I love my gaiters (pictured above)! I wore them again yesterday which inspired me to list reasons answering the question of “What’s the point of gaiters?”. And, “Are gaiters worth it?” (Answer: Yes!).
I own a pair of knee-high gaiters (so does Mrs. J). They happen to be Outdoor Research’s Crocodile Gaiters (a best-seller for a very long time).
Anyway, the reason I wore them yesterday… Mrs. J and I were doing more tree work on the property. Thinning out some Birch surrounding several very nice-looking Maple trees not too far from the house. I wanted the Maples to ‘breathe’ and thrive. Location on a hillside thick with brush. Brought the tractor down there with a wood chipper attached to its PTO. After chainsaw work was done, dragged limbs, chipped, then hauled over to a raised garden bed area with ATV and attached dump cart. Made for some nice cover for the walkway areas. But I digress…
Are they worth it? What’s the point?
So, what’s the point of gaiters with reference to that short story? Well, multiple reasons!
Gaiters help keep ticks from crawling up and getting onto your body. Nasty little creatures. Related to that concept – we (thankfully) don’t have chiggers here like some of you folks in the south. But I suppose gaiters would similarly help.
Gaiters stop pickers and thorns from grabbing hold of your pants, legs, boots…
You all know about the byproduct of using a chainsaw? That’s right… sawdust and chips. They tend to land right on your boots! Gaiters keep all that stuff from going down your boots and such.
Those are just three reasons why gaiters are worth it. And that was while doing one project. More reasons listed below…
But first, how do you put on gaiters?
How-To Put-on Gaiters – How to Wear
Well, there are different kinds. Short (over the ankle), mid-calf, and Tall (like mine).
Instructions for putting on my style gaiters are the same for most used for hiking gaiters (and other reasons). Not all gaiters have the exact same features, so those may not match these exact steps.
Mrs. J took a few photos while I put on a gaiter for your illustration. As you can see, it’s pretty simple. Putting them on and wearing them is easy.
- There’s an inset strap that goes under your boot. The little buckle on that strap should be on your outside (that’s how you know which gaiter is right or left).
- Adjust the instep straps if necessary. This is usually a one-time adjustment, depending on the boots you wear. You simply want a snug fit under the boot.
- If your gaiters have a lace hook, clip it to a shoelace whichever seems to lineup the best.
- Press the Velcro halves (hook-and-loop) together while working your way up the gaiter.
- Snug the adjustable straps at the top of the gaiters. No need to overtighten.
I did my research prior to buying Mrs. J and I each a pair of gaiters. It didn’t take long to discover the brand “Outdoor Research” is evidently the granddaddy of them all. So that’s what I bought.
Outdoor Research brand and styles
(view on amzn)
Gaiters For Hiking and Other Good Reasons
This depends on the trail system. A well-traveled trail typically won’t present any issues where you would benefit from wearing them just for that hike. However, gaiters for hiking are very popular. Not all trails are well groomed!
Like I said earlier they make short ankle gaiters all the way to tall. Each with their own advantages.
I can tell you one good reason to consider wearing something like ultralight ankle gaiters (or mid-calf, or tall!) for ordinary hiking on a good trail… Just in case there’s some poison ivy! I would rather it brush up against my gaiters than get that nasty oil on my shoes or boots. Easier to clean the gaiters instead!
I already mentioned ticks. Though they still may drop on your head from overhanging branches, you’ll stop the ones on the brush around your legs.
Gaiters will protect your shins from branches and scratches. Be it from brush, branches, or traversing rocky terrain (for example).
Rain! Or simply walking through damp and wet conditions where you boots might otherwise get wet.
Snake bite mitigation. I don’t have to worry about venomous snakes where I live. Well actually there is a timber rattler here, but a rare encounter. That said, many of you live among those wriggling slithering forked-tongue (potential) biters…
Cold weather. Snow. Although I have a nice pair of winter L.L. Bean boots, The tall gaiters help keep that deeper snow out (the snug strap at the top). Plus, it adds a layer of ‘insulation’ keeping you a little bit warmer.
TIP: I spray my gaiters with Permethrin. That stuff really helps keep insects off your clothes (e.g. ticks, mosquitoes, etc.). I wrote about this miracle spray in the following article:
Anyway, there you have it… another prep for modern survival <grin>.
[ Read: 5 Steps To Buy Boots That Fit ]