Outdoor Research Rocky Mountain High Packcloth Gaiters
Initial Report January 6, 2004
· Reviewer Information
· Backpacking Background
· Product Information
· Features and Benefits
· First Impressions
· Field Information
· Things I Like
· Things I Don't Like
Name: Chuck Kime
Height: 5'8" (172 cm)
Weight: 229 lb (104 kg)
Shoe size: 8½EEE US
Inseam: 30-32" (76-81 cm), depending on shoes
Email address: ckime AT nelsononline DOT com
City, State, Country: Norwood (Philadelphia suburb), PA, U.S.A.
Date: January 6, 2004
Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
Model: Rocky Mountain High Packcloth Gaiters
Year of Manufacture: 2003
Listed weight (pair): 7 oz (199 g)
Measured weight (size L): 14.3 oz (405 g), scale accurate to 0.1 oz
Other Colors Available: Black/Purple, Blue/Black
MSRP: $35 USD
Features and Benefits (from web site)
· Highly vapor permeable and less expensive than Gore-Tex
· Very durable
· Nylon instep lace
· Designed for use in relatively dry conditions where snow or
debris getting into the boot is a bigger concern than water.
· 8 oz. packcloth foot section, coated
o Lighter than Cordura and more stuffable
o Durable enough for typical backpacking and hiking uses.
o Coating provides water resistance for the upper portion of
· 1-inch wide Velcro front closure
o Front closure is much easier and faster to get in and out of
than side or back openings.
o Offset overlapping helps accommodate different clothing
o Excellent seal against snow and water.
o Won't break, freeze or jam like a zipper often does.
· Hook and snap at bottom front
o Snap at bottom of Velcro front strip keeps Velcro from
peeling at edge.
o The narrower Velcro necessitates the use of this snap,
whereas the 1 1/2-inch or 2-inch used in our other gaiters have a
much higher peel strength.
o Heavy-duty hook for extra durability at the attachment.
· Strap and buckle top closure
o The very low profile of this buckle makes it comfortable even
when the gaiter is against the bare skin of the leg when wearing
o Easy to open and close with bulky handwear.
o Never slips and won't let the top of the gaiter slip down the
o Nylon webbing strap will not cut into the leg when tightened
like narrower draw cords.
· Elastic bottom edge
o Wide range of boots can be accommodated by the stretch of the
o Allows the instep cord to be permanently tied. When the
gaiter is put on, the boot can then be simply stepped into and the
Velcro front closed and hooked. Very easy and fast.
The gaiters arrived in a white vinyl/plastic shipping envelope/bag.
Inside were the two gaiters, one slipped inside of the other, with a
single hang tag. The instep cords were tied, together, in a basic
knot through one of the grommets at the bottom of the outer gaiter.
I noticed while untying the cords that they had been hot cut while
together, as I needed to separate the ends where they met.
The Rocky Mountain High Packcloth Gaiters are knee-high, front-close
backpacking gaiters designed to keep snow and debris from entering
ones shoes, and to protect the lower legs from brush and other trail-
side items. Each of the gaiters, one left and one right, consists of
a nylon packcloth body with a 1 in (2.5 cm) wide Velcro front
closure, an adjustable top opening, and an elastic bottom edge. A
snap is located at the bottom of the Velcro, to prevent the Velcro
from being over-stressed, along with a wide metal hook to hook onto
the lowest possible shoelace. A grommet is located on each side of
the bottom edge through which flat ¼ in (6 mm) instep cords may be
tied. The top opening is adjusted using a ¾ in (2 cm) nylon strap
and plastic buckle located just outside of the Velcro, with the strap
wrapping all of the way around the gaiter, allowing it to be adjusted
as small as necessary to fit the wearer's leg. All components of the
gaiters are black, with the exception of a white Outdoor
Research "OR" logo embroidered on the outside of each ankle.
<There will be a table inserted here to show dimensions. See Test
folder (OR Gaiters - Fuzzy) for table.>
I found the gaiters to be relatively simple to put on, although the
fit was a bit snug in the upper calf area due to the size of my
legs. The fit issue was compounded when wearing long pants, although
the gaiters still fit as long as the pants were not bulky. They are
a tad longer than I need (I have short legs for my size), but not so
much that there is enough material to cause tripping or tangling of
anything around my ankles. The strap and buckle at the top proved
very simple to use, at least with warm hands, indoors. The instep
cords are more than long enough to tie in place around even the
bulkiest boots I own, with plenty of cord available for tying knots
at each end, although the process of tying them is a bit tedious,
depending on what knots I decide to use. It also seems to me that
the cords may be a bit light-duty for trail use, depending on whether
or not they will come in contact with the trail while in use.
