Best Hiking Gaiters – Expert Review

Updated: February 12, 2024
best hiking gaiters

Hiking in the mud isn't fun. And when it rains on a trail - it pours. At least it always feels like it does. So, it's really silly to splash out on some fancy hiking boots and then get them utterly destroyed by the perfectly natural occurrence in nature - wet weather. 

So, have a look at adding some good gaiters to your trekking pack. They might save you a pretty penny in the long run. I've made this list really simple - only 5 top choices.

Best Hiking Gaiters (Top Picks)

Hillsound Armadillo LT I Waterproof, Unisex, Breathable Gaiters for Year-Round Hiking, Large

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Salomon TRAIL GAITERS HIGH Running Gaiters , BLACK, 9.5-12

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Best Waterproof

Black Diamond Apex

Black Diamond Apex Gaiters, Black, Small

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Top Gaiters For Hiking (Detailed Reviews)

We reviewed over 12 hiking gaiters for this article. Below are the best hiking gaiters that made our short list.

  1. Outdoor Research Rocky Mountain High - Best Overall
  2. Outdoor Research Verglas Gaiters
  3. Salomon Unisex High Trail Gaiter - Best Lightweight
  4. Black Diamond Apex - Best Waterproof
  5. Hillsound Armadillo LT Gaiters - Best Value

Read our complete buyers guide for hiking gaiters.

Best Overall Hiking Gaiters

1. Hillsound Armadillo LT Gaiters

Hillsound Armadillo LT I Waterproof, Unisex, Breathable Gaiters for Year-Round Hiking, Large

4.3/5 Overall Rating

Canadian company, Hillsound, is made up of outdoor enthusiasts, so you can rest assured, they’ve thought about this product and its function thoroughly.

The Armadillo gaiter range consists of three options, but Hillsound Armadillo LT is my first choice.

The LT features a waterproof and breathable upper made from Flexia, which is 2–way stretch fabric. This stretch ensures a comfortable and snug fit with no unwanted movement or slippage.

The lowers are made of 1,000-denier high-density nylon, offering exceptional protection from trail debris and the elements.

A fully waterproof zipper makes for ease of putting the gaiter on and off.

The Armadillo LT is unisex and is available in XS through to XL.

Main Features
  • Waterproof and good breathability
  • Durable Water Repellent coated 
  • Weighs about 300g (M)
What we like
  • Stretchy and comfortable with a snug fit
  • Breathable and affordable
What we dislike
  • Zipper can be finicky when putting gaiters on
Key Takeaway

While the Armadillo LT is at the bottom end of the Armadillo range, it is by no means inferior. This is a very well-constructed, high-performance yet affordable option, so when looking for a gaiter for your year-round outdoor adventures, this will be a solid choice.

2. Outdoor Research Rocky Mountain High

Outdoor Research Men's Rocky Mountain High Gaiters, Black, L

5/5 Overall Rating

The durable and lightweight Rocky Mountain High gaiters from Outdoor Research are my second best gaiters.

Reasonably priced, and backed by the Outdoor Research Infinite Guarantee, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you’re buying a quality product.

Weighing in at under 200g (in the large), the Rocky Mountain folds up small, and is easy to pull on and off. They are unisex and they reach mid-calf, though we recommend sizing by calf size rather than shoe size.

Take note that the Rocky Mountain gaiters are also available in a low option but we prefer this knee-high option as a more versatile hiking gaiter.

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Main Features
  • Elasticated top and bottom ensuring proper snug closure, keeping out trail debris and snow.
  • Wide hook and loop closures at the top and bottom to securely close and ensure the gaiter does not move around.
  • Contains a mix of coated and uncoated packcloth to provide additional waterproofing where needed most.
  • Reinforced double-riveted bootlace hook and a strong Hypalon instep strap to keep the gaiter in place.
What we like
  • Water-resistant
  • Treated for abrasion resistance
  • Comfortable 
  • Versatile
What we dislike
  • Perfect sizing can be difficult because of the slim design
Key Takeway

The Rocky Mountain High gaiter is solidly constructed, with a sleek and well-fitted silhouette. It is well priced and features all the requirements for an all-purpose, all season gaiter. It stands up well to daily use, keeping trail debris out of your shoe, and is sufficiently water resistant for stream crossings and damp surroundings.

3. Outdoor Research Crocodile Gaiters

Outdoor Research Women's Crocodile Gaiters, Black, Small

4.6/5 Overall Rating

These women’s specific gaiters from industry leader, Outdoor Research, are excellent.

Made with GORE-TEX 3L fabric, Crocodile gaiters are waterproof, windproof and durable, while still being extremely breathable.

These gaiters will serve as a reliable companion on all any type of hiking adventure, no matter the terrain or weather.

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Main Features
  • It has Abrasion–Resistant Cordura in high abrasion areas
  • Double stitched front closure for durability
  • Biothane coated Instep strap that’s also triple-bar tacked for additional strength
  • Larger circumference allows for wearing over rugged mountaineering boots
What we like
  • Abrasion-Resistant, slim fitted design, and excellent construction
  • Water and windproof
  • Lightweight, averaging only 252g for a Medium
What we dislike
  • Top buckle can get caught on thick bush, and they are a bit short
Key Takeaway

With the award-winning technology that Outdoor Research invests into their products, these gaiters warrant their higher price tag. The fabrics used are all treated to ensure highest quality and function. The Crocodile is tough as nails and up for pretty much anything you want to throw at it. While they are branded as women’s specific, men with slimmer calves may find Crocodile gaiters suitable as well.

