Sunday, March 20, 2022

Pike Trail Gaiters Save My Legs

 One thing that inexorably goes along with increased candle-count on the birthday cake is thinning skin and slower healing.

What's that got to do with anything?

Well much of the trail-system that I hike on a near-daily basis around the property is fairly well defined and largely obstruction-free from ground to around knee-level,

but the more open areas are choked with grasses and other, less benign, i.e. more pokey such as thorn-laden wild blackberry, flora that are often wet with dew in the chill of the mornings when I, and my aging-legs, tend to be out there,

and a lot of the trail-system is in the woods and the likely hood of getting tangled in more substantial, skin-tearing-able, objects at around ankle-level is high.

And while it's true that when I'm out doing any real hiking I wear long pants, here on the property my daily uniform of a hard-wearing kilt leaves my legs bare from the knee down.

So a while back I thought maybe I would try trading in perpetually scabbed legs for some protective gaiters. And perhaps save a little on Neosporin while I was at it.

(Apologies for subjecting y'all to the sight of my naked knee. I hope it wasn't too traumatic.)

To that end I selected this set of gaiters from Pike Trail and have been using them for about 8 months now.

Which in my case equates to some significant mileage, and, to my thinking anyway, also equates to the basis for a meaningful review.  - - Unlike those attention-seeking numb-nuts that write useless reviews such as "haven't tried it yet but the packaging was slightly crinkled so I give it a one-star deduction" ! 

As advertised, they, or at least the fabric the gaiters are made out of, is waterproof so they perform as hoped when wading through cold, wet vegetation, and the tough fabric does a much better job of fending off sharp, pokey things than my skin.

Of course, since I'm wearing them in all seasons, including summer heat, that water-proof bit means my leg-sweat collects on the inside just as fast as the dew on the outside, so they do get a little funky. But somehow warm leg-sweat, at least my own warm leg-sweat, is less objectionable than cold dew.

And since I'm not passionately opposed to trading a little funk for undamaged legs, and the gaiters do a good job of keeping them - my formerly scabby gams - pristine and beautiful - - - OK, beautiful might have pushed beyond the bounds of credibility, but you know what I mean - - I am calling this experiment a success.

Putting the gaiters on is easy.

They are ambidextrous so after hooking the adjustable foot-strap (Since I always wear the same boots I only needed to make this adjustment the first time I used the gaiters.) of the one nearest at hand under my arch. (with my boot already on of course) I then pull the gaiter into place around the back of my leg and with a quick, two-handed flip, press the full-length strips of Velcro - oops, sorry - hook and loop, closed up the front, and done.

People wearing normal hiking boots have the option of slipping the hook at the bottom of the gaiters over a boot-lace to assist the foot-strap in assuring the gaiter stays in place.

Since the barn-boots I wear around the property (old hiking boots that are too worn out for real trails) have no laces so I can slip them on and off easily, I don't have an immediate use for this little hook. Then again, I have also encountered no issues with the gaiters staying right where they belong even without it.

Speaking of staying where they belong: There's this elastic draw-string & retention clip thingy at the top of the gaiter so I can cinch them snug above the shapely swell of my calf. - - Yeah, when I find my shapely swell I'll letcha know!

I suppose if I were post-holing through a couple of feet of snow that might come in handy to keep them up where they belong, but having been there, done that, - you know, back when I was young, a northerner,  and didn't know better - I have no intentions of getting myself into that sort of situation again and find that, for me and my circumstances, the stiffness of the fabric is all that's needed to keep the gaiters standing tall and not bunched-up down around my boot-tops.

My biggest concern, robustness-wise, was the foot-straps that are down there getting ground between my boot and the trail with every step.

I'm not sure what those straps are made of but I estimate that I have put somewhere around 300 miles over sandy, rocky ground on them and see no signs of wear yet. No cuts or nicks, and if you brush the dirt off, not even any discernible scuffs.

The one area showing wear, other than the collected grunge which I don't bother washing off since it will just be right back again, is the metal snaps at the top and bottom of the Velcro strip. The snaps are there as one more assurance that the gaiters will stay closed and secure. These snaps are not the cheaper plastic variety but are made out of very tough metal. So tough it is often quite a struggle to get them to snap and even more difficult to get them to unsnap, although that might be in part because of a collection of grit gathered during my travels.

But of more concern is the fact that my apparently toxic leg-sweat seems to be eating away at the upper snaps rather quickly. To the point where the metal is being eaten away and has become prone to bending.

But while this looks bad, actually it's no big deal since the Velcro seems to be enough to keep the gaiters closed and in place anyway rendering the snaps an unnecessary closure-redundancy, so I eventually stopped struggling with them altogether. (If I was truly smart I would have stopped using them much sooner, but - well, what can I say?!)

With the understanding that I haven't yet, and don't intend ever, to use them in the deep snow they were originally designed for, and a one-star deduct for the corroding snaps, I would give these gaiters a 4 star rating - If this was Amazon and not a blog.

And it's nice to have my gorgeous legs back to their chick-magnet glory. And it's nice to look down and see legs that have recovered from their "Holy crap what happened to you!" state of scabbyness.


  1. LOL, wonky but hey it werks, right? I could have used something like that a few weeks ago when I went off trail (as I tend to do so often) and ended up wading through a field of nasty thorn brushes.

    By the time I was done the entirety of my legs had blood streaming down everywhere from deep scratches and cuts. Fun but worth the diversion!


    1. These gaiters are tough. In fact I can think of a few places where I could benefit from them even though wearing long pants because I too often end up off-trail. The downside of being an easily distracted hik - Ooh! Shiny!