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Reviews > Footwear > Accessories > Gaiters > Kahtoola NAVAgaiters > Test Report by Michael Pearl

KAHTOOLA NAVAGAITER GTX
TEST SERIES BY MIKE PEARL
FIELD REPORT

INITIAL REPORT - March 20, 2020
FIELD REPORT - May 26, 2020

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Mike Pearl
EMAIL: mikepearl36ATyahooDOTcom
AGE: 46
LOCATION: Hanover, New Hampshire, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 155 lb (70.30 kg)

I have a great appreciation for the outdoors and get out at every opportunity. I am a three-season, learning to be a four-season backpacker and year-round hiker. Currently, my trips are two to three days long as well as an annual week-long trip. I utilize the abundant trail shelters in my locale and pack a backup tarp-tent. I like to cover big distances while still taking in the views. I have lightweight leanings but function and reliability are the priority. I mostly travel woodland mountain terrain but enjoy hiking beautiful trails anywhere.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Kahtoola IMAGE 1
Year of Manufacture: 2020
Manufacturer's Website: www.kahtoola.com
Made in: Cambodia
MSRP: US$74.95

Sizes Available: Small, Medium and Large
Size Tested: Medium

Medium fits Men US 7.5-10.5 (EU 41-44) and Women US 8.5-11.5 (EU 39-42)
Tester Shoe Size: US Mens 9

Listed Weight: 5.4 oz (154 g) Medium per pair
Measured Weight: 5.3 oz (150 g)
Measure Weight Stuff Sack: 0.5 oz (14 g)

Listed Height: 13.5 in (34.3 cm)
Measured Height: Confirms Above

Color: Light Gray / Dark Gray

Listed Pack size: 5 x 4.5 x 2.5 in (13 x 11 x 6 cm)
Measured Pack Size: Confirms Above

Warranty: One year

Materials: 53.4% Nylon, 45% Polyester and 1.5% Polyurethane / ePTE TPU Laminates

Fabric: Three-layer GORE-TEX upper with polyester face fabric and ballistic nylon lower
Zipper: Waterproof AquaGuard coil IMAGE 2

Features:

Adjustable Instep Strap
- made from thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU)
- rounded design
- adjust to fit different footwear

Three-Layer GORE-TEX
- waterproof and breathable upper
- durable and waterproof ballistic nylon lower
- attached lace hook

Asymmetrical Zipper
- off-set entry for comfort as ankle flexes
- zipper slider folds down and locks
-comfort and moisture protection from flap behind zipper

Elasticized Drawcord
-toggle lock to seal gaiter top
-soft undergarment stitching for comfort against skin

Intended (Best) Use: Winter hiking and mountaineering
IMAGE 3 IMAGE 4 IMAGE 5 IMAGE 6
The NAVAgaiters are four-season GORE-TEX outdoor gaiters. A tall cut is designed for all-around use and compatible with hiking boots to running shoes. Helps protect from mud, rocks, water and snow on and off trail.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The NAVAgaiters arrived attached along with stuff sack to a boxboard product display hang tag. The display tag provides model, feature, sizing and company contact information. Also attached is a tag describing Kahtoolas three other model gaiters, as well as instructions for use of the spring-loaded zipper and adjustable instep strap.

At first glance the NAVAgaiters have an aesthetic two tone look. They also look well designed with purposeful features. The upper gray section is rather smooth almost slick. I imagine snow and water would roll right off. The lower black section is much coarser and feels sturdy. It seems strong enough to withstand a glancing blow from a crampon. The zipper is very easy to engage and slid up and down. When zipped up the zipper is concealed behind Aquaguard barrier. The zipper pull has a rubber-like covering making it very easy to grip. When the pull is then flipped down the zipper will not slide even when pushed on. Also at the top of the gaiter is a small barrel lock to cinch the cuff snug around the leg. Back down at the bottom is a fair sized plastic lace hook. While down at the bottom there's the lace hook's neighbor and counterpart, the instep strap. This one is different than ones I have seen before as it is fully removable and replaceable. It has four different size settings to accommodate different footwear. Opening the NAVAgaiters the waterproof laminates are quite obvious. I can't see them but touching the fabric its rather slick and compared to the outer surface the interior coating very noticeable.

The stuff sack supplied looks rather small in relation to the gaiters. The material does have some stretch to it however. The top has an elastic cord and barrel lock closure. I usually secure my gaiters to my pack when not in use. I wonder if having a stuff sack will change this.

All in all these like a really good pair of gaiters. All materials appear to be of very good quality. The construction is well done. All stitching is straight, even and secure with no loose threads. I think the NAVAgaiters will likely provide ideal protection and comfort to my lower legs, ankles and footwear.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

Care Instructions:
Hand wash cold. Do not use bleach or fabric softeners. Line dry. Do not iron. Do not dry clean.
In very dusty environments, regular maintenance and rinsing of the zipper may be required to prevent jamming.

Spring-loaded Zipper:
To lock the zipper in place when the gaiter is in use, once closed, flip the spring-loaded pull down against the zipper.

Adjustable Instep Strap:
When removing adjustable instep strap, place thumb on the clip and pull the top of the strap away from the clip. To attach, insert the arrow end of the clip into the preferred strap setting and push the top of the strap onto the clip. Should the instep strap wear out, it can be easily replaced.

TRYING IT OUT

I can foresee using the NAVAgaiters in both the last remnants of winters slushy snow and the introduction of springs soggy rain. With this in mind in I tried the gaiters on a pair of colder weather boots and a three season trail shoe. I first sized up the instep strap to fit each style of footwear. The adjustment is easy to make by following the previously mentioned instructions.

