Best Trekking Gaiters
When you step into the wilderness on your next adventure, you will find that there is plenty of things that are on the ground that could possibly rub or cut your legs, and this is even more apparent if you are going off trail. When backpacking or hiking off trail, you are most likely trekking through the bush and can possibly injure your legs if they are not properly protected. This is why many backpackers are starting to invest in trekking gaiters as they are affordable pieces of gear that will protect your lower legs from small critters and debris that can be found on the woodland floor. if you have been hiking or backpacking and have decided that you want to avoid any irritation or injury to your lower legs, than you may want to invest in one of the trekking gaiters below.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 13 hrs of research
Offers superior protection in winter environments
Easy to put on and take off
- Black Crystal Hiking Ski
- Hillsound Armadillo LT
- Rab Latok Alpine
- Outdoor Research Expedition Crocodile
- Outdoor Research Verglas
- Outdoor Research Rocky Mountain
- Salomon High
- Black Diamond Apex GTX
- Outdoor Research BugOut
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Expert Interviews & Opinions
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top Ten Trekking Gaiters
1. Black Crystal Hiking Ski
Offers superior protection in winter environments
Easy to put on and take off
Not suitable for warm weather environments
If you like to combine a little bit of cross country skiing with your trekking, having a pair of gaiters that can easily handle both is a true bonus. Thankfully, these gaiters from Black Crystal can do just that.Read more
Between the flexible nylon fabric and the adjustable metal buckle, getting a secure fit with these gaiters is fairly easy. These gaiters are designed to easily protect the lower legs and do so with their overall calf-height length.
These gaiters offer two different weights of nylon material, one in the upper portion consisting of a 3-ply 70D fabric, and a thicker, 1000D Cordura material that easily sheds off both water and ice during your treks.
When it comes to protection from the cold and wet of snow, these gaiters offer great protection. In addition, the lower, thicker portion of the gaiters provides great protection against burs, rocks and other small debris that may fly up during a skiing session.
In addition to 15 mm aluminum buckles that are easy to fasten and adjust, these gaiters also feature dual locks for front closure, a Velcro zipper for simple use, and roller buckles on the instep strap for an easy and secure fit.
2. Hillsound Armadillo LT
Long-lasting DWR coating
Wide range of sizes
Straps are stiff, can be difficult to work within the cold
Hillsound began designing and making gaiters in 2012, and the past six years in the industry have allowed them to design and perfect a high-quality product. The Armadillo LT is the highest-end model they carry, and with that price comes great durability and protection.Read more
Similar to most other gaiters on the market in this price range, these are calf height and will protect your ankles and shins from the elements. These gaiters come in five size options, from XS to XL based on your calf circumference. Sizing is unisex, with most users reporting that they run true to size. If you're concerned, however, or fall in between sizes, it's best to order a size up just in case. The fit is comfortable and roomy, even with thicker pants underneath.
The upper is made of Flexia's three-layer fabric, which is designed to be breathable and move with you. The zippers are made by YKK, the global leader in the zipper industry. They're made to be durable and water-repellent, to keep moisture out and ensure a secure and comfortable fit. The lower section is 1000D high-density nylon and it provides solid protection from rocks or other debris you may encounter.
The Hillsound Armadillo Gaiters come with a DWR coating that's fully waterproof and guaranteed to last 50 washes before needing to be reapplied. The synthetic material is made to resist tears and abrasions well, and the YKK zippers are durable and water-repellent.
A pricer option on our list, the Hillsound Armadillo LT gaiters are a solid investment that is built to protect and built to last. The DWR coating lasts up to 50 washes before needing to be reapplied, and the 1000D nylon lower is high density for protection from tears and abrasions.
Rated for extreme temperatures
Unigear is an industry leader, and for good reason. They consistently make high-quality products at affordable prices, and these gaiters are no different. Made of an Oxford and polyester blended material, they offer strong water and puncture resistance while being rated for extreme temperatures.Read more
These come in four size options, based on the circumference of your leg and the height of the gaiter. Some users do report these running small, however, so measure carefully and order a size up if you fall between sizes. The height of these gaiters ranges based on the size: small is 14.96", a medium is 15.75", large is 16.15", and the extra large is 17.23". Regardless of size, the Unigear Leg Gaiters are designed to hit a few inches below the knee.
