Hillsound Super Armadillo Nano Gaiters Review
Upper Shell: Schoeller C_Change with NanoSphere
Lower Shell: SuperFabric
Size: S, M, L, XL
Uses: Mountaineering, Alpine, Mixed Climbing
No matter how you look at it snow filled boots is bad news and it is one of the things that can quickly turn a nice hike into a disaster. The majority of folks that get out during the winter months are at least somewhat aware of what gaiters do and why they are a nice bit of protection, but what folks don't often think about is finding a set of gaiters that can cover them regardless of activity. Sure for hiking and snowshoeing standard gaiters can be great, however as soon as you strap crampons on your feet most gaiters are pretty susceptible to tears when the spikes bump the fabric.
I personally have torn through my fair share of nice pants by either slipping on a vertical climb, or a simple misstep on a mixed route, or a approach and even my toughest gaiters have suffered the wrath of of my additional points of contact. In the past I have researched a variety of alternatives and I have even seen folks that will take a thick canvas swath of fabric and stitch it on the lowers of gaiters to try and prolong the inevitable.
Fortunately the Canadian company Hillsound has witnessed the carnage all too often and has created a gaiter to address just this issue. The Hillsound Super Armadillo Nano was designed for just the situation where you may be facing wildly swinging crampon donning feet. These tall gaiters feature an upper made of Schoeller C_Change with Nanosphere and a lower constructed of Super Fabric. And by Super they really mean Supermegawow, well, not really, I made that up because that is exactly what I was thinking as my crampon points glanced off of it multiple times.
These tiny raised plates are the bee's knees when it comes to protection from errant pokes.
As for the upper 2/3rd of the gaiter Hillsound utilized the Schoeller c_change membrane that boasts a self cleaning technology that is designed not only to promote shedding of moisture, dirt and grime but also to react to changing temperatures to allow breathability and warmth as needed while still offering protection all the time. Fortunately this fabric is also flexible enough to grip nicely on your calf with out feeling constricted or so loose as to slip down.
The one issue that I had with the gaiter is the PU coated zipper that runs down the front and starts at the top of the gaiter and zips down to your boot.
While this is not a real issue it was a bit more difficult to put on than the standard Velcro closure. As with all zippers I know it is simply a matter of time before this one fails and leaves me cursing, but with proper fit and care I don't seem this as being an issue for some time.