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.
Outdoor Research Rocky Mt. Low Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Inexpensive, durable
Cons: Lacks versatility, baggy
Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This gaiter is fairly light at 2.5 ounces each, but they are a no-frills model.
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.
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.
— Thomas Greene