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).
Which made me take a quick look on Ebay. On my favourite haunt Pilgrimsupplies, run by the lovely David who regularly goes out to the Camino and offers first aid to pilgrims, I found a pair of gaiters that excited me not only because of the price but also because of the stated weight, which was less than 100 grammes for the pair. And the actual measurements were listed so I knew what I was getting, which is always a plus. Waterproof, simple design, velcro closing only at the front – these lightweight ones, when they arrived, were just what I was hoping for: incredibly light, simple, easy to put on and take off, waterproof (I held one under the tap in the kitchen for a good while in the interest of fact finding) and also dark grey with hot pink bungee (Thank you, David!).
Here they are over my Craghoppers walking trousers and a pair of boots size UK7.
Just slip the adjustable strap under the boot, grab the two sides at the narrowest point, where the elastic is, and fasten. Then line up the rest and hook it to whichever bit of lace you can reach. There is a bungee at the top that can be tightened for the slim of leg.
What I really like about these is that they aren’t big and baggy like my chunky goretex ones, in fact they are so slim they are brilliant for wearing with tights! At less than 100 grammes I have now got rain protection from the knee down and some protection for my shoes too. Plus I will use them as sitmats on damp benches and wet stones. Clever things all round, as it turns out.
So now I am a gaiter girl. Who knew?