I bought the Unigear gaiters on Amazon in preparation for my Wonderland Trail hike around Mount Rainier. Initially, I wasn’t planning to pack gaiters but the weather forecast was calling for heavy rain. I decided to buy a pair last minute for a bit more protection from the wet weather. I have since hiked about 100 miles in them. This is my full review of the Unigear gaiters.
Unigear Gaiters Features
The Unigear gaiters are made of durable and puncture-resistant polyester fabric. The lower section is reinforced with 600D Oxford fabric to protect from abrasions and tears. A waterproof breathable membrane on the interior allows sweat to vent while keeping water out.
The gaiters attach with an underfoot strap, around the calf strap, a metal hook that goes over the shoelaces, plus a 5-centimeter wide strip of Velcro which attaches along your calf. The underfoot strap is made of durable TPU plastic that is designed to withstand temperatures down to -35°C or -31°F without breaking. The straps offer plenty of room for adjustment for different shoe sizes.
These are tall gaiters that come up just below your knee. They are designed to provide protection from deep snow, wet brush, insects, sand, rain, mud, wind, and other rough conditions. They come in 4 colors.
Unigear Gaiter Sizing
These gaiters come in 4 sizes. To find your size, measure the circumference in centimeters of the thickest part of your calf. Make sure you’re wearing your hiking pants when you do this as they add a bit of thickness. You’ll also want to measure the distance from the bottom of your foot to just below your knee.
Take the above measurements and use the table to find your size. You’ll find the table in the product description on Amazon.
In my experience, these gaiters run small. I recommend you order at 1-2 sizes up. According to the chart, I need a size small. I decided to size up to a medium and they fit alright. I could have probably even used a large.
Unigear Gaiters Pros
- Good build quality- When I first opened the package and inspected these gaiters the first thing that struck me was that they feel high quality. The stitching looks good and the fabric and straps feel sturdy. This surprised me. I expected a cheaply made product for the price.
- Lightweight- I couldn’t find the exact weight but these gaiters weigh very little.
- Compact- The fabric is pretty thin. You can pack them down into an 8” X 4” X 2” roll.
- Inexpensive- These gaiters cost about a quarter of the price of name brand gaiters from Outdoor Research or The North Face. This was my first pair of gaiters so I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on something that I knew I wouldn’t use often.
- Durable- I wore them for 6 straight days hiking through heavy rain and mud. So far they show no signs of wear. I was concerned about wear on the strap that goes under the boot but it still looks like new, even after spending a few days hiking over some pretty rugged rocky terrain.
- They stay in place well- I hiked all day in the rain with these for several days in a row. I never had to readjust them until I took my boots off to dry my feet out. They stay in place with a hook over the shoelaces, a plastic strap under the boot, a long Velcro strip, and a strap on top.
- Easy to put on and remove- I recommend you put them on once at home before leaving on your trip so you know how to do it. After that, you’ll be able to put them on in just a couple of minutes. Basically, you just Velcro them around your calf then strap them around the bottom of your shoe with the thick rubber strap. After that, attach the hook to your shoelaces and attach and tighten the strap around the top.
- Adjustable- The straps are long and the Velcro strip is wide. These easily adjust to fit my hiking boots and trail runners. I can wear them with hiking pants or shorts.
- Works for a variety of conditions- One of the main reasons that I chose these knee-high gaiters over ankle height variety is the added utility. High gaiters are useful in deep snow and poor weather. While low top gaiters cost less, they are useful in fewer situations.
Unigear Gaiters Cons
- Not ultralight- These gaiters are lightweight but I would not consider them to be ultralight. Mostly due to the height. If you’re looking for ultralight gaiters, look for an ankle height gaiters like these Salomon Trail Gaiters.
- Not true to size- They run a bit small. I recommend you size up one or two sizes. As I said, mine are slightly too small but they still work fine.
- Longevity- Even though these are well made and seem to be pretty durable, I don’t expect them to last as long as the higher priced name brand options. These are more for occasional use. They probably wouldn’t hold up for a thru-hike. I will update this review after I get some more use out of them this winter.
- Annoying to put on and take off- This point is true of all gaiters, not just these Unigear gaiters. Even though they’re easy to use, putting them on and removing them does get a bit tedious. Particularly when your hands are cold.
My Experience Hiking with the Unigear Gaiters
While hiking the Wonderland Trail, I endured a 6 day rainstorm. According to the ranger, there was ‘record precip.’ Needless to say, I was glad I bought these. I got a lot of use out of them during my hike.
After the first day of rain, the trail was a muddy mess. In places, it completely flooded. All of the brush along the sides of the trail stayed constantly wet as well. The Unigear gaiters kept my socks and pants dry. They also helped to prevent stones and twigs from entering my shoes.
As an added benefit, the Unigear gaiters kept my socks and pants pretty clean. They ended up caked with mud by the end of the day. I just left them in my tent vestibule during the night. In the morning, I shook them off and cleaned them up a bit before putting them on again. If I wasn’t wearing gaiters, all of that mud would have ended up on my socks and pants. Cleanup would have been much more annoying and time-consuming.
Overall, I’m happy I bought these. I had never used gaiters before but now I understand their popularity. They provide a lot of utility and comfort for a small weight penalty.
Final Thoughts: Unigear Gaiters Review
These make for an excellent occasional use pair gaiters. They offer excellent build quality and utility for a fair price. If you’re planning to use your gaiters heavily, consider spending a bit more for a more durable alternative.
You can buy the Unigear Gaiters on Amazon here:
If you’re still undecided, check out my guide: What are Gaiters, Do You Need Them, and How to Choose.
Do you hike in gaiters? Share your experience in the comments below!
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