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Reviews > Footwear > Accessories > Gaiters > Hillsound Super Armadillo Nano Gaiters > Test Report by David Wilkes

Test series by David Wilkes

Hillsound Equipment 


Initial Report - Nov 17 2017
Field Report - Mar 6 2018
Long Term Report - due Apr 24 2018

Tester Information

Name: David Wilkes
Age: 50
Location: Yakima Washington USA
Gender: M
Height: 5'11" (1.80 m)
Weight: 200 lb (90.7 kg)


I started backpacking 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).

Product Information


Hillsound Equipment

Year of Manufacture:


Manufacturer’s Website:


$79 USD


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

Product pix

Product Description:

The 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.

Initial Report

Nov 15 2017

InsideThe 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.Size chart

Unlike 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.

In 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).

I 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 critters.

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 
  • None so far

Field Report

Mar 6 2018
  • Nordic 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.
  • 2 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.

My 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.

For 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 post-holing.

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.

Getting 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 place.

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.

Long Term Report

Apr 24 2018
  • Nordic 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.
  • Overnight 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)

SidehillAfter 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 day's activities.

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.

I 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.

This concludes my Report. I would like to thank the folks at Hillsound Equipment and for the opportunity to test this product.


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Reviews > Footwear > Accessories > Gaiters > Hillsound Super Armadillo Nano Gaiters > Test Report by David Wilkes

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