If you enjoy hiking, you likely are familiar with gaiters. Gaiters are items that you wear over your pants and shoes, that protects you from the elements.
These are fabricated from many different materials including canvas, nylon, and polyester — a lot of horseback riders wear leather gaiters.
Did you know you can create your own gaiter, too? Gaiters are easy garments to make with a few basic tools and supplies.
How to Make Gaiters for Hiking
Measure your foot and calf to find the right size of gaiter before drafting a pattern with these measurements. Use this pattern to cut fabric for your gaiters. Stitch the gaiter and attach Velcro tabs for easy on and off when worn. Try the gaiter on with your hiking or outdoor garb before replicating the process for the other foot’s gaiter.
Making your Own Gaiters
Gaiters are a basic design that practically anyone with a sewing machine can whip up. The key is in the fabric and the details of the gaiter.
The material dictates how heavy, bulky, breathable, and insulated the gaiter will be. The wrong material can render a pair of gaiters useless.
Nylon is a good choice for water-repellent hiking gaiters. Plus, you will want to choose something that will be comfortable to wear, too.
After all, if they are not comfortable, you likely will not put them on!
Here’s How to Make your Own Gaiters
Now that you have your fabric selected, you will also need a sewing machine, paper for a pattern, Velcro tabs, and a few basic notions to make your own gaiter.
- Measure your foot and leg to determine the size to cut your fabric for the gaiters. It makes the most sense to wear the gear that you would normally wear hiking when measuring to ensure a good gaiter fit.
- Take the measurement around your lower leg, once at the shin and again at the calf, over your clothing. Add about four inches to the measurements for your seam allowances.
- Measure the length of the leg, from above your boot or shin down to the ankle and heel. This is how long your gaiter fabric will be cut with an additional inch or two for sewing seam allowance.
- Using these measurements, draw up a pattern on the paper. This should look almost like a ‘t’ with a horizontal piece that wraps around the leg and the vertical section that extends up the leg.
- Pin the paper pattern on the fabric you’ve selected for the gaiters after cutting it out. Carefully cut out the fabric.
- Fold and stitch a half inch hem around the entire perimeter of your cut out fabric pieces.
- Look at online tutorials and photos to see where to attach and stitch the Velcro tabs.
- Try the gaiter on periodically to ensure placement of the Velcro tabs and to make sure the gaiter fits.
Do they fit? Now repeat this process for the second gaiter.
Gaiters for Hiking
So, why wear gaiters? There are so many reasons.
These initially were worn by long-distance backpackers. The gaiter helped to keep painful rocks and debris out of the boots or shoes of the wearer, making the hike much more comfortable.
Gaiters prevent the need to keep emptying out shoes on the trails!
If you are a runner, you likely realize that you kick up dirt, debris, and pebbles with each step. Gaiters can prevent these from finding their way into your running shoes — which can hurt!
Also, gaiters aid in protecting your legs and feet from wet conditions. Consider the gaiter to be an additional layer of insulation between you and the weather.
Nobody wants water running down and into your shoes. This can form blisters with every step that you take.
Waterproof gaiters prevent this scenario and help to guide water down and away from you. Wear thicker, warmer gaiters in wintry weather for an added warm layer from the cold.
If you are wading through or hiking in snow, gaiters can help keep you a lot more comfortable. There are even ice climbing gaiters specifically made with this sport in mind!
Another reason to wear gaiters is to protect your legs and calves from thorns, brambles, and brush — plus, they can also help keep bugs from being able to access your skin and bite or sting you.
Frequently Asked Questions about How to Make your Own Gaiter
What is a hiking gaiter?
Gaiters are garments that help to protect the legs and feet when worn over the shoes and pants. These are made to protect you from water, insects, the cold- or other elements that impact you outdoors. There are numerous different types of gaiters- hiking gaiters are usually lightweight and water-repellent.
What features make a gaiter good for hiking?
If you plan to wear the gaiters for hiking, look for features like water-repellent fabric and durable nylon construction. You should also consider materials that are resistant to abrasion for longevity.
How do you attach gaiters to hiking boots or shoes?
Gaiters typically have a tab or trap that attaches to the heel of your boot or shoe. If not, you can attach a gaiter to your footwear with a simple Velcro tab stitched to the underside or heel.
What good are gaiters for hiking?
Hiking gaiters are good for providing insulation, warmth, and protection when outdoors. This is particularly relevant for anyone who spends a lot of time outside, such as hikers, campers, and backpackers.
How do you wear a high gaiter?
High gaiters are typically worn with boots in snowy conditions. Some long-distance hikers and runners wear high gaiters to protect themselves from pests and bugs when outside.
If you spend a lot of time outside, you may benefit from making yourself a pair of gaiters.
It is not difficult to make gaiters with basic supplies you don’t know you already have.
Try these tips to make a pair of gaiters that are perfect for hiking — and that will keep your feet warm, dry, and comfortable!