Gaiter - rate
Well another exciting post, today I am touching on kit, because at the end of the day, kit questions always come up, whether expert or entry level. So I'm going to chat a tad about Gaiters, (little round tubes that go from your boots the top of your shins), mainly for waterproofing from your ankles, protecting the tops of your boots from water ingress and waterproofing to just below the knee, however also adding additional protection against cold, wind and even against spiky undergrowth, These bits of kit are the tomato soup of the outdoor gear world, you either love em or you hate them. Obviously it's a walkers choice whether they want to use them or not and to be fair they might just be uncomfortable to some, however I do believe love or hate them, they are an essential piece of equipment, especially in UK/Ireland terrain, which can be a boggy and wet and would potentially cause more discomfort than the gaiters themselves.
These are the RAB Hispar Gaiters, at around. £45 these are just over middle of the road price. They are a light and comfortable gaiter, fully water proof, with a zip closure, I found these to be performance wise to be good and do what it says on the tin.
Gaiters are eVent and 600D Ballistic polyester ankle which is durable and robust. The ones reviewed were over a year old and very consistently used almost on a daily basis.
As with all equipment, the signs of wear & tear will creep in but in this case it just went a tad over. The adjustable elastic drawcord at the top on both gaiters broke. The underboot strap is quite thin, with plastic buckle, because of this one strap was damaged, with potential to fully break on more use. Price is a touch to high for this particular gaiter.
The Trek mates Cairngorm Gore-tex gaiters are my old main stay. A solid pick and my oldest pair, again Gaiters aren't complex and these do the job spot on, these just keep going. 3 layer Gore-tex, reinforced ankle, very solid and at around £35 price-wise smack bang in the middle.
Buckles for under-boot strap are metal and underboot strap is thick and heavy duty. These can take a serious beating, bogs rivers the works. Are good value for money as you could pay potentially more and get less quality.
These gaiters have been taking a heavy beating for almost 2 years and normal wear & tear applies. I would only say the velcro front fastening without zip can be a tad finicky to close and that velcro itself will deteriorate eventually without zip, however hasn't done so yet.
Last but not least, the Paramo mountain gaiter. These are the priciest of the pack at around £65, so coming in at the high end, these are my newest, however they are a cracking bit of kit, really light, I would say the most comfortable I've used. Nikwax Analogy material which to look at and feels like a water proof coat or softshell.
These gaiters "look" fragile, but they are very strong with Stronger than-Steel Dyneema® reinforcement for durability. The top drawcord isn't your average elastic, it's webbing which makes it more comfortable and stronger. The lacing hook is more robust and attaches more effectively than on other gaiters.