Extremities Tay Ankle Gaiter (2015)

Features

The Extremities Tay Ankle Gaiter is designed to be a shorter length for comfort, so it only covers the ankle and lower calf area. It is made from Gore-Tex, which is extremely waterproof and breathable. The front closure is Velcro-only with no zip and no press studs, and just a drawcord at the top. There is a lace hook and tough Hypalon underfoot strap though. 4/5

Fit

Available in S/M and L/XL, the Extremities Tay Ankle Gaiter came to my mid calf area when pulled up. The material is soft enough to push down below the calf as well if you prefer. The fit across the boot was fine and there is plenty of adjustment in the underfoot strap. The top drawcord allows a good fit around the leg to ensure debris cannot get inside the gaiter. 5/5

Comfort

This uses Gore-Tex material so it is as breathable as gaiters are going to get, and as the calf area is soft and not too long this is more comfortable than any longer gaiter. Because it comes in two sizes that comfort should be maintained even if you have chunkier or thinner legs than me as the two sizes should easily accommodate some variation. 5/5

In use

I keep thinking there should be press stud at the top and bottom of the wide Velcro closure, but this sort of closure does work well, I am surprised to find, and I have used similar closures for years successfully. Of course you do get less protection in deep bogs or long wet heather so Extremities Tay Ankle Gaiters are not ideal for every situation but a good option sometimes. 4/5

Value

You pay for Gore-Tex but you get fewer other features, not even a zip. The price is not great but it’s still less than some ankle gaiters. 3/5

Verdict

If you want a short gaiter for great comfort and can tolerate less protection the Extremities Tay Ankle Gaiter is a very good option if you are on a tight budget. 4.2/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine October 2015

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Highlander Breathable Gaiter (2015)

Features

The material here is AB-Tex, a ripstop polyester with a waterproof and breathable membrane. The front zip is covered by a stormflap with a Velcro closure, while the top of the zip is secured with a press stud and a rear drawcord ensures a close fit. The underfoot stirrup is made from Hypalon – a very durable material often used in high-end gaiters. 5/5

Fit

The Highlander Breathable Gaiter comes in just one size for men and one size for women. The gaiter fitted over my size 11/46 boots and the top came nicely below my knee, but smaller people may need a smaller gaiter perhaps? The calf area was comfortable on me but a closer fit than some gaiters, so if you have chunkier calves these may be tight. The limited size range could be an issue for some too. 3/5

Comfort

These feel nice and light and comfortable on, as the calf area is a little thinner and softer than many low-priced gaiters. But if the fit is tight they would potentially feel more restrictive. Higher-priced materials will be more breathable so don’t be surprised if you get some condensation. But overall the Highlander Breathable Gaiters feel great, assuming they fit. 4/5

In use

The Highlander Breathable Gaiter is easy to get on, thanks to a chunky front zip and that Velcro-fastened stormflap. If the underfoot strap ever breaks it is easily replaced but it should last longer than a plain cord or webbing and won’t fray like a metal wire. Fit over boots is good, so overall a great gaiter to use. But again this assumes it fits you. 4/5

Value

A very well-priced gaiter for the performance, with breathability being the main drawback. 5/5

Verdict

The Highlander Breathable Gaiter is a product at a good price with the key features most walkers will benefit from, but higher-priced options are even better. It wins Trail’s ‘approved’ accolade. 4.2/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine October 2015

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Quechua Forclaz 50 Gaiter (2015)

Features

For this tiny price you get a polyester fabric with a waterproof PU coating, which Quechua describes as ‘not very breathable’. The side zip has no large stormflap to protect it that some have, nor a drawcord or top press stud to secure this area; there is just elastication at the top. A lace hook is also provided as well as a wire underfoot strap with an adjustable buckle. 3/5

Fit

The Quechua Forclaz 50 Gaiters come in sizes S, M and L and they are usefully labelled L and R so you know which is the left and right gaiter. I was sent a size M, which fitted fine over my size 11/46 boots and the top came nicely below my knee. The calf area was comfortably relaxed to allow easy movement and some airflow. 5/5

