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pant to gaiter to shoe...
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James Dubendorf

Locale: CO, UT, MA, ME, NH, VT
pant to gaiter to shoe... on 04/02/2009 12:40:25 MDT Print View

I am really starting to appreciate the utility of gaiters in many different hiking conditions, and would like to start a discussion focused on the different ways that people arrange their pants, gaiters, and shoes. When using gaiters and shorts, it is pretty straightforward, as shorts and gaiters never meet. When using gaiters with pants, however, I'm still working on a satisfactory arrangement of the two. Trail walking in desert conditions, when the objective is to keep out dust, sticks, rocks, etc. I’ve simply let the legs of my Railrider Weatherpants fall over the tops of a pair of short gaiters. Quite breathable, worked just fine.

In snow conditions, of course, one would want a more reliably “sealed” system with pants inside gaiters. When using gaiters with pants in such conditions, I'm still working on a satisfactory arrangement. For example, I have a pair of REI Mistral pants, some Fairydown gore-tex gaiters that come to just below the knee, and some variety of trail runner depending on conditions.

A few questions:

-In a setup like this, the section of pant leg inside the gaiter seems to become somewhat superfluous, even inhibiting the working of the gore-tex. Do you fold it lengthwise? Roll it up into a cuff? Just let it bunch in there?

-How about when movement seems to either pull pants down because the seal of the gaiter-top is nice and tight, or pull the pants out of the gaiter so that when you return to a standing position the pants above the gaiter are baggy and need to be re-tucked?

-Are pants with built in gaiters any use with trail runners? Most of them that I’ve seen seem best suited for boots rather than trail runners, and so you would need another gaiter anyway. Anyone had good luck with trail runner, independent gaiter, and gaiter built into pant where the pant gaiter is tucked into the independent gaiter, which is then covered by the pant leg?

It would be interesting to hear your ideas about these issues. Anyone experimented with integrating particular gaiters into particular pants? How about cutting pants to a Capri pant-type length to be used with gaiters? Am I missing anything? Would a nice pair of Hammer Pants solve my problems?


Monty Montana
(TarasBulba) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: pant to gaiter to shoe on 04/02/2009 20:59:41 MDT Print View

James, the gaiter I mostly use here in the PNW winter is one from Montbell, made of Schoeller Dryskin fabric and about 6" in height. Since we don't get a lot of pure, dry powder snow, long gaiters aren't all that necessary. If it's post-holeing conditions, then I have my snowshoes. This is paired with light, wool Air Force pants from a military surplus store and Innov8 390s. The pant leg bottoms are given a good, tight fold and then the gaiter pulled up and snapped into place. Once this is done, I'll pull the pant leg out slightly so as to have some slack for unimpeded movement. Same for the summer gaiter except that it's made of cotton, and the wool pants have been replaced by synthetic convertible ones.

Now, back in the old country - where we did have tons of deep powder snow - I did use long gaiters, and I also wore wool knickers and knee socks. The gaiters helped keep snow out of the boot and also to keep the socks dry. If they did get wet, well, then you'ld just have to change the socks only rather than the whole pant ( a precursor lightweight innovation).

I've never heard of pants with an integrated gaiter, but I think you'ld be much better off with a component system. For instance, should you be out for a few days in the Spring, the gaiters would more than likely be quite muddy. If they're seperate from the pants, then they can be easily removed a rinsed off...much less of a hassel than having to wash the whole pant. Happy trails!

Jon Rhoderick
(hotrhoddudeguy) - F - M

Locale: New England
Re: pant to gaiter to shoe... on 04/03/2009 08:16:13 MDT Print View

I am a HUGE fan of simple loops inside hems to create gaiters. I have Patagucci alpine guide pants, and I fashioned the loops when I was bored one day to fit quite tightly against the sole (this was non elastic chord). I got a great seal, and greatly helped with dirt intrusion as well. I'd keep such a setup as an option. I don't have any experiance with shock chord in this application, but I have a feeling my main criteria is durability. My simple nylon lasted about 2-3 months, which is fine for what costs about 50 cents max.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
pant to gaiter to shoe... on 04/03/2009 10:44:48 MDT Print View

I think your questions will all be answered with the new Backpacking Light UL Hammer Pant, yes. But if this fashion-forward design is too much for you then I'll offer my personal gaiter preferences for your consideration.

Summer gaiter use: I only use a gaiter if I expect to be walking off-trail through small scree or gravel that will get into my shoe. In this case I'm wearing a trail runner, shortie gaiter and pant. The pant is free from the gaiter and hangs over the top of it allowing breathability. I don't wear shorts but do at times roll the pant leg up for cooling.

Winter use: I either use a water-resistant, calf-height nylon gaiter pulled up and over the leg of my snowpant when snowshoeing or walking in deep snow. If I expect to be on a packed trail I wear shortie gaiter with pant leg tucked into it.

James Dubendorf

Locale: CO, UT, MA, ME, NH, VT
Re: pant to gaiter to shoe... on 04/04/2009 13:02:55 MDT Print View

Thanks all for the good insights! Monty, I'm curious about the cotton summer gaiters you mention- do they come out when you can be assured of dry conditions?

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: pant to gaiter to shoe... on 04/05/2009 01:33:32 MDT Print View

Hi James

My 2c:

> the section of pant leg inside the gaiter seems to become somewhat superfluous, even
> inhibiting the working of the gore-tex
Definitely not. The trouser fabric keeps your skin grease off the Gore-Tex, extending its functionality enormously. And in the snow the trouser fabric adds warmth.

> pull the pants out of the gaiter so that when you return to a standing position the
> pants above the gaiter are baggy and need to be re-tucked?
What you are describing could be called 'plus fours' - an older and extremely functional style of British outdoor trousers. Anyhow, it is perfectly normal to have a baggy bit around the knees above the gaiter (especially among winter climbers). If my trousers are not baggy around my knees when I put my gaiters on, I pull them out of the gaiters by an inch or so.

> pants with built in gaiters
Not my cup of tea. I like my gaiters separate.


Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re : pant to gaiter to shoe on 04/05/2009 01:58:13 MDT Print View

Here in the UK, Hiking Breeks used to be popular. They come to just below the knee, and fasten with a popper or button. The idea was you wore long socks, and the breeks fastened over the top of them. Your gaiters covered the socks. Very comfy, but they went out of fashion for some reason. I last wore a pair in the '80's.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
long enough pants == no gaiters on 04/05/2009 19:31:22 MDT Print View

Assuming not a lot of snow or wet conditions that might, say, involve goretex socks, I've become a convert to the idea of no gaiters, just reasonably long pant legs that cover the shoe top to some degree. I don't get much stuff in my shoes as a result, my feet & ankles stay cooler, and it's faster and easier to take off and then put back on my shoes at a break.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
breeks on 04/06/2009 01:09:40 MDT Print View

Over a quarter of a century ago I had two superb breeks made by Rohan. One was made of a light poly cotton for summer use. It as the other, however, that really excelled. It was made from what would today be called soft shell material, and was very water resistant and breathable. As teenager I would walk for 8 hours across Dartmoor in January in non stop heavy rain with a long jacket and gaiters, but no over trousers needed - ah happy days.

Edited by jephoto on 04/06/2009 02:28:43 MDT.