With their modern design and high-quality construction, the Colcas could be mistaken for much higher-priced gaiters. Admittedly, the upper fabrics aren’t quite as rugged as some, and the waterproof-breathable membrane doesn’t perform as well as Gore-Tex, but for the price, they take some beating.
Neat and precise fit
Lower waterproof rating than top-spec gaiters
Not especially breathable
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Alpkit Colca gaiters: first impressions
These UK-made Alpkit Colca gaiters offer plenty of value, offering a similar design and construction to many of the higher-priced models we tested in our best gaiters buying guide. The high cut extends to the top of the calves, promising full protection from mud and muck. They’re also extremely lightweight, thanks to a weight-conscious 50-denier nylon upper panel. The lower section is made from robust 420-denier Cordura fabric with a PU coating for added durability, which should withstand plenty of abuse.
Stitching is of high quality throughout, being bar-tacked at high stress areas. A front Velcro closure makes them easy to get on, and the neat patterning ensures a low-profile look, as does the easily adjustable top strap and buckle. Lastly, a double-riveted lace hook and a sturdy TPU-coated instep strap makes for a secure fit.
• RRP: $40 (US) / £30 (UK)
• Weight (per pair): 106g / 3.7oz
• Length: Long
• Sizes: S–M / M–L
• Colors: Black
Alpkit Colca gaiters: on the trails
These are streamlined gaiters with a modern design that doesn’t look or feel too bulky. They’re also very light, whether you’re wearing them or carrying them in a pack. The materials, components and construction are all of high quality, making them excellent value. We particularly appreciated the use of metal components throughout – there are no plastic hooks or buckles here, so you ought to expect decent lifetime durability.
Performance was generally good too. The Colcas worked well over wet, boggy ground, saving our boots, best hiking socks and best hiking pants from becoming waterlogged and mud-spattered. They make use of Alpkit’s own PU-based waterproof-breathable membrane, which has a quoted lab performance of 5,000mm Hydrostatic Head and 5,000g/m2/24hrs Moisture Vapour Transmisssion Rate (MVTR). Those are decent baseline figures for outdoor kit, but don’t compare particularly favourably to higher-spec (and higher-priced) membranes such as Gore-Tex.
Our experience largely supported this, at least in terms of breathability. The gaiters remained waterproof and didn’t leak, which was the most important test, but we did find that wearing them for extended periods made our lower legs a bit sweaty. Unless you’re forced to wear them all day, however, this isn’t likely to be a major issue, and given that they are half the cost of some rival models, we’d still recommend them to hikers and hillwalkers on a budget.
An outdoors writer and editor, Matt Jones has been testing kit in the field for nearly a decade. Having worked for both the Ramblers and the Scouts, he knows one or two things about walking and camping, and loves all things adventure, particularly long-distance backpacking, wild camping and climbing mountains – especially in Wales. He’s based in Snowdonia and last year thru-hiked the Cambrian Way, which runs for 298 miles from Cardiff to Conwy, with a total ascent of 73,700 feet – that’s nearly 2½ times the height of Everest. Follow Matt on Instagram and Twitter.