ContentsQUICK ANSWER – THE BEST HIKING GAITERSCOMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST HIKING GAITERSHIKING GAITERS REVIEWSOUTDOOR RESEARCH CROCODILEREI ALPINEOUTDOOR RESEARCH VERGLASOUTDOOR RESEARCH EXPEDITION CROCODILEBLACK DIAMOND GTX FRONTPOINTOUTDOOR RESEARCH WRAPIDOUTDOOR RESEARCH ULTRA TRAILOUTDOOR RESEARCH ROCKY MOUNTAIN LOWREI ACTIVATORHOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST HIKING GAITERSHIKING STYLEPHYSICAL PROTECTIONHEIGHTTHICKNESSSEALDURABILITYWATER RESISTANCECOMFORT Getting back to nature is something we all love, but we also know there is nothing more frustrating than having to call a hike short the annoyance of constantly stopping to empty stones or mud from your boots. Gaiters are a simple and inexpensive piece of equipment which can address all these concerns, but there are a lot of options out there. Are you confident in selecting the best hiking gaiters for your outdoor needs? Not all gaiters are the same, with numerous models, materials, and designs available to suit your preferred style of hiking. Here at The Adventure Junkies we’ve reviewed the various options currently available for each of these popular approaches, to help save you time and money in your search for the best hiking gaiter. For more of our top hiking gear recommendations, check out these popular articles: Tents | Hammocks | Bivy Sacks | Tarps Sleeping Bags | Sleeping Pads | Stoves Backpacks | GPS | Headlamps | Poles| Watches Boots | Shoes | Sandals | Pants | Shorts Base Layers | Fleeces | Down Jackets | Rain Jackets QUICK ANSWER – THE BEST HIKING GAITERS 1. OUTDOOR RESEARCH CROCODILE VIEW AT REI 2. REI CO-OP ALPINE VIEW AT REI 3. OUTDOOR RESEARCH VERGLAS VIEW AT REI 4. OUTDOOR RESEARCH EXPEDITION VIEW AT REI 5. BLACK DIAMOND GTX FRONTPOINT VIEW AT REI 6. OUTDOOR RESEARCH WRAPID VIEW AT AMAZON 7. OUTDOOR RESEARCH ROCKY MTN VIEW AT REI 8. OUTDOOR RESEARCH ULTRA TRAIL VIEW AT AMAZON 9. REI CO-OP ACTIVATOR VIEW AT REI COMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST HIKING GAITERS PICTUREHIKING GAITERSBEST USEWATER RESISTANCEMATERIALHEIGHTWEIGHTPRICERATING PICTUREHIKING GAITERSBEST USEWATER RESISTANCEMATERIALHEIGHTWEIGHT (PER GAITER)PRICERATING Outdoor Research CrocodileOverallWaterproofGoreTexHigh5.1 oz$$$4.4 REI AlpineOverallWater ResistantNylonHigh3.9 oz$$$4.4 Outdoor Research VerglasOverallWaterproofCorduraHigh3.7 oz$$4.6 Outdoor Research ExpeditionExpeditionWaterproofGoreTexHigh6.1 oz$$$4.5 Black Diamond GTX FrontpointExpeditionWaterproofGoreTexHigh4.5 oz$$$4.1 Outdoor Research WrapidTrail RunningWater ResistantNylonLow2.0 oz$$4.0 Outdoor Research Ultra TrailTrail RunningWater ResistantCorduraMedium2.0 oz$$3.0 Outdoor Research Rocky MountainBudgetWater ResistantNylonLow2.4 oz$4.0 REI ActivatorBudgetWater ResistantPolyesterLow0.9 oz$3.8 MULTI-DAYHIKING PACKING LISTDon't forget important gear at home!Print out this free hiking packing list to prepare for your next adventure.Plus, you'll get exclusive content in our newsletter to help you make the most of your time on the trail!UNLOCK THIS LIST* You will get weekly emails with practical hiking advice that complement the information contained in the packing list. 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HIKING GAITERS REVIEWS OUTDOOR RESEARCH CROCODILE Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST FOR: Hikers needing an extremely tough, warm, and waterproof gaiter WATER RESISTANCE: Waterproof MATERIAL: GoreTex HEIGHT: High WEIGHT (PER GAITER): 5.1 oz (145 g) PROS: Very durable, waterproof CONS: Heavy, can get warm REI ALPINE Check out the latest price on: REI BEST FOR: Hikers wanting an all-round gaiter providing full protection, that isn’t too heavy, and provides good water resistance WATER RESISTANCE: Water Resistant MATERIAL: Nylon HEIGHT: High WEIGHT (PER GAITER): 3.9 oz (111 g) PROS: Durable, good protection for its weight CONS: Not waterproof, draw-cord closing mechanism at the top of the gaiter can be uncomfortable OUTDOOR RESEARCH VERGLAS Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST FOR: Hikers seeking a tough, waterproof, and light-weight gaiter WATER RESISTANCE: Waterproof MATERIAL: Cordura HEIGHT: High WEIGHT (PER GAITER): 3.7 oz (105 g) PROS: Low profile leg shape prevents snagging, waterproof, light-weight CONS: Hikers with skinny calves may find the upper section to be too loose, average breathability OUTDOOR RESEARCH EXPEDITION CROCODILE Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST FOR: Hiking in all conditions, and in the toughest terrain such as alpine and off-track WATER RESISTANCE: Waterproof MATERIAL: GoreTex HEIGHT: High WEIGHT (PER GAITER): 6.1 oz (173 g) PROS: Waterproof, extremely abrasion resistant, designed to prevent nicks from crampons, can fit over mountaineering boots CONS: Heavy, can get warm BLACK DIAMOND GTX FRONTPOINT Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST FOR: Hikers looking for a pair of rugged, waterproof gaiters suitable for mountaineering, without being too heavy WATER RESISTANCE: Waterproof MATERIAL: GoreTex HEIGHT: High WEIGHT (PER GAITER): 4.5 oz (128 g) PROS: Can fit over mountaineering boots, waterproof, comfortable CONS: Average breathability, some reports of loop and buckle failures OUTDOOR RESEARCH WRAPID Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Trail runners that want a pair of light-weight gaiters that are extremely quick and easy to put on WATER RESISTANCE: Water Resistant MATERIAL: Nylon HEIGHT: Low WEIGHT (PER GAITER): 2.0 oz (57 g) PROS: Light-weight, innovative design making them very easy to put on, very versatile CONS: Not waterproof OUTDOOR RESEARCH ULTRA TRAIL Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Trail runners wanting a light-weight gaiter that provides a little bit of extra protection up the calf WATER RESISTANCE: Water Resistant MATERIAL: Cordura HEIGHT: Medium WEIGHT (PER GAITER): 2.0 oz (57 g) PROS: Light-weight, good protection to mid-calf, very comfortable CONS: Fiddly under-boot loop, not waterproof OUTDOOR RESEARCH ROCKY MOUNTAIN LOW Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST FOR: Hikers looking for a light-weight gaiter with good water resistance WATER RESISTANCE: Water Resistant MATERIAL: Nylon HEIGHT: Low WEIGHT (PER GAITER): 2.4 oz (68 g) PROS: Light-weight CONS: Not waterproof, limited calf protection REI ACTIVATOR Check out the latest price on: REI BEST FOR: Hikers looking for an extremely light-weight gaiter WATER RESISTANCE: Water Resistant MATERIAL: Polyester HEIGHT: Low WEIGHT (PER GAITER): 0.9 oz (26 g) PROS: Extremely light-weight, easy to fit CONS: Poor durability LEARN HOW TO CHOOSE HIKING GEAR FOR YOUR NEXT ADVENTUREJOIN THE FREE HIKING GEAR COURSEJOIN THE FREE HIKING GEAR COURSE HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST HIKING GAITERS HIKING STYLE All gaiters serve one common purpose, to protect you from the elements. Yet the ways in which they do this vary greatly and are closely related to the style of hiking you prefer. If you enjoy the occasional weekend day-hike on well-made trails, then you will be needing a good ‘all round’ gaiter which will prevent small stones from getting lodged inside your boots. Waterproofing may also be important if it’s likely that you may be required to cross small streams. On the other hand, if you prefer to immerse yourself in the wild, away from marked trails and close to nature, you’re going to be needing a tough, comfortable, and waterproof gaiter that can handle anything nature might throw at you. In recent years, we’ve also seen significant growth in the number of people who enjoy running in the outdoors, or ‘trail running’. If this is you, then you’ll be wanting a gaiter that is light-weight, breathable and providing a basic level of protection. Every hiker has differing needs, and a balance is critical as you don’t want to get caught paying too much for features you don’t need. PHYSICAL PROTECTION Gaiters are typically used to protect against stones and mud from getting into your boots. However, they also protect your shins from scratches and provide an impenetrable barrier against snake bites. There are three factors which will determine the level of protection that a gaiter will provide; it’s height, thickness, and the level of seal that the gaiter provides at its top opening. HEIGHT Gaiter heights will vary from ankle-high to knee-high, with knee-high versions providing a far superior level of protection for your entire lower leg. This does come with more weight, and comfort levels won’t be as high as for a shorter gaiter. THICKNESS The thickness of a gaiter will determine how well it can withstand a beating. Sharp sticks, thorns, stiff under-brush and rocks will all test your gaiters to the limit, and all but the thinnest gaiters will provide excellent protection against snakebite. Thicker gaiters will provide you with the greatest level of protection, but again this will come with increased weight and reduced levels of comfort. SEAL An effective ‘seal’ at the top of a gaiter will prevent stones, twigs, moisture, mud, and other debris from entering your boots. You need a gaiter that can be adjusted at the top, to cater for your own physique and style of hiking. DURABILITY You may choose a gaiter that provides excellent physical protection, but if they only protect you once, then they aren’t going to be of