Made of 600D Oxford and 300D polyester, the Unigear Leg Gaiters are built for superb water and puncture resistance. This material is also rated for temperatures as low as -31F/-35C, making them ideal for even extreme temperatures. The fabric is also comfortable and breathable, so you won't have to worry about excessive sweat.
As stated above, the Oxford and polyester blend fabric is made to be both water and puncture resistant, so they can easily handle rough areas and wet conditions. The material is rated for extreme temperatures, making these great for when the mercury drops well below freezing.
The top buckle strap is adjustable and the footband is made of a durable yet flexible TPU, allowing these gaiters to fit well over any type of footwear, even heavy boots. Unigear also offers a lifetime warranty on this product, so if you have any concerns you can easily reach out to them for guidance.
4. Rab Latok Alpine
Easy to put on and take off
Somewhat limited sizing
Following close behind our first entry are these hiking and trekking gaiters from Rab Latok. This brand is very popular in Europe and has been producing amazing outdoor gear since 1981. These gaiters are no exception. They provide excellent protection from the elements, and they are light and compact for packing as well.Read more
These gaiters are designed to be worn with lower volume boots and will protect both your ankles and your shins/calf areas with their calf-height design. At this moment, these are only available in sized medium and large. For men, a medium will fit sizes 8-10 and a large 10-13+. For women, a medium will fit sizes 6-8 and a large 8-10. While we were disappointed in the trekking gaiters not being sized for larger or smaller individuals, the average hiker shouldn’t have too much of a problem fitting into these.
Thes gaiters are made from a Tough-Robic Nylon, which is both breathable and lightweight. The material is very durable and will protect you from pests, such as ticks. The outer material is coated with an eVent waterproof protection to ensure that you stay dry.
As expected from the materials used these trekking gaiters from Rab Latok, you will be fully protected from water, wind, abrasions, and pesky bugs.
These lightweight gaiters weigh only 9.4-ounces. Some of the added features of these gaiters include an easy drawstring cord top closure that can be done one-handed. The front closure is velcro and the polymer strip inside the gaiter will keep the product in place. The underboot strap is made from rubber and is abrasion resistant.
5. Outdoor Research Expedition Crocodile
Some people need to size up
We make our way down the list with another gaiter from Outdoor Research, but with great reason. These gaiters are like the crocs that are above on the list, but with thicker material that is super durable for longer, colder, or more extreme hiking expeditions.Read more
These gaiters come in varying sizes, with small, medium, large, and x-large. They should fit most outdoor enthusiasts quite easily. They fall easily into the high calf category of sizes and ride around the knees. They easily protect both your feet and lower leg area.
These gaiters are made of durable nylon on the upper leg and Cordura 1000D in the inner leg and boot. They are made to be durable and withstand abrasions as well as cold.
These Expedition Crocodiles Gaiters are made from Cordura, which is highly abrasion resistant, so you are protected from things like branches and sharp objects.
These gaiters are durable, waterproof, and breathable. In essence, you are good to go with these on and shouldn't be bothered by the colder weather or other elements of nature. At the bottom, there is a tab that secures the front closure. The gaiters are also lined with Packcloth.
6. Outdoor Research Verglas
Easy to use
Provides adequate protection
Might be ill-fitting in the calf area for some
If you’re looking for a pair of gaiters that provides great protection while being extremely comfortable to wear, the Verglas Gaiters from Outdoor Research certainly should be on your list of ones to consider.Read more
These gaiters are true to fit about ¾ of the time and may run either run slightly smaller or slightly larger depending on the manufacturing. While this may make getting a precise fit a little problematic, it shouldn’t affect getting a generally good fit in most cases. These gaiters are designed to cover both the calf and ankle areas and extend down to the instep area of the foot.
Created with 100% nylon ripstop material for the outer shell and 500D Cordura inner leg lining, this gaiter is relatively water resistant, breathable and very lightweight.
