Outdoor Research Crocodiles
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $40
I've had these for one winter season and the inside strap anchor point stitching pulled apart on both gaiters. Besides the stitching, they performed good in stream crossings and cold winter.
- Easy to use
I wrote Outdoor Research and they sent me an e-mail with a return authorization code, the new ones were on the way before I could mail the old gaiters. I mailed the old gaiters for $3.
Outdoor Research changed the anchor point, top picture is the new version.
I recently received a new pair of XXL Crocodiles as an OR warranty replacement. My last pair, which were a couple of years old, had seen a lot of use, and had some damage from my crampon points. Nevertheless, I returned them for repair / replacement due to faulty stitching on the shin velcro, and
OR came through with a new pair with no hassle. This is why I will continue to buy OR gear — they stand behind their products, which is something you don't encounter with a lot of lesser known manufacturers.
As for the gaiters themselves, they perform as advertised. The new ones have stronger instep strap attachments, as well as a Velcro overlap tab at the bottom of the shin. This part of the gaiter sees some abuse if you routinely do boot-axe belays, and the additional securing tab should prevent the gaiter from opening or coming apart at the bottom as easily.
I take an XXL, and unfortunately OR doesn't make their more robust "Expedition Crocodiles" in the larger size, but the standard pair met all of my needs, and I presume are a bit lighter. They are Gore-Tex, and subsequently subject to the same limitations that any Gore-Tex has at extreme temperatures, but breathability has never been an issue — I use vapor barrier socks in the cold anyway, and you can always loosen the cuffs for greater air exchange.
Solid product. I don't leave home without them.
Price Paid: $80 CDN
I probably wore these gaiters for over 900 hours. During that time, I beat the hell out of them, testing them in a wide variety of conditions in every season.
I first bought these gaiters to wear them while I worked in the bush. Let me tell you, their fit is increadible. I didn't realise how well their gaiters fit until I tried to replace them. I wore them with Sorel winter boots, steel toe work boots, but mostly with Gronell Elaho backpacking boots.
When worn with shorts, on a hot day, these gaiters provide enough protection to keep your lower legs looking pretty (no matter what you are trapsing through), while being light enough to minimise the amount your legs will sweat. Not too heavy, not too light. Almost everything about these gaitars is class A.
However, they don't get a five stars. These gaiter claim to be 'bomb-proof', yet they are laying in shreds in a dump somewhere. I was extremely hard on them (wore them for two seasons of tree planting, among other things). Here is the order of their destruction:
- The seams around the velcro on the front all broke. This was inevitable, but they could have lasted longer. I re-sewed them with fishing line (that broke too, eventually).
- The straps that go under the boot wore through and broke. If you're wearing these in any season other than winter, slide some climbing webbing over the straps.
- Sharp sticks tore through the top. The material was tough, but a little too light for what I was putting it through.
Eventually, both gaiters were in tatters. For normal use (ie. hiking, trekking, winter, etc) I think they would hold up.
But if you have normal or skinny calves, these should offer a good close fit. [See my review of the Expedition variant for more info.]
Price Paid: $50
I've had my O.R. Gaiters for 9 years now. This is my longest lasting piece of gear, aside from my day pack. I've been able to walk through a river, water midway up my shin, and remained bone dry. They've weathered around 25 hikes, 10 or so backpacking trips, and several snowshoeing trips.