SUPER ARMADILLO NANO GAITER
||200 lb (90.7 kg)
in 1995 when I moved to Washington State. Since then, I have
backpacked in all seasons and conditions the Northwest has to
offer. I prefer trips on
rugged trails with plenty of elevation gain. While I continuously
strive to lighten my load, comfort and safety are most important to me.
I have finally managed to get my basic cold weather pack weight, not
including consumables, to under 30 lb (14 kg).
|XS, S, M, L, XL (see specification chart below)
Listed Weights (pair):
|320 g / 11.29 oz (XS)
342 g / 12.06 oz (S)
362 g / 12.77 oz (M)
380 g / 13.40 oz (L)
402 g / 14.18 oz (XL)
Measured Weight (pair):
|Size L : 358 g / 12.65 oz||
Super Armadillo Nano gaiters are HILLSOUND's most feature rich gaiters.
They are intended for demanding activities such as mountaineering,
snowshoeing, and ice climbing. They include features that make them
water, dirt and stain resistant, as well as being resistant to cuts and
punctures, while also being comfortable and breathable over a wide
range of temperatures and conditions.
Nov 15 2017
HILLSOUND Super Armadillo Nano gaiters is a bit much to type/read over
and over and so throughout this report I will to refer to them in an
abbreviated fashion such as "the gaiters", expanding on that as
necessary for clarity.
I have used a pair of HILLSOUND crampons
for a number of years and really like them so was excited to have the
chance to review these gaiters. In preparation for this I did a bit of
reading and was surprised at the number of features as well as the use
of some materials/technologies that were unfamiliar to me. The uppers
utilize "Schoeller C_Change" which is a water and wind proof membrane
that allows moisture and excess heat to escape by becoming more porous
when warm, but retaining heat by contracting the membrane when cold.
They also have permanent DWR by way of "NanoSphere" coating. According
to what I have read this borrows from a natural water and soil
resistant feature some plants employ, where the surface structure
causes moisture to bead and roll off rather than soaking in, and in the
process dirt particles are washed off therefore making it
"self-cleaning." The manufacturer states the lower half of the gaiters
are made from a "SuperFabric" that it abrasion and puncture resistant.
In addition to these the gaiters have a number of more traditional
features like waterproof YKK zippers up the front with a very large
insulated zipper guard, and large (glove compatible?) loop attached to
the zipper pull. The boot strap is removable (replaceable). The upper
portion of the gaiters are stretchy to make them more comfortable, and
the top of the gaiters feature an adjustable web strap with buckle to
help keep them in place.
The gaiters are offered in 5 sizes.
These are listed by shoe size and a calf circumference. I requested a
size Large based on my shoe size without realizing that I actually have
extra large calves (18" / 46 cm). The large size were too tight around
my calves and I could not zip them closed so needed to get the larger (XL) size .
So I would recommend when choosing a size go with witchever
measurement (shoe or calf) results in the larger gaiter size.
most other gaiters I have used, these zip in the front. This makes them
easier to get on/off than ones with side or back closures. I also
prefer zipper closures over hook-n-loop. True, zippers can be less
durable than hook-n-loop, but I find them easier to deal with and more
waterproof. The lace hooks are configured as I have heard some refer
to as "backward". That is they point up/out away from the shoe. I have
used gaiters with this style hook before and while it takes a bit more
effort to get them hooked on to the laces of my footwear than if they
were pointed the other way, it makes them very unlikely to come off,
which is why I prefer this style. There is also a large hook-n-loop tab
at the bottom of the gaiters that covers and secures the zipper, which
I find is a very nice detail. At the top of the gaiters is an
adjustable web strap with plastic buckle. This is to help keep the top
of the gaiters cinched tight around the users leg as well as help to
prevent them from slipping down the leg. The boot strap that goes under
the boot looks to be a rubber impregnated (or encapsulated) nylon
strap. This is similar to some other high quality gaiters I have used,
with the exception that these are removable. Now I would note that I
have broken the boot straps from other gaiters but never ones of this
style. However that is a likely failure point for a product like this
so I appreciate that these can be easily removed by simply slipping them
out of the buckles that connect them on both sides of the gaiters.
going over the gaiters I found them to be quite well constructed with
no obvious flaws or indications of weak and/or potential problem areas.
The zipper appears to be of quality construction and looks waterproof.
The notably large zipper guard behind the zipper suggests the zipper is
unlikely to snag (on the gaiter or my clothing), should help keep water
out, and should also allow me to use these with shorts in warmer
weather (zipper should not snag my leg hair or scratch my skin).
would note here that I am a big fan of gaiters throughout the year.
Obviously in the winter they help keep snow and moisture out of my
boots and pants, but they also help to keep my pants and boots dry in
warmer months when I am likely to encounter mud and or wet brush as
well as helping to keep debris and critters out of my footwear. And in
the rare occasions when I hike in shorts, in addition to the above
uses, they also help to protect my lower legs from scratches and
At the time of this writing I have not yet received
the replacement size XL gaiters. I will include fitting information and
weight in the Field Report.
- Well constructed
- Puncture resistant
- Waterproof and breathable
|Mar 6 2018
Ski Patrol - White Pass Nordic Ski Resort White Pass, Washington - elevation 4500' (1370 m) - 8 days
- Temperatures so far this year have been at or just below freezing.
Overnight snow camping – 1 night each trip - Central Washington Cascades
about 4000' (1200 m) of elevation. First day calm a clear, the second day calm
with intermittent snow showers.
use of these gaiters during my ski patrol days involves the following: I
typically snowshoe in the morning, evaluating and if necessary packing
down the snowshoe trails, and performing other minor trail maintenance
if necessary. In the process I dig out the entrances to the bathrooms
and assist/educate customers as necessary. On occasion I have to haul
gear or rescue toboggans and/or clear or pack the snow around the
toboggans for easy access. Then I switch to skis for the afternoon. On
days where it is snowing (or might) I use the gaiters with my ski boots
and always wear them for snowshoeing.
