“Which gaiters should I get for my winter trek,” Reuben asks me on the phone?
My response, that which I often give to occasional trekkers was “Buy whatever Decathlon is selling.”
“But they already gave up on me at Dayara Bugyal” replies Reuben.
Eager to defend Decathlon Sports I say “you must have got that one lemon”
Now I’ve owned two pair of Decathlon gaiters – the discontinued (yet excellent) short Kalenji trail running gaiters and the taller Quechua Trek 500 model that they are still selling. And after a year of owning the Quechua Trek 500 gaiters, I can give you my review in 3 words.
They are crap!
In more detail – I despise these gaiters and am planning to replace them this winter with something that is better designed. However, before you set yours on fire remember that this review comes from the perspective of a trekker who lives in a hill station where gaiters are an everyday item from December to March. They are not just a trekking accessory.
So what’s wrong with Quechua Trek 500?
- Ungainly shape – Gaiters should have a slim profile, particularly on the inside of your legs, to reduce the possibility of tripping. These gaiters are designed like a pear.
- Comes in one size – Your primary goal when sizing gaiters is to achieve the best possible seal around your boots/shoes to keep debris out. One size does not fit all.
- Exposed zipper – The zipper does not come with a fabric overlap. This causes moisture to get in and sticks to snag against the zipper. It also exposes the zipper making it a potential failure point.
- Flimsy Strap – The strap is not robust enough for sharp granite often found in the Dhauladhars. Mine has been mended by my local cobbler twice.
- Poor Buckle – The dog leash/belt style buckle system is fidgety, try putting them on with a pair of winter gloves and it is next to impossible. Why Decathlon didn’t choose DD or web binding is beyond me.
You may think that this is extremely unfair criticism of a product that’s not meant to be used in the snow. I’d agree with you on that — partly. Over the past 5 years that I’ve been using and reviewing Decathlon products, they have set a high bar when it comes to performance. Barring a few lemons like the Kalenji Kapteren shoes they have always found an honourable mention in my recommended gear list. So I must call them out on a poor design, especially when no one else seems to. I’d be willing to overlook these flaws if Decathlon would have offered me a choice. But here’s what I find on their India website, when I search for “gaiters”.
Given the lack of choice, I will look elsewhere for gaiters that need to perform in the snow. For now, I am oscillating between a pair of
So do me know if you have suggestions about which of these two should I get? Or perhaps if there’s another better model I may have missed?
P.S. It is interesting that none of the Simond gaiters are available in India. I hope you’re listening Decathlon Sports India.
P.P.S. With apologies to Reuben for steering you wrong on gaiters.