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Reviews > Rain Gear > Gaiters > Outdoor Research Crocodile Gaiters > Owner Review by Ray Estrella

Outdoor Research Crocodiles Gaiter
By Raymond Estrella
OWNER REVIEW
October 15, 2006

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Raymond Estrella
EMAIL: rayestrellaAThotmailDOTcom
AGE: 48
LOCATION: Orange County, California, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 6' 3" (1.91 m)
WEIGHT: 200 lb (90.70 kg)

I have been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, and in many of the western states and Minnesota. I hike year-round, and average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I have made a move to lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy hot meals at night. If not hiking solo I am usually with my wife Jenn or brother-in-law Dave.

The Product

Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
Web site: www.orgear.com
Product: Crocodiles Gaiter
Style: 61570
Year manufactured: 2003.
MSRP: $59.00 (US)
Size reviewed: XL (also available in S, M, L and XXL)
Weight listed (pair, L): 10.2 oz (289 g)
Actual weight of XL’s 10.8 oz (306 g)
Height measured: 18.5 in (47 cm)
Color reviewed: Black (also available in blue/black and grey/black)
Warranty: (Quoted from hang tag), “Outdoor Research products are guaranteed forever.”

Crocs

Product Description

The Outdoor Research Crocodiles gaiters (hereafter referred to as the Crocs or gaiters) are a heavy-duty gaiter made for most winter pursuits. As the company also makes a Crocodile Expedition model I suppose that is where I can draw the line at their suggested use.

The body of the Crocs are made of “3-layer 70D Taslan Gore-Tex” It is black on the exterior and pewter colored inside. The lower one-third of the gaiter is covered outside with 1000 denier Cordura nylon. This same area is lined inside with coated 8 oz (227 g) packcloth. Between the two fabrics it makes the Crocs able to stand on their own when set on a flat surface. They are very beefy.

As can be seen in the picture to the right, the OR logo is embroidered on the outside of the gaiters in the Cordura. At the top is a GORE-TEX tag.

A .75 in (20 cm) wide webbing strap runs around the top of the Crocodiles and goes through a cam buckle allowing the gaiters to be cinched tight. Inside the gaiter under the webbing strap are two consumer tags. One states the size, materials and laundering instructions. The other gives the right order to put the gaiter on to avoid getting snow up it while in the field. OR mentions it on the packaging and on the web site also. My guess is they get complaints from folks that put them on wrongly. In the interest of sharing good information I will copy a set of their instructions here.

Fitting Gaiters: "WRAP IT, THEN STRAP IT"
• Wrap gaiter around leg and boot top with OR logo on outside of ankle
• Close hook/loop front closure
• Attach hook through boot laces
• Tighten top strap and cam buckle
• Fasten instep strap

open


The front of the Crocs are split all the way. The edges of the split are bordered by some massive 2 in (5 cm) wide strips of hook-and-loop to create a closure for the gaiter. The “loop” section is to the outside and has an extra layer of Cordura over it. The “hook” strip is to the inside and is backed by an extra piece of coated packcloth its entire length.

At the bottom of the loop strip a steel hook is riveted on. This goes into the laces of my boots to keep the front of the Crocs from sliding up when plunging through snow. A urethane-coated nylon instep strap is bar-tacked with six sets of stitches to the inside bottom of the gaiters. On the opposite side is the buckle that the strap goes through to keep the body of the gaiters down when doing the afore-mentioned plunging. Note: the instep strap is replaceable on the latest version of these gaiters.

Field Conditions

These gaiters have been wrapping my legs on every winter backpacking trip for the past three and a half years. They have seen blizzards, ice storms, rain, deep snow, and beautiful clear sunny winter days. They have been on Sierra cement, 2 in (5 cm) thick ice, packed snow, slushy crud and plunged through 4 ft (1.3 m) of powder. I have used them in temps down to 9 F (-13 C) and have had them on mountains from San Jacinto (south) to Shasta in the north, of my home state.

Observations

I bought the OR Crocodile Gaiters in 2003 to replace the anemic gaiters that I had been using since the mid 90’s. What necessitated the switch was the joining of the winter hiking that my brother-in-law had introduced me to, with my love of high altitude. I was bitten by the mountaineering bug. And after my first trip I discovered that I needed some higher, better made gaiters. Enter the OR Crocs.

I have owned five pairs of gaiters over the years. These are by far my favorites. The height of them is perfect for me. As the Crocs go over the curve of my calf they stay up with the help of the comfortable webbing at the top. Whereas gaiters I have had before that used a cord at the top would cut my circulation when overly tightened, the webbing strap used on these allows me to snug it down quite well without killing my legs. Even when plunging through waist high snow I had never had them slip. In those conditions no snow has slipped past the strap into the inside of the gaiters either. I carry my knife in the top of my gaiter when winter hiking and the top strap holds the clip quite securely and comfortably. My Gerber Guardian may be seen in the picture below.

In snow


The manufacturer says that these can be used with leather and plastic mountaineering boots. I use them with both. When used with my Koflache plastic-doubles (top photo, and last one) I need to have the instep strap at its last hole. (I also use them at the same setting with Garmont G-Fit boots.) It is about in the middle with the LaSportiva boots seen above. The urethane coating has to this point kept the nylon strap from taking on water and freezing in the field.

The hook-and-loop closure holds great. I have never had it separate unintentionally. Indeed it holds almost too well. It takes a bit of force to get it apart. It is sometimes difficult to get the closure lined up properly after attaching the lace-hook as it is a lot of hook-and-loop to keep straight. And while it may seem that the long seam of the closure may allow moisture to pass this has never manifested itself.

The Gore-Tex has proven to be quite water-proof. Even in some heavy wet snowstorms I have never seen moisture on the inside of the gaiters. The one time I was in a strange winter rain-storm that suddenly moved in, (bracketed by snow storms) the Crocodiles kept my lower legs and boot tops quite dry. It is proving to be very durable also. Some fraying is starting to show up on the edges of the straps, but it shows no undue wear for all the miles put on them. The lower 1000D Cordura protected section has been hit by my crampons countless times, along with the toothed frame of my MSR Lightning snowshoes a few times, with no discernible injury.

I have not found anything negative to say about these gaiters and plan to be using them for a long time.

On Shasta

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

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