LEG GAITER COMPARISON
At a certain point in time, we have all been in the situation of having soaked pant legs after hiking around through the misty morning, dew-soaked brush in the mountains. A lot of us have even been in the scenario of hiking around late in the season where the air is crisp, and the snow has a rhythmic crunch with every step you take. These are both prime scenarios when wearing gaiters could be a comfort along with protecting your pant legs from some of the elements.
I was first introduced to wearing gaiters years ago when I was invited by a coworker to go look at deer in late November. There was snow on the ground and his gaiters were enough to help block the wind and keep his legs warm. At the time I had only heard of gaiters but after seeing the benefit, I decided to give them a try and get a pair of my own. I bought my first pair of gaiters for $20. For the money, they worked great. But unfortunately, they did not last long. Within a couple seasons of wearing them, my legs were wetter on the inside of the gaiters than on the outside of the gaiters.
Gaiters have come a long way since then. Different materials and coatings have improved the quality and durability of the gaiter. Different styles offer options to cover almost any situation out there for someone wearing gaiters. This also provides options for almost any budget out there. In this article I will cover the different brands BlackOvis carries, features of each model, and what stood out to me on each model. As a disclaimer, I have not personally used every model I will discuss. However, I was fortunate enough to sit down at BlackOvis and get my hands on them all. With that being said, let’s dive in.
The Takur gaiter is the high-end gaiter offered by Kryptek. This gaiter is well built and feels like it can take a beating but is still quiet. It comes in Kryptek’s Altitude pattern which provides full coverage when trying to keep your legs hidden. This gaiter is a front Velcro closure that uses a dog-ear flap at the top and bottom to help ensure it stays closed. A buckle and strap are used at the top to adjust the compression around your leg. One feature that stands out to me is the metal boot clip that hooks to your boot lace to help keep the gaiter in place.
The Petra gaiter is another great option from Kryptek. It is made with a cordura material which makes it extremely durable and abrasion resistant. Because of the cordura material, this gaiter is a little louder than the Takur. For the compression at the top of the gaiter, the Petra uses a bungee cord with a cord lock. It comes in Kryptek Highlander pattern which is a great choice when trying to stay concealed. The Petra features a front Velcro closure that also has a dog-ear flap at the top and bottom to ensure the gaiter stays closed. Like the Takur, the Petra also uses the metal boot clip to hook to your boot lace to help hold it in place. If you do not mind a slightly noisier gaiter, this is a more affordable option than the Takur but still offers great protection from the elements.
The Kenetrek gaiter is a great mid-priced gaiter that offers a lot and is extremely durable. These come in a solid black or Loden Green color, Mossy Oak, or Realtree camo pattern. The solid is made from a durable nylon face and the camo patterns are made from a brushed microfleece material. The solid is slightly louder than the camo because of the difference in materials. These have a sturdy plastic buckle at the top with a strap for the compression strap. A sturdy plastic cam lock buckle with a strap is used for the compression at the top of the gaiter. The Kenetrek gaiter uses a front Velcro closure and a snap at the bottom to lock the Velcro closed. It uses a metal boot clip which is smaller than what the Kryptek gaiters use, but it still clips onto your boot lace well to ensure the gaiter stays in place. I personally use the solid loden green Kenetrek gaiters. I have used them on multiple outings where I have encountered snow, mud, brush, rocky terrain, etc. It has stood up to the test of the elements and performed well.
KING’S CAMO XKG GAITER
The King’s gaiter has a lot to offer and is a great option if you are trying to stick to a budget. It is made from a 3-layer, 4-way stretch polyester material that is extremely durable. These come in a solid or camo pattern. Like the Kenetrek gaiter, the King’s gaiter uses a front Velcro closure with a snap at the bottom to keep the gaiter closed at the bottom. For the compression strap, it uses a plastic cam lock buckle with strap to ensure it stays tight.
SEA TO SUMMIT OVERLAND GAITER
The Overland gaiter is a great option for those not wanting to break the bank but still wanting a durable gaiter. This gaiter comes in a black and grey ripstop nylon material. When I was checking this gaiter out, it felt durable in my hands. It uses a Velcro strap for the compression strap and has a front Velcro closure with a snap at the bottom to keep the gaiter closed. It uses a metal boot clip to attach to your boot lace to keep the gaiter in place. Unlike the forementioned gaiters, the stirrup on the Overland gaiter uses a string instead of an adjustable buckle and strap.
OUTDOOR VISION RAM RIVER GAITER
When I got my hands on the Outdoor Vision gaiter, it felt well-built and durable. This gaiter is made with a front Velcro strap but unlike the other gaiters mentioned, it includes a YKK splashguard zipper to help give that extra protection. Like the other gaiters, this includes the metal boot clip to attach it to your bootlace. It also features a durable cam lock buckle and webbing for the compression strap. This gaiter would be a great choice for extra protection against brush, rock, debris, etc.
SITKA STORMFRONT GTX GAITER
The last gaiter to talk about is the Sitka Stormfront GTX gaiter. This gaiter felt well-built and ready to take a beating. I really liked the stitching and a lot of the features on this gaiter. It is made from 3-layer gortex material and has a front Velcro strap. The compression strap is made with a cam lock buckle and strap. The Stormfront GTX gaiter is available in both the Optifade Subalpine and Optifade Open Country camo patterns. The feature that stood out to me on these gaiters are the stirrups. Instead of the usual strap and buckle setup, these use an internal ladder system which makes the strap fully adjustable.
One feature I did not mention regarding all but two of the gaiters is the stirrup. The stirrup is important for the fit of the gaiter. With the combination of the boot hook and the stirrup, this helps create the “seal” at the bottom of the gaiter to keep out debris and water. I mention this because the stirrup on the other gaiters is different. Instead of a string or internal hook-and-ladder design, the stirrup is an extremely durable buckle and strap.
Every one of these gaiters are great options. Although they all have a common design, each have their differences that set them apart from the others. When it comes down to it, your hunting or outdoor style will determine which gaiter will be best for you. For example: if you are a die-hard that spends numerous days in the field, you would probably want to spend a little more money and go with a gaiter at the higher end of the spectrum like the Sitka Stormfront gaiter. If you are a weekend warrior who needs something durable, you may want to choose the Kings XKG gaiter or the Kenetrek gaiter.
In conclusion, like every piece of a layer system, gaiters have their place and purpose. If you have not used them before, I would suggest getting opinions from someone that have used them or go to a store like BlackOvis and try them out. You may like them, or you may hate them. Either way, it can be that one thing that can help you be a better hunter or outdoorsman.
I hope this article offered insight regarding gaiters. Thank you for reading, stay safe, and happy hunting.