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Outdoor Research Rocky Mt. Low Review

A mid-height durable and easy-to-attach gaiter.
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Price:  $35 List | $28.06 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Inexpensive, durable
Cons:  Lacks versatility, baggy
Manufacturer:   Outdoor Research
By Thomas Greene ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 30, 2019
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58
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 9
  • Comfort and Breathability - 25% 5
  • Debris Protection - 25% 5
  • Durability - 15% 7
  • Ease of Attachment - 15% 7
  • Water Resistance - 10% 5
  • Weight - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The Outdoor Research Rocky Mt. Low is a little old school, but that's not a bad thing. They worked back in the day and they still do now, though we may have become a bit harder to impress (and the competition has not been resting on its laurels). This gaiter provides a good fit over hiking boots. Though they are not waterproof, they will keep your feet adequately dry in most conditions. But the flared out design make them a poor choice for mountaineering or any type of use with crampons. They work best in dry terrain hiking situations, or for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in cold weather and dry snow conditions. We're not saying it can't be done, but if you plan on using crampons, you'd be better off with an alpine specific gaiter.


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Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award 
Price $28.06 at Amazon
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Pros Inexpensive, durableBreathable, waterproof, lightLightweight, great fit, sturdy instep strapEasy on and off, instep cord is replaceableBreathable, light, good debris protection
Cons Lacks versatility, baggyNot as durable as other full-length gaitersNot very versatile, not water resistantNot versatile, instep cord wears quicklyNot waterproof, no ankle adjustment (may not fit larger ankles), Instep strap wears out
Bottom Line A mid-height durable and easy-to-attach gaiter.An easy-to-use, lightweight full-length gaiter.A lightweight, durable, great-fitting gaiter meant for trail running.A simple, old school gaiter that is easy to put on and take off.A lightweight, low-ankle gaiter that will keep gravel and leaf litter out of your footwear.
Rating Categories Rocky Mt. Low Rab Latok Alpine Overdrive Wrap Black Diamond Talus Rab Scree
Comfort And Breathability (25%)
10
0
5
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
7
Debris Protection (25%)
10
0
5
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
6
Durability (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
5
Ease Of Attachment (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
Water Resistance (10%)
10
0
5
10
0
8
10
0
3
10
0
6
10
0
5
Weight (10%)
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
Specs Rocky Mt. Low Rab Latok Alpine Overdrive Wrap Black Diamond Talus Rab Scree
Weight for one (oz) 2.5 oz 4.0 oz 0.8 oz 1.8 oz 1.5 oz
Length (in) 9 in 15.5 in 4.5 in 7 in 6.5 in
Material Nylon eVent outer fabric, Stretch Watergate fabric rear panel, Robic Nylon ankle panel 86% Cordrura 14% Lycra Stretch Soft Shell/Hard Shell Matrix DWS
Water resistant? Yes Yes No No No
Attachment Hypalon instep strap with metal buckle, boot lace hook Rubberized instep strap, boot lace hook Lace hook, instep strap, velcro closure Nylon cord instep strap, lace hook, velcro, snap Bungee cord with quick release toggle (spares included), boot lace hook, elastic ankle

Our Analysis and Test Results

The classic design of this gaiter is proof that some things stand the test of time. Having said that, there is a specific time and place for each piece of equipment and this one is pretty narrow. As climbers and guides, having something that is appropriate for use with crampons is critical. We also wear gaiters because of wet conditions, and this gaiter is better suited to dryer conditions. It's doubly unfortunate that this gaiter isn't very waterproof nor designed to be worn with crampons. The elastic bottom of the gaiter creates a near-perfect seal over our boots. Bottom line, if you get this gaiter for your drier weather hiking adventures you'll be happy, and you won't have to spend a lot of money on them either. They weigh 2.5 ounces each and have about a 9-inch rise.

