by Bob Dorenfeld
Outdoor Research Men's Croc/Verglas Gaiters
March 1, 2015
I'm an active hiker, snowshoer, skier, and of
course backpacker. Home base is the Southern
Colorado Rockies, ranging from alpine tundra to
piņon-juniper scrub and desert at lower
altitudes. Many of my backpack trips are two or
three nights (sometimes longer), and I usually
shoulder about 30 lb (14 kg). My style is
lightweight but not at the expense of enjoyment,
comfort or safety - basic survival gear plus
extras like a camera and air mattress make my
trips safer and more pleasurable.
||Central Colorado, USA
||5' 6" (1.68 m)
||140 lb (64 kg)
Sizes: S, M, L, XL
(M reviewed here)
Abyss (shown here), Black
Fabric: leg is
Pertex nylon, 70D ripstop
foot is Cordura nylon, 500D woven
Listed Weight (Avg.) pair, L: 7.4 oz (210
Measured Weight, M:
7.5 oz (213 g)
Outdoor Research's newest iteration of the older
Croc is the Verglas Gaiter. These gaiters are designed to
keep snow (or mud or debris) from slipping down
footwear and from getting pants wet or dirty.
The bottom section is shaped to fit the boot, with
a shoelace hook at the front to keep the gaiters in place. A
Hypalon instep strap loops around the boot bottom
to hold the gaiters fast. Hook-and-loop down
the front (1.5 in (3.8 cm) wide) closes the
gaiter, while a nylon strap with cam-lock buckle
secures the top of the gaiter to the leg.
been using the Croc gaiters since 2008. On their
web site Outdoor Research (OR) says
that the current Verglas has replaced the older Croc. However, appearance and functionality
(as far as I can tell) are
nearly identical to the newer Verglas model ("OR" logo
has moved, the color of the top leg buckle is now gray,
the blue upper is slightly darker). My
measured weight of 7.5 oz (213 g) for the Croc
medium is very close to the newer Verglas large at
7.4 oz (210 g).
As a rough estimate I've used
these gaiters for skiing, snowshoeing, or hiking on
about 80 outings, for over 350 mi (560 km) total.
Conditions varied anywhere from extreme cold and snow to
warm and rainy (above freezing), from on-trail rambles to vigorous
off-trail scrambling. Temperatures varied from
below 0 F (-18 C) to above freezing.
I've found these gaiters to
be very durable. There are no rips or tears
anywhere on them so far, despite having put them through
prickly cross-country walks across desert. I've
never had any water or snow soak through them.
want my gaiters to be easy to put on and take off, and
these satisfy both requirements. When unfastened,
I hold them apart with both hands behind my boots, step
onto the instep strap, then wrap the ends together
around the front. The front hook slips onto the
front-most shoelace, and I usually stick the
hook-and-loop together from the bottom up. The top
leg strap is easy to tighten and fix in place with the
cam buckle. The strap is also long enough to
accommodate different thicknesses of pants and leg
Removing them is a cinch: loosen the
top strap, rip the fronts apart, and off they come.
I really appreciate the hook-and-loop when wearing
gloves or mittens, and for when I need to make quick
adjustments to my pants or boot laces. Although a
front zipper might provide a more secure attachment,
I've found them harder to operate as experienced on
another pair of gaiters; zippers are also subject to
malfunction if used carelessly (easy to do with cold
hands in harsh weather!). And, as described below,
the hook-and-loop is also more adaptable to different
kinds of boots and pants.
Over the years
I've made a couple of changes to my Verglas/Croc gaiters
so that they fit and function better for me:
Sometimes, when wearing thin lightweight pants or light
gaiters aren't tight enough around my leg or foot. To fix
that I've sewed an extra strip of hook material
the original, which lets me pull the gaiter just that
much tighter and increases its fit and comfort; they
also won't fall down so easily on thin pants. This
also means I won't have to over-tighten the leg-top
strap. (photo right)
The front shoelace hook comes from the factory bent down
from the top, and sometimes it doesn't hold because the
gaiter is not tight enough for the particular style of
boots I'm wearing. Using a pliers, I carefully
bent the hook about 180 degrees around, facing it
upwards with open side above the fabric. This way,
the hook inserts underneath the front shoelace and has
never come out even when the gaiter is not attached
tightly to my boot. (photo left)
The instep strap is easy to adjust, although
I have rarely changed it since I first got the gaiters.
There's a traditional metal pin-style buckle with a
number of pre-punched holes in the Hypalon material, and
a strap keeper placed along the side of the gaiter to
keep the extra strap from flopping down while in use.
The Hypalon material is very tough stuff: it would have
to be since it wraps around the
down-and-dirty outsole of the boot. Over the years I've found
only a small amount of fraying along some edges, which I
occasionally trim with a scissors just to keep things
looking square and neat.
I've not noticed that
the OR gaiters trap heat, even when used in warmer
conditions. That could be due to their fit being
slightly loose around the bottom edge, and to my keeping
the top closed firmly enough to stay up but not airtight
around my pants legs.
One of my most useful pieces of winter gear, these Outdoor
Research Gaiters are dependable, durable, and fit well
for me on a variety of boot and pant styles.
They're lightweight, and they also roll up into a tight
package for stowing in my daypack or backpack. I
like the height and find them quite comfortable, never
interfering with my clothes. They dry quickly, and
have proven waterproof over the years I've used them.
I've put just one after-market water-proofing treatment
on the blue uppers and that's helped to keep them
water-tight in all of the conditions I've encountered. Dirt is easy to
wash off, or I'll brush it off after it's dried.
Currently priced at US$60 these gaiters are a good value and have definitely been worth it to me over
the seven years I've depended on them.
Southern Colorado Mountains