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Survival Equipment

Review | Hillsound Armadillo LT gaiters for snow and summer hiking

Review | Hillsound Armadillo LT gaiters for snow and summer hiking

Looking for deep snow or hiking protection for your lower legs? Hillsound Armadillo LT gaiters might be a good choice.

by Leon Pantenburg

I was not paid to do this review. Hillsound supplied the product, and at the time of publication, has no sponsorship or advertising relationship with SurvivalCommon Sense.com

An often overlooked piece of hiking gear is gaiters. These are essentially leg protection that also keeps dirt, sand, little rocks, snow, ice etc out of your socks and boots. They aren’t a new idea – soldiers have been using some variation of gaiters for hundreds of years. (Look at five tips for choosing gaiters.)

These gaiters are preferred - they have adjustable instep buckles, front zippers, and zip closed from top to bottom.

These Hillsound Armadillo LT gaiters worked well for me with these six-inch Sorels.

But you might want to consider gaiters if you’re looking at new boots. The right gaiters allow wearing lower and lighter versions, saving weight, and making it more comfortable to hike on dusty, sandy trails.

The Hillsound Armadillo LT gaiters combine waterproof and breathable materials with a solid design. They worked great for me for snowshoeing in deep snow.

Here’s the specs of the Armadillos, according to the company website:

– Unisex
– Weight: 300g (Medium)
– Available sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
– Waterproof to 20,000mm.
– Breathability rating: 6RET, 15.000 + g.
– YKK zipper brings the gaiter close to the leg.
– DWR coating will remain intact for up to 50 washes.

I liked:

Materials: The LT is made of  a waterproof and breathable upper made of Flexia three-layer fabric that is contour fitting and lightweight. This stretch fabric, the website claims, ensures a snug fit that won’t pinch or fall down. The lower is a 1000 denier, high-density nylon.

YKK zipper: The zipper on gaiters can be wonderful, or something that makes you cuss and swear when trying to operate it. The LT zipper has an easy-to-grab tag that is great!

Zipper cover tab: Once you zip the gaiter closed near your boot instep, a velcro tab covers the tag end. You won’t appreciate this until you’ve been hiking in the slush, and the temperature drops. This could freeze the zipper shut, making it a real pain to operate. The tab keeps this from happening.

Breathability: The LTs were comfortable to wear under all conditions I tried them in. I used the LTs snowshoeing, on a day when it started out cold, and warmed up to slush temperatures. I didn’t notice excess moisture accumulating underneath them, and the gaiters kept my pant legs and socks dry.

I’ll try the LTs later this spring, and see how they pan out in warmer, summer temps. I could see these being really nice when trekking through rain and tall, wet grass.

The DWR coating: So far, so good. I haven’t needed to wash the gaiters yet, so it will take a while to determine how well the DWR will last. Typically, snowshoeing is a clean activity, and I rarely need to wash my gaiters. If I do, it would be with a garden hose on my lawn.

Do you need a pair of Armadillo LTs?

Well, a good pair of gaiters can really improve your hiking/snowshoeing/winter sports experiences. I like the LTs, and plan on using them a lot. They might work for you, too.

Suggested retail price is $49.95, and the Armadillo LT comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

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Leon Pantenburg is a wilderness enthusiast, and doesn't claim to be a survival expert or expertise as a survivalist. As a newspaperman and journalist for three decades, covering search and rescue, sheriff's departments, floods, forest fires and other natural disasters and outdoor emergencies, Leon learned many people died unnecessarily or escaped miraculously from outdoor emergency situations when simple, common sense might have changed the outcome. Leon now teaches common sense techniques to the average person in order to avert potential disasters. His emphasis is on tried and tested, simple techniques of wilderness survival. Every technique, piece of equipment or skill recommended on this website has been thoroughly tested and researched. After graduating from Iowa State University, Leon completed a six-month, 2,552-mile solo Mississippi River canoe trip from the headwaters at Lake Itasca, Minn., to the Gulf of Mexico. His wilderness backpacking experience includes extended solos through Yellowstone’s backcountry; hiking the John Muir Trail in California, and numerous shorter trips along the Pacific Crest Trail. Other mountain backpacking trips include hikes through the Uintas in Utah; the Beartooths in Montana; the Sawtooths in Idaho; the Pryors, the Wind River Range, Tetons and Bighorns in Wyoming; Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, the Catskills in New York and Death Valley National Monument in southern California. Some of Leon's canoe trips include sojourns through the Okefenokee Swamp and National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia, the Big Black River swamp in Mississippi and the Boundary Waters canoe area in northern Minnesota and numerous small river trips in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest. Leon is also an avid fisherman and an elk, deer, upland game and waterfowl hunter. Since 1991, Leon has been an assistant scoutmaster with Boy Scout Troop 18 in Bend, and is a scoutmaster wilderness skills trainer for the Boy Scouts’ Fremont District. Leon earned a second degree black belt in Taekwondo, and competed in his last tournament (sparring and form) at age 49. He is an enthusiastic Bluegrass mandolin picker and fiddler and two-time finalist in the International Dutch Oven Society’s World Championships.

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