Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Gear Review: Tasgear Off Track Gaiters

Hello lovers of mountains!

It's been a little while since I've been out bagging Abels. There has been a few attempts, but they were thwarted by Tasmanian winter being a little bit unhelpful. I'm keenly awaiting a time where there'll be a few days of consecutive good weather to get back into the hills. In the mean time I thought I might have a go at writing some reviews and thoughts on the gear that I use. So, without further ado, sit back, relax, and enjoy.

I am lucky to have a career in the mountains, too - on a recent Tas Walking Co trip.

For many years I have been using Sea to Summit Quagmire Gaiters; a solid bit of kit. But my last few pairs just haven't cut the mustard, and it when my last pair died I was in a bind. It was then that I stumbled upon a boutique gaiter manufacturer based in Launceston, Northern Tasmania. Tasgear.

Now, before I go on I should talk a bit about gaiters, what are they and why do I wear them? Gaiters are those funky looking tubes that attach to my boots, and in the middle of summer when I'm wearing shorts they give me one of the best tan-lines around. I use them for a variety of reasons. They help keep grass seeds, sticks, rocks etc from getting into my boots, they add an extra barrier between water and mud getting places I'd rather it didn't, and they're super helpful in scrub for preventing scratches from vegetation and rocks. They're also a great defense against snake bite (although this is the only thing I've never had to used them for).

So when I was in need of some new gaiters, I was very excited to find out about a local brand, that claimed to be perfectly suited to Tasmanian bushwalking. Tasgear make two types of gaiters, the Lightweight, and the Off Track. After having a yack to the owner of the business, Scott, I was blown away when he offered me a pair of Off Track to product test! Free gear, yippee! After a good bit of use, I can now say that they will be the only gaiters I ever use... So long as he keeps making them.

They are made of a tough Australian canvas upper, with 2 layers of 1000D (denier) nylon on the lower section of the gaiter. The materials provide comfort when worn, but also an amazing amount of durability. The nylon section is extremely abrasion resistant, and after all the abuse I've given them, they still show little sign of wear. The stirrup adhesion points are tucked away neatly and made of aluminium right here in Tasmania (although, I don't actually use a stirrup). The hook at the front of the gaiter is a super tough one, that would be a struggle to bend. It is also situated under the Velcro, whereas a lot of other brands put it on top of the Velcro strip. Having it under makes it a lot easier to hook onto your boot lace, a well thought out concept. The pop stud at the bottom of the Velcro strip is really tough. It can sometimes be a struggle to pop it open when you want to take them off, but I've never had them open up on me while walking - unlike every other gaiter I've ever owned. And one last feature I love is the buckle and semi-elasticated top strap. This makes it easy to adjust around your calf, but also comfortable and never tight feeling. The clip buckle itself is small, but also a tough little thing that even if it breaks would be an easy fix. Anything that is in a particularly susceptible area is triple stitched for longevity. So, as you can tell, they're pretty tough gaiters. But are they any good?

Functionally I can't find anything to suggest to improve them. When I compare them to previous gaiters I've owned, all the issues I've had with them are fixed in these Tasgear beasts. And I guess that's obvious, as they're made by a Tasmanian Bushwalker. I guess they might be a bit heavy for some people (a bit over 300gms for a pair), but that's nothing that worries me, especially when they're so strong and well made. Am I bias because I got a pair to demo and test? Maybe. Maybe not. I was fully prepared to buy them, I mean, they're no more expensive than other gaiters. They're currently going for $95. They have an unconditional 2 year warranty period, I'll see what mine are like in two years, but I would happily buy them if they aren't fixable.

And the last thing to note is that these are made by a passionate bloke, in this garage, in Launceston. I would much rather support this budding business that is making high quality gear than the alternative. Also, they look sexy as hell ;)

A well built gaiter.

That buckle is on a semi-elasticated webbing, good comfort and fit.

Tasgear Off Track Gaiters.

Detail of the press stud and the lace hook.

30 left.

Peace,
Zane.

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