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Convince me of the merits of gaiters.
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John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Convince me of the merits of gaiters. on 05/17/2011 07:53:08 MDT Print View


Yes you can live without them. I have up to this point. But I will be using Dirty Girl Gaiters on my next hike.


I use low quarter shoes and socks for hiking. On my last hike one little piece of trail debris got into my shoe. I am now convinced. I'll be using the Dirty girl Gaiters to keep the dirt and tiny rocks out of my shoes.

Party On,


Robert Carver
(Rcarver) - MLife

Locale: Southeast TN
Re: Convince me of the merits of gaiters on 05/17/2011 08:32:10 MDT Print View

A lot of people use them. A lot of people don't use them. I am on the side that uses them. I like that they keep trail debris out of my shoes and they help to keep my socks clean. I don't find that they make my feet any hotter then if I didn't use them. I prefer OR shortie gaiters for most conditions. I use OR Verglas in the winter paired with my Patagonia baggie shorts.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Convince me of the merits of gaiter on 05/17/2011 08:39:41 MDT Print View

Gaiters are invaluable hiking in mud, snow, scree, or sand. Considering I will see one of these on every trip, I would be more interested in seeing the 'non' merits of gaiters. In my opinion, there aren't any. Especially given the nominal weight of some shorties (i.e. Dirty Girls at less than an oz).

Aaron Benson
(AaronMB) - F

Locale: Central Valley California
re: "Convince me of the merits of gaiters." on 05/17/2011 08:40:32 MDT Print View

I will reiterate the above pro-gaiter posts.

I wear convertible pants as I like to hike in shorts when the weather allows; plenty of trails get narrow and I like the gaiters for the vegetation, as well as helping to keep out rocks and debris from inside the shoes (especially now that I'm wearing low cut trail runners).

A few weeks ago I was in Sequoia. The 12 miles was easy, but not on the legs of my fellow hikers that plowed through the overgrown trail brush without the gaiters. They didn't mind the bleeding scratches (they weren't gushing by any means, but they did need a little attention).

I picked up a pair of Mountain Hardware gaiters here from Gear Swap--cheap--that go up to about me knee. They open along their length so I don't have to take off shoes to put them on or remove them and, they're tough as nails. Overall, an investment I am quite happy with.

Kevin Haskins
(kevperro) - F

Locale: Washington State
Snow & rocks on 05/17/2011 11:04:47 MDT Print View

I agree with most of what has been said. I wore them on my last long hike 1200 miles and they do help keep stuff out of your shoes. I've not wore them in the last 5-6 years on short hikes (<4-5 days) but only because I misplaced one. If I were in the snow for any amount of time I'd go out and buy a pair. For most hiking they fall under the luxury category. I don't consider them as important as trekking poles which I won't go without but if I have them, I'll wear them.

Oh... there are a couple types. The short scree gaiters are the ones you wear for general hiking. The full calf length ones for snow. I'd never wear the bigger ones for general hiking but those Girly gaiters look like a good solution.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
gaiters on 05/17/2011 19:37:39 MDT Print View

I could live without them, but it's easier living w/ them- @ a oz or two (I use the short scree type as well for 3 season use) no real reason to leave them behind, lots of reason to bring them :)

Justin R
(5150Bronco) - F

Locale: Bay Area, Ca.
water proof. on 05/17/2011 23:08:58 MDT Print View

would you guys use these to add to waterproof pants? I would guess gaiters would waterproof boots? Thanks.

Aaron Benson
(AaronMB) - F

Locale: Central Valley California
re:water proof on 05/18/2011 00:15:52 MDT Print View

If gaiters are worn over rain paints, I would assume that they are being worn to protect the often-delicate nature of rain paints, not to add to any waterproofing. I don't wear rain pains, but do wear lower gaiters in the rain, with a rain skirt if necessary.
Depending on the type of gaiter, they can help keep the lower legs dry(er), along with the feet, provided footwear is also water proof/resistant, of course.

Edited by AaronMB on 05/18/2011 00:17:32 MDT.

Michael Febbo
(febbom) - F
water proof on 05/18/2011 00:41:31 MDT Print View

2nd wearing gaiters and a rain skirt for 3 season. I prefer that to rain pants.
If you do use waterproof gaiters with rain pants, for maximum water protection wear them under the pants or water can enter the top of the gaiter and run into your footwear. Wearing the pants over the gaiters creates a shingle effect.

Charles Henry

Locale: Arizona and British Columbia
1 on 05/18/2011 01:54:35 MDT Print View

If you have shoes or boots with a low heel cuff, and you hike for days in scree or lose dirt, it is EXTREMELY useful to have a very light pair of dirty girl gaiters.

If you are working in light powdery snow in winter and again have pants or boots that allow snow to get into your boot, it is important to make sure you have gaiters to prevent snow from entering.

In both these cases, gaiters actually SAVE weight by preventing objects from entering your boots, and can make your backcountry experience dramatically better.

Justin R
(5150Bronco) - F

Locale: Bay Area, Ca.
Thanks. on 05/18/2011 02:11:31 MDT Print View

I appreciate the help and clarification.

So gaiters and rain skirt would be one combo to use....?

What is rain skirt?

Gaiters and rain pants too....

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: water proof. on 05/18/2011 04:46:16 MDT Print View


"...add to waterproof pants? I would guess gaiters would waterproof boots"?

