Are you an adventurous person? Maybe you work outdoors and spend time alone in the wilderness! If so, you probably know about the dangerous wild snakes in your area. For the most part, snake bites occur when someone steps on a snake and surprises them.
These bites usually find their target low on the body, even below the knee! One thing that can greatly reduce your chances of being bit in these situations is the right protective gear! So, you have to ask;
Do snake gaiters work?
Snake gaiters do work! But, as with many things, you get what you pay for. Snake gaiters come in all shapes, sizes, and materials. Most brands of gaiters don’t claim to be entirely snake-proof. However, if you get the right gear for the right snake, you should feel fairly confident that you won’t be bitten.
Let’s talk about what snake gaiters are and how to know what the best material is for you. Then, we’ll also discuss some alternatives so you can find the right equipment for your next outing.
What Are Snake Gaiters?
So, what are snake gaiters?
Snake gaiters are basically a big upgrade for your hiking boots. Snake gaiters are pieces of super tough material that extend from the ankle to the knee. They completely enclose your calf and attach to your shoes, so that there isn’t any room for a snake to bite you below the knee.
Snake gaiters vary widely in color, material, durability, and size! Your choice should be made based on the factors in your area and of course the snakes you’ll meet there.
What Materials Are Snake Gaiters Made Of?
As we just mentioned, snake gaiters come in all different materials. This is because there is no one size fits all with snake gaiters! You’ll want to get the material that is the lightest one possible and also protects you against bites from the deadliest snakes in your area.
Snake gaiters can be made of leather, ripstop canvas material, nylon, and even kevlar! To decide which material suits your needs best, you’ll want to look at the snakes in your area. How powerful are their strikes? How long are their fangs and are they thick enough to pierce through something like leather?
How Do Snake Gaiters Attach Onto You?
Snake gaiters have three main attachment styles! While some gaiters also attach to your shoes or boots, all snake gaiters fasten themselves to and around your calves.
Gaiters can fasten with velcro, buckles, or zippers. Again, depending on the terrain and climate you’ll be navigating, there are pros and cons to all of these attachments. Plus, each one comes with its own price tag! Whatever the fastening mechanism is, you’ll want your gaiters to be tight enough that they don’t slide down. But, you don’t want them so tight that you can’t walk easily in them!
Do Snake Gaiters Work?
Now that we know a little bit more about snake gaiters, let’s talk about whether or not they actually work!
If worn correctly, snake gaiters do work. As we mentioned earlier, most snake bites occur below the knee. Unless you’re outdoors and handling snakes, you’re most at risk of being bit by a snake you might step on. Since snakes can’t jump, they’ll only be able to get you at a level pretty close to the ground!
Adding gaiters to your outdoor equipment is a great idea if you’re in a snakey area. They do a great job at preventing snake bites, and one brand of gaiters even guarantees that you won’t be bitten by a snake while wearing their gaiters. They’re so confident that some brands have a $1,000,000 liability insurance on their gaiters for customers.
Here is a video showing a demonstration of how well snake gaiters really do work!
What Are Snake Boots?
Something else you may have heard of in the snake protection world is snake boots.
Snake boots are basically snake gaiters combined with a boot! Snake boots are full shoes that can sometimes extend all the way up to the knee. Snake boots are made from many of the same materials as gaiters, plus neoprene and rubber as well. snake boots are almost always waterproof, which makes them a great option for navigating wet terrain.
Because of their construction snake boots are heavier and not as comfortable as a combination of snake gaiters and hiking boots. Snake boots are a great choice if you’ll be traversing wetlands full of snakes, but, they;ll be too hot and heavy for some climates.
Do Snake Boots Work?
Snake boots do work, but they may not be as protective as gaiters!
Because snake boots need to fit your feet and need to bend and move around your ankle they’re not as tough as gaiters. While gaiters can be made as something as tough as kevlar, snake boots usually don’t have that option available. However, snake boots should still protect you from many semi-aquatic snakes. Before purchasing a pair of your own boots, it’s a good idea to research the species of snakes found in your area.
When Do You Need Snake Gaiters?
So, when do you really need snake gaiters?
Anytime you’ll be walking off-trail in an area that has snakes, you’ll want to get some extra protection! It’s pretty easy to see snakes in trails but once you start walking through the woods, it’s different. Even on a trail, if you scare a snake, it might be able to strike 2/3 of its body length in distance! If you see a snake on the side of the path coiled up, it could be resting or preparing to strike at the next prey passing by.
Anytime you feel like you can’t see the ground around you when you’re walking outside, snake gaiters are a good idea! Not all areas have a ton of snakes, but if you do live in an area with dangerous snakes, you’ll need to be alert and prepared when walking through fields or forests.
What Is The Best Protection Against Snakes (Besides Snake Gaiters)?
So, what is the best protection against wild snakes? We’ll summarize your options for snake protection! As long as you aren’t handling them directly, these choices should keep you safe.
Snake chaps are sort of like snake gaiters, except they go up way higher on the legs.
Snake chaps go up onto the thighs of the wearer and are much heavier than snake gaiters. In conditions where you might find snakes exceeding 6 feet in length, you might need to get yourself some snake chaps. In theory, a 6-foot-long snake can strike a distance of 4 feet. Snake chaps would be the best choice in a scenario like this to protect your thighs from bites on your thighs.
Snake leggings are not the patterned yoga clothes you’re thinking of!
Snake leggings are also referred to as tactical pants and are usually made up of lightweight protective material. This material can be mesh, nylon, or ripstop. Snake leggings probably offer the lowest levels of protection but are the most lightweight and comfortable. If you’re in an area with few snakes or no venomous snakes, this sort of protection might be best for you!
We already discussed snake boots above, but they are til worth a mention here.
Snake boots are heavy-duty and will protect most of your lower legs from bites. Snake boots are tough and waterproof. But, snake boots might be too uncomfortable for long outings. If you’re going to be spending time in a wet ara, snake boots are probably going to be your best choice. Plus, if you’re worried about bites up the leg, you can add on chaps or tactical leggings for more safety.
The last type of snake protection we’d like to mention is snake hooks.
Snake hooks are long metal rods that people like breeders use to restrain and push back snakes during cleaning or handling.
Unfortunately, snake hooks are pretty impractical for daily use. Snake hooks are long and heavy. Unless you’re experienced, they can also be difficult to use. If you’re not going to be handling snakes on you’re outing, you probably won’t benefit much from a snake hook!
Not only do snake gaiters work, but you have a ton of options to choose from when picking out a pair of snake gaiters. Our advice is to research what kind of snakes you might encounter in your area, and go from there. You can always go lighter in coverage with something like a snake legging, or you can go heavier with something like snake chaps. Hopefully, now you feel confident enough in your snake protection equipment to go outside and explore!