Friday, 12 June 2009

Integral Designs eVent Shortie Gaiters Review

I bought these Integral Designs eVent Shortie Gaiters last year from Ultralight Outdoor Gear and after 9 months use and abuse over a Norwegian winter I feel I've got a grip on their plus points and limitations.

They're made of 3-layer eVent waterproof/breathable material making them, well, waterproof obviously and somewhat breathable. As we all know eVent is probably the most breathable out of all the laminates out there and certainly more breathable than Gore Tex. Integral Designs claim they weigh a measly 70g a pair but mine came in at an even measlier 66g. They're only 23cm high compared to the full calf length for traditional gaiters and don't have zips or velcro closures either meaning they have to be put on before your footwear. They do have an elasticated drawcord top closure with a toggle, an elasticated cord underfoot strap and metal lace hook to keep them in place.

I bought a pair of gaiters for the occaisions when I do wear boots or shoes with waterproof/breathable linings. This type of footwear takes an AGE to dry out if water does get in over the cuff so it's best to try and prevent this from occuring in the first place. When walking I tend to wear them UNDER my waterproof trousers with my hiking trousers tucked inside to prevent the trouser material wicking up moisture from long wet grass, streams and puddles into my socks. When skiing I wear them over my lightweight softshell trousers to prevent moisture from ankle deep snow from wicking upwards.

The lack of zips and velcro means they have to be put on before your footwear but to be honest the breathability of the eVent material and the fairly short height means you never really notice any uncomfotable claminess. The super simple elasticated underfoot strap has failed on me only once on sharp rocks and was easily replaced with the same 3mm shockcord. I consider this almost a consumable and carry a spare loop for such eventualities. The eVent material has held up fine despite some serious bushwhacking and they've simply been re-proofed (once) when water stopped beading on the surface. There are additional nylon scuff patches on the inside of the ankle where the most wear and tear occurs.

Now to their limitations. The short height does lower the 'waterproofness' of your lower leg and deeper streams and postholing in deep snow has left me wanting something more substantial. These occasions have been few and far between however. They are great when I'm skiing on prepared Nordic tracks but not so much when skinning through deep powder or trudging through deep snow off piste. Next year I plan to use different softshell trousers for backcountry skiing that have built-in mini-gaiters meaning the Shorties get left behind.

It's in the so-called 'shoulder seasons' (early Spring and Autumn/early Winter) that I will use these Shortie gaiters the most, where chilly temperatures, lots of rain and slushy ground conditions mean I may wear lined footwear. In deep winter snow and high summer I think I have more suitable alternatives but as a cold, rainy day interface between footwear and over-trousers they can't be beat.


Anonymous said...

Right. And are you going to tell us about their points and limitations or do you just leave it at that???

Joe Newton said...

Hold on! Hold on! I'm in the middle of doing it! I had to send the picture via my mobile blogging facility on my phone and couldn't be bothered to write the whole review in predictive text.

Talk about the internet contributing to the I Want It Now Society! :-)

Anonymous said...

Ah! That's better now... All's well with the world again... Ta!

Joe Newton said...

I just realised I wrote five and a half paragraphs on a pair of 66g mini gaiters...

Nielsen Brown said...

They are a great pair of gaiters I have had mine for about 4 years now, they have a couple of battle scars, but they otherwise fine. They are the only gaiters I use these days and because they are so light they can be carried even when you do not need them.