Hillsound Armadillo LT Gaiter Review
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Initial Thoughts on Hillsound Armadillo LT Gaiter
No matter what season you’re exploring the great outdoors, your shoes & lower legs can benefit from the protection provided by the Hillsound Armadillo LT Gaiters. Hillsound created this gaiter for a variety of outdoor adventurists who appreciate high-performance, exquisite design, and high quality fabrics to protect you from the elements while backpacking, hiking, snowshoeing, or walking around in the snow or rain.
Hillsound Armadillo LT Gaiter Design
When I first put on my Armadillo LT Gaiters I noticed how lightweight they were. Weighing in at a mere 270 grams for the pair (Size Small), adding the these Gaiters to my hiking attire I couldn’t even tell they were there. I hate anything big and bulky on the lower half of my body. I want to be able to move freely without anything holding me back. With the minimal weight the Hillsound Armadillo LT Gaiters added to my legs they never slowed me down or restricted any movement.
The second thing I noticed was the upper part was stretchy! I’ve tried a variety of gaiters before and I’ve never had a pair that stretched. Hillsound comprised the upper portion of the Armadillo LT Gaiter out of Flexia. I wasn’t able to find out a lot of information regarding what Flexia fabric exactly is but this is what I found. Flexia is a three-layer fabric that is contour fitting and lightweight. It’s the reason for the minimal weight and extreme stretch. The perfect amount of stretch the Flexia fabric provides helps aide in the perfect fit. No matter how bulky your pants are or how big or small your calves, the Flexia fabric hugs your lower leg just right providing extreme comfort and flexibility with every move. At the very top of the Armadillo LT Gaiter is a buckled top closure. This closure gives you some extra ventilation options. If you are in deep snow you can cinch the gaiters tight against your leg or if you are warm you can easily loosen them for extra airflow.
The upper Flexia fabric isn’t just stretchy, more importantly it is both waterproof and breathable. The Armadillo LT Gaiter is waterproof up to 20,000mm (the higher the number the higher the waterproofing). The breathability rating is 6RET (which is very good or extremely breathable in that the fabric allows moisture vapor to be transmitted through the material easily) or 15,000g of breathability. The Flexia fabric keeps the water out while allowing your excess body heat to be released for optimal temperature control. The fabric has a DWR (durable water resistant) coating and Hillsound states the extra DWR coating will stay intact for 50 washes, which means many years of outdoor protection.
The lower portion of the Hillsound Armadillo LT Gaiter is comprised on a 1000D high-density nylon. I’m not sure about you but I always seem to be brushing against rough terrain and the high-density nylon protects the lower portion of the gaiter from whatever you would come in contact with. The 1000D high-density nylon is slash resistant making sharp tree branches, shrubs, brush, and rocks no match.
My favorite feature of the Hillsound Armadillo LT Gaiter is the zipper zips from the top to the bottom of the gaiter. My other gaiters zip from the bottom to the top and I always seem to get my shoelaces stuck in the zipper or have a hard time closing them up. The zipper is conveniently placed at the top and makes zipping up a lot easier. YKK constructs amazing zippers and Hillsound used a YKK waterproof zipper in their Armadillo LT Gaiters. The waterproof zipper is strong, durable, and keeps water & snow out! The zipper is backed by a padded storm flap. I would say the storm flap is moderately padded which does provide comfort against your lower leg. When you are wearing pants there isn’t that big of benefit, but if you were wearing these against your skin while hiking in the summer the padded storm flap would provide you with enough cushion that you wouldn’t feel the zipper at all. At the bottom of the gaiter the zipper is secured by a velcro strap for extra security and protection against the elements.
I feel one of the most important things on gaiters are the underfoot straps. The synthetic strap on the Hillsound Armadillo LT Gaiter is very strong and durable. I was able to easily adjust for the perfect fit under my hiking boots. The strap is waterproof and after miles of hiking and snowshoeing I found no signs of wear or tear on either strap.
There is a strong hook at the bottom of the gaiter to hook onto your shoelaces to help keep the Armadillo LT Gaiter in place. The only con with the hook is that the black coating started to wear off after the first use. It has nothing to do with the function of the hook but I thought it shouldn’t wear down that easily.
Armadillo LT Gaiter Performance
I was able to test my Armadillo LT Gaiters on a variety of hikes and snowshoe adventures in Colorado and in North Dakota. My first hike was in minimal ground snow coverage, the terrain was more rocky and full of brush. I never felt any of the brush against my legs and the fabric stood up to the constant brushing up against rocks and tall grass. I did run into some mud and I noticed when I got home the mud easily wiped off the lower nylon fabric and the underfoot strap with a little water.
I took my Armadillo LT Gaiters out numerous times while hiking in anywhere from ankle to calf high snow and on a hand full of snowshoeing outings. I typically wore my KEEN Oregon PCT or Delta boots along with medium weight pants. No matter what boot or pant I wore I was always able to achieve a great fit against my legs. When the snow really started to dump I was able to cinch the top buckle closure tight. My pants were always completely dry after I was done even after heavy snowfall or trekking through deep snow. It was always pretty cold when hiking or snowshoeing (zero to 25 degrees), so I never loosened the top buckle closure for added ventilation. In the cold weather the Armadillo LT Gaiters kept my lower legs warm. Even though they aren’t insulated, they did provide extra protection against the outdoor elements such as wind and cold. The added warmth was greatly appreciated! With the deep snow I loved the Flexia fabric. A little bit of stretch goes a long way when you are hiking. I never felt constricted. The shoelace hook always kept my Armadillo LT Gaiters in place so my shoes stayed protected. The majority of your shoe gets covered with the Armadillo LT Gaiter. When I took off my gaiters at the end of a hike I could see perfectly on my shoes where the gaiters protected them, there was literally a distinct line. My shoes were damp where the gaiters didn’t provide protection.
The Armadillo LT Gaiters fit great with my MSR Revo Explore Snowshoes. Sometimes gaiters make it hard to achieve a good fit with your snowshoes, but the Armadillo LT Gaiters are not bulky at all so my foot slid right in and secured for the perfect fit.
Armadillo LT Gaiter Sizing
The Hillsound Armadillo LT Gaiters are Unisex and come in XS, S, M, L, XL. Hillsound provides you with a pretty accurate size chart. It combines your shoe size along with you calf size measurements. My shoe size is US 8.5 and I tested a size Small. The fit was perfect for the majority of my shoes and boots. I did have one pair of winter boots that were bulky where I couldn’t get the Armadillo LT Gaiters to fit. If you are planning on wearing heaving winter boots I would possibly go up in size if you are on the border of the size chart. With the Flexia fabric, the upper buckled top closure, and with the adjustable underfoot strap you will be able to get a great fit no mater what size you go with.
Final Thoughts on Hillsound Armadillo LT Gaiter
The Hillsound Armadillo LT Gaiter stands above all other gaiters I have worn. The Flexia fabric truly provided me with extreme comfort around my lower legs. No matter what depth of snow I encountered, the Gaiters always kept me warm and dry and stood up to whatever I hiked through. After a month of use my gaiters still look like new and don’t have any scratches or holes. The Hillsound Armadillo LT Gaiter is a high-performance, affordable gaiter for any outdoor hiking or snowshoeing adventure! For more information and sizing please visit www.hillsound.com or www.amazon.com/hillsound.