Best Trekking Gaiters

Think about trekking gaiters next time 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.

Standout Picks

Black Crystal Hiking Ski
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.
Amazon Link
$25.00
Hillsound Armadillo LT
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.
Amazon Link
$65.00
Unigear
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.
Amazon Link
$13.99
Rab Latok Alpine
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.
Outdoor Research Expedition Crocodile
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.
Outdoor Research Verglas
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.
Outdoor Research Rocky Mountain
These low gaiters from Outdoor Research provide ample protection for your ankles and feet in a wide range of trekking environments.
Salomon High
These are great gaiters from Salomon for runners and for light treks through the woods. They are built to last and are quite protective of your ankles. If you are looking for a new pair of gaiters, these are highly recommended.
Amazon Link
$43.51
Black Diamond Apex GTX
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.
Amazon Link
$79.95
Outdoor Research BugOut
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.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Overall Fit

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.

Materials

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.

Protection

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 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.

Features

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.

Top Ten Trekking Gaiters

1. Black Crystal Hiking Ski

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$25.00
Black Crystal Hiking Ski
Amazon Link

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

Overall Fit
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.

Materials Used
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.

Protection
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.

Features
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.

Amazon Link
$25.00

2. Hillsound Armadillo LT

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$65.00
Hillsound Armadillo LT
Amazon Link

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

Overall Fit
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.

Materials Used
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.

Protection
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.

Features
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 the high density for protection from tears and abrasions.

Amazon Link
$65.00

3. Unigear

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$13.99
Unigear
Amazon Link

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

Overall Fit
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.

Materials Used
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.

Protection
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.

Features
The top buckle strap is adjustable and the footbed 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.

Amazon Link
$13.99

4. Rab Latok Alpine

Where to buy
Rab Latok Alpine
Amazon Link

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

Overall Fit
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.

Materials Used
These 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.

Protection
As expected from the materials used these trekking gaiters from Rab Latok, you will be fully protected from water, wind, abrasions, and pesky bugs.

Features
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 under bootstrap is made from rubber and is abrasion-resistant.

5. Outdoor Research Expedition Crocodile

Where to buy
Outdoor Research Expedition Crocodile
Amazon Link

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

Overall Fit
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 the lower leg area.

Materials Used
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.

Protection
These Expedition Crocodiles Gaiters are made from Cordura, which is highly abrasion-resistant, so you are protected from things like branches and sharp objects.

Features
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

Outdoor Research Verglas
Amazon Link

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

Overall Fit
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.

Materials Used
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.

Protection
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.

Features
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

Where to buy
Outdoor Research Rocky Mountain
Amazon Link

These low gaiters from Outdoor Research provide ample protection for your ankles and feet in a wide range of trekking environments.

Read more

Overall Fit
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.

Materials Used
These gaiters are made with traditional packcloth nylon material that is very lightweight and easily sheds mud and rocks.

Protection
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.

Features
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

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$43.51
Salomon High
Amazon Link

These are great gaiters from Salomon for runners and for light treks through the woods. They are built to last and are quite protective of your ankles. If you are looking for a new pair of gaiters, these are highly recommended.

Read more

Overall Fit
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.

Materials Used
These gaiters are made from an elastic material which is great for fitness but also for durability. Salomon is known for its quality products and these gaiters will not only protect you but will hold up for many adventures to come.

Protection
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.

Features
These gaiters do not have any notable extra features.

Amazon Link
$43.51

9. Black Diamond Apex GTX

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$79.95
Black Diamond Apex GTX
Amazon Link

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

Overall Fit
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.

Materials Used
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.

Protection
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 hiking boots getting damaged by everyday items found in the woods, these gaiters would be a wise investment.

Features
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.

Amazon Link
$79.95

10. Outdoor Research BugOut

Where to buy
Outdoor Research BugOut
Amazon Link

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

Overall Fit
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.

Materials Used
These gaiters are made from nylon which will allow for a light feel and also offer great protection.

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.

Features
These gaiters do not have any notable extra features other than the adjustable buckle which is great to ensure a perfect fit.

Sources

  1. Trespass, Guide to Gaiters, Guide
  2. Don Burton, SNOW GAITERS. RECOMMENDATIONS., Backpacking Guide