Guest - Not logged in 

Reviews > Footwear > Accessories > Gaiters > Kahtoola NAVAgaiters > Test Report by Brian Hartman

March 19, 2020



NAME:Brian Hartman
EMAIL:bhart1426ATyahooDOT com
LOCATION:Westfield, Indiana
HEIGHT:5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT:160 lb (65.80 kg)

I have been backpacking for over 20 years throughout Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and most recently in Western USA. In addition to backpacking I enjoy family camping with my wife and kids and being outdoors in general. I would describe myself as a mid weight backpacker. I use fairly light weight equipment and gear but still like to bring more than the bare essentials with me while on the trail.


Product Information

Manufacturer: Kahtoola
NAVAgaiter GTX gaiters
Year of Manufacture: 2020
Manufacturer's Website:
MSRP: $74.95 US

Kahtoola describes the NAVAgaiter GTX gaiters (hereafter called NAVAgaiters or gaiters) as their burliest gaiter, built to withstand the toughest winter conditions and hikes.  They go on to say that the NAVAgaiter GTX combines durability with a lightweight and comfortable design that packs down small when not in use.  

Use: Four-season
Fabric: Three-layer Gore-tex upper with polyester face fabric and a ballistic nylon lower
Zipper: Waterproof AquaGuard coil zipper
Sizes available: Small, Medium, Large
Instep strap: Adjustable and replaceable if necessary

Listed weight (per pair): 5.3 oz (152 g) Small, 5.4 oz (154 g) Medium, 5.5 oz (157 g) Large
Measured weight: 5.4 oz (155 g)
Height: 13.5 in (34.3 cm)
Color: Light gray / dark gray
Pack Size: 5 x 4.5 x 2.5 in (12.7 x 11.4 x 6.4 cm)
Unisex: Yes
Warranty: 1 year
Tote sack included
Care instructions: Hand wash cold.  Do not use bleach or fabric softeners.  Line dry.  Do not iron.  
Do not dry clean.

tent      tent2

Product Description

The Kahtoola NAVA gaiter GTX is made with a three-layer Gore-tex upper that's waterproof and breathable, while the lower fabric is made from a durable, waterproof ballistic nylon.  The zipper is asymmetrical (or off-set from the center) for increased comfort, and it folds down and locks at the top to prevent unzipping.  There is an additional flap behind the zipper for moisture protection and increased comfort.  The gaiters have an elasticized drawcord on top with a toggle lock that helps cinch them tight to prevent anything from entering the top of the gaiters.  There's also a clip on the bottom front of the gaiters that allows them to be secured to ones shoelaces so they don't ride up in front.  Lastly the instep strap is made from a durable thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), which is adjustable to fit different boot and shoe sizes.  The gaiters weigh 5.4 oz (155 g) and measure 13.5 in (34.3 cm) long with a 14 in (35.6 cm) circumference at the ankle, and 16 in (40.6 cm) circumference at the top.

IMAGE 3        stuff


Trying Them Out

A number of years ago, when I snow skied regularly in Colorado and Utah, I often wore gaiters and really liked them.  They kept snow and ice from entering my ski boots and cold air from coming up my pant legs.  Given that positive experience I was excited to see the NAVAgaiters come up for testing and jumped at the chance to review them.  I did some reading on their website before ordering and found the GTX gaiters were available in three sizes, Small, Medium and Large, and the decision of which to choose was based on shoe/boot size.  I selected Medium and they arrived on my doorstep a few days later.  My initial impressions were positive.  They are lightweight, they feel rugged, and they appear to be very well built.  After spending more time with them, I must say I love the color scheme as well as the design, which includes asymmetrical zippers, ballistic nylon lowers, Gore-tex uppers, and waterproof zippers.  In addition, the instep strap is easy to adjust and so far it remains secure once adjusted, but I'll continue to monitor this throughout testing.  They were easy to put on for the first time and comfortable to wear around the yard with my hiking boots.  I found them to be loose fitting on top even after adjusting the elasticized drawcord and toggle lock.  If they were an inch (2.5 cm) smaller in circumference, I think they would fit perfectly.  Having said that, I still think Medium is the right size for me as they fit snug at the base where the zipper starts, and the instep strap is at its largest setting.  So choosing size Small would most likely have caused them not to fit in one of these other vital areas.  


IMAGE 5        inside


What I like:
They are lightweight 
They're easy to put on and take off
The fabric and zippers are waterproof

What I don't like:
They don't fit as snug as I would like at the top
They are shorter than I expected (more of a comment than complaint)

This concludes my Initial Report for the Kahtoola NAVAGaiter GTX gaiters.




During Field Testing I wore the NAVAgaiters on three day hikes and a backpacking trip.  My pack weight averaged 14 lb (6.4 kg) while hiking and 29 lb (13.2 kg) while on my overnight trip.

Charles Deam Wilderness, Hoosier National Forest, Indiana
I hiked approximately 9 miles (14.5 km) on this trip, mostly off-trail 
Temperatures were in the mid 50's F (13 C)
The terrain was rugged and heavily forested

Hoosier National Forest, Indiana
On this trip I hiked around 7 miles (11.3 km) and spent time both on and off-trail
The weather was overcast and breezy with temperatures in the upper 60's F (20 C)
The terrain was hilly and forested.  The creeks were high on this trip, photo below, so I didn't try to cross them

Franklin County in Southeastern Indiana
I hiked approximately 8 mi (12.9 km) on this outing
The morning started out cool and foggy but quickly warmed up.  By the time I got to the trailhead it was around 67 F (19 C)

The landscape here was beautiful with rolling hills, deep valleys, and multiple creeks

Backpacking trip
Oldenburg, Indiana
This was a two-day backpacking trip where I hiked approximately 14 mi (19.3 km) on and off-trail
Skies were overcast and rainy the first day with temperatures approaching 70 F (21 C).  The second day sunny was much warmer at 82 F (28 C)
I made several successful creek crossings here


The NAVAgaiters performed well during all four of my outings and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them, especially when going off-trail or hiking in tall grass or mud.  I even wore them on two creek crossings (read below for more details).  Thinking back to my backpacking trips in Colorado, Arizona, and the Grand Canyon several years ago, the NAVAgaiters would likely have worked well to keep dirt, sand, and pebbles out of my shoes.  They're not essential gear, but they're lightweight, pack small, and work well.  


