I must admit to being a gaiters skeptic. The most exposure to gaiters I have had in the past is making fun of my Kiwis mates who get around in the shortest of footy shorts, with knee high gaiters. To which I ask “Why don’t you just wear trousers? Then you won’t need gaiters, and I don’t have to look at your legs!”
But after trying a pair myself, I became a convert. I tried the Spika hunting gaiters, planning to test their key selling points…. Water resistance, protection from brush and grass seeds, and to stop foreign objects getting into my boots.
A trip to Northern NSW was the prime location for field testing. After a good season, the rivers and creeks were flowing, and the whole property over-run with lush grass, and of course every type of burr one could imagine.
After zipping up the gaiters with the nice big YKK zips, the press studs folded the zippers nicely away, keeping out seeds and dirt. The adjustable Velcro straps held them secure above the shins. A thick layer of neoprene (wet-suit material) wraps around the straps for comfort around the shins no matter how tight you need to do them up (so suitable for chicken legs!) A hook at the bottom of the gaiters secures them onto the boot laces, stopping them from twisting around on the leg.
Ready to go! While feeling a little awkward at first because they are quite a stiff material, I eventually got used to having them on and found they did not twist around, reduce any sort of maneuverability or annoy me.
The DU-PONT Teflon waterproofing on the 300gsm MICROFUSE fabric did the job during creek crossings. With the gaiters done up securely below the shins, zipped down the leg and correctly attached to the laces of a good pair of waterproof boots, my feet stayed super dry, so long as I didn’t stand still for too long in the ankle deep water.
Wading through long grass is where they really came into their own. Although they were a little noisy when brushing through certain types of grasses, they were no noisier than the crunch of the undergrowth or swish of the grasses as I pushed my way through. The best part, no grass seeds down my boots and no burrs stuck in my bootlaces! Being what they were designed for, I kind of expected this, but some other perks while walking in long grass is the peace of mind knowing I have that extra bit of protection against unseen dangers.
All up, a great product that I will continue to use. Of course, the super short footy shorts will remain in the pyjama cupboard. My kiwi mates have converted me, but not that much!