Many hikers have dealt with water, sand, and rocks in the backcountry. Gaiters can keep these annoying things out of your hiking shoes and keep your feet dry and comfortable. Gaiters not only prevent pebbles from getting into your shoes but also protect your legs from cold weather and rain and protect your ankles and shins against rocks and brush. These lightweight gaiters take up very little space in your bag when they’re not used and are quite affordable.
Gaiters come in many different styles, depending on their intended use. It can be overwhelming to find the right pair. This article will discuss the various styles, materials, sizes, and how to wear them, as well as additional tips for choosing the right pair.
Types of Gaiters
Hiking gaiters can be divided into three categories: trail running/day hiking and hiking/backpacking.
- Trail Running: These gaiters are lightweight and ideal for UL backpacking. Day-hikers and trail runners use them to prevent dirt and pebbles from getting into their shoes. They are not waterproof, but they will protect you from small splashes.
- Backpacking There are many sizes to choose from, ranging from ankle to mid-calf up to knee-high. This gives backpackers and hikers plenty of choices when choosing the right gaiter. Some are waterproof to a certain extent, while others are waterproof completely. These are ideal for long trips, especially when rain or small stream crossings are likely. These are great if you intend to hike in densely wooded areas.
- Mountaineering: You should consider purchasing a pair of mountaineering gaiters if you intend to hike in snowy alpine areas, wet areas, or cross streams. They usually reach the knees and have a waterproof and breathable layer that protects your feet and lower legs from the cold while wicking away moisture. Mountaineering gaiters can also be used for outdoor winter activities such as skiing and snowboarding. Mountaineering gaiters are not as effective as boots and skis with fat laces.
You will need to pick one for each outdoor activity. It is important to consider the terrain and weather conditions you will encounter. Even if your main activity is day-hiking, you may want to invest in waterproof, longer-lasting gaiters that are mid-length and more durable if you live in the Pacific Northwest, where it rains frequently.
Many synthetic materials, such as nylon, spandex, and polyester, can be used to make hiking gaiters. These flexible materials can be adjusted to fit the body, provide comfort, and wick away moisture. Waterproof gaiters are often made from Gore-tex or similar materials.
Hiking gaiters are available in different sizes, just like any other clothing. These will generally fit your shoe size. However, taking measurements is a good idea to ensure they are the right size for you. This is particularly important if you are looking at mid-calf or high-heeled models. Gaiters should fit snugly but not be too tight. Also, they should be snug enough to perform their task without causing any discomfort. However, you do not want to leave any gaps, allowing moisture to build up.
How to Wear Guts
The use of gaiters is very simple. You can slip them on over your boots or hiking shoes, with the instep strap wrapped under your bottom middle. Secure them at your ankle, knee, or mid-calf lengths.
The style of the gaiters will determine how they are attached. The gaiters that are at least an ankle-high can be pulled over your shoes. Some will attach to your footwear’s back with a Velcro (hook and loop) spot. To attach your shoes, glue a piece of hook-and-loop tape to the back. This is a common feature of many gaiters. For extra security, some brands will include an additional hook that can be attached to your shoelaces. These gaiters will have an instep strap with a flexible design that must be tightened.