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Backpacking Gear for Beginners: Gaiters

This post is part of the Backpacking Gear for Beginners course.

Why do you need gaiters?

Gaiters are like jackets for your hiking boots. They wrap around the top of your hiking boots and up your legs a bit. They keep the mud, branches and dirt out of your boots. If you’re quick, they can also keep the water out. If you’re wearing shorts, they can protect your legs from brambles and branches as well.

Gaiters prevent you from having to empty dirt and mud from your hiking boots if you’re on a muddy trail. They can be taller up to your knee or shorter and just cover your ankle. No matter the height, they cover the top of your boots and keep the crud out.

Waterproof is best

Some gaiters are waterproof and some aren’t. Waterproof ones will make your legs warmer but will keep the rain and mud out the longest. 

They do make your legs a bit warmer

If you want to keep the gunk out of your boots but don’t want the heat, look for a smaller less water resistant pair. They will be more breathable.

Just like a jacket, gaiters can be different materials

Some gaiters are water resistant, some are waterproof, some just keep the dirt out and not any sort of moisture. Just like jackets, waterproof will be the least breathable, water resistant will be more breathable and just fabric will be the most breathable.

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