If you are walking through wet grass due to early morning dew fall or light to moderate rain, "water proof" gaiters added to "water proof" pants over "water proof" boots would probably keep your feet dry.

In what kind of temperatures do you expect to be using this combination of gear?

If the temperature rises your feet and legs will more than likely perspire profusely.

When it comes down to say a creek crossing, no boot is water proof past the top opening where you put your foot into the boot / shoe. If the water goes above the top of the boot or shoe for any length of time your feet will get wet. Gaiters may slow the process but they will not stop it.

Party On,


Aaron Benson
(AaronMB) - F

Locale: Central Valley California
re: rain skirt on 05/18/2011 08:32:16 MDT Print View

J. - a rain skirt is just that! Indeed, it's a "wrap" or skirt of some type that one folds/wraps around their waste and provides a level of water resistance/proofing to the legs; skirts can't, or shouldn't be too long or tight, as the fit will influence the hiker's stride. Conditions permitting, a skirt can be a viable alternative to rain paints and can be further complemented with a pair of gaiters.

They're pretty easy to make, which is good for a starter MYOG project, too.

Edited by AaronMB on 05/18/2011 08:46:25 MDT.

Buck Nelson
(Colter) - MLife

Locale: Alaska
Another personal choice on 05/18/2011 09:14:17 MDT Print View

I have used gaiters to keep deep snow out of my boots. I don't use them for 3-season hiking, including dealing with summer snow in the mountains.

For the CDT I read a convincing post somewhere saying that without gaiters the weed seeds would infest your socks so they were needed. So I carried them and wore them a time or two. Then I stopped wearing them and never missed them and mailed them home.

I think one factor for me is on the western trails I usually wear long pants, either for cold, wind or sun. The pant legs cover my socks for the most part, so I don't have much trouble with weed seeds or pebbles in my shoes. On the AT I usually wore shorts and didn't wear gaiters and again, didn't miss them.

Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
Do I or dont I on 05/18/2011 10:21:46 MDT Print View

I quit carrying any gaiters. I have two pairs one high, dry and bullit proof AND HEAVY and one pair low non waterproof and light they both have pros and cons and depending on the trip the time of year I might consider taking them again. Alot of good points made about poisen ivy, weeds, RASPBERRY BUSHES, ouch They will keep feet dryer in a lot of situations if the correct ones are used correctly. For most of my mid to late summer trekking out west which seems to be in the wind river range mostly/ lately they will stay home. I dont NEED them. The smokeys in rainy season Id be thinking about it. But then again there are times that I still like to where goretex boots

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: re: rain skirt on 05/18/2011 10:39:30 MDT Print View

these are a couple of rain skirts:

Justin R
(5150Bronco) - F

Locale: Bay Area, Ca.
water proof. on 05/18/2011 11:48:36 MDT Print View

Thanks guys for schooling me and educating me on the purposes of it.

I guess one thing is what works when you are hiking in the rain..., is one question.

I wanted to do a hike soon and it will be raining. pack liner & pack cover to water proof backpack. I have jacket now I am looking below now. In the past my boots have been cool, but in down pours they get soaked.

thanks everyone!

Paul Tree
(Paul_Tree) - F

Locale: Wowwww
ID Event Shortie gaiters on 05/18/2011 11:52:45 MDT Print View

ID Event Shortie gaiters are nice medium-duty gaiters by UL standards. 2.5 oz the pair for the current version.

They work with big boots, I use them off the trail to keep from having to stop and clean out my boots. Snow, dirt, rocks, sticks.

They are also nice for keeping the bottom of pants dry. If you are snowshoeing for instance, you can often wear plain nylon pants or even jeans with no prob.

No velcro or zipper, so you have to put them on ahead of time.

I am considering the non-ul OR Salamander gaiters for multi-day snow-rain hiking without snowshoes.

Edit: oh yeah, in the "you can live without them" vein, I have some great old nylon jogging pants where I have walked on the hem and the angle cinch elastic came out of the back half, so I just pull it down and around my heel. Voila-dee-dah, works well in all but snow. Someone must make a clip you can attach to pants hems.

Edited by Paul_Tree on 05/18/2011 11:56:54 MDT.

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: Convince me of the merits of gaiters. on 05/18/2011 17:20:46 MDT Print View

I live in the desert and have never had an issue with thorns or debris accumulating in my shoes, even when cross country hiking. I find any thorns I do get are probably long spikes that will completely ignore a gaiter in the first place. If I worry about my legs getting torn up by brush I just wear lightweight pants instead of shorts which is a much simpler system than shorts and long gaiters. Also helps minimize sun exposure.

I've also never turned an ankle so I may just be more mindful of foot placement than most people.

The only time I've had debris fill my shoes was hiking in sand dunes, however with fine sand and the large mesh on my trail runners I'm pretty sure sand would have entered my shoes gaiters or not.

After a few minor bouts with insects and poison in the beginning I generally stop itching for the rest of the summer, but some people are much more allergic.

Needless to say, I don't wear gaiters. I also don't do much cold weather hiking. For very wet and cool, or snowy wintery, conditions I would definitely consider WP/B gaiters to keep the feet warmer. However I've also just used neoprene socks as an insulated VBL and that seems to work very well, even when hiking through frigid creeks and plan on continuing the neoprene usage instead of the fuss of gaiters (also means I don't have to make/buy gaiters, so maybe laziness is trumping usefulness).