gaiters are one of those things i didnt realize i couldnt live with out.for the longest time i didnt wear them at all,then i picked up a pair of kenetreks and wow what a difference.i wear them every time out,its just a part of putting my boots on now
I pretty much always wear them. Keep my lower legs and boots dry in wet grass and brush, and even keep water out of my boots if I rock hop in a hurry during creek crossings. I don't bother with them much on packraft trips, as my feet are wet all the time anyway, but pretty much all the rest of my trips I have them along. Have also used them some while cross country skiing-- when the weather is warm I can just wear fleece pants and the gators keep the snow out of my socks.
Gaiters are worth it for me if for nothing else give you a few more seconds of freeboard well above your boot tops when crossing a creek. Worth the weight right there. The are never in my pack so I never actually carry them.
I'm with Aron on this- I picked up a pair of REI running gaitors and ditched the underheel teather. They are light weight and do their job- also are softshell and super quiet. I also like the shorter length as it allows me to wear my knee cap pads without having the straps interfere with the gaitors.
I just got the REI trail running gaiters for warm dry weather at Aron's recommendation and they look like they are going to be good for warmer and not so wet weather. Thanks Aron, I have been needing something like these for quite some time. Here in WA and Northern ID it can get really wet from late August on in the mountains, so that all of the thick foliage is constantly wet weather it is raining all of the time or not. I have the Kennetreks, and also the OR Croc gaiters like Becca has on. I find the OR Crocs just a little more waterproof and tougher than the Kennetreks with constant brush and water exposure for big game and upland hunting. Infact, I am amazed by the OR Crocs as I am very hard on gear. I don't find them to be noisy, and when it is really wet and windy I end up fastening the upper portion to my bare leg above my socks and inside my pant leg anyway for a complete waterproof barrier.
The only 10 day hunt I ever got a chance to go on where we were packed in by horses too far for me to want to hike back to the trailhead, I forgot my OR gaitors as it was 85 degrees and dry in the low country when we took off. It rained the entire rest of the time and my feet were wet the rest of the time from water wicking down my socks into my boots. My feet were permanently wrinkled and were cold if I stopped hiking, and my boots were twice as heavy as they normally would be. Inbetween bivy hunts, I tried to dry them by a campfire, but the silicone waterproofing spray I had so liberally applied to the boots before the trip, kept wanting to ignite on my boots if any spark from the fire came near them.
The gaitors are my most important piece of my rain gear I think if I am wearing regular hiking boots and no rain pants which is usually the case (I can put a contractor bag from my survival kit over the rest of my body if I had to).
Well, you can't see them but they are there!!! This was one of my scouting trips last year into a new area and this was a "short" snow pack we were hiking through. I ALWAYS have mine with me. I usually have issues finding pants that fit me in the waist AND the inseam so when they fit in the waist they are short and when I sit down to glass they help cut the wind.
This is my other biggest use for them!! Early season TURKEY!! Hiking across drilled wheat fields or alfalfa fields helps keep my laces and pants dry!!