Best Snake Gaiters for Hiking in Australia

Gaiters are an essential gear that serves many different purposes in the Australian hiking scene. They do their job whether for keeping the feet dry, keeping rocks and pesky things out of your boots or protecting the lower legs. 

Gaiters for hiking are particularly to shield against snakes which you’d know are in abundance in this country, some more poisonous and dangerous than others. 

This guide will help you choose the right gaiter for your walk (not the horrible ones that turn you off forever), maximise its functionality and showcase some of the top-rated ones on the market today. 

Why Wear Snake Gaiters?

Gaiters are pretty simple and straightforward pieces of gear. They are garments that wrap around the lower leg, often going over the actual boot to attach into the laces through a hook. 

Traditionally, these hiking must-haves were made to protect the legs of horseback riders against the rubbing onto stirrups and other saddle parts. Eventually, they were also used in the army. 

Hikers wear gaiters for a number of different reasons, including the following:

  • Aesthetics: A staple in an outdoor adventurer’s outfit 
  • Block mud from getting onto the wearer’s pants
  • Prevent sand, rain or water from going into the boots
  • Avoid cuts and scratches
  • Protect from snake bites

Hiking gaiters also come in various types:

Nylon snake gaiters

The material makes for excellent protection and a friendly price point. 

However, nylon likely won’t fare well in cold weather or hot conditions because it’s non-breathable. This is a comfort issue so you might want to take this into account if you’re more for functionality than form. 

Canvas snake gaiters

This type is usually heavier as well as pricier. 

But they’re more breathable and can be worn across a range of temperatures, meaning they still offer warmth without getting the wearer all sweaty. 

Canvas gaiters are available at a fair price point and decent quality. 

Cloth snake gaiters

Also known as sock protectors, these lean more towards fashion, barely going over the ankle but can stop sand and small seeds from getting into the boots. 

You can pick one up at your friendly retail stores if you’re keen on a quick nature walk or light hike with some beachside involved. 

Snake Bites and Gaiters: Important Note to Hikers

The question is: Are gaiters also that necessary against snake bites?

The answer is yes, particularly if you’ve already been struck by a snake by the Australian bush and afterwards wish we’ve been wearing the right protection. 

In all likelihood, snakes are highly venomous. It will be smart to have a barrier stopping the snake from puncturing the skin. 

Yet while Australia is known as the home of the most dangerous snakes, it’s worth correcting a couple of misconceptions about them. 

The entire continent has no less than 170 species of land snakes, some more toxic than any other snakes in the world. Snake bites, though, need some more explaining. 

Snake bites are actually rarer than expected in Australia. Since anti-venom has been developed, deaths from them have been quite low, or some four to six fatalities every year. 

It is also quite difficult to get a snake bite unless you’re trying to catch the animal. These are pretty much shy creatures we’re talking about -- and with small snake fangs, too, mostly only about 3mm. 

While thick socks might do in most cases, it pays to come prepared.

Snake gaiters are part of a solid protocol whilst hiking, dramatically reducing the chance of being bitten by a generally shy (but still venomous) creature. 

Here are a few pointers from Australian Geographic on snake bites:

Snake behaviour

Most snakes would rather slither away from hikers and humans generally than fight. This is because they don’t see you as food and won’t bite out of sheer malice. 

Snake venom

It's meant to subdue prey that would otherwise be impossible to be snake food. Humans get in the way and you know what to expect. 

Escape route

Be careful getting in the way of a snake’s escape route. Brace for action, whether they’re slithering away in your backyard or springing into action in the bushes. 

Top Recommended Snake Proof Gaiters Today

Here’s a list of some snake gaiters you might want to explore for your next hiking trips. 

TurtleSkin SnakeArmor Snake Gaiters

Snake bites in the desert or woods, TurtleSkin SnakeArmor snake gaiters promise to take care of it all. These snake gaiters are foldable to fit into a backpack or for storage.

While most other gaiters aren’t really bendable, this material can be folded. 

It also features reversible khaki and camo with zipper and cinch strap, ensuring a good fit over your hiking pants. 

