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Breathable Gaitahs
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Christopher Wilke

Locale: Colorado
Breathable Gaitahs on 08/25/2011 23:09:24 MDT Print View

I hate rocks in my shoes when I'm backpacking. I live near the Rocky Mountains. I like to wear gaiters while backpacking in the Rocky Mountains to keep my shoes rock free. I've been using MLD event gaiters for the past year but don't like overly sweaty feet. Hiking in 50F temps in MLD event gaiters is great. Hiking in 90F+ heat with MLD event gaiters makes my feet sweat like we're trying to save a dehydrated camel. Yeah, not good. I've had my eye on dirty girl gaiters but picked up some stretchy fabric from Rockywoods bargin bin while up there. Looked it up later and saw it was UA heat gear fabric. Pretty stretchy, pretty breathable and pretty durable feeling so I said to myself, "Self. This might make some nice gaiters." I also picked up some no slip elastic like on biking shorts to prevent slipping. Here's what was spawned.

In Action
Gaitahs 01

Gaitahs 02

Gaitahs 03

Instep bungee cord detail
Gaitahs 04

Final Weight = 0.88oz each (1.76 for the pair)

I love these gaiters. Very breathable, decent drying speed and they stay put pretty well. I'm going to have to try a different technique for sewing the no slip elastic as I've had a few sections of seams rip out while putting them on. Nothing that affects functionality but I'm sure I can do better. I just held the elastic stretched while sewing. Overall this work pretty well but not perfect. Any suggestions?

Edited by wilke7000 on 08/25/2011 23:11:55 MDT.

Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Re: Breathable Gaitahs on 08/26/2011 09:10:08 MDT Print View

Nice solution to the problem. These gaitors would also keep mosquitoes from biting ankles in the gap between shoes and pants.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Breathable Gaitahs on 08/26/2011 09:46:48 MDT Print View

Great idea

I usually wear longer gaiters but they're so heavy, been thinking about making something smaller, you have now stimulated ideas

Maybe you don't need the loop that goes under the foot. Let gravity hold it down in place. If you were walking through snow the gaiter would rise up, but you're just trying to keep dirt out so maybe there's no force pushing the gaiter up. The loop will get chewed up by rocks, as in your picture, but it's easy to replace so I guess that doesn't matter.

Maybe they'de stay in place if the elastic made the gaiter just slightly constrict against your ankle. Like have the gaiter form a sleeve and run a piece of elastic inside it. Maybe have a closure so you could adjust length of elastic.

Since your ankle is at it's thinest right where the top of gaiter is it won't tend to ride up.

If the fabric had enough stiffness it wouldn't collapse and the top go down.

Christopher Wilke

Locale: Colorado
Re: Breathable Gaitahs on 08/26/2011 21:09:26 MDT Print View

The nice thing about the MLD gaitors is they have an elastic cord with cord lock at the top. At camp I would just tuck my pants into them, put on my wind shirt and head net and be mosquito free. These don't work quite as nice in that regard but not bad either.

Thanks Jerry. Initially, I did not include the instep cord thinking the gripper elastic on the shoe side would be enough. It would stay put for a little while but eventually rode up. The motion of walking tends to make it slip. Once I added the cord, it stays in place the whole day. The gripper elastic works great on skin and the top part doesn't budge. The instep cord does get chewed up. The MLD gaiters have the same thing and I've replaced that cord a few times now. So far I haven't come up with a better solution though. I wanted breathable and those fabrics tend to be soft not stiff.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
seams ripping out on 08/26/2011 22:06:43 MDT Print View


The guide to my sewing machine has a diamond-shaped stitch that it recommended for sewing fabrics to elastic tapes. Tried it, and it is bombproof. Moreso than just a zig-zag stitch. It does not interfere with the stretch, and the stitch worked no matter how much the tape was stretched under the fabric during sewing. Of course I had to hold both ends of the materials while feeding them through the machine.

Christopher Wilke

Locale: Colorado
Re: seams ripping out on 09/06/2011 18:49:30 MDT Print View

Thanks for the tip Samuel. I looked at my sewing machine and it has a double diamond stitch option but I couldn't get it to work right. I'm not sure if it's a thread tension issue or what. I'll have to look into it more.