 layer Gore Tex upper, which is tough enough to withstand abuse and also keep out water and snow, while the bottom section is 1000D cordura nylon, which will be more than tough enough to shrug off boot rubbing, scree fields and anything else. The top uses a buckle and strap to secure to your leg.
- The North Face Gore-Tex Gaiters - These are a pair of gaiters quite similar to the Crocodile gaiters above, but without their impressive history. They're a Gore Tex upper, so that the snow and rain stays outside, and doesn't get in. The lower section is 1000D cordura nylon, which is more than tough enough for scree fields and the like. The top is even a similar buckle and strap system. So another excellent Gore Tex mountaineering gaiter choice.
- Rab Latok Extreme Gaiters - When it comes to mountaineering gaiters Gore Tex is the obvious choice, but not the only choice. The Latok gaiters from Rab are made with eVent, a fabric similar to Gore Tex, though more breathable. They're made to work well with larger mountaineering boots, and use 500D nylon for the bottom section, which is tough enough to stand up to plenty of abuse. The top is a drawcord enclosure, and they come in three different sizes.