Walking Safari Tip: Gaiters

Updated: Dec 6, 2018

February 2017

Although they are not the most stylish fashion accessory we almost always wear our gaiters whilst on a walking safari. The purpose of these shorter gaiters is to keep grass seeds, sand, etc. out of your boots whilst also saving you from having to throw away expensive hiking socks due to unremovable burs, seeds or otherwise sticking to them.

So lets get straight into it. The “classic bush gaiter”:

  • Has a construction of a denim type material. This is fast drying, light weight, machine washable and highly breathable [they do not get excessively hot or sweaty]. This type of material is also not noisy, which his is particularly important when we are approaching animals to view them without disturbance.

  • Has an elasticated top which you pull onto your leg over your feet before putting on your boots/ shoes. These absolutely work the best for us. For our American clients we suggest the Boyt safari gaiter – We love these.

  • Is not a heavy weight canvas, like those sold in many shops. These are too uncomfortable, sweaty and noisy. Overly sweaty feet create a different set of problems that becomes accentuated when out for a couple of days. Noise chases away the animals we are trying to observe without intruding.

  • Does not have a velcro closure. These cause chaffing problems for many people, although the velcro does offer the marginal advantage of allowing you to put them on/ take them off without taking your shoes off.

With regards other variations of gaiter:

  • The traditional hiking or mountaineering gaiters [both the short and/ or long ones] are primarily focused on keeping moisture or snow out of boots. They are too hot and sweaty for the bush, and the lightweight materials are easily destroyed by the vegetation we encounter. Most of these are also noisy which is not good when we are approaching animals.

  • The gaiters used by trail runners work well but they have low durability within this type of environment.

  • Those used by snake catchers are for exactly that.

Good gaiters are close friends with clean feet, good socks and boots. Healthy feet are critical to enjoying longer walks, wilderness trails and backpacking safaris. Alongside avoiding blisters, pain, etc., the correct choice of boots is fundamental. Our article on boots is an informative must read.

Love them or hate them, these short gaiters make bush life even more enjoyable. We recommend them wholeheartedly 😊.

Choose right, look after your feet, focus on the incredible experience and have fun. See you soon!


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