Comfort

The material is not the most breathable so sweat inside the gaiter is an issue; that said, even the best gaiters can be a bit sweaty. Nothing digs in or rubs, which is the most important thing. The elastication around the top of the gaiter also sits nicely and is comfier than some drawcords I have used. Being hot and sweaty is the main drawback. 4/5

In use

Side zips are not as easy as front zips, but the Quechua Forclaz 50 Gaiter still goes on pretty well. I’d like something to secure the top of the gaiter though as once the zip opens a little it can easily open further. The main issue is that the wire underfoot stirrup will fray – then it is hard to replace and also it may prick your fingers when fitting. But these gaiters do keep  mud out of boots! 3/5

Value

The Quechua Forclaz 50 Gaiter was the lowest-priced gaiter we received; and while not the best, the price is superb and the performance is good enough. 5/5

Verdict

How often do you wear gaiters? If the answer is not often, or you just don’t have much cash, then these are a bargain worth having. 4.0/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine October 2015

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Berghaus Yeti Attak II (2015)

Features

The Berghaus Yeti Attak II is a classic gaiter that encloses your footwear, with a rubber rand creating a waterproof seal between gaiter and boot. There is a front zip with a Velcro stormflap and drawcord at the top. The material is Gore-Tex for maximum waterproofness and breathability, but there’s also a very tough outer face fabric for durability. 5/5

Fit

Yetis come in unisex sizes XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL and XXXL, and you have to fit them to a pair of stiffened boots such as B1, B2 or B3 boots, as on softer 3-season boots they will just come off. Once on, they make a close fit if they suit the boot – but you do need appropriate footwear. So these are not for everyone. 4/5

Comfort

I first used Berghaus Yetis back in about 1990; they are very comfortable and keep all the water out. As they are Gore-Tex you get good condensation control and as they are not too close a fit to the leg, you get some airflow. Probably the most comfortable gaiter there is, as they keep you the most dry. 5/5

In use

On the right boots Berghaus Yeti Attak IIs are superb but once on they have to stay on, meaning you cannot take them on or off throughout a trip. This means they are perfect in winter or for bog-trotting but a pain in other more varied conditions. They are not too baggy and not too tight, and the front zip works well. The top drawcord toggle is a little basic as it is not stretchy but it’s functional enough. 4/5

Value

The price is high so you need to decide if you need this level of protection and will get the use out of them to justify the outlay. 3/5

Verdict

For maximum protection on stiffer boots Berghaus Yeti Attak IIs are a well-proven classic, but they have limitations too. They win Trail’s ‘approved’ accolade. 4.2/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine October 2015

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Berghaus GTX Gaiter (2015)

Features

The Berghaus GTX Gaiter is a Gore-Tex product, so waterproofness and breathability levels are extremely high. There is also a stretch panel up the rear of the leg for a closer fit. The underfoot strap is extremely robust too and can be easily adjusted or replaced. But there is no front zip, just a Velcro closure, and no press stud at the bottom of that closure. A top press stud and drawcord are provided however. 4/5

Fit

It comes in three sizes – S/M, L/XL and XXL – all in regular and long lengths, so it should fit most folk. The L/XL (long) fitted well over my 46/11 boots and sat nicely under my knee. There is stretch material down the back of the leg so this fits closer than lower-priced gaiters. The underfoot strap is adjusted with Velcro. 5/5

Comfort

Being close-fitting, even in Gore-Tex, means this gaiter is a little clammier as there is less airflow; however it is not flapping about – so there are pros and cons to that closer fit. But the boot is well-covered to keep water out. Also the top press stud is just to the side of the knee and the drawcords are neatly tucked away. So comfort is good here. 5/5

In use

The Berghaus GTX Gaiter weighs in at 242g (pair, size L/XL long) so you won’t mind carrying a pair in your rucksack. They don’t have a front zip and there is no press stud at the bottom so getting them on is a little more hassle than some models. But once on they are great. I like the more durable underfoot strap that is easily replaced, and also I like the fact that they are not too flappy. Just give me a zipped opening! 4/5

