So you’ve bought your child a waterproof coat, they’ve also got waterproof trousers, and you’ve shelled out for a good pair of kids waterproof walking boots. That’s good. You should be on your way to family hiking whatever the weather.
However, there’s one piece of clothing that’s often overlooked: the not-so-fashionable walking gaiters.
Why your child might need some gaiters?
You might not need to get gaiters. We did without them for years. However, there were times when we ended up with wet feet despite some good gear. Since getting gaiters, they’ve proved themselves extremely useful.
Gaiters wrap around their calf and protect the lower leg and the top of their walking boot.
As the rain pours down their coat, it drips onto their trousers. Since you got them waterproof trousers, that’s no big deal, but the rain then runs down their trousers and into the top part of their walking boots – which is always less waterproof than the bottom.
Gaiters help the water flow away from the top of the boot and where the laces are, keeping your kid’s feet dry.
Gaiters are not just good for rain
If there’s deep snow, gaiters can help keep the inside of boots dry, and if you don’t have full-length waterproof trousers with you, they can help keep the bottom of your trousers dry too.
Walking through long wet grass can also get trousers and boots wet. Gaiters help there too.
They’re small enough to screw up and keep in your bag or pocket, so if you come across a particularly muddy section, gaiters can help keep trousers clean.
Alternative to Gaiters for Young Kids
For younger kids consider getting them an all in one suit or some over-trousers/dungarees. These will be less fiddly to put on small kids, and if you get a decent pair, are more likely to stay in place….plus they protect more than just the ankle region, which saves on the washing!
Brands such as Kozi Kidz do some great products for this (see our review of their Norfolk set).
For example, the over trousers have braces so that the trousers don’t fall down as the kids play around, and they have straps to go under their shoes/boots so that the top of the trousers are firmly over the top of the boot….so they perform the same job as gaiters, only a more complete solution.
Finding a pair of Kids Gaiters
There’s a selection of good gaiters for adults that won’t break the bank. But what about the kids?
The problem is there isn’t a lot of choice in hiking gaiters for children. A search may turn up a lot of leather ‘Chaps’ (or half-chaps). These are used for horse riding to help protect the calf and are not that practical for hiking. However, a few manufacture’s do make some gaiters for children.
Trespass Youth Walking Gaiters
They have a front velcro and zip opening that makes them easy to put on – no wobbling on one leg required 😉
You also get an under-heal strap to keep them firmly over the top of the walking boot.
You can normally find these Youth Gaiters for around £10. They’re basic and do the job.
Trekmates Junior Rannoch Gaiters *RECOMMENDED*
Like the Trespass, these are waterproof protection from rain and snow and have an underfoot strap to keep them firmly over the ankle. The strap is made from rubber, and no fabric so should be a little more wearing.
You also get zip and velcro for no-wobbling when putting them on.
These gaiters are breathable too, so should be a little more comfortable to wear.
They fit up to shoe size 4.
For just a pound or two more, I think these are a better choice than the Trespass Youth Gaiters.
Vaude Kids Gaiters
German brand Vaude has been making kids gaiters for years.
We’ve not got our hands on a pair of these, but all reports are that Vaude products are generally good quality.
However, these gaiters do not have the buckle that fastens to the first lace, as the Trekmates Rannoch Moor Junior Gaiters do (see the photo of the Trekmates kids gaiters above), so they don’t provide as much protection. For some good boots, this isn’t much of a problem as they have waterproofed the tongue area well, but that’s not the case for others (certainly I’ve found these Peter Storm boots will now get my feet wet if I don’t have the full protection of gaiters).
Sprayway Junior Hydro Leg Gaiters
At slightly more money than the Trekmates gaiters, you can find these kids gaiters from Sprayway.
These come in two sizes: ages 4-7 and 7+.
Once again, a manufacturer has made a child’s sized version of their popular adult product. We think it’s great that more and more manufacturers are starting to cater to kids these days.
We’ve not seen a pair of these yet to report on them in detail, but they appear to be good quality and have all the features you’d expect.
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