Ease of use: Thanks to a well thought-out design, the NAVAgaiters were easy to get on and off.  It never took more than a minute to unzip them, step in with the heel of my shoe, then zip them up.  Initially I was concerned the instep strap wasn't long enough, but it worked fine with my hiking shoes when adjusted to the largest setting.  

Comfort and fit: The GTX gaiters were comfortable to wear for long periods of time.  So far, I've only worn them with long pants but there's no reason they shouldn't work with shorts and protect my lower legs from poison ivy, briars, and ticks.  Regarding fit, the GTX gaiters were a little big and had a tendency to slide down my legs an inch or two (2.5 or 5 cm) before stopping.  When that happened, I simply stopped for a moment and pulled them back up.  

Durability: So far, the NAVAgaiters have been tough.  They've handled briars, thorns, rocks, and creek crossings with no problem.  Having said that, it's still early in the season and the briars are just starting to grow.  In two months they will be much taller and thicker.  In that regard I wish the manufacturer would have used ballistic nylon for the entire gaiters, not just the lowers.  That would have made them stiffer, so less prone to sliding down my legs, and bombproof to wear anywhere without fear that the Gore-Tex uppers may get ripped.

Waterproofness: The NAVAgaiters did a good job of shedding rain and water and I was much more confident crossing creeks while wearing them.  Though they didn't stop my shoes and socks from getting wet, they cut down on the amount of water that came into my shoes from above.  And they also kept my pant legs almost completely dry which hardly ever happens when I cross a creek.  

Storage: The GTX gaiters packed small when not in use so that it was easy to find a place in my pack to stuff them until needed.  They also don't weigh much which is nice too.  I like the small storage bag, but I honestly didn't use it very often.  Most of the time I just hung them on the back of my pack when not in use.    


I enjoyed testing the NAVAgaiters the last two months and look forward to more overnighters as state parks open up again after a several month shut down.  They are well-designed, easy to operate, and perform as intended.

This concludes my Field Report for the Kahtoola NAVAgaiter GTX gaiters.  Please come back in two months to read my Long Term Report.  In the meantime, thanks to Kahtoola and BackpackGeartesters for the opportunity to review these gaiters.




During Long Term testing I wore the NAVAgaiters on two day hikes to local parks and on two backpacking trips to Southern Indiana (IN).  I wore a pack and brought hiking poles on all outings, and my pack weight averaged 14 lb (6.4 kg) while dayhiking and 31 lb (14 kg) while on my backpacking trips.

Hoosier National Forest, Indiana (IN)
On this two day backpacking trip I hiked approximately 11 miles (18 km), all of it on-trail.
The weather was hot and skies were hazy with temperatures reaching the upper 80's F (31 C) during the day and low 70's F (22 C) at night.
The terrain was hilly and forested

Franklin County 
I mostly relaxed, hiking only 6 mi (10 km) during this two day trip.
The daytime high was 75 F (24 C)

The landscape here was scenic with rolling hills, deep valleys, and multiple creeks

I visited two local parks during this test period.  MacGregor is a 96 acre park with over 3 miles of gravel trails, and Cool Creek is a 90 acre park with 3 miles of wooded trails and a nature center.   


My first trip during Long Term testing was to the Hoosier National Forest where I stayed on-trail as much as possible to avoid thorns and ticks in the dense underbrush.  The NAVAgaiters performed extremely well.  They did a good job of keeping dirt and debris out of my boots, and they protected my lower legs the few times I ventured off-trail to get firewood and water.  Similar to my experiences during Field Testing, they were easy to put on and take off, and the zippers stayed up and didn't get snagged by fallen branches.  After returning from this trip they needed to be washed  so I tossed them in the washer  and they came out looking as good as new.  

My second overnight trip was to Franklin County.  Temperatures were cooler on this outing so I should have logged more miles but I was more excited to fish than hike.  Consequently I only hiked 6 miles (10 km).  On this outing the gaiters were comfortable to wear and breathable.  Overall, they function as described and I would recommend them for backcountry hiking.    


Overall, I really like these gaiters.  They are lightweight and durable, and they do a great job of keeping rocks and debris out of my boots.  In addition, they protected my lower legs from scratches and poison ivy when going off trail while wearing shorts.  I look forward to wearing them this winter in the snow.

This concludes my Long Term Report for the NAVAgaiters and this test series.  Thanks to Kahtoola and for the opportunity to test these gaiters.

Read more reviews of Kahtoola gear
Read more gear reviews by Brian Hartman

Reviews > Footwear > Accessories > Gaiters > Kahtoola NAVAgaiters > Test Report by Brian Hartman

Product tested and reviewed in each Formal Test Report has been provided free of charge by the manufacturer to Upon completion of the Test Series the writer is permitted to keep the product. Owner Reviews are based on product owned by the reviewer personally unless otherwise noted.

All material on this site is the exclusive property of
BackpackGearTest software copyright David Anderson