Gaiter Test

Gators

The purpose of gaiters is to keep water and dirt from getting into your footwear from the top. I’ve used full sized gaiters when hiking in snow, but they’re a bit much for the Camino. Because it is very hard to keep dry even with “waterproof” clothing, I thought these might be a good addition to my hiking kit. The Bluefields said they were waterproof, so . . .

Stress Test

I put the gaiters on over waterproof boots so that I would know for sure if any water came in through the top. I wore shorts because that is a likely hiking scenario, and because skin would provide the least secure closure (as opposed to, say, putting the gaiters on over rain pants).

Then I just sprayed them down with a hose.

wetboots

 

Results

Initially there was good news. The material the Gators are made of did repel water. I soaked them from the side and the covered parts of the boot stayed dry.

Then the bad news.

When I sprayed the tops, the gaiters definitely did not form a waterproof seal. Within seconds I could feel my water soaking into my socks. Inspection of the boots’ interior confirmed at the water was having no trouble finding its way in.

wetboot

wetsock

Conclusion

Even though they won’t protect from hard rain, I think these gaiters will do well against dirt, sand, and mud. However, I also discovered another problem: these gaiters are made for boots and my shoes are too flat for the Bluefield’s understrap.

So, if I want gaiters, I may have to go with the Altra Trail Gaiter which is made for them. Unfortunately, the description of the ATG’s conspicuously left “water” out  of the list of things they repel.

So it seems that once again, if you’re going to hike in wet weather, you should just plan to get wet.

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