Before I was an avid hiker and avid snowshoer, I thought gaiters were only worn by military personnel and equestrians. Now I know how important they are for hikers, snowshoers, and mountaineers.
Gaiters are used to prevent sand, rocks, or snow from slipping in-between your pants and the top of your boots. Little pebbles in your boots or icy cold snow can be quite uncomfortable!
Types of Gaiters:
- Desert Gaiters: These are short gaiters that go up just about 5 inches above the top of your boots, are lightweight and breathable. I use them on desert hikes to places like Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley National Park, as well as other spots in the Southwest U.S. that are dry and sandy. They can be worn over low top trail running shoes, low top hiking boots, or higher top boots.
- Snow Gaiters: Snow gaiters are what help keep my pants and feet dry when I snowshoe. They are much longer than desert gaiters and typically extend up to the knees. They are thicker and highly water repellent, and usually have snaps or Velcro to secure them on top of your leg and boots.
Gaiters Shopping Tips:
- Make sure your snow gaiters have a drawstring at the top. Be sure to get a pair with a drawstring at the top, which you can use to keep the gaiters cinched around your leg. The last thing you want is your gaiters sliding down your calves!
- Look for gaiters with cords or straps that are replaceable. If you’re like me, you want your gear to last for many years. With gaiters, there is a strap or cord that runs below your boot that will eventually wear out. Look for gaiters where you can easily replace those straps or cords.
Hiking Lady’s Favorite Gaiters:
|REI Desert Gaiters: I use my Desert Gaiters during the spring and summer in dusty, sandy areas, such as Death Valley National Park and Joshua Tree. They do a nice job of keeping out sand and bugs! This pair is nice because they are easy to get on and off. The shoelaces on the bottom tend to wear easily, but you can simply replace them with another shoe string when they wear out. Check out the Hiking Lady product review of these walking gaiters!
|Outdoor Research Women’s Verglas Gaiters: These snow gaiters are great for snowshoeing and summer hikes in the mountains. Last July in the Sierra Nevadas there was a lot more snow than usual, and I was very thankful I had these gaiters with me to keep out the ice and snow. I used the same pair for my Yosemite snowshoeing trip and every time I snowshoe in the local mountains. Love ’em!