The Best Gaiters for Hiking in 2018


Outdoor Research Crocodile

Outdoor Research Crocodile

Although hiking in snowy conditions is not easy, it can be an unforgettable experience to wander around an amazing snow-covered landscape. To be comfortable and safe on snowy trails you will need some additional gear, like for example insulated clothing, winter hiking boots and gaiters.

Gaiters are very useful for hiking on snowy trails because 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 pant legs. You attach them to the boots with an instep strap and lace hooks. Usually, gaiters also have a drawcord at the top which ensures that they stay firmly attached to the pants thus preventing snow and dirt from entering between your pants and the gaiters. As gaiters keep your feet warm and dry while you are hiking in deep snow, they are crucial for comfortable winter trips.

Here we selected the best gaiters for hiking to make your buying decision a little easier. We only listed lightweight gaiters which provide good durability.

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

1. Buying Gaiters for Hiking – What is important?

Material:

High-quality gaiters are made of a fabric that is not only waterproof but also breathable – like Gore-Tex, eVent etc. Waterproof/breathable fabrics differ in design and utilized waterproof technology.

There are three different designs of waterproof/breathable fabrics; 2-layer, 2.5-layer and 3-layer design. 3-layer waterproof/breathable fabrics (face fabric, membrane and a liner) provide the best durability and weather protection. Therefore, most gaiters are made of 3-layer fabrics.

2.5-layer and 2-layer waterproof/breathable fabrics are mainly used for rainwear (jackets, pants etc.). They don’t provide as good durability as 3-layer fabrics but on the other hand rainwear is also not as exposed to abrasion as gaiters are – except when it comes to ice climbing and similar activities. For such activities, more expensive, 3-layer rain jackets are recommended. Unlike rainwear, gaiters made of 3-layer fabrics are not significantly pricier than those made of 2-layer or 2.5-layer fabrics. Note that these layers are bonded together and thus not seen.

A fabric is made waterproof by utilizing a membrane or a coating. Fabrics that have a membrane are lighter and provide better weather protection and breathability than fabrics which utilize a coating. However, they are also pricier.

Reinforcements:

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

Weight:

Gaiters should be lightweight as all other hiking gear. Light gear allows you to hike faster and reach your goals easier. All gaiters in this selection weigh less than 15 ounces (pair weight).

Functionality:

Gaiters should be easy to put on. Therefore, modern gaiters are equipped with Velcro front entries which allow you to quickly attach them around the pants. Older models of gaiters had zips which were difficult to use – especially if you were wearing gloves.

2. The Best Gaiters for Hiking Review

The Best Gaiters

The Best Gaiters

The Best Gaiters for Hiking in 2018 – List

  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)10 oz.8.1 oz.7.4 oz.9.4 oz.11 oz.
Weight -
Metric (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 mountaineering and tough expeditions. They are made of a 3-layer Gore-Tex fabric which provides great breathability, durability and weather protection. Furthermore, they are reinforced with a 2-layer Cordura fabric in the lower part. This is very practical because this part of gaiters is very exposed to tears from crampons. Even though the Cordura fabric is sturdier than the Gore-Tex fabric, it does not significantly decrease the breathability of the gaiters. On the contrary, Cordura is known for being very breathable. The Crocodile gaiters are also equipped with double-stitched Velcro front entries which allow you to put them 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 film and therefore provide 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 cam buckles and therefore allow you to quickly adjust the right fit. The Outdoor Research Crocodile might not be the lightest gaiters, but because they provide great durability and functionality, they rank first in this selection of the best gaiters.

 

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 very well-made. Because they are very light, they are perfect for ice climbing and other demanding activities on snow-covered slopes. The gaiters are made of a breathable and waterproof 3-layer Gore-Tex fabric. In the lower part they have an abrasion guard which is 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 which can be attached to the boot’s lace from the underside.  The Black Diamond Apex GTX gaiters are also equipped with side-release top closures which can be easily used, no matter the conditions. Next to the buckles there are even reflective panels which help you find them in low visibility conditions. The hook and loop front entries allow you to put the gaiters on without 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 Black Diamond Apex GTX and Outdoor Research Crocodile gaiters listed above in fabric; instead of Gore-Tex, they are made of a 3-layer Pertex Shield fabric. The Pertex Shield fabric is super light, waterproof and breathable. However, it does not provide as good breathability as Gore-Tex because it uses a polyurethane coating instead of a membrane. Due to the Pertex Shield fabric, these gaiters are the lightest pair of gaiters listed here – they weigh merely 7 ounces. The Outdoor Research Verglas gaiters otherwise have 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 of the Crocodile gaiters. For example, the foot panel is made of 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 want extremely light gaiters for different activities in snowy conditions.

 

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 gaiters provide great functionality. They are made of eVent fabric which is super breathable (more so than the Gore-Tex fabric) and very light. The eVent fabric has a hydrostatic head of 30.000 mm and MVTR (Moisture Vapor Transmission Rate) 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 provides 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 also feature Velcro front closures, rubberized abrasion-resistant instep straps and single-hand drawcord top closures for easy use while you are wearing gloves.

 

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. However, the low price comes at a cost. This is the heaviest pair of gaiters in this review – it weighs more than 10 ounces. Furthermore, the protection against abrasion in the ankle area is not as robust 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 is a great pair of gaiters for the price.

 

Pros:

  • Price
  • Instep strap

Cons:

  • Weight
  • Material

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