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Alpkit Colca gaiters review: budget mud shields that still have a lot to offer

Competitively priced and lightweight, Alpkit Colca gaiters are a great value option for hiking and hillwalking, offering good all-round mud and muck protection

Alpkit Colca gaiters
(Image: © Alpkit)

Our Verdict

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.

For

  • Well-made
  • Neat and precise fit
  • Great value

Against

  • Lower waterproof rating than top-spec gaiters
  • Not especially breathable

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.

Specifications

• 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, 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.