Value

The cost is creeping up here due the use of Gore-Tex and that stretch Gore-Tex panel but there is no zip, so feels pricy. 3/5

Verdict

If you prefer a closer-fitting gaiter then the Berghaus GTX Gaiter is it, but there is no front zip so you also need to like Velcro closures. 4.2/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine October 2015

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Rab Hispar Gaiter (2015)

Features

eVent fabric is used in the Rab Hispar Gaiter, and this is well-proven to be extremely waterproof and extremely breathable. It is a full-length gaiter with a front zip and wide Velcro covering that also has press studs at top and bottom. A drawcord is provided at the top, while a rubberised abrasion-resistant underfoot strap keeps the gaiter in place. A lace hook completes a good feature list. 5/5

Fit

It’s available in sizes S, M  and L – a wider range than some. The underfoot strap is easily adjusted for length via a ladder-lock buckle. The size L fitted my size 46/11 boots well, covering much of the lace area, and coming up just under my knee. The leg fit was fairly close but not restrictive or too baggy either. 5/5

Comfort

The Rab Hispar Gaiter uses extremely waterproof and breathable eVent fabric so condensation is going to be better managed here than elsewhere. It is also quite a soft fabric that is used so it does not feel uncomfortable when moving. The top drawcord is neatly placed at the side, which I found comfortable, and generally this felt great to wear. 5/5

In use

The Rab Hispar Gaiter weighs 256g (pair, size L), which while heavier than some does not detract from its performance even if stowed in a rucksack. It is easy to fit thanks to a zip and Velcro stormflap plus those press studs at the top and bottom. The underfoot strap appears more durable than some, and easy to change if it does wear out. Nothing to complain about here, and I’d happily use these. 5/5

Value

Not the cheapest gaiters on offer, but those with higher prices don’t offer much extra so the value is good. 4/5

Verdict

Rab Hispar Gaiters offer great all-round performance well-suited to most hillwalkers and backpackers; just buy them and enjoy the hills! They win Trail’s ‘approved’ accolade. 4.8/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine October 2015

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Montane Vortex Stretch Gaiter (2015)

Features

Granite Stretch material in the back and top of the Montane Vortex Stretch Gaiter is provided to enhance fit around the boot. The low height should make it more comfortable too. You still get very tough reinforced areas on the sides though. There’s a Velcro closure at the front with press studs, but the underfoot strap is made of webbing rather than being a more durable option. 4/5

Fit

It comes in sizes M and L, and the latter fitted over my size 46/11 boots easily. The webbing strap has a Velcro attachment for adjustment. The elasticated material at the rear helps to provide a close fit too. This model is mid-calf-length (the Tourbillon eVent Stretch Gaiter at £60 is the excellent full-length version). 4/5

Comfort

The Montane Vortex Stretch Gaiter is very comfortable as the material around the calf and above the boot is very soft. The gaiter is made from waterproof and breathable fabric too, but as the leg area tends to slip down this is quite a short gaiter anyway. The cord around the top is elasticated so it allows some flex of the leg muscles, and at just 172g a pair it does not weigh you down. 5/5

In use

This is a short gaiter and the cuff tends to ride down a little, so protection is far less than with longer gaiters. But it does work well apart from that and I like that it has a large lace hook and press studs on the Velcro closure as these both make it very easy to put on. The close fit and tough scuff area mean it should be durable, although the underfoot webbing strap is not as tough as some. 4/5

Value

The Montane Vortex Stretch Gaiter offers better overall performance than lower-priced short gaiters, but you can buy full-length gaiters for less. 3/5

Verdict

The Montane Vortex Stretch is a lightweight, comfortable and generally well-designed short gaiter. I’d recommend the full-length version too. 4.0/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine October 2015

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Páramo Long Gaiter (2015)

Features

The Páramo Long Gaiter is a well-proven product that benefits from Páramo’s Nikwax Analogy material, which is far more breathable than other waterproof fabrics so you get better condensation control. There is a front zip with a press stud stormflap over the top. The underfoot strap is a tough, rubberised design that can be easily adjusted or replaced. A top drawcord and lace hook complete a good package. 5/5

