When it comes to desert camping and backpacking gear, gaiters are sometimes overlooked. These protective ankle and lower leg coverings can really make a difference when hiking across sand dunes in the hot desert sun, as they offer an extra layer of protection against debris, scorching sand, and snake bites. You will want to opt for sturdier, high gaiters if you are going on a desert expedition with lots of hiking, whereas a choice of more lightweight, breathable low gaiters is best for desert running – such as if you are taking part in the Marathon des Sables or a similar event.
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Best Desert Gaiters
Trekking & Hiking
High gaiters (which are longer and cover the whole lower part of your leg, almost up to the knee) are ideal for extreme climates and rough desert conditions as they are a bit harder and offer protection from rocks, debris and nasty animal bites (depending on where you go – be wary of snakes and scorpions!)
Running & Backpacking
Low gaiters are better suited for casual backpacking and trail running in the desert. These are ankle height, more lightweight and breathable, offering less protection but without sacrificing speed of movement.
Neck gaiters for desert hiking
Neck gaiters or balaclavas are particularly useful when the weather is windy or prone to sandstorms, as they can prevent sand granules from flying into your mouth. They are also useful as mouth protection for sand surfing, dirt biking and similar activities.
Desert hiking and backpacking recommendations
You won’t find much use for gaiters if you don’t pair them with a decent pair of desert hiking shoes. If you or someone you know are about to go on a desert expedition, you might also find it useful to have a look at our especially curated list of desert hiking essentials. Alternatively, check out our selection of gifts for desert explorers for an interesting read.