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REI Desert Gaiters

rated 5.0 of 5 stars
photo: REI Desert Gaiters gaiter

I have used these almost daily for years. I am on my second set, having returned a set about 2 years ago, on exchange, and I love these gaiters. I am waiting for them to be in stock again so I can exchange them one more time (some seams on the velcro have dethreaded, lol, they have been through so much).

I have used these on... 2 x 5 10 Ascents, Salomon 3d GTX Fastpacker Mids, some Nike mid/trail boots I cant remember too well, they fell apart so fast, Keen Targhee II mids this early spring, and currently Nike Alvord VII's and a pair of TNF Purgatory, for the summer.

I also bought, on sale from REI, a year ago, a set of Otto spring gaiters, which I plan on contrasting with the Desert in this missive.

I overall firmly believe that the Desert is a better gaiter, though the black colour (Canadian, I am,) of the Otto is nice compared to the new tan of the Desert, though they do take on all kinds of colours over time, mostly shades of brown...

Honestly, I spend 4/5 of my time working gardening, and 1/5 of the time hiking and mucking about in these 2 items, so I know them almost intimately. I never forget them at home because I gave up grit in my shoe years ago. It pisses me off. Nothing gets between me and my Merinos.

The Desert is much more sleek fitting, they have a larger hook that faces up to go on your laces, and their velcro is on the front. To get your foot out of your shoe, you rip down the front, there is a small pop at the bottom, then untie your laces, and its all together. Out you go.

The Otto's are a bit taller and they sag. With a small downward facing hook, which sometimes comes off your lace, they are side entry/ exit, which is a real pain, because they almost have to be removed from your shoe to get out of em. Also to do them up you have to reach to the side, and there being no pop, the bottom of the velcro often comes apart.

They both work, but the Desert is sleeker, much easier to keep with your shoe, and to deal with.

So, as I said, if I was to have one, to keep crap out of my shoes or mid boots, it would be hands down the REI Desert Gaiters. They are light, sleek, not oppressively warm, durable, and very easy to take off and put on.

The Otto's I may consider recommending for mid boots for any season but summer. I think there are better options for that class of gaiter, possibly a soft shell, and I consider the front entry and pop to be key.

Having had these for so long, a constant maintenance for both has been the tie that goes under your shoe or boot. It tends to get ground to a pulpy non existence after a while... I now use a strand of irrigation (low voltage) wire from a 9 wire bundle. An 18 inch length provides 9 separate wires of different colour, to use over time. I would also suggest a light audio wire from an auto parts place, which would be thicker, or just something with an insulating sleeve that is thin... There has been many a week when my gaiters were held down, after the copper has worn away, just by the insulation.

These low and light gaiters really work and keep one from getting annoyed by having to stop and undo your laces to empty your footwear.

I am a bona fide 12.5 and use the lg/xl. If you are size 13.5+, I suggest the Otto or something else.

The pic that REI used, I think, is ill advised. It must have been on a mannequin, because they don't naturally ride that high, or are on such slender ankles. The pic makes them look ugly. They are not at all, especially after a time.

If I can bring any sage advice to Trailspace, you just read it.

Price Paid: $20? 3+years ago

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