Overall, the gaiters seem comfortable to wear, even while in shorts,
and relatively easy to put on, even while in pants. I look forward
to getting them out in the field.
Our Boy Scout troop camps monthly. Almost all of these outings
include a minimum of 2 nights of camping, with temperatures expected
to be from lows around 25 to 30 ºF (-4 to 1 ºC) to highs around 95
to 100 ºF (35 to 38 ºC), although I don't expect it to be this warm
during the testing period for these gaiters. Elevations will range
from sea level to approximately 2,000' (610 m). I am also trying to
talk the troop into attending the Valley Forge Pilgrimage and
Encampment in February, where conditions are historically (pun only
slightly intended) as bad as when George Washington was there over
200 years ago, generally with a fair amount of snow on the ground, if
not actually falling during the event. I will spend some time
walking about during all of these events (in shorts, weather
permitting) and should get an opportunity to experience a variety of
Additionally, I expect there to be some scheduled 5-mile (8 km) hikes
during the testing period, which would be a perfect testing
opportunity for the gaiters.
I prefer to spend my time outdoors in shorts, including a weekend
this past spring with a high temp one day of 29°F (-2°C). I will,
however, subject myself to long pants on occasion when hiking around
in either high vegetation or deep wet stuff, to prevent either
scratching up my legs or getting too much water/snow in the tops of
my shoes/boots. Gaiters seem to be just the thing to combine the
freedom of shorts with the protection of pants.
Things I am/will be looking for:
· Fit. Do they fit me? Is the sizing on the web site
accurate? Do they fit over different shoes easily? How well do they
fit over pants?
· Fabric. Is the packcloth durable (I have no prior experience
with the fabric)? Does it stretch? Does it fade? Is it windproof?
Waterproof? Does it pill, pull, or snag readily?
· Durability. How does the Velcro hold up to repeated use?
How about the hardware?
· Comfort. Can I wear the gaiters over my bare legs without
· Wearability. Are they easy to put on/take off? With cold
· Packability. How packable are they? I will attempt to pack
the items as part of my 3-season load in/on (preferably in) my pack.
· Washability. Are there special instructions? Are they easy
to follow? Do they dry well? Do they hold much dirt in the first
· Sealing. Do the gaiters do what they are supposed to do
keep stuff out of my shoes?
Things I like
1. They fit over my bulky boots.
2. Well made.
3. When worn, they don't seem to weigh much of anything.
Things I don't like
1. The instep cords seem a bit small (thin or lightweight) to be
terribly durable. If worn with any shoe that doesn't have an instep,
the cords will touch the ground on every step. Trail time will tell.
2. The only method of adjustment for the instep cords is tying
and re-tying them through the grommets at the bottom of the gaiters.
I am fairly competent at knot tying, but this could be an issue for
some. Of course, once properly sized, they may be left tied.
3. The sizing it a bit off for me, as I have short, thick legs.
Accordingly, the gaiters are a bit long (which just results in some
blousing) and a bit snug around my calves (which is fine while
wearing shorts, but may not permit wearing heavy or insulated
pants). Presumably I could go a size up to get more room in the
calves, but the gaiters would probably be even longer, which could
result in too much excess material.
I started car/trailer camping with the family when I was about 5. I
enlisted in the Army Reserve during my first year of college and
spent 17 years fine-tuning my packing methodology - by the time I
separated from the service, I was down to what I thought was a
respectable 75-80 lb (34-36 kg) load. When my son started Cub
Scouts, I brought my 60 lb (27 kg) ALICE pack for a weekend. We got
to Boy Scouts in the Spring of 2002 and now camp monthly in locations
ranging from the Chesapeake Bay area (flat and lightly wooded) to the
Pocono Mts (flat spots hard to find and very wooded), in all seasons.
Lightweight (and ultralightweight) sites, along with a day hike up
Pikes Peak in July 2003, have led me to seriously rethink my gear
choices. I plan to start doing more hiking/backpacking on our
monthly scout trips, taking along as many scouts as are willing, to
a) get in shape (yeah, yeah, I know
round IS a shape), and b)
determine what I really need to take along. I am relatively
confident that I will be able to reduce my 3-season pack to 20 lb (9
kg), before food, fuel and water, by the time this season is over.
Thank you for your time.