Home / Backpacking Skills / Clothes and Layering / What are Hiking Gaiters?

What are Hiking Gaiters?

 Outdoor Research Hiking Gaiters

Gaiters are an essential element of your gear for winter and spring backpacking. Many backpackers and hikers also use them year round.

In the winter and spring, gaiters provide extra insulation for your lower legs, particularly if you are snowshoeing. During mud season, they are also essential for keeping your socks dry. If you do a lot of bushwacking, they also provide a lot of extra leg protection. Many people will also use them in drier seasons to keep rocks and sand from getting into their boots or trail shoes.

Gaiters come in different lengths called high and low gaiters. High gaiters are used for snowshoeing and mountaineering and extend to just below your knees. There are also special gaiters that are compatible for crampon use. Short gaiters generally cover part of your shin and are used in warmer weather.

Gaiters attach to your boots in two locations: a front hook attaches to your boot or shoe laces at the bottom of the tongue and an adjustable strap made out of string, elastic or plastic extends under your boots where your heels meet the last of your boot. On trail or running shoes gaiters will sometimes attach to a velcro strip on the back of your shoe. When you put them on, they wrap around your lower leg, usually back to front, and seal with a velcro strip that runs from the top of the gaiter to the bottom.

Gaiters are made from many different fabrics including Goretex, nylon and pack cloth. You should think about fabric durability and weight when you select a pair. For example, I recently saw a pair of gaiters manufactured by Outdoor Research made from Paclite, which is a very lightweight but fragile Goretex derivative, and will not stand up to any bushwacking applications without tearing.

I own 2 pairs of gaiters, a high and a low pair. Mine were manufactured by EMS (Goretex) and Outdoor Research (nylon), but these models are no longer available. While my old EMS gaiters are great, I’d stay away from their newer models. EMS gear is not what it used to be.  If you are looking for a new pair, I’d recommend Outdoor Research for high and low gaiters, and 40 below overboots for mountaineering applications. If you are looking for gaiters that will fit trail or running shoes, check out DirtyGirlGaiters.com. These are funny, excellent quality and support a charitable cause.

Most Popular Searches

  • hiking gaiters
  • gaiters hiking
  • gaiters for hiking

Check Also

The Merrill Moab Polar Insulated Winter Hiking Boot has 400g of insulation and is rated down to 20 below.

Merrell Moab Polar 400 Gram Insulated Hiking Boots Review

Merrell’s Moab Polar Winter Hiking Boots have 400 grams of insulation and a wide front …

Winter hiking boot FAQ

Insulated Winter Hiking Boots FAQ: Expert Advice

There are three kinds of winter hiking boots: insulated winter hiking boots, mountaineering boots, and pac boots. Which kind of winter hiking boot is right for you? Here's a detailed guide that explains the differences between these so you can pick the right footwear for winter hiking, snowshoeing, winter backpacking, and winter mountaineering.

Choosing the right combination of gloves for winter hiking and mountaineering can be a frustrating process.

Winter Hiking and Mountaineering Glove Systems

Picking the right gloves or mittens for winter hiking or mountaineering can be a very …

Top 10 best hiking pants

Top 10 Best Hiking Pants – 2017

Hiking pants are an important piece of hiking gear but one that we often take …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *