Despite the fact that hunting can take you into all sorts of precarious terrain – from mud to snow to lakes, gorges and marshes – many hunters still don’t see the need for gaiters. After all, shouldn’t a pair of sturdy boots be enough?
The fact is, you simply don’t know when the weather’s going to take a turn for the worse. Keeping dry isn’t just a question of vanity, or even of comfort; it’s a question of stealth. It’s a question of not making a single sound.
You really think sloshing around shin deep in mud is going to bag that twelve point buck? Think again.
More importantly, it’s a question of safety. If you can’t predict the weather, you might not be able to predict jagged rocks or falling debris. It’s as true for the hunter as it is for the hiker.
Gaiters are becoming more and more popular these days with hunters. And while you may have your own particular reasons and preferences, luckily there’s a plethora to choose from. We took a look at some of the most popular brands out there today, and also provided a few things to keep in mind when choosing a pair.
FiveJoy Mountain Hiking Boot Gaiters Review
A one-inch wide hook and loop closure at the tops and bottoms make them easy to use, and the adjustable top straps make for a nice, snug fit.
Waterproof and tear resistant, the size may seem a little limiting; our pro tip is to shoot for a size larger than you’d normally take.
Outdoor Research Men’s Rocky Mountain High Gaiters Review
Outdoor Research is considered one of the go-to manufacturers when it comes to outdoor accessories, and this offering is no exception.
There’s an instep strap for added security, and the bottom shear tab helps ensure the front closure from flapping open (a serious problem with many gaiters.)
Outdoor Research Men’s Crocodile Gaiter Review
Gore-tex nylon material and a waterproof (and we do mean waterproof) design makes them ideal, even for non-hunters (skiers, you don’t know what you’re missing.)
Adjustably sized thanks to the hoop and loop closure, there’s also a instep strap for bonus security.
Outdoor Durable Waterproof Highly Breathable Hiking Gaiters Review
There’s a unique waterproof zipper that when opened allows for ventilation, but when closed becomes a side pocket for both convenience and additional insulation.
Easy to put on and off and both water and wind resistant, this is an excellent choice depending on your needs (see the first sentence of this review.)
Hunting Gaiters Buying Guide – How to find the best hunting gaiters for your needs.
Ultimately, this is a tricky one to figure out. Knee gaiters – which, as the name implies, stretch from the ankles to the knees – are probably the best choice for hunters who have to work with taller grass and more concealed terrain.
However, they suffer from a drawback of being bulky to maneuver in. Mid-calf gaiters allow for greater mobility but are probably better suited for light hunting. What it boils down to is your personal need.
Fit and Comfort
Breathability is critical, as you’ll probably be wearing them for hours on end. Nylon is the preferred fabric, but you should also take warmth into consideration; particularly if you’re going to be out in the cold.
If the latter is the case, a Gore-Tex Nylon blend is ideal.
When it comes to fitting, you might want to look for a size larger than you’d normally take; you’ll be slipping them over your boots, after all.
With this in mind, make sure that your gaiters have adjustable straps to allow for a snug fit.
Water and Insect Repellents
Even if you’re not planning on hunting near any big lakes or in the winter anytime soon, selecting a pair of waterproof gaiters is an excellent insurance against unexpected downpours.
Not all brands are water proof, even if it seems like an obvious choice.
Many brands also double as excellent repellents against mosquitoes – and every hunter knows how difficult it is to keep a calm, collected stance when swatting away a plague of locusts.
Just as nature advances, so should a hunter’s gear as well. You can purchase all the advanced, high-tech firepower you want; but just like your game, the elements are unpredictable. Better to be prepared than to call it a day.