Gaiters

Winter is coming….no, this isn’t about Game of Thrones, but the fact that snow season is coming up fast. Previous years have taught me that trudging through a thick blanket of accumulation, even with snowshoes, gives me damp, cold calves from kicked-up snow. I need something to protect that area. Gaiters, or leggings, are the solution, though they can be fairly expensive.

Well, I had an old Swiss Army poncho lying around, never used it because it was too heavy and bulky to justify its value in my rucksack. Rather than going out and buy a set of gaiters, I decided I would recycle the poncho and make a pair myself. The design I planned is very basic, just a “slip-on” knee-high type, so no velcro, elastic, zippers, or any of that fancy stuff. The gaiters will be tied at the top and have a toggle system at the bottom to keep things closed-off and snug.

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Here’s my progress on the first one. The fly line backing was just something I had on-hand and makes for a strong thread.

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And they’re done! Not bad for 4.5 hours work :). Those are my winter boots in the background, vintage Sorel Champions (about 50 years old, made in Canada) which were handed down to me by my brother’s godfather, an avid skier and former Boy Scout. Now to try on the gaiters…

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A perfect fit :). Two days later, and Nature kindly gave me the chance for a proper test, the first snowstorm of the season.

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I took them for a 5 mile hike in the snow. It wasn’t deep at 12 cm (about 5 inches) accumulation, but the gaiters worked brilliantly…no more clammy, frozen calves for me :). Probably saved about $30, and I have a lot of left-over material from the poncho to work with for future projects.

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