These are made in the United States but available across multiple Australian stores and websites as well. 

Why you might like these snake gaiters

TurtleSkin SnakeArmor snake gaiters offer a “Husky” size if you want more breathing room, namely added 3 inches at the top of the calf and ankle. 

They are the lightest gaiters on the market, spelling further ease and convenience.

These gaiters are breathable and water-resistant as well. 

The reversible material adds more style to the gaiters, too. 

On the downside, there’s no boot fastener. This means they can ride up the legs and expose the ankles. To overcome this, strap them to your boots using lace or string. 

ForEverlast Snake Guard Shields

If you aren’t tired of camouflage hunting gear to protect your legs from snake bites, then the ForEverlast Snake Guard Shield would be another smart bet. 

These gaiters are durable and great for hunting, with real tree APG camo and protection from briar thorns and snakes. 

These have adjustable straps, so men and women can fit comfortably inside the shields with velcro straps for changing sizes. 

Why you might like these snake gaiters

These guards are lightweight and form-fitting, compared with chunky snake-proof boots. The fit over pants is pretty impressive as well. 

It’s a one size fits all, where both men and women can wear the gaiters over their boots and pants. 

SnakeProtex Extreme Snake Gaiters

 

Another popular option for durability and a lightweight quality is SnakeProtex, which earns extra points for being developed in Australia.

These gaiters are hugely known and used amongst hikers, campers, hunters, home gardeners and council workers, to name a few. 

Some key features: adjustable straps for a snug boot fit, a new press tab installed to clip over the zipper for better security and internal stiffener under the zip to keep the gaiter extended to full height. 

Why you might like these snake gaiters

These gaiters provide proven protection against venomous snakes. 

More than that, they come in handy for preventing grass from getting into your boots while lawn mowing or brush cutting. 

A one-year manufacturer’s warranty against defects comes with every purchase. 

No Metal Gaiters

A curious entry on this snake gaiters list is the No Metal Gaiters, which from its name is made with no metal, meaning it won’t interfere with metal detectors.

If you’re wondering, this is great for gold prospectors aside from hikers and bush walkers. 

Made from heavy-duty Australian ripstop canvas, it protects if one gets caught in fencing wire, thorns, blackberries and others that won’t tear the canvas. 

Why you might like these snake gaiters

When it comes to this product, snake bite protection might come across as a mere afterthought or extra benefit. 

However, given that Australian snakes have a short fang, it would be harder for them to get through the heavy-duty canvas material. 

Don’t worry about the stiff, uncomfortable canvas at first. You’ll be able to break it in and it will get comfier over time. 

Before we forget, No Metal Gaiters come in small, medium and large sizes. 

Crackshot Men’s Snake Bite Proof Guardz Gaiters

 

Crackshot Snake Guardz is an ultra-lightweight option and has metatarsal protection. It’s uniquely designed to allow air circulation between the leg and the snake guards. 

The fabric has water repellent coatings, too, so snake venom doesn’t soak into it. 

Why you might like these snake gaiters

This brand hails from America and may in fact be one of its more popular snake gaiter brands. However, they have plenty of five-star reviews on Amazon Australia. 

These gaiters also earn points for being cool and lightweight. You can somewhat forget that they’re there. 

Final Note: Snake Bite and Gaiters

Snake gaiters are worn for that obvious reason: to protect from snake bites. Australia is a snake country and it's part of its established reputation.

There isn’t any conclusive proof that gaiters can prevent these animal bites at all, but you can’t disregard the level of protection that they offer. 

While you’re out hiking, camping or mountaineering, it’s reassuring to wear something that a small snake won’t be able to break through. Enter anti-snake bite gaiters.

Note, though, that gaiters alone aren’t enough. It pays to be hyper aware of your surroundings and be vigilant at all times. 

It still matters that you keep your distance from any venomous snake. Do not get lulled into a false sense of security that you’ll be fine because you’re wearing gear, from plastic snake leggings to ripstop canvas shield, on your lower leg.