I ended up on the longest setting with the boot and second to longest for the shoe. This was a trial and error process of setting the length and trying to close the gaiter around the footwear. The fit is good for both but approaching tight for the boot. I am able to easily attach the lace hook to the lowest section of lacing on the shoe. Attaching the hook to the boot is a little harder and must attach second to last section of lacing. The zipper easily slides up in both cases and the drawcord cinches comfortably.

I like the way the zipper works and is sealed by the zipper guard. It's like a garage door the zipper disappears behind. I can't imagine and water getting through or dirt gunking up the zipper. I do wonder how easy the drawcord toggle lock will work with gloves on. It is really small and takes some dexterity to operate. Walking around the house and yard the gaiters feel comfortable. They stay in place yet allow unhindered movement of my lower leg and ankle.

IMAGE 7 IMAGE 8
The photo on the left is the gaiter fitted to a boot. The outer (right leg) zipper side of the gaiter is shown. The photo on the right shows the inner (in step, left leg) side of the gaiter fitted to a hiking shoe.

SUMMARY

The Kahtoola NAVAgaiter GTX are well designed and made gaiters. They fit the two different pairs of footwear I regularly use. The fit and features have the makings of function and effective gaiters. Winter stalled early and spring conditions happily filled the void. I hope to get a few hikes in on snow and ice while it remains. After that it will be the wet and sloppy conditions that NAVAgaiters will have to contend with. I am eager to see how these gaiters help me handle these mixed and varying conditions.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

IMAGE 1 Day Hikes

Storrs Pond - Hanover, New Hampshire
Distance and Elevation: 6 mi (10 km) from 525 to 400 ft (160 to 120 m)
Pack weight: 15 lb (7 kg)
Temperature and Conditions: 30 F (-1 C) and snowing with boot deep accumulation

Mt Support: Lebanon, New Hampshire
Distance and Elevation: 5 mi (8 km) from 800 to 950 ft (240 to 290 m)
Pack Weight: 10 lb (4.5 kg)
Temperature and Conditions: 45 (7 C) and sunny with gusting winds

Velvet Rocks: Hanover, New Hampshire
Distance and Elevation: 10 mi (16 km) from 525 to 1300 ft (160 to 400 m)
Pack Weight: 15 lb (7 kg)
Temperature and Conditions: 35 F (2 C) with light winds

Smarts Mountain: Orford, New Hampshire
Distance and Elevation: 6.5 mi (10.5 km) from 1300 to 3200 ft (400 to 980 m)
Pack Weight: 15 lb (7 kg)
Temperature and Conditions: 55 F (13 C) and overcast and breezy

Overnight Hikes

Oak Hill: Hanover, New Hampshire
Distance and Elevation: 6 mi (10 km) from 400 to 880 ft (122 to 268 m)
Pack Weight: 25 lb (11 kg)
Temperature and Conditions: 40 to 28 F (4 to -2 C) from sunny and breezy to calm and frosty

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

IMAGE 2The spring season has been a strange one, weather-wise. After what looked like an early summer winter swung back around and brought colder temperatures and 8 in (20 cm) of snow. This was great for getting a feel for the NAVAgaiters winter abilities. They were quick and easy to get on and off in the field. I like the ease and fluidness the zipper provides. The gaiters and the zipper stayed in place the entire hike with no adjustments needed. They helped to keep my feet and lower legs warm and dry. They shed snow and moisture readily as well as being compatible with a pair of Microspikes. I also like the stuff sack for storing them in my pack. They didn't gather snow and freeze up hanging on the outside of my pack and they didn't wet the inside of my pack.

Thanks to the thaw, freeze, thaw cycle and late snowfall, mud season has been particularly plentiful. There were weekends we stayed off the trails to avoid negatively impacting them. Even so I encountered stretches of saturated trail on every hike. To be honest I hesitated to plunge the still new and "shiny" gaiters into the mud. However I viewed it as dirtying one item in protecting my pants, shoes and socks. The NAVAgaiters did just that, except where the mud oozed and water soaked up under the gaiters. My lower legs and feet were much drier and cleaner than my non-gaitered partners. Again the stuff sack came in handy for stowing away the gaiters when not in use on the trail. I was able to roll them up with the mud in the center keeping the interior of the stuff sack clean. My buddy dubbed it the "mud jelly roll", a spring time treat. Once home I hosed off the NAVAgaiters. Rubbing them with my hands under the water was enough to remove almost all the dirt.

I also wore the NAVAgaiters in two non-snow, non-mud situations. It was a matter of I had them so might as well use them. I usually don't wear gaiters bushwhacking if conditions are dry and likewise for cold weather camping. However on my last off trail exploration the leaf litter was quite thick and debris was poking my ankles and collecting in my shoes. I put the gaiters on (after dumping out my shoes three different times) and the rest of the hike was much more pleasant. On the morning of my overnight hike the temperature was just below freezing. My toes were chilly as I wasn't wearing winter footwear, it was just too warm during the day. While breaking down camp and hiking out until I warmed up I wore the NAVAgaiters. The extra layer around my ankles and feet made them more protected from the cool breeze and feel noticeably warmer.

All parts and functions of the NAVAgaiters have performed commendably. I have not found any aspect of the gaiters to be deficient. All materials continue to be in good working order without obvious damage, minus minor discoloring from mud bathes.


SUMMARY

Thus far the NAVAgaiters have worked well in conditions from snow to mud, both of which have been ankle deep. I have been happy with their performance. They are holding up against the conditions so far encountered and provided an appreciated additional layer of protection from the elements. I look forward to more use of the NAVAgaiters as seasonal conditions continue to change.

This brings my Field Report to its end. The next few months will allow me time to gather more experience using the NAVAgaiters. Please return then to see how these gaiters continue to perform outdoors. I would like to send my appreciation to Kahtoola and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to be a part of this test series.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2020. All rights reserved.

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