Fit

A unisex design in three sizes – S, M and L – this gaiter has a short design for £32 if you don’t want the full-length version featured here. The size L fits my size 46/11 boots well and the top sits nicely under my knee. It is slightly baggier than some around the ankle and calf area than most other gaiters, however. 4/5

Comfort

Nikwax Analogy fabric insulates more than other gaiters, so the Páramo Long Gaiters feel warmer. But the material is more breathable so condensation build-up is less. It is quite soft, though, and it’s rustle-free, and so overall it feels great. One niggle is that the top press stud sits right below the front of the knee so this can be a little uncomfortable when kneeling. 4/5

In use

The wider and baggier style is a little annoying, and I would ideally prefer the slightly neater fit of other gaiters. But Páramo Long Gaiters can be easily reproofed with Nikwax TX Direct Wash-In and they are very durable, so they will really last for many years. They do feel warm, though, which is more of an issue in summer, making these better for cooler conditions. 4/5

Value

There are lower-priced gaiters that work very well, but these are more breathable and better for winter. 3/5

Verdict

Páramo Long Gaiters use a different fabric system that works particularly well in cool, wet weather, but there are some drawbacks. 4.0/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine October 2015

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Outdoor Research Crocodiles (2015)

Features

Outdoor Research Crocodiles use Gore-Tex fabric, which is well-known for its waterproof and breathable performance; but you also get a much tougher 100 per cent nylon outer fabric for extra durability. The underfoot strap is made from BioThane-coated webbing for more durability. The front opening is just Velcro though with no press studs or zips, and just a top webbing and buckle adjustment. 4/5

Fit

These come in men’s sizes S-XXL and women’s sizes S-L, with the men’s and women’s cuts being slightly different for a better fit – and this is a wider size range than most. Fit is fairly close without being restrictive, although others with elastication may fit slightly closer to smaller footwear such as bendy 3-season boots. 4/5

Comfort

Outdoor Research Crocodiles are very comfortable, in part due to the use of very waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex; but also the fit is not too close, allowing some airflow, and there is no restriction of movement. I don’t like the wide cam buckle that secures the webbing at the top as this is potentially large enough to dig in a little at the side of the knee. 4/5

In use

These are a very robust and a neat fit, making them ideal for scrambling over snow and rock, slush and rubble. They are relatively easy to put on, although I would like a press stud at the bottom and top of that front Velcro opening, and ideally a zip too. If the underfoot strap did ever break then some professional sewing would be needed as this is stitched in place, while others are easier to replace. 4/5

Value

This is a more robust design than lower-priced designs so if you are tough on your gaiters the investment is worth it. 3/5

Verdict

Outdoor Research Crocodiles are very robust gaiters for crossing lots of rough terrain but they do not have a front zip or press studs for ease of fitting. 3.8/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine October 2015

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Sherpa Lakpa Rita Pant (2015)

Features

Sherpa is owned and run by Sherpas, and most of the company’s products are made in Kathmandu. The Lakpa Rita Pant is designed with eVent 3-layer fabric. It features thigh-length side zips with loops at the ankle cuff so you can tie down the cuffs to prevent them riding up when wading through snow. The knees are articulated too. 5/5

Fit

Available in sizes S to XXL for men and XS to XL for women, but without leg length options. The waist is elasticated and has belt loops, so there is some scope for fine-tuning. On me the fit was good with quite a high waist that is ideal for keeping the back and waist dry. There is no adjustment at the cuff, but none is needed as these are not too flappy. 5/5

Comfort

There is some stretch in the waist, and this makes a lot of difference when moving around. There is no other stretch, though; however I still found the Sherpa Lakpa Rita Pant quite comfortable despite their use of stiff 3-layer eVent fabric, which is well-proven for providing superior waterproofness and breathability. A double zip at the fly is also provided to facilitate toilet breaks. 5/5

