Leg gaiters provide additional comfort and protection for your lower legs when you’re hiking through thick scrub, trail running backcountry or trekking icy alpine regions. So shield out the elements, defend against unwelcome insects and animals, and prevent injury with a pair of leg gaiters from Mountain Designs.

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What are gaiters?

Leg gaiters are protective coverings that you fit over your ankle or lower leg. Sometimes called snake gaiters, anti-snake gaiters or camo snake gaiters, they provide leg protection by covering areas that your boots or socks may not, like your ankles, shins and calves. As the name suggests, they provide protection from snakes, but they also keep dirt, sand, rocks and snow from entering your footwear, and shield your skin from scratches or abrasions caused by long grass, rocks or sticks. Sea to Summit is one brand that specialises in high quality gaiters for legs.

Are gaiters snake proof?

Leg gaiters are usually made from heavy duty nylon or polyester, or you may even get canvas leg gaiters. While these highly durable, dense materials will help prevent a snake's fangs from penetrating to your skin during a snake bite, they will never offer 100% snake proof protection. So snake proof gaiters aren’t really a thing, unless they’re made from Kevlar. The best way to deal with a snake bite is to avoid getting bitten. Take care on the trails and follow the wildlife management practices of the area you’re exploring.

Do gaiters stop snake bites?

If you experience a snake bite, the hard-wearing, tough construction material used in ankle gaiters and leg gaiters is designed to minimise the chances of the snake’s fangs from penetrating through to your skin. So while leg gaiters won’t stop a snake from attacking you, they will help to prevent the damage that a venomous snake bite can do. Even if you have the best pair of anti-snake gaiters, the best way to deal with a snake bite is to avoid it altogether.

How do you wear gaiters?

Leg gaiters are worn around the lower portion of the leg when exploring the outdoors. You attach them over the top of your boots (and over the top of your pants if you’re wearing long pants). The amount of leg protection will depend on the length. For example ankle gaiters are low cut and only protect the ankles. They are great for bushwalking or hiking on cleared paths where there is minimal debris, or for trail running as they are lightweight and allow for more freedom of movement. Longer cut leg gaiters will offer full lower leg protection by covering the ankle, shin and calf. They are a good choice for hiking, mountaineering or even skiing in areas where you need maximum coverage from harsh settings or weather. 

Do snake gaiters work?

Snake gaiters are very effective at stopping dirt, rocks and other debris from getting inside your footwear. They also offer tick protection, stop leeches from attaching to your skin, and minimise the effects of a snake bite. They aren’t 100% snake proof but if a snake strikes, they will certainly act as a barrier between your skin and the fangs. As they say, the best way to deal with a snake bite is to avoid getting bitten!

Do you need snake gaiters for hiking?

This depends on where exactly you are hiking. If you are sticking to open trails that have cleared paths, leg protection from snakes and other creepy-crawlies may not be as necessary. You’re also less likely to collect stones, dirt and leaves in the bottom of your hiking boots. But if you are getting off the beaten track into harsher wilderness (think long grass, dense bushland, or with thick undergrowth), a pair of leg gaiters is a smart inclusion on your gear list because you don’t really want a snake bite from an Australian snake!



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