Why Do Hikers Wear Gaiters?


If you are an avid backpacker or hiker, you probably know what gaiters are. Even if you don’t, you will in a few minutes.

You will also know why hikers choose to wear gaiters and why they are important. Here are a few facts about gaiters and why you should be using them on the trail!

Gaiters are mostly used to protect you from the elements. You wear a rain jacket to keep your upper body dry. It is the same idea with gaiters but for your feet.

What are gaiters and why are they important?

You may wonder what gaiters are. For hiking, gaiters are protective sleeves that connect your boot to your pants. More specifically, gaiters are used to stop foreign objects from hitting your lower legs or getting into your boots.

There is nothing worse than having a rock tearing up your foot inside your boot. The best way to avoid this is by using gaiters.

Although there are different brands and styles, the main idea and function stay the same. A gaiter is a sleeve of fabric that hooks around the bottom of your boot and cuffs onto your leg a few inches above the top of the boot.  

On the surface, this may seem like another unneeded accessory to add to the bill. At a deeper level, you can see how important gaiters are. This is not another ploy made by outdoor companies to suck out more money.

These have a very practical use that makes you thank yourself after you buy them. You will feel much safer and more secure when there is something to prevent foreign objects from entering your boots. At the end of the day, your feet are your most valuable tools while hiking. Make sure to treat them right.

Types Of Gaiters

Although the style stays somewhat the same, there are different types of gaiters based on what you are doing and the climate you are in. For the normal hiker, the gaiters you use are all very similar and are made to protect you from rocks, dirt, and other things that can be found on hiking trails.

The harsher the conditions and the more you amp up the adventure, the gaiters you use to change a little bit. The shape stays the same, but the size is the differing factor.

Gaiters range from six inches to 18 inches tall. What you buy and use depends on your conditions and how intense your hiking trip is. If snow is a factor, 12-18-inch gaiters are probably best. This will keep the snow from getting inside the bottom of your pants or in your boots.

If you are in the desert, six-inch gaiters would probably work best. Again, it all depends on your specific situation.

There here shown on Amazon are priced well under $30 and have hundreds of 5-star reviews. If you’re looking to try a pair out but don’t want to break the bank, these Pike Trail Leg Gaiters Opens in a new tab.are a good starting point.

Features Of Gaiters

A gaiter is a fairly simple idea with a practical design, but the evolution of technology has allowed growth and the introduction to new aspects of protection. This is not just a piece of cloth that wraps around your ankle. There is real science that has gone into developing a fantastic product.

First off, many gaiters are at least partially, if not completely, waterproof. This protects your feet from getting wet from rain or puddles. This does not mean to jump in a lake and expect your feet to come out completely dry, but it does mean that hiking in the rain is no longer something to be afraid of.

Although complete waterproofing relies on your boot as well, the gaiter will stop water from running down your legs and into the boots.

Gaiters also consist of some sort of anti-abrasion fabric. This protects you from any sort of poking or scratching that could occur. Trekking through areas with sharp branches or brambles is no longer an issue.

Finally, there are the instep straps that connect the gaiter to the boot. Although different brands will vary on the specifics, each one has a certain way to connect the sleeve to your boot.

This is an adjustable strap that goes under your boot, through the arch, and connects with each side of the gaiter. Make sure this is a secure connection so there are no issues with the gaiter riding up and exposing the boot entrance.

Wrap Up

There you have it! What more could you want to know about gaiters? Hopefully this helped you out in making a decision or just filled in the blanks for you!

If your’e looking for more info on what essential items to bring on your hiking trip, check out this helpful guide, here.

See you out on the trail!

Recent Posts

%d bloggers like this: