This is a gear review about the best gaiters for hiking, backpacking, and thru-hiking for 2022.
Hiking gaiters can protect you from all the elements. Whether it is sand, rocks, mud, or snow a good pair of Gaiters will protect your feet.
I’ve been checking some of the best backpacking gaiters on the market today, and after much deliberation, here is the shortlist of the Best Hiking Gaiters for 2022.
Best Hiking Gaiters 2022
The Best Hiking Gaiters on the market in 2022 are:
Best Gaiters – Overall
> Waterproof Gore-Tex Fabric
> They secure in two places
> Usually true to size
> Not as breathable as they should be
We’re going to kick this off with a classic. The Outdoor Research Crocodile Gaiters, fondly known as crocs have been around forever and they still remain a mainstay to this day.
The Outdoor Research Crocodile Gaiters are award-winning gaiters that are waterproof yet at the same time breathable, thanks to their Gore-tex fabric.
The Outdoor Research Crocodile Gaiters come up almost to your knees, providing excellent protection from abrasion caused by overgrowth on the trails. They are secured both at the top of the gaiter and also to your hiking boots as well.
It’s important to note at this point that you should size down one full size for a good fit over your hiking boots. And the strap is supposed to go over your socks rather than underneath your shoes.
Overall, the Outdoor Research Crocodile Gaiters is the best hiking gaiter for backpacking and hiking on the market in 2022.
Best Trail Running Gaiters
> Perfect for ultralight thru-hikers
> Easy to pull on and they fit securely
> Excellent at keeping out debris & sand.
> Nice, sporty gender-neutral aesthetic.
> Only recommended to keep out sand and light debris, not for mud or snow
The Altra Trail Gaiters are the perfect option for ultralight thru-hikes where all you want is something to keep out the rocks and sand during the warmer months.
They are designed to cover the area of the upper part of your hiking shoes and your ankles, so you can wear them with shorts.
Or alternatively, you could wear the Altra Trail Gaiters over your shoes but under the pants. They are a pull-on design and will fit very securely to your bare ankle. There’s also a Velcro fastening too.
They are available in small or large sizes, and in a choice of 4 colors, all of which look very sporty and are gender-neutral.
Overall, the Altra Trail Gaiters is the best gaiter for thru-hiking.
Best Snow Gaiters
> Gore-Tex’s most hard-wearing fabric.
> Long, and cover most of your lower leg.
> Big enough to fit over most hiking boots.
> Reinforced ankle made with 300 D nylon.
> No moisture comes through in snow.
> Premium product at a premium price
The Rab Latok GTX Gaiters are bright red show-stopping gaiters are made with the gore-tex pro, which is Gore-Tex’s most rugged and hard-wearing fabric. This gore-tex has increased protection from harsh mountain environments.
They are very long and are able to cover most of your lower leg. Better yet, it even fits over most larger mountaineering boots.
The lower part of the gaiters features a reinforced ankle, where there’s extra tough 300 Denier nylon to protect your feet and boots from scree and loose stones.
The steep price tag is something of a drawback, but so far most people think it is worth the money.
Overall, the Rab Latok GTX Gaiters are one of the best heavy-duty gaiters for everything from hiking and mountaineering to backpacking and snowshoeing.
Best Hiking Gaiters
Weight: 4.9 oz / 139 grams
> Lightweight fabric.
> 100% waterproof.
> They offer excellent coverage.
> They are easy to pull on.
> They feel very secure on.
> Abrasion-resistant fabric.
> Lightweight strap underneath the boots can get damaged with use
The Outdoor Research Helium uses the very popular OR Helium fabric, which is well known for being waterproof, lightweight and breathable. The Outdoor Research Helium Gaiters weighs a mere 4.9 ounces (that’s 139 grams).
They offer excellent coverage, almost reaching the knee. They are easy to pull on and fasten up, with their Hypalon instep strap that goes under your hiking shoes and with the drawcord cinch at the top hem.
Thanks to the hook and loop closure at the front and the elastic across the back heel, they feel really secure.
The Outdoor Research Helium Gaiters have a 100% nylon ripstop 30 denier fabric in the upper leg panel, you don’t have to worry about getting scratched by bushes.
It’s available in a choice of 3 different color options and in a wide range of sizes, starting at small and going all the way through to extra, and extra-large.
Overall, the Outdoor Research Helium Gaiters are one of the best lightweight full-length waterproof gaiters on the market. These are the perfect gaiter for early season thru hiking when there is still a lot of snow on the trail or for someone wanting to hike on formed trails with lots of mud but not much in the way of abrasive bushes.
Best Alpine Gaiters
> Has a breathable eVent fabric upper.
> They’re tough & abrasion-resistant.
> They are surprisingly lightweight.
> They offer excellent coverage.
> Moisture does not penetrate.
> This is a popular product, retailers occasionally run out of stock.
One of the best features of the Sea to Summit Alpine eVent Gaiters is just how breathable they are, thanks to their breathable eVent fabric upper which serves to prevent the wearer from getting too hot and sweaty.
They’re also very tough, constructed with tough, thick 1000 Denier nylon, so you can be sure that you don’t have to worry about abrasion from sticks and bushes.
They were easy to put on, thanks to the adjustable 38 mm front opening. And despite their thickness, they’re surprisingly lightweight.
They are great in the snow thanks to their knee-high coverage, not much moisture will get through.
Overall, the Sea to Summit Alpine eVent Gaiters are a solid gaiter best suited to snow, mud, and heavy-duty use.
More Backpacking Gaiters
> Nice fit.
> 100% waterproof Gore-Tex Fabric.
> They have tear-resistant ballistic lowers.
> Front entry hook and loop velcro closure.
> They become less wind resistant after a muddy hike.
The Black Diamond GTX Frontpoint Gaiters are very sleek and smart all-black gaiters that offer an excellent sculptured fit. These gaiters are great for ice climbing, mountaineering, or backpacking.
The Black Diamond GTX Frontpoint Gaiters feature gore-tex lined nylon uppers which means that they are 100% waterproof and will not ice up or absorb water from rain or snow.
The lowers features ballistic nylon which is highly resistant to tearing.
The Black Diamond Gaiters are easy to put on, thanks to the front entry hook and loop velcro closure. And they can fit over the likes of plastic mountaineering boots and hiking boots.
They are available in a range of different sizes from small all the way through to extra large.
Overall, the Black Diamond GTX Frontpoint Gaiters are one of the best mountaineering gaiters that are equally great for muddy hiking trails.
> Great length and coverage
> 100% waterproof
> Tough 1000 Denier lowers.
> The strap can be replaced.
> Some people found that they run small.
Gotta love the length on the Sea to Summit Quagmire eVent Gaiters gaiters – they go all the way up to our knees.
The boot section is super tough and thick, with a 1000 Denier nylon lower with lining. It will really save your shins on overgrown trails. And if you are hiking in mud then these are as good as it gets but they also work well in snow and areas with sharp sticks and bushes. The eVent fabric is 100% waterproof and breathable.
The strap that goes under your shoe can be replaced if it starts to wear.
Overall, the Sea to Summit Quagmire eVent Gaiter is the best muddy trail gaiter for rough terrain.
Dirty Girl Gaiters
> Bargain, affordable price point.
> Very popular for thru-hikers
> Ultra lightweight at just 2 ounces
> Keeps debris out of your shoes.
> They’re stretchy, comfy & secure.
> They don’t protect your lower legs from scratches.
The great thing about Dirty Girl Gaiters is the colors.
They’re perfect for trail running and thru-hiking because they’re ultra-lightweight, coming in at less than 2 ounces per pair. They keep all the scree and debris out of your trail running shoes as you run or hike.
They are easy to put on thanks to the stretchy spandex, and they feel soft and comfortable to wear. And they fit really securely, too, thanks to the hook under the front shoelace, and the hook and loop velcro strip.
They also happen to be the most affordable gaiters on our shortlist.
Overall, the Dirty Girl Gaiters are one of the best gaiters for thru-hiking and trail running.
> Waterproof and breathable.
> Deflects snow and debris.
> Excellent coverage & protection.
> Easy, adjustable on and off.
> They provide a good snug fit.
> Some customers feel they run a little small.
The REI Co-Op Backpacker Low Gaiters are mid-calf gaiters that tick a lot of boxes. They are waterproof, breathable, and deflect the likes of rain, snow, and debris. They are shin length and offer easy on and off. They provide a good snug fit over most hiking footwear, thanks to the adjustable Velcro straps. And the strong fabric at the ankles offers excellent protection against sharp shrubs.
The REI Co-Op Backpacker Gaiters are available in a range of different sizes from small all the way through to extra large and are reasonably priced. And they also have different lengths if this fit is not for you.
Overall, the REI Co-Op Backpacker Low Gaiters are great budget trail gaiters for those not wanting or needing a full-length pair of gaiters.
More Gaiters to consider
Here are some more gaiters to consider. Some will be added to the review soon and others didn’t make the cut.
- Rab Muztag GTX – The Rab Muztag GTX is a good winter gaiter or backpacking gaiter that will be added to the list soon.
- Black Diamond Apex GTX – The Black Diamond Apex GTX is a solid pair of gore-tex gaiters for snow sports such as ice climbing, mountaineering, or snowshoeing.
- Outdoor Research Rocky Mountain High and Low – Review pending for the Outdoor Research Rocky Mountain High, and they may be added soon.
- Kahtoola Instagaiter Low – Currently reviewing these now and they may be added soon.
Here are some things you might need to consider before purchasing gaiters.
All the best hiking gaiters use some form of waterproof and breathable membrane such as three-layer Gore-Tex or eVent which is sandwiched between a couple of inner and outer layers. The outer fabric is usually very durable nylon that is able to withstand abuse in the form of sharp sticks and tree branches.
There are four main features that make up a modern hiking gaiter, including the Velcro closure, Top Drawcord closure, Lace Strap, and Under Boot instep strap.
To facilitate ease of use when putting on and taking off the backpacking gaiters there is a velcro strap to open and close the gaiters. Some go further and add press studs to keep them closed in tough terrain. Ultralight gaiters for trail running and thru-hiking usually are only ankle gaiters and do not use this feature.
All gaiters will use lace hooks to attach to a section of the shoelace or bootlace to keep the gaiters in place. Most use a metal lace hook or similar.
Top Drawcord Strap
Most gaiters have some form of the top strap to keep the gaiter sinched to your leg. This is most important for full-length gaiters to be used in snow or mud.
Under Boot Instep Strap
Not all gaiters will have an under-boot instep strap. The instep strap is mainly used on gaiters meant for backpacking, hiking, mountaineering, and ski touring. Trail running and thru-hiking gaiters tend not to have this feature. Most straps are durable and made of strong durable material.
Size and Length
There are three lengths that most gaiters come in. Ankle, calf, and knee length.
Ankle Gaiters are usually made of lighter weight material and suitable for trail runners or thru-hikers that want minimal protection from sand and small stones only.
Calf gaiters are mid-way between the ankle and knee gaiters and are a bit of a compromise on what they do. As a result, they are usually not as light as ankle gaiters and not as good at keeping out mud and snow as knee-length gaiters.
Knee-length gaiters are the preferred option for most people. They are suitable for general hiking and backpacking in mud, snow, or in the backcountry.
Most gaiters come in various sizes which are usually linked to the shoe size. Check the shoe size and sizing guides for each manufacturer before you buy.
As with most things to do with hiking and backpacking the weight matters. In the case of gaiters, the weight usually determines how durable the gaiters are.
Water Resistant Gaiters
The best waterproof gaiters are made with some form of a waterproof and breathable membrane such as three-layer Gore-Tex or eVent. Waterproof gaiters made with these materials are great for use in snow or muddy trails. For use in the desert to prevent sand and rocks from entering being waterproof is not as important.
The best breathable gaiters are ultralight and are mostly used in the desert to prevent debris from getting into your shoes. And they do a great job without making your feet too hot.
The best durable gaiters are solid enough to withstand walking off trail and bush bashing through potentially rough terrain. The overall weight of the gaiter is usually a good indication of how durable they will be
From the cheap to the expensive there are many options. If you are heading out on a winter adventure and want to stop the snow coming into your boots the quality and cost of the pair of gaiters you buy will be more than someone wanting to stop sand on a light day hike. On the high end, $100 would be the maximum price with cheaper versions being well under $50.
There are some really great gaiters out there to choose from, and the main factor influencing your decision about which ones to get will probably be the height they reach. Knee-high waterproof gaiters are great for snow sports and deep muddy trails. But if you’re trail running or thru-hiking you will be better off with spandex-based gaiters that are pulled down to your ankles.
The Best Backpacking Gaiters on the market in 2022 are: