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Reviews > Footwear > Accessories > Outdoor Research Verglas Gaiters > Owner Review by Bob Dorenfeld



Outdoor Research Men's Croc/Verglas Gaiters
Owner Review by Bob Dorenfeld
March 1, 2015

Tester Bio
Name: Bob Dorenfeld

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.
Email: geartest(at)sageandspruce(dot)net
Age: 56
Location: Central Colorado, USA
Gender: M
Height: 5' 6" (1.68 m)
Weight: 140 lb (64 kg)


Product Overview

 

Manufacturer:   Outdoor Research
Website:  www.outdoorresearch.com
MSRP:   US$60
Sizes:  S, M, L, XL  (M reviewed here)
Colors: 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 g)
Measured Weight, M:  7.5 oz (213 g)

 OR pic
Croc Gaiters
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.


Field Performance    

In actionI've 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.

I 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 sizes.

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:

    extra hook tape♦ Sometimes, when wearing thin lightweight pants or light boots, the gaiters aren't tight enough around my leg or foot.  To fix that I've sewed an extra strip of hook material alongside 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)

    hook♦ 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.



Concluding Thoughts    

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.


 Reviewed By
Bob Dorenfeld
Southern Colorado Mountains





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