In addition to the superior water resistance offered by these gaiters, the boot area is also abrasion resistant, and the molded boot section provides additional protection for the ankle area if needed. While these gaiters may be a little bit ill-fitting for some, especially in the upper calf area, overall they provide more than adequate protection from the elements and common debris encountered while hiking.
These trekking gaiters also feature a Hypalon instep strap and an easy to use 1.5-inch wide hook and loop front closure.
7. Outdoor Research Rocky Mountain
Superior protection for feet
Only slightly water resistant
These low gaiters from Outdoor Research provide ample protection for your ankles and feet in a wide range of trekking environments.Read more
These gaiters are offered in either small/medium or large/extra-large and are true to size about ¾ of the time. When they do fit improperly, they do tend to be somewhat larger, so it’s a good idea to take that into account when making a purchase. These low gaiters easily cover your ankle area as well as the majority of your chosen hiking boot or shoe.
These gaiters are made with traditional pack cloth nylon material that is very lightweight and easily sheds mud and rocks.
While it doesn’t offer much protection for your calf area, if you’re only looking to protect your feet and ankles from debris, or to prevent rocks from getting into your shoes, these gaiters more than adequately fit the bill. While you might not get as much coverage for your lower legs as with some of the other gaiters on this list, these are perfect for those times when only a small amount of protection is needed.
In addition to a one-inch wide hook and loop closure at the top, these gaiters also feature a bottom shear tab and Hypalon instep strap for a more secure fit. While they may not offer as much protection as their high-calf cousins, if you’re searching for a way to keep rocks and debris out of your shoes, this is a great way to go.
8. Salomon High
Could protect more of your legs
These are great gaiters from Salomon for runners and for light treks through the woods. They are built to last and are quite protective for your ankles. If you are looking for a new pair of gaiters, these are highly recommended.Read more
These gaiters fit great as they strap underneath your shoes and wrap around your ankles. They cannot be adjusted but due to the fact that they are made from an elastic material, you should get great compression and comfortability.
These gaiters are made from an elastic material which is great for fit but also for durability. Salomon is known for their quality products and these gaiters will not only protect you but will hold up for many adventures to come.
These gaiters offer great protection and are made from durable material. They will protect your ankles from small critters, bugs, and debris that is on the woodland floor but it would be nice if they could protect more of your leg.
These gaiters do not have any notable extra features.
9. Black Diamond Apex GTX
Easy to put on and adjust
Water resistant and offers great protection
Sizes run a bit small
Whether you’re trekking through the mountains, near a trout-filled stream or simply enjoying a weekend hike in the nearby woods, the Apex GTX Gaiter from Black Diamond is a solid choice in leg protection.Read more
These trekking gaiters from Black Diamond are true to size a little over half the time, but they do tend to run a little on the small size. So if you decide to purchase them through an online retailer, it’s best to order one size larger than your shoe size. These gaiters are designed to cover both your ankles and shin areas, and can easily do both with their calf height design.
These trekking gaiters offer great protection from the elements through the use of a hard shell synthetic material that features a Gore-Tex outer material and easy to use Velcro clasp.
While the Apex GTX Gaiter won’t protect you adequately from a snake bite or other animal encounter, they are certainly tough enough to protect your legs from most branches, debris, moisture, and snow. If you’re worried about your legs or boots getting damaged by everyday items found in the woods, these gaiters would be a wise investment.
In addition to easy to use Velcro closures and water-resistant Gore-Tex material, these gaiters also feature a side release buckle that is adjustable for added comfort and flexibility, and high-density neoprene coated foot straps, so there is little chance of slipping out of them while walking.
10. Outdoor Research BugOut
Easy to put on
Could offer more leg protection
These gaiters are another great pair from Outdoor Research. They are simple to use and provide great coverage to your ankles and lower legs to ensure that on your next trek through the woods nothing will stop you.Read more
These gaiters will fit any pair of boot or shoes you own and will be easy to put on as you simply slip your feet through the gaiters like you would a pair of pants and then put on your shoes. Once your shoes are one buckle the gaiters to the bottom of your shoes. The buckle is adjustable so you can have a perfect fit.
