Turtleskin Snake Gaiters Review
I don't normally wear gaiters, however for an upcoming trek to a remote part of Panama's Darien Jungle I was advised to use them, and especially seeing as we were going to be at least a day away from any medical centre I started searching online. Basically there are 2 type of snake proof gaiter; a shell type that wraps around your lower leg ...check them out here:
or the more expensive fabric type which is similar to a regular hiking gaiter. The first is the cheaper option, but didn´t seem the best option, comfort wise, for several hours hiking in the tropics. So I narrowed down my search for a lightweight fabric type. I ended up choosing the Turtleskin Snake armour gaiters
These are lightweight fabric gaiters and at $150 give or take a few $$ they do not come cheap - however I wanted peace of mind and the reviews were for the most part positive. I bought the regular size ( I am 5'4" and they were a little too long - but that wasn't really a problem you can just roll the top over.)
The fabric is flexible and lightweight, provided good lower leg protection from thorns and such. I can't say how they would hold up to a snake bite (fortunately) but according to the manufacturer they have been tested with large rattlesnakes. They were fine to wear in the heat and wading through countless rivers.
BUT..and this is a huuuge BUT...the design is terrible and for $150 inexcusable..the zip is cheap and and awkward to use...and the elastic draw string thingy at the top of the gaiter is completely useless.
There is a flap at the front with 3 eyelets, there are no instructions on how to use these, so I guess you just figure out what works for you... I threaded my bootlaces through the eyelets in the flap at the front, which worked..but the elasticated bottom had a tendency to ride up at the back and became pretty uncomfortable after hours of hiking. Also exposed the my leg just above the back of my boots... Have seen some people use these with the flap at the back or upside down to resolve this problem...for $150 really shouldn't have to do this. I imagine with high boots this wouldn´t be a problem, but I was wearing mid-height hiking boots.
LOVED the fabric; lightweight and flexible and doesn't get too hot in tropical climates. Folds up small to carry in a backpack - hardly any extra weight
HATED everything about the design and for the price they really should have a decent fastening system.
After more research I found some gaiters made by an Aussie company Moroka.30
They are priced the same as the Turtleskin gaiters but look like a much better fit..for now will figure out the best way to use the gaiters I have and if /when I need another pair will go for the Aussie ones.