This year I have joined the Ramblers again and fully intend to go for more local walkies. Reading through the stuff they sent me and looking at the pictures I noticed that many Ramblers use gaiters. That made me think. I do own a pair of gaiters, expensive ones and goretex no less, but they weigh the same as my walking trousers and have a chunky zip covered by a velcro flap, which makes them very secure (though how they would fall off I don’t know) but also a right faff to put on and take off, hence their long term stay in the drawer and pristine looks. They have never been used; I therefore assumed that gaiters were useless. I think I have thought that for so long that I forgot to rethink it.
But what if I was wrong? People do use them. And they do seem useful on paper. Not just to keep water out, but to keep mud from staining their trouser legs, sharp stuff from ripping the material, stop sand and stones etc from ending up in their shoes or boots – and hey, my trail name is Pebbles due to the amount of gravel I collect in my shoes on an average walking day!
Also I had wondered what would happen below poncho protection area if I ended up in a real rainstorm with my non-goretex shoes and running tights, and I can imagine it could get very wet and cold. Luckily I have never been in that situation yet but it was something I had to look into and do something about. Preferably before any major walk (April). So I googled.
Traditional hiking gaiters seemed to separate into two camps: The sleek and sophisticated, which would work particularly well with tights, and the rough and ready elastic-around-the-ankle version. Obviously I started looking into the former.
Weight and bulk is an issue though, particularly for an item that hopefully won’t see any use. There had to be something smaller, lighter, better? I googled ‘ankle gaiters’ and look what I found!
Just slip the adjustable strap under the boot, fasten the hook on the laces, pull the two sides together so the velcro catches and fasten the button. Adjustable to suit thin and not so thin ankles and varying amounts of legwear. Goretex water resistance and not expensive either.
What I really like about them is that they aren’t big and baggy like my chunky heavy goretex ones, in fact they are equally brilliant with trousers as with tights! At a smidge below 100 grams of added weight I have now got rain protection from the lower leg down and some mud protection for my shoes too. Clever things all round, as it turns out.
And I didn’t stop there – I have developed a craze for Dirty Girl Gaiters too, they are even lighter, for everyday use, even when it isn’t raining … and they certainly brighten up my day (and my black tights).
So now I am a gaiter girl. Who knew?