Now that New Mexico has a few inches of snow on the ground, I’ve broken out my all time favorite pieces of nerdy hiker gear: gaiters! Gaiters are waterproof coverings for your lower legs that loop under your boots and velcro around your calves. I originally bought mine for my first big mountaineering trip to Ecuador and I’ve been using them every winter and spring ever since. Best $35 I ever spent!
Gaiters help keep my feet and legs dry, even when wading through deep snow. I wore them all winter last year in Maine, when I had to wear snowshoes just to go to the mailbox. When the snow melts into mud, gaiters keep my pants clean and dry. It’s so much better to take the gaiters off at the door and hose them off than to track mud through the house after every hike!
Winter is my second favorite hiking season, after fall, but it does take some planning and the right equipment to stay warm and dry. In addition to the gaiters, I always wear several layers of non-cotton clothing, wool socks and waterproof Asolo boots. I also keep a warm hat and gloves in my pack at all times, year round.
Don’t let winter keep you inside! Get some gaiters and good boots and get out there! Winter is a beautiful time to see more of the world…