User Review: Outdoor Research Expedition Crocodiles
I wanted to get a pair of these for Mt. Rainer and also technical ice-climbing IV/V+, inspired by Jeff Lowe's seminal Ice World book. Fortunately I was able to try them out in my local REI store before buying. They simply did not fit me.
I have large muscular legs with very large calves and the gaiters simply did not reach around my calf muscles (I also tried the regular Crocs, same problem probably even narrower). Otherwise, the design, construction and quality appeared to be good, esp. the tough construction/reinforcing in the all important inner crampon kick zones. The replaceable strap underneath is particularly well designed and implemented.
I find gaiters hellish fiddly to deal with. For me, zips are just too fussy and unreliable for serious conditions. Velcro is better, provide the fit is adequate but snow can clog it up. In the end I made do without gaiters (on Mt. Rainier, Adams, Ben Nevis, Cairgorms, Starved Rock Illinois and French Alpine waterfall ice at La Grave La Meije, Grand Teton) and managed just fine without them. Although my boots were quite high and waterproof (Koflach Ultra plastic shell boots and La Sportiva K2 leather boots), and usually I wore stretchy Troll or REI climbing pants with the cuff zipped over the top of the boots and waterproof leggings on top.
Several friends that do a lot of mountain walking and low grade scrambles in North Wales, Scotland — which can be very wet — (and Matterhorn and the Picos in Spain) use and swear by the famous *Berghaus Yeti Gaiters*, which fit tightly around the rand and edge on your boots and under the instep. They glued/sealed them to the boots sole to keep water out. They are also repairable (e.g. from Foot First Ltd. in Chesterfield, England).
So, if your calves aren't too big, and you really feel that you need gaiters (see above, I haven't found a real need ... yet), and if you don't need the total coverage/protection of Yeti gaitors, these may well be the gaitors for you. Especially if you plan to wear crampons and/or want a close fitting gaiter (for technical ice perhaps).
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