Scratched calves, muddy boots and wet socks are a thing of the past for Myrthe following her investment in a pair of indestructible ankle gaiters.
Ankle gaiters are one of those things that I didn’t realise how much I needed in my life until I owned a pair.
I bought my gaiters a few years ago as they were on the compulsory gear list for my upcoming Snowcraft course. Ever since, I’ve taken them on all sorts of trips, and they’ve been more valuable than I would’ve ever thought.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t take my gaiters on every hike I go on, instead, I’ll assess if they are a must for either the terrain or the weather I’m heading into. If there’s a chance I’ll be sinking in my boots, or battling scratchy bush, you bet I’ll bring them along.
Here are six reasons why I am glad I ended up with a pair of gaiters!
1. Gaiters Keep Snow and Mud Off and Out of Your Boots
This is my number one reason to pack my gaiters, and any trip where I might encounter snow I’ll make sure to throw them in my pack.
With gaiters fitted, you won’t end up with snow down your boots, and your boots will not get soaked as quickly while you are wading through the snow.
In freezing temperatures, this can easily make the difference between being comfortable or being cold AF.
Similar to snow, it’s great to have gaiters when you’re on muddy tracks. With most of the mud ending up on your gaiters instead of on your boots, pants or legs, it’s much quicker and easier to get yourself (somewhat) clean at the end of the day.
Gaiters are very easy to clean as you can just put them under the tap, or allow them to dry so you can rub the dry mud off.
Photo – Marshall Frasier
Photo – Sam McCloy
Photo – Tegan Larissa
2. When Wearing Crampons, Gaiters Protect Your Legs or Pants
Walking around with spikes underneath your feet is asking for trouble.
If it wasn’t for my gaiters, I would have definitely ripped my nice softshell pants by catching the crampons on my opposite leg. Some mountaineering boots come with built-in gaiters, but this does mean you’ll get pretty hot feet when you aren’t in the snow.
A handy tip: gaiters are a great way to transport your crampons. Just wrap your crampons in your gaiters while you store them in your pack, and the sturdy material will protect the rest of your gear against the spikes.
3. Gaiters Protect Your Legs When You’re Bush Bashing
Ever hiked off-track through any matagouri, Spaniard, cutty grass or any other shrub that seems to be out to get you? No doubt there are Aussie equivalents to these sharp New Zealand shrubs that I encounter.
Whether you’re in the middle of nowhere or accidentally ended up off-trail, gaiters will help you look a bit less mangled afterwards.
Of course, there is limited protection when said prickly bushes reach up to the knee or hip height. So pick your length accordingly!
Also valid: choosing not to wear gaiters to make sure people can tell you’ve had an epic Type 2 Fun adventure over the weekend.
4. Gaiters Can Help Regulate Your Temperature
I love hiking in shorts, and will try to do so in as many months of the year as I can. But those early spring and autumn mornings can be cold!
The combination of wearing shorts and gaiters definitely makes me feel a bit warmer, while still giving me the freedom of movement I love. When the day does warm up, gaiters are a lot easier to take off than to change from pants or leggings to shorts mid-hike.
5. Gaiters Delay Water Getting in Your Boots When Crossing a River
Hiking in New Zealand, I’ve learned multiple techniques to cross a river.
My favourite method is using a bridge, but when this is not an option, I will revert to rock hopping, log balancing or the classic dash-across-to-give-the-water-the-least-amount-of-time-to-penetrate-my-boots technique.
It’s this last river crossing method where gaiters realise their full potential as wearing them will 100% delay any water getting into your boots for at least another millisecond! It’s science.
6. Gaiters Make You Look Great!
You might not know this yet, but gaiters are extremely fashionable.
They go very well with a layer of mud, combined with stripey long johns or just with bare legs if you are working on your gaiter tan.
They also make for a great accessory if you’re wondering if your stubbies are showing too much leg.
They convey a keenness for adventure, a fearlessness and a readiness to take on whatever the trail ends up throwing at you. If you’ve never worn them, give gaiters a try on your next hike and we promise you’ll look great!
Some Good Gaiters
When choosing a gaiter, consider what terrain you think you’ll be entering. How scratchy and tall is the flora? What is the climate? Should they be waterproof and/or breathable? Ankle or knee-length? There are no wrong answers!
Some, perhaps those in warmer climates, might like a lower cut ultra-durable gaiter made of hard-wearing 450D ripstop Polyester like the Sea To Summit Spinifex Gaiter.
While others who prioritise waterproofing and warmth, might look at the Sea To Summit Quagmire Event Gaiters with its top of the line waterproofing.
Whatever gaiters you go for, you can be sure they’ll elevate your hiking to another level.