MLD LightSnow Gaiters with Inov-8 Terrocs
While gaiters keep my socks dry from external moisture, I've never found ones that keep my socks dry when my calf muscles sweat. This is a problem in winter because my socks become moist during the day and my feet get cold in camp. It's also a problem in spring and summer because I develop a heat rash if I wear gaiters continuously for more than a few days. I've tried wearing all sorts of different pants underneath gaiters and many different sock and shoe combinations, but nothing seems to make a difference.
Regardless, I do consider gaiters to be an essential piece of gear in certain circumstances. So why wear them?
Why Wear Gaiters?
I wear leg gaiters to:
- keep my socks dry when walking through snow, mud, wet grass and such
- keep sticks and stones out of my shoes
- keep ticks from crawling up my legs
- limit the damage that I do to winter pants from poorly aimed crampon strikes
- provide added insulation for my legs in winter
MLD's LightSnow eVent Gaiters
So when Mountain Laurel Designs came out with their LightSnow eVent Gaiters last year, I was eager to try them, given the enhanced breathability of eVent over Gore-Tex. I hoped that eVent gaiters would let "the sweat out" and provide me with a better year round gaiter solution, a magic bullet, so to speak.
Mountain Laurel Designs, LightSnow eVent Gaiters
LightSnow gaiters are calf-high, ending just below the knee. The top of the gaiters secure around the top of the calf muscles using a shock cord and cord lock system. The bottom secures with a shock cord loop that runs under the arch of your hiking shoe and a plastic hook that clips onto your front shoe laces. However, unlike other high gaiters, you have to put them on before you put on your shoe.
The total weight of the LightSnow gaiters is 2.5 oz (L) and they cost $55 a pair.
MLD LightSnow Gaiters are Calf-High
Early Spring Use
I bought the LightSnow gaiters just before I hiked across Scotland last May in the TGO Challenge. We had abnormally warm weather this year, and I developed a heat rash from wearing the gaiters, which I mitigated by rubbing zinc oxide onto my calves to keep my skin dry.
Ticks have invaded Scotland and I continued to wear the LightSnows despite the discomfort to avoid any unwanted visitors. Did I mention that poisonous adders also live in Scotland's heather? A sobering fact, even in Scotland.
Preliminary Conclusion: Just because they're made from eVent, the LightSnow gaiters were probably not the best choice for spring time walking on this particular adventure.
When I got back to the US, I shelved the LightSnows until this autumn and the early winter, where I wanted the extra moisture protection they are designed to provide. Wearing them on my lower legs also provides a welcome insulation benefit that can't be ignored.
Rolled Up LightSnow Gaiters on Winter Boots
However, I still continue to sweat in the LightSnow's despite the colder and drier winter weather. Once I get warmed up, I roll them down to cool off. This works in a fashion, but I wish the LightSnows were more breathable to begin with.
Ironically, my heavy Outdoor Research Crocodile gaiters are a more flexible choice than the LightSnows, even though I sweat just as much in them. The Crocodiles have a Gore-tex seam that runs along the front the gaiter, from the top to the bottom, which lets me take them off when I'm too hot. Honestly, I wish the LightSnow's provided such a capability, but even more, I wish they were much more beathable than they've proven to be.
Disclosure: The author owns this product and purchased it using their own funds.
Has anyone else had a better experience with these gaiters?