These gaiters are made from nylon which will allow for a light feel and also offer great protection.
These gaiters offer great protection for your ankles and lower legs which is where you want the most protection while you are trekking through the woods, but it would be nice if you had a little more protection just below the knee.
These gaiters do not have any notable extra features other than the adjustable buckle which is great to ensure a perfect fit.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Gaiter sizing is based primarily on a corresponding shoe size that aligns with the general small, medium, large sizing criteria. While each manufacturer has a slightly different take on the correspondence between the two sizing techniques, for the most part, an adult can easily find what he needs.
When considering the overall fit of the gaiter, you need to also take a look at how securely the gaiter can be attached to your leg, and how easily they can be adjusted. After all, no one person can meet the ideal body set by the manufacturer as average, so adjustments will need to be made. However, once you have a secure fit, the best trekking gaiters won’t even reveal their presence beyond providing great protection as you move through the wilderness.
Gaiters essentially fall into three broad categories – high gaiters, mid-length, and low gaiters. High gaiters, or sometimes high-calf gaiters offer protection in one form or another to everything below the knee area. Mid-length gaiters will offer protection for the mid-calf area downwards. Low gaiters, as the name implies, only usually cover the ankle and foot area. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. For example, while a high gaiter can offer great overall protection, it can become a bit uncomfortable or difficult to wear, especially in warmer weather. Low gaiters, while they are often much more comfortable, don’t often provide enough protection for your needs.
So many things have changed over the years, including the material used to make gaiters. While many gaiters in the past were made from heavy leather material, often lined with wool or cotton, most today use a much lighter and more flexible nylon material. While leather is still sometimes used in gaiters designed to protect from snake bites or animal attacks, the nylon material not only provides a much lighter feel but actually superior protection from wind and rain during a storm.
Overall when looking for your next pair of gaiters, you want to make sure they are protective but also made from a lightweight and durable material so they will offer the protection you expect and also feel comfortable while wearing them. When looking at the gaiters, also look at the item weight to get an idea about how heavy the material is and how much extra pounds you are adding.
The name of the game is protection when it comes to gaiters. While some of the lighter options on this list only provided adequate protection from water and smaller debris, there were quite a few that provided a much more robust protection against a wide range of elements, including snow, water, dust, sand, insects, rocks and general debris that a person may encounter.
The best way to ensure that these gaiters are well made and will offer great protection as that is the main reason you are investing in them in the first place is to check the customer reviews. By checking the customer reviews, you will get an inside look at how they worked for other customers in the field and if they are worth your time and money.
And finally, we considered whether or not the gaiters had additional bells and whistles that were easy to use and relatively practical for the average hiker or trekker. In most cases, these added features lent themselves to either adding to a more secure fit, more protection to a specific area, or simply providing a way to easily transport the gaiters when they weren’t in use. While we didn’t see these things as mandatory to the best trekking gaiters, we did see them as a worthwhile bonus.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
If you are looking to save a bit of money when investing in a pair of gaiters, gaiters that feature only a velcro fastening tend to be cheaper. More expensive versions often feature a zippered closure with waterproof zippers or storm flaps.
It is important to clean your gaiters after each use. A coarse sponge, a small amount of soap, and warm water will remove most dirt and debris. Allowing the gaiters to fully dry before storing them is also important so that they won't grow any bacteria or mold while waiting to be used again.
When looking at different gaiters on the market, you will see some that cover and protect just your ankle and you will see others that offer more protection as they go up to just below your ankle. You want to access the terrain you will be using these gaiters and make your decision on the style accordingly. If you will be in higher and taller grass, maybe go ahead with the larger gaiters. If you are just using them on hikes and trail trekking, then maybe get the ankle gaiters. The decision is up to you but keep the terrain in mind when deciding.
