- Product provided by outdoorkit.co.uk for the purpose of review -
Review time! This week's review is of the Rab Hispar Gaiter, a hillwalking gaiter which won't hurt the wallet.
Fabric: eVent and 600D ballistic polyester
Rab description - "Waterproof, breathable gaiter with front zip closure, abrasion resistant underboot strap & drawcord top closure."
I've never used or attached gaiters before, I've just seen plenty of them on the hill and from the young people I've worked with. They're not the most technical piece of equipment so even without instructions it was clear how to get them on and "attached" to the boot. I use the word attached loosely but I'll get to that later.
|My boot lace goes through the small loop.|
A quick relace of the boots changed this and allowed
the hook to stay central and tight to the boot.
I had to get the laces out of my boots for the small hook on the end of the gaiter, I was going to attach it further up the laces but I went for a hook location which would stretch the gaiter tightest and gain the most waterproof connection. After getting the hook as tight as possible I moved on to tightening the stirrup and cutting off the excess, this was easily done and after about 10 minutes I had 2 boots ready to go!
I've just got back from a few days on Dartmoor and it was the perfect conditions for testing gaiters, plenty of water has been hitting the Moor for a number of week now so all the bogs are wet with a lot of standing water on most paths and tracks, every time we left the path we were met with tall, wet grass with holes full of water below.
The gaiter handled the wet well at the beginning of the day but after 8 hours moisture had managed to reach the top of my boot; my laces were the giveaway as they were damp on removing the boot. They protected my trousers from the wet grass very well and no water got through above the ankle as far as I could tell, this is great as high grasses can get kit soaked after rain or dew and they hold water very well!
The breathability of gaiter didn't fare so well. My calves were quickly overheating when heading up steep or difficult ground; for the price (£30) this isn't too bad, I've found that most products at the mid to low price end will do waterproof well but struggle on the breathability as the costs involved on R&D are greater. On a cold day (temperatures felt below 0°), this was almost nice but in the summer would have the opposite effect and would be a real discomfort, no one likes a sweaty leg.
|The inner stirrup connection which came undone.|
On their first use both gaiters had the stirrups come undone, if this goes unnoticed then the stirrup could be lost. On both boots it came undone on the inner side, I doubt this is significant but if you go on to buy this gaiter then keep an eye on the stirrup. As I said before, I've never used or set up gaiters before - perhaps a small booklet or leaflet would help first time gaiter users set themselves up properly so things like this wouldn't happen (use of the word "attached" loosely).
|Small toggle for tightening top of gaiter|
At the top of the gaiter is a small toggle to tighten the gaiter, this helps stop it falling down the leg. It didn't seem to have much use, my calves kept the gaiter up while the excess from the toggle kept hitting my other leg while walking. I think an elasticated top would suit the gaiter, it would work with your calf muscle and keep the gaiter tight at all times.
- Solid zip, no harm in having a heavier zip on gaiters.
- Waterproof; seems obvious but plenty of kit says waterproof and really isn't!
- Good build quality and a reliable brand.
- Mix of materials to reinforce the areas where it's needed.
- No instructions or leaflet explaining how to attach the gaiter, easy when you know about outdoor kit but it could easily stump someone new to walking.
- Stirrup coming undone, the loss of the stirrup could stop the gaiter working efficiently.
- The toggle at the top didn't seem to do much.
- Breathability needs some work, I repeat, no one likes a sweaty leg.
A solid gaiter, good for hillwalking but I wouldn't recommend for activities where more effort would be required. I will shy away from this gaiter in the summer, the breathability wasn't quite there for me and the level of discomfort would outweigh the benefits. On the other hand for £30 you're getting a reliable piece of kit which should last a few years with some care and attention (keeping the waterproof material clean aids both waterproofness and breathability), it'll keep your lower leg and foot dry if accompanied with a decent boot and they look very nice in "Shark Grey".
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