Mountain Hardwear Scree Review
Cons: Difficult to put on and attach.
Manufacturer: Mountain Hardwear
Our Analysis and Test Results
At 0.5 ounces, the Mountain Hardwear Scree gaiter is feather light and compresses to nothing for storage and carrying. It's 7 inches long altogether, comes in Black only, and four sizes from S to XL. It's made with Mountain Hardwear's "Seta Stretch" fabric.
This gaiter is surprisingly waterproof. Water beads up and rolls off the stretch fabric, and even after a prolonged dousing, it didn't wet completely through. While it won't protect your lower legs as much as our Editors' choice winner, the Rab Latok Alpine, it will keep the muck and rain out on your next soggy trail run.
The top of this gaiter has an elastic rib on the back side to help it stay up and keep debris out. While out on a trail run, it did a much better job of staying up than the Outdoor Research Ultra Trail, which comes with an adjustable bungee closure; however, if the opening doesn't fit you well this gaiter could let a fair amount of debris in. When we tried this gaiter on with a full-size hiking boot, the height of the boot actually held the top open, allowing more space for debris to enter. It was also hard to wear with layers, but when we did manage to pull it over light hiking pants it fared better.
The instep strap is essentially a shoelace - though it didn't break during our testing, it's only a matter of time before it would wear through. That's actually a good thing, as you can then replace it with a piece of elastic cord that will make putting it on much easier. Overall, this gaiter held up well in testing, with re-inforced grommet holes and hook attachments.
Comfort & Breathability
Whether or not our testers like the feel of this gaiter came down to fit - those with skinnier legs couldn't get them to stay up due to the lack of adjustability, but if they fit correctly then they miraculously stayed in place without the discomfort of a tight closure. In terms of breathability, the Seta Stretch fabric was very breathable and we experienced no noticeable issues with sweaty feet.
Ease of Attachment
We had to give this gaiter the lowest score for Ease of Attachment. The instep strap is a non-stretchy shoelace that is long enough out of the box to tie over the front of your foot. Unfortunately, in that configuration it doesn't do much towards holding the sides of gaiter down. So we cut the shoelace to size and tied it on both ends, but then we were left with another dilemma. The knots has to be tied tightly to stay put, and were difficult to tie and untie each time we used them. It was also then impossible to put the gaiter on first and stretch the shoelace over our boots or shoes. So the "easiest" thing to do was put the gaiter on over our shoe first, then put the two of them on together, and then try and wrestle our laces closed somehow, and then do the reverse to take them off. Not so easy after all… A simple bungee cord boot strap would solve all this hassle, and drastically increase the ease of use of this gaiter.
If Ease of Attachment was this gaiter's downfall, then Weight is its saving grace. Two of them weigh less than a GU pack, and we had to double and triple check the scales to make sure we were seeing the weight correctly - only 0.5 ounces each. That means you'll barely notice them there, either in your pack or on your legs.
This gaiter is best used for trail runs or day-hikes with low-profile hiking boots/approach shoes. We also suggest making sure the gaiter is a good fit for you and your shoes before leaving the store, but with four sizes to choose from you should be able to get a good fit.
Considering the limited use and functionality of this gaiter, at $45 it seems steeply priced. In addition, you'll likely end up modifying the bottom attachment to really be able to use it without too much hassle. That drops its value in our estimation. For the same price as this gaiter, our Best Buy winner, the Outdoor Research Wrapid, has a more versatile design and is much easier to put on.
We are big fans of light and fast gear here at OutdoorGearLab, and a gaiter that weighs only half an ounce is a very enticing choice. If your main goal is to have the lightest gear at all times, then this is the gaiter for you. But for a few ounces more, our Top Pick for Lightweight and Breathability, the Rab Scree, was just a better choice overall.
— Thomas Greene