much use! When you’re hiking, your body is in constant motion. Your gaiters will be flexing and folding in response to every step you take, and at the same time your legs will be striking branches and being abraded by rocks. Durable gaiters will be designed to handle these strains and stresses hour after hour, day after day. A quick rule of thumb is to check the ‘denier’ rating of the gaiter material, with a higher rating being denser. For example, 1000D is twice as dense as 500D fabric. The toughest material you can find is canvas, but it is also the heaviest. Canvas gaiters are ideal for the toughest terrains on earth where you will be exploring off-track and camping overnight. The perfect balance for most hikers is by selecting a synthetic gaiter constructed with GoreTex or eVent material, or nylon packcloth. They will give you excellent life but may suffer in densely vegetated off-track regions of the world. If you’re a trail runner then your needs won’t be as onerous, and a light-weight synthetic gaiter will suit your needs. Be sure to also examine the gaiter design. Fasteners, buckles, and loops should not protrude excessively or impede your stride in any way. If this does occur then you will find these components being repeatedly struck to the point of early failure. WATER RESISTANCE Gaiter manufacturers will often use the level of water resistance of their gaiters as a significant point of difference. The reality is, if you’re walking in the rain, through streams of any reasonable depth, or in deep snow, gaiters will not stop your feet from getting wet! In fact, even in dry conditions, your feet will still get wet due to your own perspiration. However, in mud, drizzle, shallow streams or occasional snow a good level of water resistance will stop your feet from getting drenched, and most importantly you won’t be needing to worry so much about the inner of your boot drying off overnight, particularly if you’re above the snow line. A close-fitting gaiter will work best at preventing moisture ingress, but do remember that if it’s too tight then your mobility may be restricted. The gaiter material type does matter to a certain extent but isn’t critical. Synthetics such as GoreTex or eVent will provide excellent water resistance, but they do need to be regularly maintained to keep the level of water resistance at optimal levels. Canvas gaiters are increasingly rare due to their weight, but provide the best water resistance and don’t require as much attention. COMFORT When it comes to buying a gaiter, the comfort or ‘fit’ is extremely important. Just like your boots, you’re going to be wearing them for hours at a time and the last thing you want is for them to become uncomfortable or a hindrance. Poorly designed gaiters can also be fiddly when putting them on and taking them off, so if this is something you’re going to be doing regularly then this is also very important. When you’re hiking, your feet will perspire. A good gaiter will be light and have a high level of breathability, minimizing the level of perspiration and keeping your feet cool. A poorly designed or heavy gaiter will create a hot and humid environment that exacerbates the perspiration, causing your feet to become slippery (possibly leading to blisters) and making the overnight drying-off process that much harder. Modern synthetics such as GoreTex and eVent have improved remarkably, and these are the best fabrics for gaiters if you need a high level of breathability. They also have the added benefit of high levels of water resistance and are light-weight. Nylon packcloth is not quite as breathable as GoreTex or eVent, but won’t cost as much either. Ideally, you would want to try your gaiters on before purchasing, but if this isn’t possible then try to ensure the online retailer has a good return policy. The perfect pair of gaiters will fit snugly over the top of your hiking boots and around your calf. They should have a sturdy loop that passes under the boot to keep it secure, and should open and close easily. If you’re going to be hiking in alpine regions then you may also want to make sure they can be fastened when wearing hiking gloves. HIKING RESOURCESTABLE OF CONTENTSHIKINGTABLE OF CONTENTS 1. FUNDAMENTALS 5. HIKING TRAILS 2. HIKING GEAR 6. HIKING WITH KIDS 3. HIKING CLOTHING 7. HIKING WITH DOGS 4. CAMPING 8. WOMEN'S HIKING 1. FUNDAMENTALS 2. HIKING GEAR 3. HIKING CLOTHING 4. CAMPING 5. HIKING TRAILS 6. HIKING WITH KIDS 7. HIKING WITH DOGS 8. WOMEN'S HIKING Disclosure: The Adventure Junkies is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost for you. We also use other affiliate programs like REI, LeisurePro, Diviac and Liveaboard.com.