All of my use so far have been with these over a light or mid weight base-layer and shell pants.
the two overnight trips, after a day of patrolling I snowshoed back
into the trees at the far end of the lake and set up my hammock. The
gaiters really come in handy after I take off my snowshoes. Despite
packing down my camp area there is always spots where I end up
As mentioned in the previous report I originally
requested too small a size, based on my shoe size. When I received the
larger size and tried them on I was concerned that they might be too
snug when wearing a base-layer and outer shell. But as it turns out
they seem to have more stretch than I originally thought and fit quite
well. The exception for this is the foot area is rather large and does
not fit as snugly to my boot as I would like. I would assume this could
allow snow to get up between the gaiter and my boot but so far that has
not been my experience even in deep powder.
So far this year our
snow levels have been rather sparse but we just got dumped on by lots
of fresh powder. On one day we had to close off some of our trails due
to avalanche danger. I skied to the entrance of one snowshoe trail to
mark it closed. I ended up in almost hip deep powder while running
flagging tape to mark the trail closed and was very glad I was wearing
these gaiters or I am sure I would have ended up with lots of snow in
my ski boots. Especially since the zipper on one of by ski boots broke
so snow can easily get into the boot.
I am not sure I can really
comment on how breathable these are. I have not had any issues with
moisture inside of them but I also don't know how much moisture they
have had to deal with either. Also since I have only used these in the
snow I can't comment on how well they shed dirt. I have stumbled a few
times while snow shoeing and scraped them against trees as well as
sharp edges of my snowshoes. So far they are showing no signs of wear
so they seem durable.
the gaiters on is quite simple.
The zipper is hefty and easy to operate, it also has not snagged the
material of the gaiters or my pants. The large hook-n-loop tabs that
cover the zipper help to keep it from getting frozen. The gaiters snug
fit suggest they are unlikely to slip down with use but adjustable web
straps around the top provide assurance that they stay comfortable in
I am quite
happy with the fit of these. They fit my legs snugly but not too tight,
they have been quite comfortable.
I would add good fit and durable to the likes in the previous report and still no dislikes.
|Apr 24 2018|
Ski Patrol - White Pass Nordic Ski Resort White Pass, Washington - elevation 4500' (1370 m) - 2 days
- Temperatures so far this year have been at or just below freezing.
snow camping – 1 night - elevation 6080' (1850 m) - Conditions ranged
from about 31 F (0 C), calm and sunny, to 19 F (-7 C), blowing wind and
snow (about 4 inches / 10 cm of fresh powder)
a somewhat uneventful winter, I managed to get some really good use out
of these gaiters during the 2nd phase of the Mountain Travel and Rescue
training I attended (required training for the Ski Patrol). We
met early in the morning and took the chair lift to the top of the
ridge where we were required to locate our starting point (using
map/compass or GPS) then travel to a given waypoint in the wilderness
just outside of the ski area boundary where we had to construct an
emergency shelter for our team (of 3). Each team then had to use only
map/compass to navigate through dense forest and rugged terrain 1 mile
(1.6 km) to different waypoints for each team. We recently received a
series of spring storms dumping fresh powder on top of the existing
base (a mix of soft snow and ice layers). The result was a mix of easy
walking, nasty side hilling, some short but really steep climbs (up and
down), and dangerous (often hidden) tree bowls. We then did some
additional travel on a mix of groomed and ungroomed snow eventually
ending at a given waypoint to construct snow shelters, spending the
night. In the morning after conducting mock search and rescue missions
we finally snowshoed all the way back down on the groomed ski runs to
the lodge (my thighs were screaming by the time I made it down and I
could barely walk the next day). Conditions ranged from about 31 F (0
C), calm and sunny, to 19 F (-7 C), blowing wind and snow (about 4
inches / 10 cm of fresh powder).
I continue to be impressed with
the ease of getting these gaiters on/off. I even managed to get these
on while still in my one person snow cave, despite not having enough
headroom to fully sit up and being sore and stiff from the previous
As noted previously I had to get the large size
to accommodate my calf size. This resulted in the part of the gaiters
that go over my shoe to be rather large and somewhat loose. I was a
little concerned about this, however even when tromping through deep
powder there were no problems. These kept the snow off of the top of my
boots as well as keeping it out of my boots and keeping my pant legs
dry. And of course as noted previously the fit and feel of these has
been excellent with no rubbing, slipping or other issues.
would comment here on one small issue I encountered. The hook-n-loop
tabs at the bottom of the zipper that cover and secure the zipper in
place got encrusted with snow/ice and so would not stay in place,
instead it just flapped around. This was a bit of an annoyance at
first, but as this flap is really more of an aesthetic detail than
actually being functional. It did not affect the performance of the
gaiters at all and so not really a problem. I would note that I have
found this to be a common issue with hook-n-loop fasteners. The zipper
stayed in place just fine without this being secured and functioned
just fine despite being exposed to the snow and ice.
I have to
say I am quite happy with these gaiters. For this report I inspected
them for wear or damage and aside for normal signs of use I could find
no indications of wear or potential future failure points. Going
forward I fully intend to continue to use these as I carry/wear gaiters
for most of my outings even in warm weather. I am actually looking
forward to using these in the warmer months to help keep debris out of
my low cut hiking shoes as well as help keep my pants legs dry when
hiking through wet brush.
my Report. I would like to thank the folks at Hillsound Equipment and BackpackGearTest.org
for the opportunity to test this product.