The biggest challenges of hiking in the winter are staying warm and staying dry, especially when it comes to your lower body. Many believe that a quality pair of boots is enough to accomplish this, and in some cases they’re right. However, in deeper snow or wet foliage, your lower leg will get soaked and cold in a matter of minutes. This is where a pair of gaiters comes in handy. Today, I’ve detailed a set of gaiters that have long been a customer favorite, and continue to see trail time season after season: Outdoor Research’s Crocodile gaiters.
If you aren’t familiar with gaiters, they’re simply sleeves of durable fabric—usually comprised of layers of Gore-Tex, nylon, etc—that fit over your lower leg to protect you from snow. Gaiters are very effective at keeping your lower leg dry, but they also keep your legs safe from sharp objects like thorns or low branches, due to their durable material, and the Crocodile gaiters from Outdoor Research do both in strides. The gaiters possess waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex lined upper layers to keep you dry without smothering your leg, as well as Cordura nylon lowers that are durable enough to withstand damage from rocks, branches, and nearly anything else the trail can throw your way.
The hook and loop mechanism on the Crocodile gaiters that fits around your boots can be adjusted to suit a variety of boot styles and shoe sizes. Furthermore, the gaiters are tapered at the ankle, which helps prevent snow from creeping in by keeping the fabric from bunching up or shifting. While the Crocodiles are comprised of waterproof fabric, the seams are not factory sealed, which means if you want complete waterproof gaiters, you’ll need to treat the seams with a waterproof sealant.
The Crocodiles are available in two colors and four sizes, Small to X-Large. Your shoe size determines which size you’ll need. Grab Small if your boot size is between 4 and 7, Medium for sizes 6-9, Large for 8-11, and X-Large for 10-13. (Women’s sizes: S 5.5-8.5, M 7.5-10.5, L 9.5-12.5, XL 11.5 and over.) Lastly, the gaiters come with a $75.00 price tag, which is a bit higher than products from REI or Mountain Hardwear, but many customers are willing to pay more for quality, and the reviews of Outdoor Research’s Crocodile gaiters will show how well-received the product has been.
While there are numerous gaiters that are less expensive than Outdoor Research’s Crocodiles, glowing reviews and quality material, accompanied by efficient design, have made the Crocodiles a favorite among outdoorsmen over the years. Of course, if you’re not trudging through deep snow, but still want protection, the company also makes a smaller product that costs half as much. No one enjoys the cold, soggy feeling of snow soaking their legs during a brisk winter hike, and Outdoor Research’s Crocodiles are a great solution to this problem. Are they worth the high price tag, though? That, my friends, is up to you to decide.