If you’re looking for a reliable pair of Gore-Tex gaiters at a price that won’t break the bank, the Trekmates Cairngorms are a good choice. They’ll keep your feet dry without getting too hot and sweaty, and though they perhaps aren’t as tough as heavier, more expensive alternatives, they’ll still fend off most trail debris without damage.
Reliable Gore-Tex waterproof-breathable membrane
Instep strap is easily replaceable
Not the toughest fabrics
Instep strap susceptible to wear
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Trekmates Cairngorm GTX gaiters: first impressions
Trekmates Cairngorm GTX gaiters are a wallet-friendly surprise in our guide to the best gaiters. When it comes to waterproof-breathable protection in the great outdoors, Gore-Tex is still the best-known name in the game. But this means that most outdoor gear with a Gore-Tex membrane is usually expensive. Not so with these Trekmates Cairngorm GTX gaiters.
Despite their reasonable price, you get three-layer Gore-Tex reliability, plus all the features you’d expect from a general hiking and hillwalking gaiter. They’re made from ripstop polyester with a reinforced lower panel for added resistance to abrasion. They also feature an elasticated band at mid-calf to ensure a closer fit.
The front closure is a full-length zip with a Velcro storm flap and two press studs for added security. The bottom of the gaiter has a double-riveted lace hook and a fully adjustable plastic-coated instep strap to ensure a snug fit with your best hiking boots or best hiking shoes. Top adjustment is via elasticated toggles, with a split drawcord to ensure you can’t get them tangled or snagged.
• RRP: $50 (US) / £35 (UK)
• Weight (per pair): 230g / 8.1oz
• Length: Long
• Sizes: S / M / L
• Colors: Black
Trekmates Cairngorm GTX gaiters: on the trails
We got on well with the Trekmates Cairngorm GTX gaiters. They’re a decent all-rounder, being fairly easy to put on and adjust, whilst performing well in terms of waterproofing and breathability. They’re also well-made and while the patterning isn’t quite as advanced as higher-priced gaiters, meaning that the fit isn’t quite as neat, this is largely overcome by the elasticated section, which stops them from sagging around the calves.
Of course, since polyester is a comparatively weaker fibre than nylon, these gaiters aren’t likely to be quite as tough as high-denier nylon rivals. And we did find that over a period of sustained use, both upper and lower panels started to show signs of wear, largely owing to constant abrasion from boots and undergrowth.
Similarly, the instep strap also started to wear away a little. Unlike many other gaiters, however, including several more expensive models, this component is easily removable and replaceable. This should extend the lifetime of the product, which can only be a good thing in terms of overall value and also environmental impact (on which note, it’s also worth bearing in mind that these gaiters are partly made from recycled polyester).
They’re also still reasonably tough, so provided you don’t subject them to too much punishment they’ll stand up well to everyday hiking and hillwalking.
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.
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