The Best Gaiters for Hiking


Outdoor Research Crocodile

Outdoor Research Crocodile

Although hiking through snow is not the easiest thing to do, it can be an unforgettable experience to wander around an amazing snow-covered landscape. In order to be comfortable and safe on snowy trails you will need some additional equipment such as insulated clothing, winter hiking boots and gaiters. Gaiters are very useful as they prevent snow and dirt from entering your boots – and few things are more annoying than having snow melting inside your boots. Gaiters are worn over the top of your boots and over the lower part of your trouser legs. They are attached to the boots with an instep strap and lace hooks. Additionally they usually have drawcord top closures which ensure that they stay firmly attached to the pants thus preventing snow and dirt from entering between the pants and the gaiters. As gaiters keep your feet warm and dry while hiking in deep snow, they are crucial for comfortable winter trips.

Here we selected the best gaiters for hiking in order to make your buying decision easier. We were especially looking for lightweight products that offer great durability.

If you are planning to hike on icy terrain, we recommend that you also check our reviews of the Best Crampons for Hiking and Best Ice Axes for Hiking. For those who intend to hike on trails covered with deep snow, we also made a review of the Best Snowshoes for Hiking.

1. Buying Gaiters for Hiking – What is important?

Material:

Gaiters should be made of a fabric that is not only waterproof but also breathable, like Gore-Tex, eVent etc. Waterproof/breathable fabrics differ by design and waterproof technology.

Currently there are three different designs of waterproof/breathable fabrics available; 2-layer, 2.5-layer and 3-layer design. Fabrics that use a 3-layer design (face fabric, membrane, liner) offer the best durability and weather protection and thus most gaiters are made of 3-layer fabrics. 2.5-layer and 2-layer waterproof/breathable fabrics are mainly used for rainwear (jackets, pants) as they are less expensive and durable. As rainwear is not as exposed to abrasion as gaiters are, it also doesn’t require the same durability – except when it comes to alpine climbing and similar activities where (expensive) 3-layer rainwear is usually used. In this review we only listed gaiters that are made of 3-layer fabrics for good durability. Unlike rainwear, gaiters made of 3-layer fabrics are not significantly pricier than those that use the other two designs.

When it comes to waterproof technology, there are laminates and coatings. Laminates are equipped with a membrane that prevents liquid water from passing through but at the same time allows vapor to pass through. These membranes are very thin and therefore laminates usually offer very good breathability. Coatings, on the other hand, are painted directly on to the interior of a garment and are usually thicker than membranes as it is fairly difficult to apply coating to the fabric in an even layer. Therefore, they are also less breathable than the membranes.

Reinforcements:

The lower part of gaiters is usually reinforced with a resilient fabric such as Cordura or Kevlar. This additionally protects the gaiters against abrasion. It is very common that a hiker accidentally gets his/her crampons hooked in the gaiters and tear them up. Therefore, a reinforced lower part is indeed a great feature.

Weight:

Gaiters should be light as all other hiking equipment. Light equipment allows you to hike faster and reach your goals easier. All gaiters in this review weigh less than 400 grams (pair).

Functionality:

Gaiters should be designed so that they can be put on easily and quickly. More or less all the latest models are equipped with a Velcro front entry which allows you to quickly attach them around the pants. However, some models are still equipped with zips which are more difficult to use – especially when wearing gloves.

2. The Best Gaiters for Hiking Review

The Best Gaiters

The Best Gaiters

  1. Outdoor Research Crocodile
  2. Black Diamond Apex GTX
  3. Outdoor Research Verglas
  4. Rab Latok Alpine
  5. Mountain Hardwear Ascent

Comparison

Feature/Product Outdoor Research Crocodile Black Diamond Apex GTX Outdoor Research Verglas Rab Latok AlpineMountain Hardwear Ascent
Weight (pair)289 g230 g210 g266 g304 g
MaterialGore-Tex, CorduraGore-TexPertex Shield, Cordura eVent, Tough Robic Nylon Nylon, HardWear Tarp 25
Design3-layer3-layer3-layer3-layer3-layer
HeightKneeKneeKneeKneeKnee
Outdoor Research Crocodile

Outdoor Research Crocodile

1. Outdoor Research Crocodile

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking
  • Ice Climbing

The Outdoor Research Crocodile gaiters are extremely robust and therefore perfect for mountaineers who need reliable snow/water protection on their tough expeditions. They are made of a 3-layer Gore-Tex fabric which provides great breathability, durability and protection. Furthermore, they are reinforced with a 2-layer Cordura fabric in the lower part. This is very practical because this part of the gaiters is most exposed to tears and rips from crampons. Even though the Cordura fabric is sturdier than the Gore-Tex, it does not significantly decrease the breathability of the gaiters. On the contrary, Cordura is known for being fairly breathable. The gaiters are also equipped with double-stitched Velcro front entries which allow you to put the gaiters on quickly and easily. The instep straps are made by BioThane – a well-known manufacturer of durable sport accessories. The straps are coated with a protective shield and therefore offer superb durability. In addition to the instep straps the gaiters have lace hooks which ensure that they stay firmly on your boots. The top closures use a cam buckle and therefore allow you to quickly adjust the right fit. The Outdoor Research Crocodile might not be the lightest pair of gaiters, but as the product offers incredible durability and functionality, it is on the first place in this review.