Performance Comparison


Climbing the grooved out trail on the upper portion of Mt. Rainier. This gaiter worked in these conditions relatively well  though they are better suited for drier hiking conditions without the use of crampons.
Climbing the grooved out trail on the upper portion of Mt. Rainier. This gaiter worked in these conditions relatively well, though they are better suited for drier hiking conditions without the use of crampons.

Comfort & Breathability


These gaiters were fairly average in terms of comfort and breathability. The baggy fit felt a little annoying at times, though it does allow them to fit over fairly large boots. The elasticated top and bottom are not adjustable and require a good fit over your boots and legs to work. For us, the opening at the top was too large for use with bare legs but they fit well over pants.

The baggy fit wasn't quite as comfortable as some of the more form fitting models  and we occasionally felt stuffy in them on warm days.
The baggy fit wasn't quite as comfortable as some of the more form fitting models, and we occasionally felt stuffy in them on warm days.

Debris Protection


Both the bottom and top of the gaiter is elasticated, and though not adjustable, they can provide a super tight fit over your boots if sized correctly. They tend to fit best over hiking boots as opposed to approach shoes or light hikers, so keep that in mind if you prefer the latter over the former. This gaiter works very well in vegetation and rocky terrain that is generally dry. They won't work as well in very wet conditions but will be fine for muddy conditions and for rock hopping across streams.

These gaiters fit a little baggy over our light hikers  but thanks to the bottom strap they stayed in place enough to keep most debris out.
These gaiters fit a little baggy over our light hikers, but thanks to the bottom strap they stayed in place enough to keep most debris out.

Durability


The 420D 100% nylon material is durable and light. Though the shape of the gaiter is flared, it didn't snag on vegetation like some models are liable to do. The instep strap is wide, and as long as you use these with boots with an arch they should last a long time.

The critical Durability point for most gaiters; this pair's buckle is solidly attached and the strap is wide  but if you use them on shoes without a significant arch they'll wear out eventually.
The critical Durability point for most gaiters; this pair's buckle is solidly attached and the strap is wide, but if you use them on shoes without a significant arch they'll wear out eventually.

Ease of Attachment


This gaiter goes on and off fairly quickly. You won't mind carrying them with just in case you need a pair of gaiters. The boot instep is easy to adjust and it's worth taking a few minutes to get a perfect fit. Note that the front hook is on the top overlapping piece of material, which means you need to close the front Velcro up before hooking your shoelaces or gaiter ring. After using newer styles that have the hook on the bottom, we find we get a better fit upfront by latching the hook first and then attaching the Velcro.

These gaiters are fairly simple to step into and do up.
These gaiters are fairly simple to step into and do up.

Water Resistance


The nylon fabric of these gaiters sheds water really well, particularly if you get a good taut fit over your boots and clothing. They are good for splashes across streams and the occasional brush up against some wet vegetation, but they eventually soak through if used in wet conditions for an extended duration. Use them for cold weather dry snow or drier hikes.

Water beads up and rolls off the nylon fairly well  though after a long day in the snow the material does wet through.
Water beads up and rolls off the nylon fairly well, though after a long day in the snow the material does wet through.

Weight


This gaiter is fairly light at 2.5 ounces each, but they are a no-frills model.

These gaiters won't weigh you down  and will offer extra protection against the elements.
These gaiters won't weigh you down, and will offer extra protection against the elements.

Value


This gaiter is inexpensive, durable, and light. It is not the most versatile gaiter, but it will serve multiple purposes for you if your hobbies line up with it recommend uses, terrain, and conditions.

Ok  we admit it. You can wear this gaiter with crampons.
Ok, we admit it. You can wear this gaiter with crampons.

Conclusion


This classic design still works relatively well, and OR seems to be going along with the "if it ain't broke" line of thinking. If you only need gaiters occasionally or don't want to spend a ton of money on two small flaps of fabric, then the Rocky Mt. Low is a great addition to your hiking gear.

This probably wasn't the first pair of OR gaiters to reach the crater rim of Rainier.
This probably wasn't the first pair of OR gaiters to reach the crater rim of Rainier.


Thomas Greene