In use

These are not quite as fully featured as a full-blown mountaineering pant, but they have enough of the essentials to make them ideal for most hillwalkers and Munro-baggers in the UK. The thigh-length zips allow them to be fitted easily, the weight is tolerable in a pack and they are sufficiently durable, waterproof and breathable to be comfy in most conditions. 5/5

Value

Pricy, but you get one of the best fabrics; and the absence of some features mean the Sherpa Lakpa Rita Pant is not the most expensive option. 3/5

Verdict

Superb overtrousers for most UK hill conditions, and while not cheap they are a great investment. They win Trail’s ‘approved’ accolade. 4.6/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine April 2015

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Vaude Yaras Rain Zip Pant (2015)

Features

The main feature here is the low weight combined with a full-length side zip that benefits from an external stormflap. But Vaude Yaras Rain Zip Pant overtrousers also use Bluesign-approved fabric, meaning they meets certain environmental criteria. There is reinforcement in the seat, a zipped fly, and an elasticated waist too. There are no belt loops and no waist drawcord, however. 4/5

Fit

The size range is S to XXXL but there is no specific women’s; however Vaude does make various other women’s waterproof overtrousers with different prices and features. The long side zip makes these easy to get on. The waist is elasticated but there are no belt loops and no drawcord, so check the fit carefully. 4/5

Comfort

Like a lot of very lightweight products, the Vaude Yaras Rain Zip Pant is made of a 2.5-layer fabric, in this case Vaude’s Ceplex Active. Like all 2.5-layer materials condensation is more noticeable than in mesh-lined trousers or 3-layer laminates, but on overtrousers I don’t find this a big problem. The weight benefit further improves comfort. 4/5

In use

What I like about the Yaras is that the ankle cuff is not too tight and elasticated, so the cuff sits over the top of boots well, which is not the case with some other lightweight trousers in this price range. Also you get very long side zips that also have external stormflaps and you can ‘Velcro in’ the calf area for a closer fit if needed. There’s also a zip fly. 5/5

Value

The low weight plus long side zips adds to the price, but Vaude Yaras Rain Zip Pants are comparable to other lightweight overtrousers. A short-zip version costs £80. 4/5

Verdict

Vaude Yaras Rain Zip Pants are superb if you want a few more features than lightweight, running-orientated designs, but heavier trousers have benefits. They win Trail’s ‘approved’ accolade. 4.2/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine April 2015

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The North Face Point Five NG (2015)

Features

The North Face Point Five NG overtrousers are mountaineering pants with all the features you need for tackling the toughest terrain in the toughest of conditions. So you get a tough 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro Shell fabric with abrasion patches at the ankle cuff. The side zips are full-length, there is a gaiter inside the ankle and braces are provided to ensure the trousers stay in place while you scramble. 5/5

Fit

Available in men’s 30 to 38 inch waist with both regular and long leg lengths, but no women’s version is available. The fit is very good thanks to articulated knees and those braces that ensure they stay in place. The internal gaiter gets a lace hook to keep it in place but there is no adjustment on the calf or cuff, however it was not too flappy here. 5/5

Comfort

The North Face Point Five NG overtrousers have no stretch, and they’re made of robust 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro Shell so they are more restrictive than lighter trousers. But they protect against wind and rain better than light options. A double zip at the fly would have made toilet breaks easier, while stretch in the waistband may have eased comfort. Quite heavy too, making them a burden in a rucksack. 4/5

In use

Like a lot of kit designed for mountaineering and alpinists, The North Face Point Five NG overtrousers are superb for walking or scrambling to the top of Lakeland fells, Munros and Welsh summits in the toughest of weather. I’m always cautious about exposed side zips, but these have not leaked yet. I love the rest of the design in use and would choose these for tough conditions. 5/5

Value

TNF Point Five NG overtrousers carry the highest price tag and are heavy, but they offer the best performance for the toughest conditions. 3/5

Verdict

The North Face Point Five NG overtrousers are among the best you can buy for when the going gets really tough; the drawbacks are weight and price. 4.4/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine April 2015

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