Snake gaiters are a form of protection for the lower legs against—you guessed it—snakes.
Gaiters, which look almost like a pieces of modern-day armor, are pieces of clothing designed to prevent snakes from piercing flesh and injecting venom when someone is outside working or hiking.
Some people compare them to chaps, which are another form of leg protection.
What Are Snake Gaiters Made Of?
Gaiters come in a variety of materials, including nylon, plastic, and leather. Why so many choices?
Long story short: snakes are vicious, and their fangs will rip through just about anything. Gaiters are constructed from the most durable materials around to ensure that your legs will be protected from snake bites and deadly venom.
Nylon vs. Plastic
Nylon is a versatile plastic with long, repetitive molecular chains which allow it to be strong and flexible.
Gaiters made from nylon tend to be lightweight and have enough give to successfully block a snakebite without exposing the wearer to unnecessary risk. The material resists sunlight, weathering, and is not susceptible to mold, which is useful since snake gaiters are frequently worn in wet environments.
Since nylon is a type of plastic, plastic in the context of snake gaiters refers to products that use a harder, less flexible form of the substance. (Imagine the plastic used in children’s toys, trash bins, or mailboxes.)
While some gaiters do use this material, it has become less common since stronger variations like nylon were developed. In general, it’s better to avoid hard plastics in favor of other synthetics.
Did You Know
There are actually three different types of snake venoms that target different locations in the body: the heart, the brain, and the muscles… as if snakes weren’t terrifying enough!
Are There Risks in Wearing Snake Gaiters?
The most inherent risk of gaiters are the wearers becoming too confident in their protection.
The clothing itself poses no threat to users, but sometimes wearers might believe they are invincible and test the effectiveness of the gaiters too much. Basic safety should be practiced at all times when snakes might be around, including not doing anything to agitate local serpents.
How Much Coverage Do They Offer?
Generally speaking, snake gaiters will cover the entire foot and calf. However, this is an instance in life where you get what you pay for.
Some gaiters only cover a portion of the calf, while others will extend from the top of the shoes to the knees. Longer gaiters made of high-quality materials will be more expensive than a cheap pair made of plastic. If your gaiters do not cover your feet, consider getting a pair of snake-proof boots.
What To Look For In Snake Gaiters?
The most important elements of snake gaiters are always related to safety. Because gaiters are almost a form of armor for the legs, they need to be strong and durable while also giving people enough room to move.
Some of the most significant factors a buyer should look for are the strength of the material, how much the gaiters weigh, and whether or not they will be able to move freely in them. There’s no point in purchasing gaiters if you feel boxed in while you’ve got them on.
While a snake doesn’t have the bite strength of a crocodile or hippo, it is still strong and dangerous. A snake’s true deadliness lies in its speed, venom, and sharpness of the fangs. They might not crush your bones with their jaws, but they don’t need to in order to poison you.
To avoid this fate, the gaiters need to be stable and have enough layers to prevent the fang from reaching skin and transferring venom. Interwoven fibers with tight-knit weaving are recommended, as are hard-to-cut materials like leather or nylon. These materials are durable enough to withstand the force or intensity of a snakebite.
Like we said before, you need to be able to move in gaiters without trouble. A breathable, loose piece around your leg that doesn’t constrict your movement is exactly what you need.
Synthetic materials tend to be lighter than natural ones like leather, which could be several pounds heavier. While it doesn’t sound like much, the weight can add to the difficulty of any trek over time. You want to find something you are comfortable in without sacrificing safety and quality. Likewise, weight can affect how easily the wearer can move, so it’s important to find something easy to wear.
Do Snake Gaiters Work?
In general, gaiters do work when worn correctly and can protect the wearer from potentially deadly bites.
Because they are not 100% effective, it’s still important to practice basic safety rules in areas where there might be snakes.
Top 4 Best Snake Gaiters
Take a look below for the top 4 in our list. In the below section we break down each of our product recommendations in a little more detail.
- Crack Shot Snake Guardz (Our Top Pick)
- Tuff Shins Plastic Snake Leggings (Our Second Choice)
- Foreverlast Snake Guard Shields
- TurtleSkin SnakeArmor Snake Gaiters
Crack Shot Snake Guardz
The Crack Shot Snake Guardz are gaiters which extend across the calf and cover the top part of the feet from bites. They can be bought in nylon, cotton, or polyester and always come with a waterproof coating.
These gaiters are easy to move in, customizable, and can be adjusted to different leg sizes through the use of simple buckles. These gaiters come in several different styles and colors, and they can be worn by children and adults alike.
The Crack Shot snake gaiters are lightweight as well and are typically made in the United States.
We recommend this product to individuals who want unmatched protection from snake bites and would like the flexibility of additional camouflage or brightness while hunting.
Tuff Shins Plastic Snake Leggings
Tuff Shins plastic snake leggings are gaiters made from a firm, tough material that can block snakebites. They cover a broad surface area and can fit most people’s legs with little adjustment.
These gaiters are inexpensive when stacked against the competitors’ asking price, won’t cost you an arm and a leg for a single pair. They can be worn during any season and provide extra warmth and protection for the user.
The Tuff Shins brand uses a simplistic design which allows them to be pulled on and off with ease. They are made in the United States and usually come with a warranty. Unlike other gaiters, Tuff Shins are made from rigid plastic instead of nylon or polyester.
This product works well for people seeking strong snakebite protection or even for those who work in brush, brambles, or around weed wackers. They are also inexpensive but can last for a long time.
Foreverlast Snake Guard Shields
The Foreverlast Snake Guard Shields are gaiters which are inexpensive and easy for people to wear when hunting, hiking, or engaging in other outdoor pursuits.
The gaiters can be clipped and buckled to fit people of many different sizes. They weigh less than two pounds and can be worn and submerged in water.
Foreverlast Snake Guard Shields are made from synthetic materials and primarily come in a brown camouflage pattern designed to blend in with forests and brush.
We recommend these gaiters to those who aren’t looking to break the bank on snake gaiters, and possibly wouldn’t wear them out too much. These gaiters are perfect for hobbyists and beginners hikers.
TurtleSkin SnakeArmor Snake Gaiters
TurtleSkin SnakeArmor makes tough gaiters which were tested by being bitten by real rattlesnakes to ensure the material can stop bites. Each pair is made from strong synthetic fibers.
These gaiters are lightweight, flexible, and easy to move around in. The material covers everything from the top of the foot all of the way to the knee.
TurtleSkin is made in the United States and comes with a warranty on each pair of gaiters. The material doesn’t anchor to the boot but can be adjusted around the calf for a tight fit.
We recommend this product to individuals who know they are going to be in snake-infested territory frequently and would like to invest a little extra for long-term protection.