Other Factors to Consider
While there are quite a few good all-purpose gaiters, many have been designed to operate best in certain trekking environments. Some gaiters are specifically designed to protect the user in more of a lake environment. You wouldn’t use that gaiter during a cross-country ski trip for example. Conversely, the heavier weight gaiters would be highly uncomfortable in warmer weather.
By knowing what environments you’re likely to go hiking or trekking through, you can more easily choose the level and type of protection that you need from your gaiters. Are you simply going for a small trek down a well-maintained trail? Then perhaps all you need are some low gaiters. Are you expecting to transverse steep mountain trails with lots of rocks? Then something a little heartier like the Outdoor Research Crocodile Gaiters is probably more suitable.
Trekking is one of those sports that can easily be done in all types of weather and seasons, provided you have the proper equipment. The leg gaiters that you choose are no exception. Some trekking gaiters are specifically designed for use during the winter months, while others are used primarily during the warmer weather. By taking when you are planning on hiking into account, you can make sure that you find the best choice overall for your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: How do I know if my gaiters fit properly?
If your gaiters fit properly, you really shouldn’t notice that they are there. They shouldn’t ride up as you walk, or shift down or to the side with a twist or sudden movement. The fasteners should feel taut but provide for a good range of motion without cutting into your legs. In essence, the gaiters should feel like a pair of pants or booties in the case of the low gaiters.
In order to achieve that type of fit, it’s important to understand that although a gaiter is often tied to your shoe size, the more important thing to consider is the diameter of your calf in the lower, middle and upper area. If you glance at your lower leg, you’ll notice that your calf muscle will grow in diameter as it approaches the knee, so you’ll need to find a gaiter that can either be adjusted to account for that change or be already molded or tapered to fit.
q: Why should I use trekking gaiters?
Simply put, trekking gaiters offer superior protection for you while you’re moving through the wilderness. Your legs and feet often encounter quite a few dangerous situations, including smaller animals, rocks, roots, wading through water, or changes in temperature that affect them more easily since they are extremities. While your torso is often protected from the cold for example through your blood flow and warm layers, your feet and legs can often be neglected, and feel the temperature difference more readily. Therefore, gaiters can not only provide protection from things on the forest floor but also against things such as frostbite or cooler temperatures.
q: When were gaiters first used?
This is a hard question to answer since gaiters have been used for quite some time. There is evidence of gaiters, or what would be the equivalent to them in Civil War battles, as well as earlier wars. Some would even argue that the more fashionable shoes worn by ladies in the 18th and 19th century, often called spats may be considered a prototype to the modern gaiter.
However, examples of clothing that was used to protect the lower legs and feet, in much the same way that trekking gaiters do today have been recorded since the early Greeks or Romans, and even in some forms of armor from ancient China or Japan. What we consider the modern style of gaiter didn’t really appear until the mid to late 19th century.
q: How should I care for my trekking gaiters?
Thankfully, caring for your gaiters is fairly straightforward. First, make sure that you inspect them on a regular basis for tears, worn through fasteners, holes, or just areas of general wear. If you find any of these things, make sure you either repair or replace the gaiters before they lose their effectiveness.
Also, after each hike, make sure you clean your gaiters to remove any dirt or debris that may have gotten stuck during the trek. Usually, a brush or a damp cloth is more than enough to get the job done. We wouldn’t suggest using a harsh cleaner such as bleach, because the harsher chemical can easily degrade the material. Then once you’re done cleaning, both inside and out, allow the gaiters to dry completely before storing them away.
q: How do I put on a pair of trekking gaiters?
First of all, relax. Putting on gaiters is an easy process that nearly anyone can do. The first step is to make sure that you have the left gaiter associated with the left foot and the right one associated with the right side. One way to tell is that if you have buckles or fasteners on the sides, the fasteners should be on the outside of your leg. If they’re on the inside, they can easily become undone as you’re walking along.
Next, make sure that the gaiters are completely open and unfastened. They should be loose enough to fit easily over the boots and pants that you are wearing.
Now, simply slide the trekking gaiters over your boots and up to the height on your leg that they are designed for. Shift them around to make them fit more comfortably and tighten the fasters starting from the bottom up. It’s as simple as that.