4. Salomon Unisex High Trail Gaiter

Salomon TRAIL GAITERS HIGH Running Gaiters , BLACK, 9.5-12

4/5 Overall Rating

The Salomon Trail Gaiter is available in High and Low varieties, though the ‘High’ is still the shortest of all the gaiters we reviewed.

The Salomon High is not recommended for extreme conditions, but as a lightweight trail accessory, these fit the bill perfectly.

They form a simple wrap around the ankle and the top of your trail shoe, preventing debris from entering the top. They are however not waterproof, but for damp conditions, they will hold up just fine.

With the simple Velcro fastening, these are the easiest to strap on and off, though if your boots and socks are quite bulky you may struggle to line up the Velcro fastening sufficiently.

They are unisex, and available in black with red or blue trim, and only available in Small, Medium and Large.

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Main Features
  • Elastic Jersey fabric ensuring a snug fit
  • Reflective detail for enhanced visibility in poor light conditions
    Weighs only 80 grams
  • Simple hook and loop closure for ease of use
  • Durable mesh with lightweight padding around ankle for breathable protection (Only a feature of the High gaiter)
  • Strong rubber under foot strap to keep gaiter in place
What we like
  • Simple on and off
  • Lightweight and perfect for summer
  • Comfortable and Quick drying
What we dislike
  • Hand wash only
    Only available in 3 size and may be difficult getting it around a chunkier boot
    Not waterproof
Key Takeaway

This Salomon gaiter is a great choice for an easy trail run or hike. It folds up really small, making it easy to tuck into your pack or even a pocket. Weighing in at only around 125g, you won’t even know it’s there.

5. Black Diamond Apex

Black Diamond Apex Gaiters, Black, Small

4/5 Overall Rating

If you’re heading out into the mountains for some skiing, or mountaineering, look no further than the Black Diamond Apex.

We like these rugged, bombproof gaiters as they’re built with the extreme outdoor in mind.

This full-height gaiter is recommended for cold, wet weather adventures like skiing, mountaineering and ice climbing.

It includes a welded abrasion guard to protect against crampons and ski edges, and the Black Diamond Apex has proved to be extremely well designed and solid.

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Main Features
  • Three layer GORE-TEX welded hard-shell upper for exceptional strength and protection
  • Welded, double layer 600-d abrasion guard
  • Hook and look front closure for secure fastening
  • Webbing with slide release buckle upper closure
  • Nickel-plated instep adjustment buckle
  • High density Neoprene coated nylon instep strap
What we like
  • Solid construction and durable
  • Great waterproof quality and breathable
  • Quick drying
What we dislike
  • Not always true to fit
Key Takeaway

The Black Diamond Apex gaiters are bomb proof. Designed to be used in extreme conditions, with crampons or skis they stand up well to snow and other cold conditions. As to be expected, they are heavier than other gaiters, approximately 230g for a Medium, but they offer the protection you need, keeping your feet and shoes warm, dry and protected.

Hiking Gaiters - Buyer's Guide (Key Features)

The most important consideration when buying gaiters is where, and how you intend to use them. The type of activity will dictate the features that will be non-negotiable.


If you’re planning a light hike or trail running adventure, you’ll probably want something lightweight and compact. Look for something breathable and quick to dry.

For mountaineering or ice climbing, you will require gaiters with more protection. Choose something with additional reinforcements to protect your shins against crampons spikes, and look for a heavy-duty waterproof fabric that will keep the snow out of your shoes and keep the bottoms of your pants dry. 


Gaiters generally come in three height options:

  • Low: The shortest, over the ankle option is ideal for trail runs or light hikes. Their function primarily to keep trail debris out.
  • Mid calf: A mid-calf option offers the best of both worlds, providing additional protection in denser foliage or shallow river crossings.
  • Knee High: The tall gaiter is designed for rugged terrain, deep snow and wet brush.

Ease of Use

You want something that is easy to slip on and off. Look at the type of fastening system that is used. A simple hook and loop fastener is easier to manipulate than a buckle, especially if you’re wearing gloves.


Try the gaiters on if possible or refer to the manufacturer’s size chart and read reviews like ours to see if there are any particular sizing concerns. With the higher gaiters, you need to consider the size of your calves as well, and not just shoe size. A gaiter that keep slipping or moving around will be frustrating and defeat the purpose.


Gaiters are not use once and throw away items. All the fabrics used in modern day gaiters are treated for durability and abrasion resistance to various degrees. Pay attention also to the care instructions of your gaiters to ensure that the fabrics last as long as they possibly can.


You want some degree of protection from water even if it’s just a case of getting caught in the rain and having to jump in puddles. Different fabrics will provide different levels of protection from water.

Best Gaiters

About the author 

Mark Whitman

Mark has trekked extensively in Asia, Europe, South America and Africa. He founded Mountain IQ in 2014 with the sole aim to be the best online information portal to some of the most popular mountain destinations around the world. When not writing for Mountain IQ, Mark is out exploring the outdoors with his wife!

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