Here’s a quick quiz for all outdoor enthusiasts -
What are gaiters are good for?
- Preventing snow getting inside your boots when ski touring or snowshoeing
- Keeping mud (and even water to a degree) out of your boots during stream crossings
- Preventing thorns, burrs and grass spikelets from getting into your socks
- Warding off ticks which carry Lyme Disease
- Preventing sharp undergrowth from destroying your hiking pants / rain pants
- All of the above
The answer is 6. – gaiters prevent all kinds of things from getting into your footwear and socks and damaging your lower pant legs, and they do it twelve months of the year.
You could be forgiven for having answered that gaiters are to prevent snow getting in your boots, because this is how they are perceived in many markets around the world. If you’re reading this in Australasia, you already knew that gaiters are a year-round piece of gear. For the rest of you – it may be time for a re-think.
The key to making a gaiter that will survive forays into thorny, spiky undergrowth is build quality. Sea to Summit gaiters feature tough fabrics and materials, designed to go the distance – whether that distance includes striding through spinifex grass in Tasmania or bushwhacking in Alaska. You may adopt the habit of backpacking in shorts and gaiters rather than in long trekking pants, and thus you may find yourself being mistaken for being a New Zealander – the above setup is the standard Kiwi clothing regimen for Tramping (backpacking) in New Zealand.
Even the budget-priced Overland Gaiter is made of 450 D Nylon, and features a 2” / 50mm wide hook-and-loop closure at the front to protect your shins and instep as you wade through the rough stuff.
However – if it is ultimate toughness you are looking for, the Quagmire eVent Gaiter is the way to go. The upper is made of a breathable eVent laminate with a 70D face fabric; an alloy buckle with a hook release provides adjustment. The lower section is built of 1000 D Cordura®, with a 3/16 stainless steel lace hook. A 2”/50mm wide reinforced hook-and-loop closure shrugs off branches and undergrowth; but the toughest part of this gaiter is the underfoot strap. Made of pressure injected webbing, it is to all intents and purposes indestructible. It’s also available as a separate product if you should want to upgrade the Alpine Gaiter or a pair of gaiters from another brand. The Alpine Gaiters are a lighter version of the Quagmire; and are more usually used for mountaineering and backcountry skiing where weight is important.
Whichever Sea to Summit gaiters you choose, we have a suspicion that you’re going to use them a lot more than you might think.
See you out there on – and off - the trails.