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The GO Outdoors Guide To Gaiters

Perfect for lowland walking or rambling and getting dirty without a care, a gaiter is a great way of protecting yourself as you walk from nature’s less friendly weather and dirt. 

An ideal way to stay dry and protected, these are small enough to stash in your pack, but handy enough to make them essential for any outdoor lover!

Gaiter Heights- What Size Is Best?

High Cut Gaiters

These come to the top of the calf and are ideal for wading and walking in thick grassy terrain or bushes.  High cut gaiters give the best all over coverage against rain, puddles and snow, but are more expensive. They also offer less ventilation as they cover off more of your leg, but for those wanting to wade in water or trek through thick compacted mud, this should be a non issue.


Low Cut Gaiters

Low cut gaiters describe gaiters that fit at the ankle. Low cut gaiters are ideal for providing resistance against pebbles and dirt and slip on easily to cover your new walking boots! Low cut gaiters are ideal for general day wear in the outdoors when there is a good chance of rain and mud, but no need for a full gaiter. Low cut gaiters typically provide enough protection from dirt and grime associated with lowland rambling and UK trail walks.

Compatible Gaiters

These refer to types of gaiters that are compatible with your walking boots. Created by a particularr brand, these are gaiters that wrap around and connect to a certain boot or shoe, assuring you the perfect fit. 
Ensure that the gaiters you buy are universal, or compatible with your existing walking shoe to ensure the best fit.

Gaiter Fabric Construction- How Do They Do It?

  • Traditionally, gaiters were made from rubber when this was the most effective water repelling textile around. However with the advancement of manmade synthetics, gaiters now come in a wide variety of fabrics, mostly based around synthetics such as Nylon, Polyester and Cordura.
  • Gaiters are all excellent at offering levels of low weight, highly water repellency, and a breathable fabric 'to boot' so whatever fabric you choose, it will be waterproof.
  • Most typically, GORE-Tex or eVent fabrics are used within gaiters. GORE-Tex is a fabric created with millions of breathing pores helps to lock out drips is ideal for a gaiter, which is likely to be subjected to plenty of moisture, both from internal and external factors.  You can read more in our GO Outdoors Guide To GORE-Tex.
  • Typically gaiters are designed not only for weatherproofing protection, but also to offer abrassion resistance. Nylon ripstop or corura allows the gaiter to have a high, thick denier which allows it to be put through it's paces, without ripping or tearing. 

A common gaiter, attached underfoot, with a mid calf length as well as a toggle for self adjustment, and stretch elastication.

Fitting Your Gaiter

Most gaiters come with a zip or a hook and loop opening, as well as drawcords that seal out dirt and moisture. 

Hook and Loop can become dirty over time, and needs to be washed regulalry, and zips also need care so they don't become waterlogged or unstuck.

Elastication is usually favoured, either with an inbuilt hidden elastic framing to the gaiter, or a toggle cord system, because it allows plenty of flexibility, whilst at the same time, allowing security.  Elastication also has additional benefits as a sealed, or elasticated rand secures the gaiter, preventing rain from entering very efficiently.  

Some even have inbuilt storm flaps, so choose the level of protection based around your budget, and your destination.

It is worth noting that typically a pair of gaiters will weigh around 100g to150g, but generally, the weight should not be a concern. Gaiters are lightweight in their nature as they have less bulk than full overtrousers, making them essentials.