Wet feet are just about the last thing you want while hiking, camping or backpacking. But even the best waterproof boots have one important flaw, which is that they cant do anything about water coming in down the top of the boot, between the boot and your leg. Which is where waterproof gaiters come in, sealing off that area where water might penetrate. A good waterproof gaiter will also help protect your boots from water and damage from being banged up against rocks and other debris from the trail. For certain conditions, like walking through water soaked brush, waterproof gaiters can be a crucial piece of outdoor gear.
Waterproof GaitersWhat to look for when you’re looking at waterproof gaiters.
- Material – Many materials are claimed to be waterproof, but in reality will just keep you dry for a limited amount of time or limited amount of water, after which you will get wet. So pay attention to the material you are getting. Gore-Tex is always a good choice, but certainly not the only one available.
- Height – Gaiters come in all different lengths, but if your objective is to keep your feet dry, you will be better served by high gaiters that come up to somewhere close to the knee. That way, your whole lower leg is protected, and it will be very difficult for any water to find its way down in to your boot.
Best Waterproof GaitersA few of the better waterproof gaiters currently on the market.
Men's Waterproof Gaiters
- Mountain Hardwear Ascent Stretch Gaiters - First, a great pair of gaiters from Mountain Hardwear. The uppers on these are constructed with a tough, treated nylon, to both keep water out and allow some air in.The lower portion is made of a tougher, more durable nylon to stand up to plenty of abrasion and help protect your boots. They get up to about the mid-calf, and are a good choice for a waterproof gaiter.
- Outdoor Research Crocodiles Gaiters - When it comes to waterproof gaiters, these are an extremely popular choice. The upper portion is constructed with a very durable Gore-Tex, so that you stay dry and your legs can breath a little, and it reaches about the mid calf. The lower portion is cordura and heavy duty pack cloth, to protect your boots from all sorts of abuse. These gaiters won the Backpacker Magazine Editor's Choice Gold Award way back in 1999, and they've only gotten better with time.
Women's Waterproof Gaiters
- Mountain Hardwear Ascent Stretch Gaiters - The same basic waterproof gaiter as the one described in the men's gaiters above. They use a treated nylon for waterproofing, and are a solid choice as a gaiter for wet conditions. These are actually a unisex gaiter, but they come in several different sizes, the smaller sizes being more appropriate for women.
- Outdoor Research Crocodiles Gaiters - Very similar to the men's version described above, but not quite the same. These have the same waterproofing, with a very durable Gore-Tex for the uppers. Where they differ is a few areas, including the color scheme and very likely the length, to accommodate women's shorter legs.