OUTDOOR RESEARCH ROCKY MOUNTAIN LOW GAITERS
BY NANCY GRIFFITH
October 24, 2008
Northern California, USA
5' 6" (1.68 m)
132 lb (60.00 kg)
My outdoor experience began in high school with involvement in a local canoeing/camping group called Canoe Trails. The culmination was a 10-day canoe voyage through the Quebec wilds. I've been backpacking since my college days in Pennsylvania. I have completed all of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. Now I usually hike in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. Most of my trips are section hikes or loops from a few days to a week. I carry a light to mid-weight load, use a tent, stove and hiking poles.
Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website: www.outdoorresearch.com
Listed Weight: 4.8 oz (136 g) for L/XL size
Measured Weight: 3.5 oz (98 g) for S/M size
Also available in L/XL
Image courtesy of OR website
The Outdoor Research Rocky Mountain Low gaiters are made from uncoated 8 oz (227 g) nylon packcloth. Each gaiter has the OR logo on the outside. They have elastic along the top and bottom edges and a 1-inch (2.5 cm) wide hook and loop closure along the front edge. There are snaps at the top and bottom to secure the closure. At the top of the closure there is a tab to pull on when removing the gaiters. A nylon lace is included for attaching to a metal grommet on either bottom side and routing under the boot instep. There is a metal hook riveted to a tab which is sewn on the front of the bottom edge of the gaiter. This hooks over the shoe lace to keep the gaiter down.
Instructions for fitting gaiters the first time (according to OR website).
Fitting Gaiters: "WRAP IT, THEN STRAP IT"
• Wrap gaiter around leg and boot top with OR logo on outside of ankle
• Close hook/loop and fasten snaps
• Attach hook through boot laces
• Place instep lace under foot, tie to inside then to outside grommets
I used a pair of these gaiters for many years in the past, but then lost them to my husband. He tried them one day, liked them and kept them. So, this spring I decided to buy myself a new pair. I had only used them for the Castle Peak trip listed below when the lower snap broke on the second day. I returned them for another pair and have been using the replacement pair with no issues. I have used these gaiters for multiple backpacking trips and day hikes over the past several months. I would estimate that I have used them for 20 days and 150 miles (242 km).
Some examples of my trips follow.
Mount Ralston, Northern Sierra Nevada (California): 7 miles (11 km); 6,400 to 9,235 ft (1,950 to 2,815 m) elevation; 65 to 80 F (18 to 27 C); packed dirt to rocky conditions
White Mountain, White Mountains (California): 10 miles (16 km); 12,470 to 14,246 ft (3,800 to 4,340 m) elevation; 45 to 70 F (7 to 21 C); packed dirt to rocky conditions.
Castle Peak, Northern Sierra Nevada (California): 19 miles (30 km); 7,200 to 9,103 ft (2,195 to 2,775 m) elevation; loose dirt to rocky to snow field conditions.
Round Top, Northern Sierra Nevada (California): 17 miles (27 km); 8,573 to 10,381 ft (2,613 to 3,164 m) elevation; packed dirt to rocky to snow field conditions.
Mount Whitney, Southern Sierra Nevada (California): 22 miles (35 km); 8,366 to 14,497 ft (2,550 to 4,419 m) elevation; packed dirt to rocky to icy conditions.
Mount Rainer Northern Loop (Washington): 50 miles (81 km); 1,700 to 6,740 ft (518 to 2054 m) elevation; packed dirt to rocky conditions.
I like using gaiters to keep trail debris from working its way into my hiking boots which then causes me to take a break to dump out my boots. An added benefit is that it keeps my socks clean too. The soil in the Sierras can be as fine as talcum powder in places which makes my socks absolutely filthy. This way, just the gaiters get dirty, but they can easily be shaken off.
I have worn higher gaiters before but really like the fit of these low type gaiters. They are much more comfortable when I am wearing shorts and work just fine with long pants too. They are low enough that they don't cause my legs to sweat on warm days. I often wear them with low socks and they fit comfortably even when they are in direct contact with my legs. I wear these gaiters with two different pairs of hiking boots both of which are a mid-height.
I have worn them in downpours and when crossing snow fields and have found their water resistance to be fine although the nylon is uncoated.
I find these gaiters to be particularly useful for keeping debris, snow and rain out of my boots. I like the low height since they are comfortable with shorts and are small to carry in my pack if I decide not to wear them. Overall, they seem to be a good value for the price. My only problem was with the snap breaking on my first pair.
THINGS I LIKE
THINGS I DON'T LIKE
Snap broke on first pair
I continued to wear these gaiters all winter for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. After about 12 more uses, the lower snap again broke off similar to what happened before. The female half of the snap separated leaving the cap still attached to the gaiter but leaving the socket portion attached to the male half. I returned them to the store and went to look at the gaiter display for something different. I wasn't planning to buy these exact gaiters again, but I did when I saw that OR has re-designed them with no snaps! They instead have a hook-and-loop tab that wraps over the top. They have also replaced the nylon lace that routes under the boot instep with a buckled strap. The MSRP has also been raised to $25 US.
Image courtesy of OR website
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Read more gear reviews by Nancy Griffith