Gaiters are must have gear for anyone who hunts in wet, snowy, or rocky areas. They help keep heat in your boots; seal out snow and rocks; plus protect your lower pant legs from brush. Good gaiters are a joy, low quality ones are a disappointment.
We purchased some Alaskan Guide gaiters from Cabelas. These gaiters are Gore-Tex lined and billed as both tough and “quiet.” They proved neither.
The gaiters reflect the new thinking in outdoor fabrics—thinking we despise. The entire outdoor garment industry has shifted to nasty fabrics which are stiff, crinkly, and LOUD (but cheap to make, we’ll wager). Not the best when you try to put the sneak on old Mr. Elk or Ms. Whitetail. The Cabelas phone rep assured us the Alaskan Guide gaiters were their quietest product, so we bought ‘em.
We unwrapped them with anticipation when they arrived. We had mixed first impressions. The overall workmanship appeared good, but they crinkled whenever you flexed them and the fabric seemed a bit flimsy. The snaps, Velcro, and straps all looked robust. Within a few weeks, early elk season beckoned and we took them afield.
Our tester expected them to announce his presence to wildlife miles around because they are quite noisy when you first put them on. However, once the full-length Velcro front fastening system gets happy with itself after eight or ten steps, they quiet down to a more reasonable level. Our tester noticed on thing right away, they did a superb job holding heat inside his boots. Long glassing sessions atop cold, wind-swept ridges or long sits in blinds were much more comfortable than before. They proved less than satisfactory, though, when walking through tall grass and brush. The slick, hard-faced fabric made loud, distinct noises when scraped against vegetation.
We continued to use them on numerous snow shoe forays into the local mountains this past and current winter. In this role, they made little noise since nothing came in contact with them. They proved easy and quick to don and take off, plus the top lanyard closure prevented snow from dropping into the gaiters’ tops.
Mid-way through this winter, we had an unpleasant discovery. The place where the arch straps attach to the gaiter had begun to fail. They promise to self-destruct in the near future. One should get more than two seasons from gaiters, in our opinion.
Overall, we found them a poor substitute for the last Cabelas gaiters we had years ago. Those were quiet and easy to use, but their zipper closure system eventually failed. The Alaskan Guide version’s Velcro closure is a vast improvement, but set against the other problems, insufficient to change our evaluation. We can’t recommend these gaiters. Cabelas, now owned by Bass Pro Shops, will have to up their game to remove the bad taste these have left in our mouths.
What We Liked:
- Easy on and off
- Sturdy snaps and Velcro closures
- Top lanyard adjustment
What We Didn’t Like:
- Stiff, crinkly fabric
- Not durable
- Gore-Tex not water proof with snow adhered to gaiter.
We give these Alaskan Guide Gaiters with Gore-Tex a thumbs down.
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