For the average weekend-warrior type whose strike missions tend to happen only a handful of times a year, boot gaiters might seem like one of those products that aren’t really worth the spend. We get it; it’s not like heading out sans lower-leg coverage ever prevented anyone from bagging a winter peak. Plus, more, you know, stuff to find room for in the gear closet.
If you’ve ever had the luxury of wearing them out on a super-wet day, though, you know gaiters can be kind of a game-changer. The best kind aren’t just waterproof; they’re permeable enough to let air circulate, tough enough to withstand brushing up against a sharp edge without ripping and are so whisper-light that you don’t even notice you’ve got an extra layer on.
Consider, then, the Hillsound Armadillo LTs. Basically, save for an ill-timed ice-axe swing, these stem covers provide a barely detectable layer of protection against the elements you normally take annoyingly for granted, or expect your outerwear to handle on its own.
The lower is a super-durable, 1000D high-density nylon, while the upper is three-layer Flexia fabric that conforms to your shape and wicks sweat. They zip right on, cinch at the top with an adjustable buckle and have a super-stiff nylon instep strap that goes under your boot (or microspikes, or crampons).
The extra-nice thing about these gaiters is that they’re designed to be lightweight and breathable enough to also wear during summer and spring expeditions without turning your boots into cisterns of sweat. This particular model isn’t rated for dirt repellency, but the 50-wash DWR factor (a 20,000 mm waterproofing treatment) will make stream crossings and April drizzle way more bearable.
The Armadillo LTs come with a limited lifetime warranty, which means they kind of dare you to try to destroy them. (At least that’s how I interpret those kinds of promises.) And at just $49 — basically dinner and a couple cocktails on a Saturday night — they’re as barely noticeable on your wallet as they are on your body.
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