 

Pros:

  • Durability
  • Protection
  • Reinforced with Cordura
  • Price

Cons:

  • /

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Video

Black Diamond Apex GTX

Black Diamond Apex GTX

2. Black Diamond Apex GTX

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking
  • Ice Climbing

The Black Diamond Apex GTX gaiters are extremely well designed. Because they are very light, they are perfect for ice climbing as well as for other demanding activities on snow-covered slopes. The gaiters are made of a breathable and waterproof 3-layer Gore-Tex fabric. In the boots area they have an abrasion guard made of a welded 600-denier double layer fabric. This sturdy fabric efficiently protects the gaiters against abrasion and tears. Great fit is ensured with the neoprene-coated instep strap and lace hook that can be attached to the boot’s lace from the underside.  Additionally the gaiters are equipped with side-release buckle top closures that can be easily used, no matter the conditions. Next to the buckles there are even reflective panels which help you find them in the night. The hook and loop front entries allows you to put the gaiters on without any hassle.

 

Pros:

  • Material
  • Functionality
  • Abrasion Guard

Cons:

  • /

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Outdoor Research Verglas

Outdoor Research Verglas

3. Outdoor Research Verglas

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking
  • Ice Climbing

The Outdoor Research Verglas gaiters differ from the above reviewed Black Diamond Apex GTX and Outdoor Research Crocodile gaiters by using a different fabric – the 3-layer Pertex Shield fabric. The Pertex Shield fabric is known for being super light, waterproof and fairly breathable. However, it does not provide as good breathability as Gore-Tex because it uses a polyurethane coating instead of a membrane. Because of the Pertex Shield fabric, these gaiters are the lightest pair of gaiters in this review – they weigh merely 210 grams. The Outdoor Research Verglas gaiters otherwise offer quite similar features as the Outdoor Research Crocodile gaiters; they have Cordura reinforced ankles, cam buckle top closures, Velcro front entries and metal boot lace hooks. However, some materials used on the Verglas gaiters are less durable than those used on the Crocodile gaiters. For example the foot panel is made out of a 1000-denier fabric on the Crocodile gaiters, while it is made of 500-denier fabric on the Verglas gaiters. The Outdoor Research Verglas gaiters are best for those who prefer extremely light gaiters for their winter adventures.

 

Pros:

  • Weight
  • Functionality
  • Reinforced with Cordura

Cons:

  • Breathability

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Rab Latok Alpine

Rab Latok Alpine

4. Rab Latok Alpine

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking
  • Ice Climbing

The Rab Latok Alpine is another pair of high-performance gaiters. The Rab Latok Alpine gaiters are made of eVent which is known for being super breathable (more breathable than Gore-Tex) and very light. The eVent fabric has a hydrostatic head of 30.000 mm and MVTR (Moisture Vapor Transmission Ratio) between 15.000 and 25.000 g/m2/24h. This is indeed a superb result. In comparison, the Pertex Shield fabric which is used for the Outdoor Research Verglas gaiters above has a hydrostatic head of only 10.000 mm and MVTR of 7.000 g/m2/24h and yet it offers good performance. The Rab gaiters are reinforced with Tough Robic nylon for increased durability in the ankle area. In addition to the high-quality materials, the Rab Latok Alpine gaiters gaiters also feature Velcro front closures, rubberized abrasion-resistant instep straps and single-hand drawcord top closures for easy use with gloves on.

 

Pros:

  • Weight
  • Material
  • Breathability
  • Design

Cons:

  • /

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Mountain Hardwear Ascent

Mountain Hardwear Ascent

5. Mountain Hardwear Ascent

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking
  • Ice Climbing

The Mountain Hardwear Ascent is a pair of budget gaiters which meets the standards of most hikers and trekkers. But the low price comes at a cost. This is the heaviest pair of gaiters in this review – it weighs more than 300 grams. Additionally the protection against abrasion in the ankle area is not as good as on the other gaiters in this review. Otherwise, the Mountain Hardwear Ascent gaiters are made of durable nylon and reinforced in the crucial areas with the HardWear Tarp 25 material. They are equipped with Velcro front entries, cam buckle top closures, high-quality lace hooks and pinless boot straps which are adjustable from both sides. All in all, the Mountain Hardwear Ascent gaiters are a great product for the price.

 

Pros:

  • Price
  • Functional Instep strap

Cons:

  • Weight
  • Material

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3. The most attractive product in the review

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